Golden Retriever: Dog Breed Information and Owner’s Guide

Are you looking for the perfect family pet?

Then look no further because the Golden Retriever is all your family can ask for in a dog.

This American sweetheart can be found almost everywhere – they are one of the top three most popular breeds. Goldens have a gentle and outgoing personality that makes them the perfect family companion.

Want to learn more about this ultimate family pooch?

Keep reading to learn everything there is to know about this breed…

Golden Retriever Puppy

What is a Golden Retriever? (Overview)

The Golden Retriever is a wonderful family pet that was originally bred to retrieve game.

These dogs are natural people-pleasers and are famous for being friendly to all humans they meet.

Their lineage began in the late 1800s thanks to Lord Tweedmouth who wanted the perfect gundog for his hunting sessions. He breed his Yellow Retriever with the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel as well as adding in some Bloodhound and Irish Setter.

The result was a lovable and downright dependable dog.

Golden Retrievers are also well known for their golden coats which can range from light to dark gold. These coats are long, dense and contain two layers: one inner coat that provides warmth and one outer coat that repels water.

When caring for a Golden you need to give them lots of mental and physical stimulation. Without this stimulation they can get mouthy and get into trouble.

Because they love to please training is usually a breeze.

While they are companions today it may help to give your Golden a job. Golden Retrievers make great therapy dogs as their social personality shines around other people.

If you can handle their shedding and exercise requirements, then the Golden might just be the dog for you!

  • Overview: Purebred.
  • Purpose: Companion.
  • Weight: 65-75 pounds.
  • Size: 22-24 inches.
  • Temperament: Friendly, cheerful and intelligent.

Pros and Cons


  • Great family companion.
  • Has a friendly and sociable personality.
  • Intelligent and easy to train.
  • Does not bark much.
  • Very easy to find reputable breeders.


  • Sheds frequently.
  • Are naturally mouthy and love to chew.
  • Not suitable for apartments.
  • Can struggle in warm climates.


Golden Retrievers

A fit and healthy Golden Retriever will look athletic.

When you look closely you will realize that their body is designed for activity. Their webbed feet and waterproof coat makes them well-suited for swimming.

According to official standards a Golden Retriever must be well-balanced and graceful.

Their face will always wear a kind and welcoming expression. And their personality should exude a sense of self-confidence and alertness.

Golden Retriever Size

The Golden Retriever stands 22-24 inches tall and weighs around 65-75 pounds.


Their coat color will be anything from light to dark gold.

Whilst White Golden Retrievers exist, they are not an official color.


A Golden’s coat is long and dense.

Their double coat is waterproof which means they can survive outside in most weather conditions. However it is prone to heavy shedding in the Spring and Fall and moderately sheds all year round.

5 Fun Facts About Goldens

  1. The Golden Retriever has consistently been one of America’s most popular breeds.
  2. They love helping people and their eagerness to please makes them great guide dogs.
  3. Due to their playful personalities Golden Retrievers are known to act like puppies even well into old age.
  4. Not only are Goldens popular in American households but they are also popular in many American movies and TV shows such as Air Bud and Full House.
  5. The 38th US President Gerald Ford had a Golden Retriever aptly named Liberty. At one point after taking her out for a potty break, President Ford and his pooch found themselves locked out of the White House!

Golden Retriever Personality and Temperament

Golden Retriever

Anyone who has been around a Golden Retriever knows how playful and sociable they are.

If there is one characteristic we know and love about Golden Retrievers, it is their playfulness and puppy like energy.

They are extremely playful and just love activities.

These dogs just love to spend time with their family and are very affectionate with their loved ones.

One side effect of their playfulness is their tendency to jump. Whilst this can be adorable at first, once they grow it can be dangerous. Make sure to take the time to train your dog basic manners and set clear boundaries.

You should not expect them to bark much.

If there is something to watch out for in a Golden Retriever it is their mouthy behavior. As they are retrievers they are happiest with something in their mouths.

Make sure to give them chew toys and lots of exercise to help them avoid the temptation of boredom.

In terms of socialization the Golden Retriever gets a gold star. They just love being around humans of all ages and animals of all sizes. When it comes to being a family dog, there is no breed like the Golden Retriever. Equal parts playful and gentle they can make the perfect companion for your family.

Is The Golden Retriever A Good Family Dog?

They are the social butterflies of the dog world and love being around people (especially young kids they can play with).

Once properly socialized your Golden Retriever will love keeping you and your children company for years to come.

Caring for a Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever Out Walking

Overall the Golden Retriever is not an intense dog to care for.

This family dog can act as a great opportunity to teach the kids responsibility.

