Golden Retrievers are consistently in the top three most popular dog breeds in America. They could be called the biggest puppies in the world, as their fun-loving and playful personalities carry on well into adulthood.
Despite their reputation for clowning around with their family members, they also have a serious side when it comes to work. The Golden Retriever was originally bred to be a gundog, and its work ethic and intelligence make it well suited for a wide variety of tasks. Golden Retrievers excel in all sorts of fields, making them great guide dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and competitors in dog sports.
TemperamentWhen people think of the Golden Retriever, the image that comes to mind is of the Golden’s kind and gentle face, with the lips pulled back into an easygoing doggy smile. Golden Retrievers have a reputation for being friendly, outgoing, and easy to get along with – and most Goldens live up to that reputation. These loyal dogs seem to retain the playfulness and silliness of a puppy well into their third year of life, with most Golden Retrievers settling down in the fourth year or even later. While this is widely considered a positive trait among lovers of the breed, those expecting a serious, stoic dog may need to look elsewhere. Golden Retrievers are eager to please their human family members, and will wake you up with kisses or bring you the morning, so long as it brings a smile to your face. Well-bred and properly socialized Goldens aren’t aggressive to people or other animals, nor are they timid or nervous. To a Golden, everyone in the world is a friend.
The Ultimate Guide to Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers were originally developed in Scotland by Dudley Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth, at his estate in the Scottish Highlands. In 1865 Dudley Marjoribanks bought "Nous", the lone golden-haired puppy in a litter of black retrievers. Nous would end up being crossbred with Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel, creating the basis of the Golden Retriever breed. The Golden Retriever’s coloration, retrieving instinct, and working ability were refined through several generations of breeding. Lord Tweedmouth eventually achieved a strong, easily-trainable working dog that was hardy enough for the weather of the Scottish Highlands. These Tweedmouth Retrievers would eventually make their way to America in the early 20th century. They breed began growing in popularity before World War II, and in the 1970s the number of Golden Retriever owners skyrocketed. That popularity has been sustained until today, and Golden Retrievers continue to be an American favorite.
Key Characteristics of Golden Retriever
When people think of the Golden Retriever, the image that comes to mind is of the Golden’s kind and gentle face, with the lips pulled back into an easygoing doggy smile. Golden Retrievers have a reputation for being friendly, outgoing, and easy to get along with – and most Goldens live up to that reputation.
These loyal dogs seem to retain the playfulness and silliness of a puppy well into their third year of life, with most Golden Retrievers settling down in the fourth year or even later. While this is widely considered a positive trait among lovers of the breed, those expecting a serious, stoic dog may need to look elsewhere.
Golden Retrievers are eager to please their human family members, and will wake you up with kisses or bring you the morning, so long as it brings a smile to your face. Well-bred and properly socialized Goldens aren’t aggressive to people or other animals, nor are they timid or nervous. To a Golden, everyone in the world is a friend.
Golden Retrievers were bred to be out hunting with their owners, so they love the outdoors. They have the stamina and energy to go for long walks or hikes, and their Water Spaniel heritage means that they love to swim as well. Most Golden Retrievers are great go-anywhere, do-anything companions.
As a result of this, they’ll need significant amounts of exercise to tire them out. They’re active and intelligent dogs, and they do well with dog sports such as obedience, tracking, and agility. Golden Retrievers who are kept as pets will need at least an hour-long walk per day, with additional time for games and training.
An under-exercised Golden Retriever may tend to jump up at people or be mouthy, especially if they’re under three years old. They need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to keep them from being bored. Dog puzzle toys and slow feeders are popular options to keep them entertained.
|Golden Retriever Grooming||
Golden Retrievers were bred to be sporting dogs, and this propensity for outdoor activity is reflected in their coat. They have a thick double coat with a water-repellent top coat and a dense, insulating undercoat. A Golden Retriever’s fur can be either wavy or straight.
Due to this double coat, Golden Retrievers will shed a moderate amount of fur throughout the year, with heavy shedding in the spring and fall. This is known as blowing coat, and is something almost all Golden owners will have to deal with – it’s advisable to keep a vacuum cleaner handy.
