So you think you want a Golden Retriever?

Bringing a dog into your life is exciting!

There’s nothing better than man’s best friend to spend your days with. But, when deciding on a dog it’s important to choose wisely. There’s well over a hundred different breeds of dogs and their temperaments vary greatly. While one breed can make your life better, another can make it much more stressful if not the right fit.

When selecting a breed it’s important to do your research. We’re here to help by giving you a summary of each breed!

This week, we'll take a look at Golden Retrievers.

Let’s start with a brief history.

The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland during the 1800s. In order to create a gun dog that was well-suited to the wet climate and rugged terrain, Lord Tweedmouth created a cross between Tweed Water Spaniels, his yellow retriever, Bloodhounds and Irish Setters. Bred to be marvelous working hunters, they were officially recognized by the AKC in 1925 and have come to excel in field work, search-and-rescue, service dog work and obedience training.

Golden Retrievers belong to the Sporting Group.

While they generally make excellent companions, it’s important to keep in mind that these dogs were bred for sport. Being bred to retrieve and work closely with hunters means they’ll need quite a bit of exercise and will need a human companion who understands their drive for a task.

So, you’re thinking about getting a Golden Retriever? Here’s some things to consider.

Golden Retrievers can become large dogs, generally ranging from 55 - 75lbs. Being bred for hunting, they’re robust, muscular, and have a dense water-repellent coat. Their beautiful golden coat is what they’re known for, and they shed all year long. However, like many other breeds twice a year they shed a little more heavily. Regular brushing is important to help keep their coat clean, free of matts and tangles, and to help keep the hair on your furniture at bay.

Considering their size, training is important. These athletes are loving and gentle, but also very easily excitable during their first few years. They will need regular exercise and you'll want to work on training if you don’t want to have one of these guys dragging you down the sidewalk or climbing all over grandma.

When you consider what they were bred for, a short daily walk might not cut it. These dogs love to play and if they don’t get that energy out they’re likely to find themselves getting into mischief or driving you crazy for attention.

One of their most endearing traits is that they can be incredibly goofy. They love to play and have a good time. They're happy to chase the ball around the yard, be a running partner or give agility a try. Your golden retriever will just want to be with you, and will love tagging along when you go hiking, run errands or for a walk on the beach. They're one breed sure to make you laugh and they want nothing more than to be your best friend.

If you like to spend your days lounging on the sofa and have no interest in including your dog in your daily activities, this is something you’ll need to think about before bringing one of these dogs into your family. On the other hand, if you enjoy getting out in the sun and playing a good game of fetch, this may be an excellent fit.

Goldens are generally people-loving dogs and aim to please. They’re loyal, friendly and eager to learn. Proper socialization is important with any breed, but with this breed you want to keep in mind that if not done correctly they can become overly excited when meeting new people. Because of this love for people, they generally don’t make good guard dogs.

As far as family dogs go, Golden Retrievers are one of the best. They generally do great with kids, but should be trained early on as they can be very exuberant puppies who grow quickly and can knock small children over by accident if not careful.

Even within the same breed, there are different lines of lineage that can make a big difference in your potential dog's drive. If you're considering adding a golden retriever to your family, you'll want to make sure you find a reputable breeder who will ensure you get a dog from the right lines. For example, if you have a busy family that can provide ample exercise but really just wants a mellow family dog, then you won't want a dog from lines bred to be the ultimate hunting buddy. On the contrary, if you're looking for a partner to help you retrieve ducks on your regular hunting trips, then the more mellow puppy bred to be a pet or show dog might not meet your needs.

Now, what about health?

They can be prone to easily gaining weight, so it’s important to be smart about what, and how much, you feed them. Obesity can lead to diabetes, heart disease and joint issues down the road.

Unfortunately, cancer is also common in Golden Retrievers. Not all are guaranteed to get cancer, but they do tend to be more prone to it than others. While this shouldn’t be a reason not to get a golden, it’s important to educate yourself on what to watch out for as they get older.

Goldens are also susceptible to hip, elbow and eye issues. When searching for a breeder, make sure they run genetic testing before breeding to ensure the parents are clear of these issues.

Let’s Summarize:

  • Goldens are generally loving, gentle and easy to train. 
  • They are a large and athletic breed that requires a family dedicated to making sure they get enough exercise. 
  • While they don’t necessarily need to see a professional groomer, you’ll need to be comfortable with pet hair on your furniture and committing to regular brushing. 
  • Socialization is important, and training at a young age will help prevent behavior issues as they get bigger. 
  • Finding a reputable breeder who will help match you to a puppy that fits your needs is vital. 
  • Overall, Goldens are smart, people-loving dogs that make a great addition to active families.