There’s a reason Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in homes today. They’re high-energy, social butterflies who love being the center of attention. They’re also smart (albeit a bit cheeky), affectionate, and made for Instagram. And yes, they do love to fetch, just like their name implies! There’s never a dull moment with a life-of-the-party Golden Retriever at your side.
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Golden Retrievers are best for busy homes with high activity levels. Goldens thrive on attention, and they're typically kid-friendly and pet-friendly.
Golden Retriever Traits
Golden Retriever Temperament
Golden Retriever dogs are born extroverts who are eager to please. Although personalities can differ, most Goldens love people and social outings, thriving in homes with lots of activity.
Golden Retrievers need a lot of mental and physical exercise to be at their peak health. But for them, the bottom line is spending time with you. Whether it’s sleeping next to you on your chair or playing outdoors, they’re happiest if they can just be by your side.
These medium-weight and height dogs are a great choice for families with young children. But that doesn’t mean every Golden Retriever is problem-free. When bringing a Golden home, give them careful introductions to other members of your household, especially the smaller ones like children and cats.
But overall, they love to mingle and see everyone as a potential new bestie. Whenever they meet someone new, they seem to say, “Hi! I am so glad we met. Do you have a ball to throw for me now that we’re friends?”
Another quality you’ll appreciate in your furry new BFF is their intelligence. Goldens are quick learners and easy to train, bred to retrieve waterfowl with a soft mouth. They often have jobs, serving as guide dogs or search-and-rescue dogs.
Keep in mind that even the best-trained Goldens still have a bit of a mischievous streak. So be prepared for occasional mischief and learn to laugh along with your dog as they “help” you unload the laundry basket.
How to Care for a Golden Retriever
A Golden Retriever puppy or adult dog may be friendly people-pleasers, but that doesn’t make the breed low maintenance. They need daily exercise, regular brushing, and training. The good news is they’re so easy going, they’ll adapt well to almost any home, especially homes with small children.
Golden Retriever Health
Golden Retrievers have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years, but they’re also prone to some health issues. It’s good to know in what those potential health problems are in advance, so you can keep them your pup healthy for longer.
- Cancer: The biggest health issues for Goldens is cancer. According to a study conducted by the Golden Retriever Club of America, cancer was identified as a cause of death in 61.4 percent of the Golden Retrievers studied. If your pup has cancer, your vet can help you determine the best course of action to treat your pup.
- Ear Infections: Those adorable floppy ears? They can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, making them prone to infections, although not to the degree you might see in a Cocker Spaniel or Basset Hound. Your vet can teach you how to clean those cute ears to prevent ear infections from developing.
- Skin Infections: Their thick undercoats may help protect them from cold water but can also attract bacteria that cause skin infections. That’s why it’s so important to give them a bath or rinse them off with clean water after a swim. If your pup develops a skin infection, contact your veterinarian. They can show you the best way to treat the infection.
- Joint Dysplasia: Even though they’re not as prone to hip dysplasia as giant breeds like Saint Bernards or Newfoundland dogs, roughly 8.5 percent of Goldens suffer hip dysplasia. Check with your veterinarian for the best treatment options if your Golden suffers from this condition.
- Heart Conditions: They are also prone to certain heart conditions, like Subaortic stenosis. This can sometimes be detected as an audible murmur during a veterinarian exam, and your veterinarian will help you determine the best course for treatment.
Golden Retriever History
The Golden Retriever breed has its origin in the Scottish Highlands by Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth. Marjoribanks crossed several breeds of dogs as he sought an energetic pup who could retrieve anywhere, whether in water or land.
Some of the breeds that Marjoribanks worked with included his Yellow Retriever, the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, the Irish Setter and the Bloodhound. This led to a retriever with speed, agility and loyalty.
Goldens began arriving in the United States around the early 1900s and became recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925. They skyrocketed in popularity when President Gerald Ford had a Golden Retriever of his own named Liberty. Now many organizations are dedicated to the breed, like the Golden Retriever Club of America.
So, where is the best place to find Golden Retriever puppies today? You can find a list of reputable Golden Retriever breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. What’s the average Golden Retriever price? Depending on the breeder, expect to spend anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500 for a pup; but for that, you usually are getting a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues, and they might even come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to Golden Retriever rescue organizations to adopt a Golden, or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.
Are Golden Retrievers hypoallergenic?
Golden Retrievers aren’t hypoallergenic. In fact, their frequent shedding might be hard on allergy sufferers.
Are Golden Retrievers Labradors?
Golden Retrievers aren’t Labrador Retrievers, but they share a common ancestor in the now-extinct St. John’s Water Dog. Goldens were originally bred in Scotland, while Labradors were bred in Newfoundland.
Are Golden Retrievers aggressive?
Golden Retrievers aren’t typically aggressive. However, although Golden Retrievers are usually very friendly, there can be exceptions if they were poorly socialized or abused by a previous owner. Like any dog, they can be territorial over food or high-value toys.
What are the most common Golden Retriever mixes?
- Golden Retriever-Poodle mix (Goldendoodle)
- Golden Retriever-German Shepherd mix (Golden Shepherd)
- Golden Retriever-Husky mix (Goberian)
- Golden Retriever-Labrador mix (Golden Labrador)
- Golden Retriever-Corgi mix (Golden Corgi)
- Golden Retriever-Bernese Mountain Dog mix (Golden Mountain Dog)
- Golden Retriever-Rottweiler mix (Golden Rottie Retriever)
- Golden Retriever-Dachshund mix (Golden Dox)
- Golden Retriever-Chihuahua mix (Golden Chi)
- Golden Retriever-Cocker Spaniel mix (Golden Cocker Retriever)
Golden Retrievers are loving, loyal pets who make great family dogs. Sure, they need a lot of exercise, attention, and daily brushing to be at their happiest. But it’s a small price to pay for their wonderful company.
Expert input provided by veterinarian Georgina Ushi Phillips, DVM, who writes the Not a Bully website, and certified dog trainer Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, owner of The Sophisticated Dog
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