Golden Retrievers

You may have first seen a Golden Retriever at work as a therapy dog or rescue dog, as their temperament and personality is well suited to this type of job. They are known to be very friendly dogs to both adults and children. While their friendliness makes them a very good family dog, you will not be able to count on them for protection. 

Golden Retrievers are ready, willing and able to get along with everyone; children, adults, strangers and other dogs. They are very intelligent and thrive on praise and affection.

They do love their daily walks, but are energetic and excitable, so keeping them on leash would be best in every case. You may find yourself chasing after your dog on occasion, so choosing a Golden Retriever as a pet will require you and your family to be active as well. 

This breed requires a lot of space for exercise and play. In fact, they love to swim and will gladly share a children’s pool if no lake is available. Watch also, that they do not overheat or get too cold, as they do not fare well in extreme temperatures.

a Golden Retriever puppy running through grass

Golden Retriever Information

  • Average Height: 21 to 24 inches
  • Average Length – 37 to 42 inches
  • Average Weight: 55 to 75 pounds
  • Coat Type: Medium length
  • Coat Appearance: Dense with a straight or moderately wavy coat
  • Coat Colors: Light golden, golden and dark golden
  • Grooming Needs: High
  • Shedding: High
  • Brushing Requirements: Recommended daily 
  • Sensitive to Touch: No
  • Excessive Barking: No
  • Good tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
  • Good Pet: Protective and loyal to their owners, so yes!
  • Safe with Children: Totally
  • Good with Other Dogs: High
  • Good with Other Pets: High
  • Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes
  • Suitable for First-Time Dog Owners: Yes
  • Training: They learn fast and are obedient
  • Exercise Needs: High need 
  • Weight Gain: High
  • Health Concerns: Hip dysplasia, cancer, skin, chest, or eye conditions.
  • Allergies: Pollen and some food
  • Average Life Span: 10 to 12 years
a happy Golden Retriever puppy

Physical Appearance of Golden Retriever

They have a prominent golden-brown coat. The golden shades range from light to dark. The coat has a water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat. The fur is very soft to the touch, which grows straight but might be slightly wavy for some. 

The breed has a broad head with a mildly pointed snout. Their nose and eyes have a gently brown texture with medium size ears laying against their face. Golden Retrievers have a muscular body with strong thighs and shoulders, a broad chest, and a strong neck. They have long tails that are straight when they wag them.

Their beautiful golden color makes them instantly recognizable.

Temperament of Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have a balanced temperament and are very affectionate. They are extremely intelligent and are fond of being praised by their owners, making them popular service dogs. The breed is also a great choice for first-time pet owners. 

With little training, they can get along with cats or any other family pets. They are generally very friendly and do not bark unless they see someone approaching your home. Because they are so friendly towards everyone, including strangers, they cannot reliably be trusted to act as a guard dog.

It cannot be overstated that this breed loves attention and playing with its owners.  If there is a dog park near your home, you can expect them to make a lot of friends very quickly. They will happily spend the time there running around with their new friends.

Training a Golden Retriever

Training the Golden Retriever is easy and you will find complementing them with rewards and praise will make it easier to teach them. You should start by first teaching them the basics like their name and how to use the kennel. Potty training them is usually quite easy as they love to go outside just about any time.

Also, exposing them to different sounds, sights, people, and experiences at an early age will help them become adaptable. The breed can easily learn to follow instructions like fetching a ball or stick. 

Because they are very energetic and can easily become excited, you will want to keep them on a leash until you are sure they are fully trained and will listen to you.  It is fairly common for younger Goldens to be out on a walk and suddenly run off after something they’ve seen.

Golden Retrievers can also be trained to be emotional support animals, and many are trained to be service dogs for the deaf or blind.

Their Compatibility with Children

Golden Retrievers are a sweet and enjoyable pet to have in your family. They get along very well with children, even when they might be loud, or not so nice to the dog. Because they love attention and affection so much, they are often very forgiving when playing with children. 

a Golden Retriever looking at something in the distance
a Golden Retriever laying in the grass

Though they are completely safe with children, you should show your kids on how to interact with the dog. It is possible where some accidents may occur during playing where the dog could cause children to fall or be pushed over. You should supervise the interactions between toddlers and the breed until you know they both understand how to play well together. This will ensure there is no unnecessary biting, pushing or fur pulling.

Best Climate for Golden Retriever

The breed has a thick coat which makes moderate climates an ideal environment for them to live in. They can tolerate mildly cold temperatures to about freezing but cannot handle hot weather as well. 

If the temperature gets too hot you should bring your Golden Retriever inside the home.  The ideal maximum for them to be comfortably outside is about 80 degrees.  If they will be outside for long periods of time at or above this temperature they will need water to drink, some shade to lay in, and possibly a children’s pool to lounge in.

