The Golden Retriever is the classic family companion. They are obedient, playful, intelligent, well-mannered, great with kids, and kindly to strangers. They are good watchdogs, but make lousy guard dogs as they love people far too much to be effective. Golden Retrievers are always at the top of their obedience classes and are often the champions of sporting competitions. Hunters find them to be reliable bird dogs, and their keen sense of smell and desire to work alongside people makes them sought-after narcotics sniffers. Golden Retrievers need people and are best suited for large, active families.
The Golden Retriever is a large dog with a broad head and drop ears. The tail is otter-like, thick at the base then tapering at the end.
Personality and Temperament
Moderate to High
The Golden Retriever is the quintessential family dog. It is very loving and loyal to the family and enjoys playing games and socializing with people. The Golden Retriever loves children and is great with other animals.
Ideal living conditions:
The Golden Retriever fares well in the city or country.
The Golden Retriever needs daily exercise and should be brushed weekly to avoid shedding.
Goldens are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Goldens will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
If you’re buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy’s parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Goldens, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
The following conditions are commonly seen in Golden Retrievers:
- Hip Dysplasia
- Hot Spots
Behave to Other Animals & Children
The amiable Golden Retriever isn’t bothered by the noise and commotion of kids — in fact, he thrives on it. He’s a large, strong dog, though, and he can easily knock over a small child by mistake.
As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
The Golden’s attitude toward other pets is the more the merrier. He enjoys the companionship of other dogs, and with proper introductions and training, can be trusted with cats, rabbits, and other animals.
The Golden Retriever is a large, strongly built breed with a dense, water-repellant wavy coat. As a dog with origins in pedigree breeding, and due to its widespread historical popularity, some regional variations have emerged in the breed; therefore, the three subtypes of the Golden Retriever reflect the typical variations in dimensions and coat. However, all Golden Retrievers are blonde, yellow, or gold in colour and all subtypes are susceptible to the same health problems. Golden Retrievers also are very smart dogs that are loyal and friendly to their caregivers.
If you want to know more about subtypes of Golden Retriever dog breed, click here.
Coat Color And Grooming
Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat. Some coats are wavy, some are straight. The fur feathers on the back of the front legs and underbody, with heavier feathering on the chest, back of the thighs, and tail.
Golden Retrievers come in all shades of gold, from light to dark gold. Some breeders have begun selling “rare white Goldens,” but the American Kennel Club does not recognize white as a coat color for the breed.
Golden Retrievers shed moderately in the winter and summer, and heavily in the spring and fall. If you live with a Golden, you’ll need to adapt to a certain amount of dog hair in your house and on your clothes.
The Golden’s thick coat means lots of grooming. Daily brushing is recommended to prevent tangling, and once a week is the bare minimum. Your Golden will also need a bath at least once a month, often more frequently, to keep him looking and smelling clean.
Brush your Golden’s teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.
Trim nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn’t wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they’re too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep the feet in good condition. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding — and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out. So, if you’re not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers.
Fold-over ears create a warm, dark environment for bacteria or fungus to grow in, and breeds that have them — such as the Golden — are prone to ear infections. His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection. Check them every time he gets wet, too. When you check your dog’s ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to help prevent infections. Don’t insert anything into the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.
Begin accustoming your Golden to being brushed and examined when he’s a puppy. Handle his paws frequently — dogs are touchy about their feet — and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you’ll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he’s an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.