The third most popular dog in the United States, it is no wonder the Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog. Fun, playful and friendly, these pups make an excellent companion and their intelligence and athleticism also makes them great competition dogs and working dogs. They excel as therapy dogs, search and rescue dogs and service dogs, as well as tracking and sniffing pups for law enforcement!
Easy to train and relatively low maintenance, the Golden Retriever will get along in almost any home. They love humans, including children, and are very protective. If you’re interested in learning more about this adorable breed, keep reading on below!
History Of The Golden Retriever
There are actually three different types of Golden Retrievers and their size and color can vary based on which type they are. The three types are American, Canadian and English. Although they are all the same breed of dog, each country has a different breed standard which creates a slightly different look.
The Golden Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925. Their official breed club of America was formed in 1938.
The Golden Retriever originated in Scotland and was the result of cross-breeding a Yellow Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel. These dogs were trained as a sporting dog to retrieve birds and other animals while out hunting, hence their name “retriever”. They were agile on both land and in water, making them a superior hunting dog.
They soon became popular in the United States in the early 1900s, both as working dogs and as companion dogs.
Characteristics Of The Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are an extremely popular breed and so finding a breeder should not be difficult. However, you want to make sure that you are buying from a responsible breeder. Their popularity means that irresponsible breeders and puppy farms are very common, so you must be careful.
You can expect to pay between $500 and $3,000 for a Golden Retriever puppy. You may be put on a waiting list when buying from a reputable breeder.
As we mentioned above, there are three different types of Golden Retrievers. Although they are all the same breed, different countries have different breed standards. In the United States, the breed standard describes the American Golden Retriever as a powerful and active dog with great beauty and grace.
They have a long coat, floppy ears and feathering on their chest, stomach and tail. They also have brown eyes and a black nose with a medium length snout.
Golden Retrievers usually stand between 20 and 24 inches tall and weigh between 55 and 75 lbs. Generally, males are slightly bigger than females.
The Golden Retriever has a long double coat. The outer-coat is dense and water-repellent and their undercoat is thick. Some coats are wavy while some coats are straight.
These dogs shed a lot and require constant grooming. They are not suitable for allergy sufferers and you can expect to find dog hair all over your house!
Golden Retrievers come in all shades of gold, from light to dark gold. Some breeders have even begun selling “rare white Goldens”, although the AKC does not recognize white as a coat color for the breed. Dark red Golden Retrievers and red Golden Retrievers are also not recognised as pure bred dogs by the AKC.
The Golden Retriever’s wonderful temperament is one of the reasons they are such a popular dog. Friendly, happy and goofy, these pups have an excellent personality that brings joy to those around them! They love people and get on very well in a family environment with both adults, children and even other animals.
They are an active breed and love to play, keeping up their puppy energy well into their adult years. This breed likes to join in with their family, making the perfect companion, and doesn’t particularly like to be left out. The Golden Retriever’s kind hearted nature combined with their intelligence also makes them excellent working dogs, such as guide dogs and therapy dogs. They really do have one of the best temperaments out there!
The Golden Retriever has an average life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
Known Health Issues
The Golden Retriever is known for being a relatively healthy breed that can live a long life. However, unfortunately, they are prone to some health problems. We have laid out these main health concerns below.
- Hip Dysplasia — this is when the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia.
- Elbow Dysplasia — this is a common condition in large breed dogs. It can be caused by different growth rates and can cause lameness. It can be fixed with surgery.
- Cancer — unfortunately this is common in Golden Retrievers and up to 60% of this breed will pass away as a result of a cancerous tumor.
- Uveitis — this is an eye condition that can be characterized by swelling of the iris or colored parts of the eye.
Regular vet checkups and keeping an eye on your dog will ensure you can catch any of these issues before they become untreatable. Insurance is also a good idea, and you should be able to purchase insurance for your Golden Retriever for around $33 to $49 a month.
Remember — buy from a reputable breeder and the chances your dog will suffer any health conditions will be greatly reduced. Trusted breeders will do health checks on both parent dogs and will not breed if there is a chance of passing on any issues to offspring.
Now we know all about the traits and characteristics of the Golden Retriever, it is time to take a look at what living with one of these dogs on a day to day basis is really like. We will cover their food and diet, their exercise requirements and their grooming needs.
Food And Diet
Golden Retrievers love food and will hang around you when you’re eating and pretend they haven’t been fed for days! On average, these pups need around three cups of food a day. You should always check the back of the food packet to see how much of a certain food you should be feeding your dog based on their weight.
You should ensure you are feeding your Golden Retriever a high-quality kibble that meets all their nutritional requirements. Also ensure you don’t feed them too many treats, because this can lead to obesity! Take a look at the food we recommend for the Golden Retriever below.
