Written by Anna Hollisey
When you see a Golden Retriever out on a walk, watch how many smiles they’ll get. These big, lumbering and totally charming dogs win hearts wherever they go. With placid and fun-loving personalities, they can be wonderful family pets. Read on to discover all you need to know before getting a Golden Retriever.
The very first Golden Retrievers – Crocus, Cowslip and Primrose – were born in 1868. Dad was a golden-coated Hunting Dog and Mom was a shiny Tweed Spaniel with a love of water. Bred by a Scottish aristocrat, the pups were intended for hunting on his grand estate, where they would trek land and river in search of grouse and partridge.
This heritage story helps us to understand the Goldie’s nature. Placid and relaxed, Golden Retrievers love to sprawl in comfort – probably due to their origins in a large country manor. But don’t be deceived by that lazy attitude: Golden Retrievers are lively and fun-loving, especially when they’ve been given a job. Most modern Goldies still love to sniff and retrieve, which is what made them so useful to the Scottish hunters.
In character, these dogs are faithful companions who are supremely easy-going. Winning a regular place at the top of the Bestselling Breed charts, the Golden Retriever is naturally suited to life in a family home.
The breed is not on the ‘Potentially Dangerous Dogs’ list, but you may have heard about cases where Golden Retrievers have bitten people. Considering the number of Goldies in the US, the corresponding number of injuries is very low. However, Golden Retrievers can – like any dog – be aggressive in some circumstances.
It's important to know that puppy behavior often includes growling, yapping and nipping. This is typical of most puppies and doesn’t indicate an aggressive nature. They are developing social skills and learning what’s acceptable within their pack. As a new owner, you’ll need to undertake training to help your puppy to learn about boundaries.
It’s also important to be aware that your Golden Retriever puppy will benefit from solid training to become the relaxed and confident dog you want. This represents a considerable investment in terms of time and money!
The average Golden Retriever reaches 21-25” in height and 55-75lb in weight.
How much do they eat? It varies dramatically by product but if you’re feeding your Golden Retriever a good-quality dry food, you’ll be giving them 8-15oz (1-2 cups) per day. Our favorite dried food contains 86% meat plus nutritious extras like pumpkin, kale, pomegranate and blueberry.
Golden Retrievers are predisposed to arthritis and hip dysplasia, so we would recommend adding a supplement such as The One – start early and help them to build resilience.
Yes, Golden Retrievers are very willing to be trained – if they have a devoted and consistent handler. The Golden Retriever is famously loyal and loves praise. Bred for hunting, they’re strong and smart: add their insatiable quest for treats, and you have a hound who’s eager to tackle their next task!
Because they’re big people-lovers, Golden Retrievers are often trained as service dogs. This might include helping blind, ill, young, or elderly people to manage basic tasks. You’ll also see Goldies visiting people in healthcare settings, where they provide a valuable therapy service to boost mental health.
Um, yes. Golden Retrievers shed a LOOOOOTTTT of fur. You’re going to need a pet-hair vacuum to keep the furballs to a minimum!
They have a thick, double coat (which also makes them great to cuddle). It’s insulative and water-repellent, enabling them to swim and run in the cold conditions in Scotland. While this means they don’t usually need extra layers to stay warm in winter, it also means there’s a lot of fur to shed on the regular!
Twice a year, the Golden Retriever sheds their fluffy undercoat and causes household havoc. You’ll want to purchase an undercoat rake as well as a topcoat brush; consider adding a supplement to keep their skin and coat super-silky.
Golden Retrievers have a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
Still contemplating your dog shortlist? We’re here to help! Discover the top 5 smartest dogs or the top 10 dogs for families with children. If your criteria are different, find out which dogs are best for cuddling, and which breeds are suited to country life.