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Golden Retriever

GoldenRetriever

A Friendly Sweetheart

Devoted, playful, companionate

Golden Retrievers are eager to please, intelligent, and good-natured large dogs. Goldens are great with children and other pets, but have a tendency to bark or howl when excited or faced with the unfamiliar. Because Goldens are playful dogs that learn quickly, they make great family pets. They are ideal companions for suburban families and those who enjoy sports, hunting, and the outdoors. Daily exercise is important for these energetic retrievers to stay happy and healthy, so they should play fetch or go for a run every day.

Understanding their unique needs will help keep them healthy and create a strong bond between the two of you. Explore this page to learn more about the breed’s history, health concerns, characteristics, and care needs.

Breed Details

Height:21-24 in. Weight:55-75 lb Lifespan:10-15 years

Size
4

1 = small - 5 = large

Grooming requirements
3

1 = little grooming - 5 = much grooming

Energy level
3

1 = low energy - 5 = high energy

Ease of training
5

1 = difficult - 5 = easy

Affection toward owners
5

1 = independent - 5 = very affectionate

Friendliness toward strangers
5

1 = shy - 5 = very friendly

Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time. 

Dental: Golden Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

Routine Care: The Golden Retriever is a smart dog with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They excel at dog sports like flyball, agility, dock diving, and obedience. They have a passion for water, and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

The Golden Retriever is a joyful playmate or a reliable shoulder to lean on, and is often referred to as America’s sweetheart. 

Positive Traits:

  • Even-tempered, affectionate, and happy-go-lucky 

  • Good with kids and other pets 

  • Large, strong, and athletic 

  • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used 

  • Loves to play games, especially fetch 

  • People-oriented and eager to please 

Negative Traits:

  • Sheds quite a bit 

  • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog 

  • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices 

  • Is a bit “mouthy”—likes to carry and chew things 

  • Has a tendency to bark or howl when excited or faced with the unfamiliar 

  • Prone to a number of health problems 

Whether you are considering adding a new Golden Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Golden Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

By exploring the health concerns specific to the Golden Retriever, you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

Some health issues a Golden Retriever could encounter:

Golden Retrievers were developed in the early 1800s in Scotland as hunting dogs. Although they are still used for hunting, Goldens excel at many other activities including search and rescue and guide work. They do require ample exercise and swimming can be a great outlet for their endless energy. Their beautiful coat requires brushing and in some climates, a summer trim may be in order. They are intelligent, understanding, and eager to please their family. The Golden Retriever is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-15 years.

Consult with a veterinarian if your Golden Retriever shows signs of the following: 

  • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse 
  • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss 
  • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not 
  • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 
  • General reluctance to run or play 
  • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 
  • Cloudiness to eye lens 
  • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 
  • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting 
  • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 
  • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors 
  • Fainting, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath during exercise 
  • Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough 
  • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss
  • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating 
  • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound 
  • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain
  • Care

    Grooming: They need a thorough brushing at least weekly most of the year. Twice a year they blow their coat and lose crazy amounts of hair; daily brushing is recommended during this time. 

    Dental: Golden Retrievers generally have good teeth, and you can keep them perfect by brushing them at least twice a week!

    Ear Care: Clean their ears weekly, even as a puppy. Don’t worry—your veterinarian can show you how! 

    Routine Care: The Golden Retriever is a smart dog with lots of energy, so keep their mind and body active, or they'll get bored. That's when the naughty stuff starts. They excel at dog sports like flyball, agility, dock diving, and obedience. They have a passion for water, and swimming is a perfect form of exercise for this water retriever.

  • Characteristics

    The Golden Retriever is a joyful playmate or a reliable shoulder to lean on, and is often referred to as America’s sweetheart. 

    Positive Traits:

    • Even-tempered, affectionate, and happy-go-lucky 

    • Good with kids and other pets 

    • Large, strong, and athletic 

    • Above average intelligence and trainability when positive reinforcement training methods are used 

    • Loves to play games, especially fetch 

    • People-oriented and eager to please 

    Negative Traits:

    • Sheds quite a bit 

    • Can be rambunctious and rowdy, especially as a younger dog 

    • Needs a lot of activity and mental stimulation to avoid boredom vices 

    • Is a bit “mouthy”—likes to carry and chew things 

    • Has a tendency to bark or howl when excited or faced with the unfamiliar 

    • Prone to a number of health problems 

  • Health Concerns

    Whether you are considering adding a new Golden Retriever to your family or you already have one as a companion, it is important for you to know about the genetically linked diseases known to occur more often in this breed. Of course not every Golden Retriever will have these problems, but research shows your pal is more at risk than other breeds.

    By exploring the health concerns specific to the Golden Retriever, you will become a knowledgeable and confident pet parent. Be sure to speak with your veterinarian about breed risks every time you visit and educate yourself on the most important signs to watch for at home. They are counting on you to be their health expert.

    Some health issues a Golden Retriever could encounter:

  • History

    Golden Retrievers were developed in the early 1800s in Scotland as hunting dogs. Although they are still used for hunting, Goldens excel at many other activities including search and rescue and guide work. They do require ample exercise and swimming can be a great outlet for their endless energy. Their beautiful coat requires brushing and in some climates, a summer trim may be in order. They are intelligent, understanding, and eager to please their family. The Golden Retriever is a generally healthy breed with an average lifespan of 10-15 years.

  • Watch Out For

    Consult with a veterinarian if your Golden Retriever shows signs of the following: 

    • Pale gums, labored breathing, weakness, or sudden collapse 
    • Swollen lymph nodes or glands, unexplained weight loss 
    • New or changing lumps or bumps, itchy or not 
    • Dry heaving or a large, tight, painful abdomen 
    • General reluctance to run or play 
    • Blinking, redness, pain or itchiness around the eyes 
    • Cloudiness to eye lens 
    • Squinting, watery eyes, bluing cornea, redness, enlarged eye 
    • Increased blinking, extra tears and squinting 
    • Excessive licking or chewing, pawing at face and/or ears, head shaking, face rubbing 
    • Any abnormal shaking, trembling, or excessive involuntary tremors 
    • Fainting, weakness, cough, or shortness of breath during exercise 
    • Fainting, collapse, breathing issues, cough 
    • Increased hunger and thirst, weight loss
    • Slow or stunted growth; sometimes seizures after eating 
    • Bruises easily or bleeds a lot from a small wound 
    • Dull coat, hair loss, sluggish, weight gain

Golden Retriever Discussions

Share your thoughts and experiences, ask questions, or just show your love for the Golden Retriever breed here!

Select Another Breed

To view the sources for the information listed on this page, see our Dog Breed Guide Reference page.

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