As of 2021, the Golden Retriever is estimated to be the third most popular dog breed in the United States. This is because their active nature paired with their sweet personalities make the Golden an excellent pet for most active families. Here we will be explaining everything that you need to know about the Golden Retriever.
What Is A Golden Retriever?
The Golden Retriever is a dog breed that is a member of the Sporting Group according to the American Kennel Club and a member of the Gundog group according to the UK’s Kennel Club. This large dog is known for their easy-going temperament and friendly nature.
Where did the Golden Retriever Originate From?
The Golden Retriever originates from Scottland. In the 1800s a nobleman Lord Tweedmouth created the Golden Retriever breed to be the ideal hunting companion. The first Golden Retrievers would accompany him on his excursions to the Scottish countryside.
What was the Golden Retriever Bred For?
The Golden Retriever was bred to be a gundog. This means that their purpose is to retrieve game like birds once they have been shot down. Goldens were bred to do this even over bodies of water like lakes. This is where Golden Retrievers get their love for swimming and their strong instincts to retrieve things.
What Does a Golden Retriever Look Like?
The Golden Retriever has a unique and stunning-looking coat that sets them apart from other dog breeds. Here we will be describing what a Golden Retriever should look like according to their breed standard.
The Golden Retriever’s Coat
The Golden Retriever has a double coat that consists of a dense undercoat and a longer luxurious overcoat. This coat often has a feathered appearance around areas like the tail, stomach, and legs. The Golden Retriever’s coat is waterproof to keep them warm and comfortable while in the water.
Of course, the hallmark characteristic of the Golden Retriever’s coat is its color. Golden Retrievers should have a solid coat color that can range from a very light cream color to a dark rusty gold. It is important to mention that lighter colored Golden Retrievers are not rare, and reputable Golden Retriever breeders will not describe lighter Goldens as such.
Other Unique Characteristics
Some other unique characteristics of the Golden Retriever include its ears, eyes, and tail. The Golden Retriever should have short, floppy ears that have a feathered appearance to them. A Golden’s tail will usually have this feathered appearance as well.
The eyes of a Golden Retriever are always brown and friendly in expression. Golden Retrievers should have a straight muzzle that is proportionate to their heads.
How Big Does a Full Grown Golden Retriever Get?
Golden Retriever Height
A Golden Retriever should be 23 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder for males and 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall at the shoulder for females.
Golden Retriever Weight
Male Golden Retrievers should be somewhere between 65 and 75 pounds, and female Golden Retrievers should weigh between 55 and 65 pounds.
How to Take Care of a Golden Retriever
Like any other breed of dog, the Golden Retriever will have some care requirements that prospective owners should be aware of. Here is everything that you need to know about taking care of a Golden Retriever.
Golden Retriever Exercise Needs
Golden Retrievers are an active breed, and they thrive when they are provided with exercise and mental stimulation. It is recommended that Golden Retrievers receive around an hour of exercise each day. This exercise can include walks, swimming, and games that involve exercise such as fetch.
Golden Retriever Grooming Requirements
Most of the time you will need to groom your Golden Retriever about once a week. When brushing out your Golden it is recommended that you use a pin brush and a comb to remove shedding hair and any tangles. It is a good idea to increase the frequency of this brushing to once a day when your Golden is going through its shedding season.
Although bathing dogs is important, it is recommended that you only bathe a Golden Retriever around once a month if you can. This will keep your Golden coat and skin healthier and in better condition.
Of course, you will also need to regularly clip your dog’s nails and clean their eyes and ears. Ear cleanings are particularly important for floppy-eared breeds like Golden Retrievers. Ear cleanings should be done once a week, and nail trimmings should be done at least once a month.
It is also recommended that you clean your dog’s teeth with toothpaste that is specifically designed for dogs. This is ideally done daily, and it prevents your dog from developing dental disease. Dental treats can also help with this.
Golden Retriever Dietary Needs
Most Golden Retrievers do well on high-quality dog food, and an adult Golden Retriever should be fed around three cups of dog food each day. This portion should be separated into two 1.5-cup meals or three 1-cup meals depending on your preference.
Golden Retrievers can be prone to food allergies that are common in most dog breeds. This mainly includes allergies and sensitivities to corn, wheat, and soy products.
Are Golden Retrievers Easy to Train?
Golden Retrievers are famous for being one of the easiest dogs to train in basic obedience. This is mainly thanks to their high intelligence and eager-to-please attitude.
Still, it is recommended that Golden Retriever owners start on basic obedience training and socialization as soon as possible.
Are Golden Retrievers Easy to Potty Train?
When it comes to potty training, Golden Retrievers are considered to be fairly average in how long it takes to potty train them. This means that following a normal potty training schedule tends to be effective with Golden Retriever puppies. Golden Retrievers are typically potty trained somewhere between a couple of weeks and a couple of months.
What is the Golden Retriever’s Temperament?
The Golden Retriever is known for their well-mannered and friendly temperament. Here we will be breaking this down further and explaining how good Goldens are with children and other pets. We will also be explaining whether or not Golden Retrievers are prone to aggression issues.
Are Golden Retrievers Good With Children?
Golden Retrievers tend to do great around children, especially when socialized to children early on. Goldens are known to be both friendly and gentle with kids. This is partly why Golden Retrievers are a favorite among families.
Are Golden Retrievers Good With Other Pets?
Golden Retrievers are also known to behave well around other pets. This is especially true when it comes to other dogs, and Goldens tend to do well even around cats. Of course, proper early socialization with pets like cats and other dogs will help ensure their success.
Are Golden Retrievers Aggressive?
Golden Retrievers are not typically known for being aggressive. In fact, their breed description always paints these dogs as quite the opposite.