Golden Retrievers generally need brushing three to four times a week to keep their shedding in check. This regular brushing schedule will also help to prevent painful tangles and mats from forming in the Golden’s thick fur.
While the Golden Retriever has water-repellent fur, it still gets dirty and it traps the fur shed from the undercoat. Most Goldens will need a bath around once a month or so to stay clean and fresh.
Tooth brushing should be done regularly, if not daily, to prevent plaque and tartar buildup and maintain gum health. Nail trimming can be done monthly if the Golden does not wear them down naturally.
One particular area of concern is the Golden Retriever’s ears. Their fold-over ears can become the perfect place for bacteria to grow, so a thorough inspection and cleaning of the ears should be part of the grooming routine.
|Golden Retriever Training||
Due to their high intelligence and eagerness to please their owners, Golden Retrievers take to training very quickly. Starting their obedience training early will help ensure that your Golden Retriever grows up into a well-behaved and gentle adult dog.
Golden Retrievers tend to be food-oriented, and will happily perform tasks that they know will result in them getting treats. However, all dogs are different and your Golden Retriever may want something else as a reward. The important thing is to use positive reinforcement to train your Golden, as this usually gets the best results.
It’s common for Golden Retrievers to be trained in agility courses, obedience trials, and other dog sports. The mental and physical challenges involved are a good fit for the natural abilities of the Golden, and even non-competitive owners may find that training in these events results in a more well-behaved and obedient dog.
|Golden Retriever Lifespan and Health Issues||
Golden Retrievers have a normal lifespan for their size, having a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. Golden Retrievers may be prone to:
|Golden Retriever Size and Space Requirements||
Golden Retrievers are big, boisterous dogs and need a lot of space to feel comfortable. Adult Golden Retrievers can stand from 23 to 24 inches at the shoulder for males, and 21 to 22 inches for females. Male Golden Retrievers will weigh between 60 to 75 pounds, while females will weigh between 50 to 65 pounds.
Their high energy and love of the outdoors mean they do best in homes with ample space to move and an outdoor space in which to play. A fenced yard is a good option, though dog parks and other shared spaces may also be used.
Because they bond so strongly to humans, they need to be in close contact with their family members. It’s not uncommon for Goldens to constantly follow their owners around throughout the day. Most Goldens will not enjoy being left outside and away from their humans for very long, so they’re commonly kept as indoor pets.
- Golden Retrievers have webbed feet and excel at swimming.
- Golden Retrievers may become overly attached to their humans, which may develop into a case of separation anxiety if the dog is not trained to be alone.
- Golden Retrievers are naturally intuitive and responsive to the body language and emotions of the people around them, and are often trained to be therapy dogs.
How can I take good care of my Golden Retriever or Puppy?
Golden Retrievers are naturally outgoing and friendly, but socialization is still a crucial step in ensuring that an adult Golden is well-behaved and gentle. Most Golden Retriever puppies will be able to be taken home at 8 weeks old, which is an important time in a dog’s life. The period from 8 to 12 weeks is when puppies are most receptive to new stimuli, and socialization work should begin at this point.
Golden Retriever puppies grow large quite quickly, so a high-quality, premium diet is the best choice. For adult Golden Retrievers, a slow feeder or puzzle feeder may slow down their feeding and will be helpful in preventing GDV or bloat. Weighing out your Golden Retriever’s meals may also be a good idea, as they are prone to becoming overweight. Your veterinarian may be able to give you more specific recommendations for your Golden Retriever puppy.
Upon bringing home your Golden Retriever puppy, you may contact your veterinarian to inquire about their recommended vaccination schedule for your dog. Most Golden Retriever puppies will have regular vaccinations and deworming within the first few weeks. To protect your puppy from the common transmissible diseases and bacteria, follow the schedule the veterinarian gives you to the best of your ability.
Most Asked Golden Retriever Questions
+How Much do Golden Retriever Puppies Cost
Golden Retriever puppies for sale from reputable breeders may go for $1000 to $3000. However, there is a wide range of prices for Goldens due to their popularity. Responsible breeders spend a large amount of money on vet visits and health checks of both the mother and the puppies. The resulting price increase is well worth it to ensure the well-being of all the dogs before any puppies are sold to new owners. Getting your Golden Retriever puppy from an ethical breeder is a must.