Best Dog Food For The Golden Retriever
We recommend this adult dry dog food from Blue Buffalo for the Golden Retriever. Made with high-quality protein, this food helps your dog build and maintain healthy muscles. It also helps meet the energy needs of a Golden Retriever, while providing them with omega 3 and 6 fatty acids to promote a shiny coat and healthy skin.
This blend of dog food supports immune system health too, keeping your pup healthy throughout their life. It doesn’t contain any artificial flavors or preservatives either, which is always a bonus.
The Golden Retriever is a very active dog with high exercise needs. You should be exercising them for around two hours a day — one hour in the morning and one hour in the afternoon. You must make sure you can dedicate this time to them before buying one of these dogs!
Due to the fact that these dogs are a medium to large breed, you shouldn’t overexercise them as a puppy as this can be detrimental to their skeleton while they are growing. You should use the five minute rule — five minutes of exercise a day per month of their age. So, for example, if they are four months old, you should exercise them for twenty minutes.
The Golden Retriever is intelligent and can therefore also excel at dog sports. This includes agility training and flyball!
The Golden Retriever dog makes an excellent family pet and gets on well with everyone! They love children and will be gentle with them, but also make a wonderful playmate with their personalities often matching those of children.
These dogs can also get on very well with other pets in the home, including dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs. Of course, they should still be socialized at a young age but this shouldn’t be an issue.
The Golden Retriever can live in any environment, but due to their size and energy levels will be happier if they have a large space to run around in. Although they are not known for barking and you won’t need to worry about the neighbors, they can be cramped in city apartments. That being said, these dogs can live in the city provided you have the time to take them out to parks and large open spaces daily.
Because the Golden Retriever is very active, they will thrive in an active family environment where they can join in the fun. They will love to accompany you on hikes and runs and will even go swimming with you, making them the perfect exercise buddy.
While they were originally a working dog and still excel as a service dog, the Golden Retriever makes a terrible guard dog or watchdog! However, they will enjoy being given a job to do, such as fetching their leash when it is time for a walk!
The Golden Retriever is a very intelligent dog and therefore has great trainability. They love to please their owners and will pick things up very quickly! However, they won’t do well with long, drawn out training sessions and repeating the same trick over and over will be boring for them. Split their training into short sessions and this will keep them engaged!
These dogs respond best to reward based training and positive reinforcement training. This includes verbal praise as well as treats. You should never get angry or annoyed with your Golden Retriever because this will make them not want to learn.
Remember, these pups can excel at obedience training and other dog sports, so this is something you might want to try with them.
The Golden Retriever loves people, but, like all dogs, needs early socialization so they can learn to get on with everyone and everything! You should introduce your Golden Retriever to new sights, sounds, places, smells, people and animals when they are young, in a safe and controlled way. This way they will understand there is nothing to be afraid of and they will grow up to be a well-rounded pup!
As we mentioned above, the Golden Retriever sheds a lot! They shed moderately in the winter and summer, and heavily in the spring and fall. This means that they require a lot of grooming. You should try to brush them every day to prevent matting and to get rid of loose hairs.
These dogs also love to get muddy, so they will need bathing roughly once a month. After bathing, you should always make sure their coat is completely dry otherwise it can lead to skin conditions.
The Golden Retriever can be prone to ear infections too because of their floppy ears and so you should check them regularly and take them to the vet if you spot anything unusual. Try to stay on top of nail trimming and brushing their teeth, too. This should be done regally to prevent dental decay and disease.
Golden Retriever FAQ’s
How much does a Golden Retriever cost?
A Golden Retriever can set you back between $500 and $3,000 per puppy. Finding a breeder is not difficult because they are a popular dog breed, but with this popularity comes a rise in irresponsible breeders and puppy farms so you must make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder. The breeder should be able to show you health clearances from both parent dogs.
If this is out of your price range or you do not want to buy a puppy, you can always check your local shelter. Unfortunately, their popularity means they are also common in shelters. There is also the Golden Retriever Club of America National Rescue Committee and Goldens Without Borders which are both rescue organizations for this dog breed.
Is a Golden Retriever a good family dog?
The Golden Retriever makes an excellent family dog. These pups love people and don’t really like to be left alone, so they will do best in an active household where they can always be part of the action. They especially love children and other animals and are very good at understanding their needs. They also have a gentle and kind-hearted nature, yet they’re playful and goofy too!
Even better, their intelligence makes them a dream to train and they can also excel at dog sports such as ability training and flyball. The Golden Retriever also just wants to please their owners, meaning they can be a good first pet and will just want to love you.
There is no wonder the Golden Retriever is as popular as it is. These loving, caring, friendly dogs make the perfect companion to many, thriving as a member of a busy household where they can play and join in the fun. They get on well with both children and other animals and their high exercise needs means they can make a wonderful exercise buddy too! Although they do need a fair bit of grooming and you may find dog hair everywhere, these pups certainly make up for it with their loyal and kind-hearted nature. If you want a loveable dog that’ll stick by your side, the Golden Retriever might just be for you.