However, a Golden Retriever could become aggressive if they have been neglected or abused in the past. Similarly, Golden Retrievers that have been poorly bred can occasionally become aggressive as well.
What Environment is Ideal for a Golden Retriever?
Golden Retrievers are relatively large dogs that require a moderate amount of exercise each day. As a result, these dogs tend to do best in a house with a yard. However, Goldens can adjust well to apartment living if they are provided with enough exercise. This means that Golden Retrievers tend to do best in rural and suburban environments, but they can adjust to urban settings with some extra care.
When it comes to climate, you will need to be extra careful about your Golden Retriever not overheating in hot weather. This is due to the Golden’s dense double coat. Meanwhile, Golden Retrievers tend to do decently well in cold weather.
What is the Average Lifespan of a Golden Retriever?
The average lifespan for a Golden Retriever is 10 to 12 years.
Golden Retriever Common Health Issues
Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are prone to some health issues. The main concern within the breed is cancer, as many Golden Retrievers will develop a type of cancer in their lifetime.
In addition to cancer, some other serious health issues that can affect the Golden Retriever breed include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and cataracts. Heart problems have also been noted in the Golden Retriever breed.
Some more manageable and less serious conditions that commonly affect Golden Retrievers include allergies, ear infections, and skin conditions such as hot spots.
How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost?
A Golden Retriever puppy can cost you anywhere from $500 to $3,000 in the United States. Typically you will spend the most money getting a Golden Retriever puppy from a reputable breeder. However, it is often well worth it to pay the extra money for a well-bred dog.
Other Similar Dog Breeds
If you like a lot of the characteristics of a Golden Retriever but are interested in getting a different dog breed then you are in luck! There are many dog breeds out there that are very similar to Golden Retriever. Here we will be talking about just a few of them. Here is some more information on the Labrador Retriever, the Irish Setter, and the Flat Coated Retriever.
The Labrador Retriever
The Labrador Retriever is a dog breed that is incredibly similar to the Golden Retriever. This incredibly popular breed also tends to do great around children and other pets. Additionally, labs are also known to be incredibly intelligent and easy to train, and they were also bred to be water retrievers.
The main differences between Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are their coats and energy levels. Labrador Retrievers have short coat that can come in three different coat colors: black, chocolate, and yellow. In addition to this, Labs tend to need a bit more exercise and have more energy than Golden Retrievers on average.
The Irish Setter
The Irish Setter is yet another dog breed that is extremely similar to the Golden Retriever in size, temperament, and purpose. Irish setters were also bred to retrieve small game for their owners, and they are also known to be easy to train. Similarly, Irish Setters make for great family dogs that tend to do well around children and other pets.
Unlike the Golden Retriever, however; the Irish Setter is known for their stunning and long red coats. In addition to this, Irish Setters also tend to have a bit more energy than Golden Retrievers. As a result, Irish Setters also tend to need a bit more daily exercise than Golden Retrievers do.
The Flat Coated Retriever
The Flat Coated Retriever is yet another long-haired retriever that is very similar to the Golden Retriever in drive, temperament, and appearance. Like the Golden, Flat Coated Retrievers are known to be friendly and affectionate dogs that tend to do very well around children and other dogs. Flat Coated Retrievers are also very easy to train and have a playful nature.
Unlike Golden Retrievers though, the Flat Coated Retriever has a smooth coat that typically comes in black or liver. Flat Coated Retrievers also tend to be a bit more high-energy than golden Retrievers are. This means that they tend to need a bit more daily exercise than the Golden Retriever as well.
Finding the Right Breeder
Many people will choose to get a Golden Retriever puppy from a breeder. When choosing a breeder it is very important that you find one that is ethical and reputable. Here are some things to look for in a Golden Retriever breeder along with some red flags that you should stay away from one.
Things Every Good Golden Retriever Breeder Will Do
Once you know what the signs of a good Golden Retriever breeder are, it is pretty easy to tell which breeders are reputable and which ones are not. Here are some things that every reputable breeder will do.
- All dogs are kept in sanitary and humane conditions at all times.
- All dogs are kept in good health and are taken to the vet when needed.
- All dogs are provided with the recommended exercise and mental stimulation for their breed.
- All dogs are kept up to date on vaccinations and preventative care.
- All dogs receive the breed recommended health testing before being bred. For Golden Retrievers this includes clearances for the hips, elbows, eyes, and heart at a minimum.
- Puppies are well socialized from appropriate age.
- Puppies are weaned from their mother at an appropriate age, and no puppies leave for their new homes before eight weeks of age.
- The breeder can prove that their dogs are purebred Golden Retrievers. (proof via pedigree)
- The breeder provides new owners with information about caring for puppies and the Golden Retriever breed.
- The breeder is registered with official organizations like the Golden Retriever Club of America and the American Kennel Club.
- The breeder only breeds dogs that are in good health, have stable temperaments and have good conformation.
Signs You Should Avoid a Golden Retriever Breeder
In addition to knowing what to look for in a good Golden Retriever breeder, it can also be helpful to know the signs of a bad Golden Retriever breeder. Here are some signs that you should avoid a Golden Retriever breeder.
- The breeder will not let you meet your puppy’s parents.
- The breeder will not let you see where their dogs are kept.
- The breeder does not health test their dogs, or they will not show you proof of health testing.
- Your puppy has not been given their first vaccinations or any preventative care.
- The breeder weans their puppies from their mother too early or allows people to buy them too early. (You should never bring home a puppy that is younger than 8 weeks old.)
- The breeder never socializes their puppies.
Conclusion (Is the Golden Retriever Right for You?)
The Golden Retriever is a great choice of dog for anyone with an active lifestyle. This includes families with children and other pets, as Goldens tend to behave very well around them. Keep in mind that you will need to do weekly grooming to keep a Golden Retriever’s coat in good shape.