Golden Retrievers always land a spot in the top 5 most popular dog breeds— and for good reason. These adorable, loyal and smart dogs make excellent family dogs. They are easy to train, are arguably the cutest puppies around, and their intelligence can lead them to successful working dog careers, too.
Golden Retrievers are known for being outgoing, trustworthy and eager to please. They are easy to identify because of their flowing golden coat, which of course, is where their namesake comes from.
Let’s learn more about this dog breed to help you determine if it could be a good fit for your family, or help you better understand the Golden Retriever that’s already in your life.
Physical Traits and Health of Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers range in size from 50-80 lbs, making them a medium to large breed dog. Their life expectancy is 10-12 years. They have a soft, long golden coat that requires regular brushing and does result in pretty extensive shedding around the house. Aside from regular brushing and occasional bathing and nail clipping, Goldens don’t require haircuts or regular trips to the groomer.
Due to their popularity, Golden Retrievers are sadly prone to many diseases and health problems including hip dysplasia, eye conditions, heart disease, and cancers. This is largely due to inbreeding, puppy mills, and ‘backyard breeders’. That’s not to say that every Golden Retriever will develop a serious disease. But it is potentially more important to do your due diligence in selecting a breeder and asking lots of questions about their dogs’ lines and ancestry before making a decision.
Also, their long hair and fondness of swimming lead many Goldens to develop chronic ear infections and hot spots. Both of these conditions are easily treated but are something to be aware of should you choose to add a Golden Retriever to your family.
Personality and Lifestyle of Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are active and very smart dogs. They are loyal, fun-loving, and friendly towards humans. They are not the type of dog to attach to one person only. This makes them perfect in an active family setting. Golden Retrievers are highly social and do not like to be alone for long periods of time.
Originally, they were bred as hunting dogs, which make them great companions for sportsmen and outdoorsy people. Their intelligence and eager-to-please attitude also lead them to successful careers as seeing-eye dogs and therapy dogs. The Golden Retriever is a well-rounded and adaptable companion.
Golden Retrievers need and enjoy plenty of exercises, and can be hyperactive in the home if their daily needs aren't met. However, meeting their daily needs can be done in a variety of ways. They enjoy games of fetch, swimming, and make excellent running companions.
Drawbacks to Golden Retrievers
It’s important that you are ready to make a commitment to your Golden Retriever's physical and mental needs. Because they are smart and active dogs, committing to daily exercise, training, and mental stimulation is important or you will be dealing with destructive chewing and other less than desirable behaviors in the home.
Additionally, it’s important to fully understand the health risks associated with this breed and be ready to combat seasonal issues like ear infections and hot spots like I mentioned above. They are also prone to being overweight, so choosing the right dog food and keeping them on a strict diet is important to their longevity.
Thinking about a Golden Retriever for your family?
Golden Retrievers are amazing animals. I grew up with two, which might make me partial, but the bond and loyalty of these dogs cannot be matched. They are the perfect companion for so many because of their adaptability and sweet disposition. You’ll love adding one to your pack.