As they are in the Sporting Group you should expect to keep them busy.

Whilst they make great family dogs, everyone in the family should be prepared to exercise them regularly to avoid boredom.

Grooming a Golden Retriever is also essential.

Let’s look at this in more detail now…

Exercise Requirements

Since Golden Retrievers were built for work this is not a breed you can expect to be happy with one short walk a day. To keep your Golden happy they need at least an hour of hiking, running or some other moderately intense activity.

Remember this dog was made for work.

While Golden Retrievers won’t be as highly strung as herding dogs, they still desire mental and physical stimulation.

If an hour or two of exercise is not possible you can always split up walks throughout the day.

However as their name entails, Golden Retrievers are happiest when they are retrieving – Flyball and Diving Dogs are great options.

While it is possible to keep a Golden in an apartment, their size and exercise requirements may be too much to handle. A home with a backyard will work best for them – especially if they have a family for them to play with.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 2-3.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: 60+ minutes.

Grooming and Shedding

Golden Retriever In Field

While your pup’s silky golden coat is something to marvel at you should be prepared to spend lots of time cleaning up.

They will need daily brushing to help remove dead fur from their undercoat.

How often you bathe your Golden is up to what it does. More active dogs may need a bath once every six weeks but less active pups may only need to be bathed once every two months.

As with any dog, proper dental hygiene, nail clippings and ear cleanings are essential for this breed.

Also just remember be on the lookout for heatstroke as this dog has dense fur.

Feeding and Diet

While the Golden Retriever is an active breed you should be careful to avoid overfeeding.

These dogs are prone to obesity and hip dysplasia so you really want to manage their weight carefully.

Avoid feed with excess fillers and look for those that are high in protein and essential vitamins and minerals.

Also if your vet approves it consider joint supplements such as glucosamine. This is a naturally occurring compound that helps alleviate joint wear in dogs susceptible to arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Calories Per Day:Cups of Kibble Per Day:

Known Health Problems

Whilst this is a relatively healthy breed there are a few health problems to look out for:

  • Hip dysplasia is a concern for dogs of this size. This deformity is the result of many things, such as genetics, obesity, improper nutrition and too much/too little exercise.
  • In addition you should also look out for heart problems. This can be easily checked by regular vet visits and prevented by purchasing from a reputable breeder who would screen for such problems.
  • Finally cancer is an issue Golden Retrievers can face. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, Golden Retrievers were one of the top five breeds with over 20% of their deaths being attributed to cancer. Regular vet visits to check for growths are crucial.

How Long Does A Golden Retriever Live?

You can expect your Golden to live anywhere from 10-12 years.

How Much Does A Golden Retriever Cost?

Typically these puppies cost at least $2000.

How To Train Goldens

Golden Puppy

Early socialization and obedience training is a must for this breed.

Thankfully their eagerness to please and high intelligence makes training easy.

As with any dog positive reinforcement works best for this breed. While you can go the traditional route and use treats, that method can often lead to obesity if overused. To cut down on calories use playtime as a reward instead.

Also using play as a reward can help your dog be more interactive with you during training and helps them remember commands.

Socialization for this breed is also a breeze.

However you should still make sure that they meet various humans and animals as young puppies.

This helps them to become the friendly and sociable Golden Retriever many know and love.

In terms of mental stimulation, giving them a job will keep them happy and healthy.

Dog sports are a great way to provide both physically and mentally stimulate for your Golden Retriever. Agility, Flyball and Diving Dogs all incorporate their desires for physical activity.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:22-24 inches.
Lifespan:10-12 years.
Coat:Dense and long.
Color:Various shades of gold.
Do They Shed:Yes.
Temperament:Sociable, intelligent and friendly.
Socialization:Easy to socialize but some can be clingy.
Destructive Behavior:Can be mouthy if not given stimulation.
People Skills:Very outgoing and friendly.
Good with Children:Yes.
Activity Levels:Medium.


While their energy demands are higher than the average dog’s, the Golden Retriever is unparalleled in their friendliness.

Because of their size and energy demands they may not do well in an apartment.

Exercise and mental stimulation are a big part of caring for a Golden Retriever. Being in the Sporting Group they will thrive when given a job.

It is important to make sure you acquire your Golden Retriever from a reputable breeder who screens for health concerns such as hip dysplasia and cancer.

Without a doubt the Golden Retriever deserves its place among the top three most popular breeds and will make for a wonderful addition to your home. Whether you are an active family or an outdoorsy person, the Golden Retriever is sure to stick by you through thick and thin.

Do you have any questions about Goldens? Let us know in the comments section below…

About Thomas Woods 183 Articles
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.

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