Golden Retriever loves to stay in rural areas and homes that have a backyard. This gives them ample space to do daily exercises and play. 

The Attention Golden Retrievers Need

Golden Retrievers are very easy going and having them around is just like living with another family member. As they are normal dogs that like to be beside the owners they do need a lot of attention from you. If you ignore them, they may misbehave to get your attention.

These are large breed dogs that need both physical and mental exercise.  They are very smart dogs, and if they do not get the mental stimulation they are known to act out. Often just playing with them is enough mental exercise that will keep them stimulated.  They have high energy levels, try and keep them busy if you can.

Health Issues

The breed has fairly good health in comparison to other dogs. But like other breeds, there are specific health problems that some Golden Retrievers may develop as they age. They can develop hip dysplasia which is a hereditary disease that prevents the thigh bone from attaching into the hip-joint. This can cause pain and discomfort to the pet. In severe cases, it might lead to arthritis.

A similar condition is possible to develop in the elbow as well.

Other health issues that the breed may face are eye diseases like progressive retinal atrophy (RNA) or cataracts, bloat, allergies, epilepsy, and cancer. A regular check-up with the veterinarian will help to detect if your pet has any of these. Also, if your pet starts behaving abnormally, consider visiting a doctor to ensure that they do not have any health conditions to worry about.

Bathing, Coat, and Cleaning

It is important to thoroughly brush the coat of your Golden Retriever. This is because their fur sheds heavily. If you do not want to see dog hair in your home and on your clothes, it would be recommended to brush them daily. Otherwise, once a week is mandatory. Use a brush to groom their entire body and a comb to gently groom sensitive areas.

a Golden Retriever running with a ball in its mouth
a Golden Retriever running

The breed needs a bath once a month to ensure it smells and looks good. Brushing their teeth often will help keep their oral health up, but most will be fine if you have the vet do it every 6 months. Trim the nails twice a month but be careful not to trim it too short.

Cutting the nail too short might hurt them as they have blood vessels in their toenails. If you notice blood, just wrap the nail with a paper towel for a few minutes until the bleeding stops and remember not to cut it that short next time.

Golden Retrievers love to play around in the water, and because of this they are prone to getting ear infections.  If you let your dog play in the water, then there is a decent chance they will develop an ear infection shortly after.  Their ears should be regularly cleaned to prevent infection.  

Bad odor or redness in the ears is a sign of infection. You can use cotton with ear cleaner to gently clean their ears. It will be clear once you start doing this that your dog will not like many of these things.  You can help calm them by calmly petting them and speaking gently to them before you do anything. 

Shower them with rewards and affection to make them enjoy the cleaning. This will make it a more positive experience when you do these things to keep your pet healthy.

Feeding A Golden Retriever

Goldens have a tendency to gain excess body weight. You should feed them a consistent amount of food to ensure they do not put on excessive weight. 2-3 cups of dry dog food, twice a day should be the ideal amount of feedings for an adult dog. However, like people, each dog has its own food requirements.

If you notice that your dog is gaining weight because it is not as active as before, either reduce the food slightly or increase their activity.

The exact amount of food for your pet will depend upon the age, size, and activities it does during the day. It will also depend on the food that you are feeding them. You should not keep the food out for them beyond feeding time. Instead, serve them full meals twice a day. This will help to keep your dog’s weight in check. Giving a high-quality and low-calorie meal will ensure they stay healthy.

Related Questions:

Is Golden the only color that the Golden Retriever can have?

Yes, golden is the only color that this breed has but the shade widely varies. Some can have a very pale creamy shade and some could have a deep red shade. 

What is the right age to get a Golden Retriever puppy home?

Ideally, you should not get a Golden Retriever before it is 8 weeks old. Until this age, they are learning how to socialize and other important skills from their mother.

a pile of multi colored dog food

Are there major differences between male and female Golden Retrievers?

Apart from some physical characteristics, there are no major differences. The males tend to be taller and heavier from the females. In terms of personality, temperament, and attention both are the same.

Should I keep my Golden Retriever outside?  

The breed loves interacting with people and other pets. They like staying close to the family. Keeping them outside can make them feel bored which might lead to behavioral problems.  If you have other dogs in your home that will be outside with them, then keeping them outside is much easier to do.

Can Golden Retrievers Swim?

Not only can they swim but they love doing it. The breed will not miss out on a single opportunity to get wet. You can fill a children’s pool with water for them to relax in hot weather. I’m not joking, this is a real thing that many Goldens love to do!

Is the Golden Retriever a recognized breed?

Yes, the Golden Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925.

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