Golden Retriever Dog Breed Facts & Information

You may know Golden Retrievers for their distinctive color, beautiful plumage, floppy ears, or sunny disposition. These playful, water-loving pups were originally bred to fetch poultry for hunters, but these days they’re happy in many other roles too, from playing, to endlessly fetching with their owners, to working as a service dog.

Read on to learn more about one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and help you decide if a Golden Retriever is right for you.

breed characteristics

  • Origin: Scotland
  • Size:
  • Weight: 65-75 pounds
  • Shelf life: 10-12 years
  • Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
  • Activity level:
  • Bark/Howl Level:
  • Good with dogs: yes
  • Good with children: yes
  • Good with cats:
  • Lost:
  • Easy to fix:
  • Easy to train:
  • Protective:

Appearance of the Golden Retriever

Although Golden Retrievers are golden, they come in a variety of shades ranging from light gold (like the White Golden Retriever or the English Cream Golden Retriever) to dark gold, with feathers on the back of their front legs on his neck, the back his thighs and the underside of his tail. His long floppy ears combine with his playful personality to create the look of a timeless pup.

Quick wink: You may have heard of the Mini Golden Retriever, which also has a puppy look, but did you know that the Mini is a mix of other dog breeds and not a true Golden Retriever? Now you know.

Also known as a double coat, this beautiful golden coat consists of a waterproof outer layer and a soft inner layer that regulates body temperature in both hot and cold weather.

As with other double-coated dogs, you can expect your golden retriever to shed. To avoid major rashes in the fall and spring, it’s important to brush a golden retriever weekly and daily during the molting months. With proper brushing, a Golden Retriever should only need an occasional bath.

Golden Retriever Personality

Golden Retrievers are friendly, trusting, and gentle. These traits make them very poor watchdogs but excellent family dogs. They are intelligent, eager to please, playful, active and highly trainable.

They are also prone to anxiety when left alone for long periods of time and do best with a demonstrative and dedicated owner.

Ideal environment for a golden retriever

A Golden Retriever dog needs plenty of exercise and prefers open spaces to (you guessed it) recover. Because of this, a Golden Retriever is better suited to a home with a large yard or an owner who will take them off-leash to the park all the time. If you have young children, a Golden Retriever is a safe choice for a pet, especially if properly trained.

4 yellow golden retrievers together in the grass, smiling
via @denvers_golden_life

Ideal male for a golden retriever

A Golden Retriever is an energetic and active dog that needs daily exercise. The ideal parent for this dog breed is also active and willing to be there for the daily exercise (up to an hour) that this dog needs. Golden Retrievers love to swim, run, walk, and (if you choose to walk less) play fetch games.

Because they are so active and enjoy spending time with their family, Golden Retrievers are ideal for equally energetic owners who have plenty of time to spend with a BFF dog.

Golden retriever training

While Golden Retrievers are known for being pleasant and easy to train, a bored Golden Retriever is a poor Golden Retriever. These dogs do not do well when left alone for long periods of time and are not happy when the daily walk is missed. Begin training on the right foot by being aware of your proximity and physical activity needs.

That being said, Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent and willing to work for rewards, be it treats or praise, and also do well with clicker training. And because Golden Retrievers excel at obedience training and often have an appetite for more, they do well in service dog jobs, with some working in more demanding fields like search and rescue.

A note on training: Golden Retrievers are so personable and hardworking that they sometimes work to the breaking point. Be sure to build water and rest breaks into intense games and workouts, and to supplement strenuous workouts with mental exercises like puzzles or hide-and-seek, or long, easy walks.

Golden retriever grooming

Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-resistant double coat and shed their undercoat in spring and fall (or year-round in temperate climates). During seasonal periods of shedding, they may need daily brushing to remove dead hair. For the rest of the year, a weekly brushing should be enough for grooming. Occasional baths will help keep your golden retriever clean and will also help remove loose fur. As with most dogs, the Golden Retriever needs regular trimming of nails and brushing of teeth to maintain dental health.

Golden Retriever Health

Like any breed of dog, Golden Retrievers are prone to certain health issues. Up to one in five Golden Retrievers will develop some type of joint disease, such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia. Golden retrievers are also more likely than other breeds to develop a heart condition known as subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), which can be fatal.

However, many golden retrievers die from cancer (such as hemangiosarcoma and osteosarcoma). Potential health issues aside, most people find loving and caring for a Golden Retriever a pleasure as long as they can be a part of the family. Many pet owners opt for pet health insurance just in case.

A quick note on ear care: Due to the shape of their ears, Golden Retrievers need to have their ears cleaned regularly to prevent ear infections. Talk to your vet about proper ear care and ear cleaning products that are safe to use.

A happy golden retriever in the grass.
via @finneyboymolloy

History of the Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers were originally bred in 19th-century Scotland as hunting dogs, specializing in retrieving water and land. Breeders have mixed water spaniels and other retrievers to create a dog with a golden retriever’s talent for bringing waterfowl and other birds to his master hunters unscathed.

The breed was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925 and is now one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.

get a golden retriever

Getting a golden retriever is easy, but it’s important to be prepared. When you buy a Golden Retriever puppy, you will spend a lot of time learning basic obedience, socializing the puppy to other people and dogs, and teaching important skills like sleeping through the night and using the bathroom in a good spot .

Finding a Golden Retriever puppy or adult dog can be as easy as searching the internet, but beware of puppy mills and internet scams. Research and get to know reputable breeders, visit them before you commit to paying, and trust your instincts.

Price of a Golden Retriever

Pet parents looking to welcome a Golden Retriever into their family should be aware of all the costs involved. According to the Rover Pet Training Costs Survey, 64% of golden retriever pet owners say they expect to spend between $500 and $2,000 on their dog’s initial fee. However, 60% said the actual start-up costs were within their budget, but 32% said the costs were actually higher. Overall, 54% of pet owners spend between $100 and $150 a month on their golden retriever.

Golden retriever rescue

Another way to find a Golden Retriever is to take on a rescue. Unlike puppies, rescue dogs are typically spayed and neutered and spanked. Because many rescues are abandoned by individual owners, these dogs can also learn basic commands and be socialized. Otherwise, that doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. For more information on teaching a dog that hasn’t experienced much structure or how to help a traumatized dog feel safe and welcome, consult a trusted dog trainer. .

Golden retriever breeders

To find breeders who must meet strict requirements, use the American Kennel Club (AKC) search tool to find a reputable Golden Retriever breeder in your area. 74% of owners got their Golden Retriever from a breeder. During your visit, be sure to inquire about any health issues in the dog’s lineage and discuss any genetic testing you may wish to have, such as: B. Testing for degenerative myelopathy, ichthyosis, or progressive retinal atrophy.

Learn more about Golden Retrievers

Want to learn more about Golden Retrievers? Find out what Rover has to offer beyond the basics:

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