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So You Want A Golden Retriever

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So You Want A Golden Retriever. First, you should learn a few facts about the breed including the good, the bad, and the ugly before you decide if a Golden is the right dog for you.

Golden Retrievers are perhaps one of the most recognizable breeds of any dog.

Their friendly personality and happy disposition are the standards by which many pets are judged.

We see these dogs in movies, on television, working jobs, and of course, living comfortable lives with loving families.

English Cream Golden Retriever Puppies – Week 5

But how much do you really know about the Golden Retriever?

Check out these facts about one of America’s favorite breeds!

19 Facts Good & Bad About The Golden Retriever

We love Golden Retrievers so we might be a little biased with our list of facts about the breed. Hopefully we can be a little bit objective.

Without further adieu #1 is so obvious don’t you think?

1. Golden Retrievers Are The Most Adorable Puppies

Like I said I might be biased but Golden Retrievers are the most adorable puppies. Yes, they look like little teddy bears when you bring them home at about 8 weeks old.

Do you think I’m wrong? Just take a look at the evidence below.

This is one of Raven’s litters and yes they are as cute and cuddly as they look.

Cuteness overload!

2. Goldens Come In Different Shades Of Color

How many shades of Golden can there be?

Well it turns out there’s a lot of variation in a Golden Retrievers coat.

You can register three different color variations on the AKC website including:

Description Standard Color Registration Code
Dark Golden 080
Golden 093
Light Golden 119

Those are the AKC colors but others have described Goldens colors in different ways including:

  • Cream Golden – I believe this is usually a cream to white color and would be considered a light golden.
  • Red Golden Retriever – I believe this would be considered a dark golden.

People will describe Golden colors differently if you’re going to a reputable, responsible breeder then they should understand the breed standards for color listed in the table above.

3. Golden Retrievers Are Clingy

Yes, I would consider the Golden Retriever a velcro breed.

They like to be with you wherever you go, everywhere. If you like alone time or privacy then a Golden Retriever may not be for you.

Yep, Raven, my Golden Retriever likes to follow me every time I go to the bathroom. I’m used to it but others might not like this trait.

4. Goldens Shed…A Lot!

Before I got my first dog I did a lot of research. I was mainly looking at Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers and Australian Shepherds.

After doing research I learned that Goldens shed and they shed a lot.

Now that we’ve had many Goldens come through our house while puppy sitting, puppy raising, and as forever pets I can confirm that Golden Retrievers shed a lot!

It’s a bit different than short haired dogs like our Labs. The fur is longer and I have to say easier to clean up then the short fur you find on a Lab coat.

But be forewarned you will need a good vacuum cleaner and lint brush and I don’t recommend wearing black clothes anymore.

5. The First Ever Golden Retriever was a Mistake (Sort Of)

In the early 1800’s, Retrievers were a popular breed in Scotland and England.

According to the AKC, this was due to the prevalence of game that could be hunted. Hunting was still a popular way to get meat and a popular sport as well.

The first Golden Retriever was a small yellow puppy – the only yellow dog in a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers.

Though his yellow coloring was a bit unusual, the dog was still purchased in 1865 by a Scotsman named Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord of Tweedmouth.

It was Lord Tweedmouth who decided to breed this funny yellow puppy.

The puppy, which he named “Nous” was to be bred with a female Tweed Water Spaniel named “Belle” – a breed that is now extinct.

According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, Lord Tweedmouth was interested in developing a breed that was well-suited to the Scottish climate.

Nous and Belle produced two litters and four yellow puppies, which became the foundation for the Golden Retriever as we know it today.

6. Goldens are Equal Parts Smart and Silly

Golden Retrievers today are known to have one of the best temperaments of any dog breed.

The AKC lists intelligent, friendly, and devoted as the chief traits of the breed.

In fact, their personalities are so agreeable, that the official breed standard states that, “quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character.”

In fact, if a Golden Retriever demonstrates these unwanted characteristics in a show ring, that could be grounds for deduction in points!

Along with their agreeable personality, the Golden Retriever is known for being playful and silly and probably why the AKC refers to them as “the Peter Pan of dogs!”

But they aren’t just golden goofballs. These retrievers are naturally very intelligent and eager to please.

Golden Puppy Apache lying in the grass
Apache, A Guide Dog Puppy In Training

7. But Goldens Still Need Training!

Just because they have a wonderful personality by nature, doesn’t mean you can forget about training!

The AKC cautions that they are an active breed, and need to be given proper exercise and attention.

Golden Retrievers are also big people pleasers, and love to have a job to do! Train your Golden on basic commands, and practice them every day.

They will love how happy it makes you to see them perform even the simplest of jobs.

And it will definitely be a job well done.It’s also important to socialize your puppy from the start.

Goldens are naturally very adaptable to many situations, but it’s essential to start this from a young age.

8. Golden Retrievers Are Medium To Large Sized Dogs

We’ve experienced both medium and large sized Golden Retrievers.

Here’s a look at the breed standard according to the AKC:

Sex Height Weight
Male 23-24 inches 65-75 pounds
Female 21.5-22.5 inches 55-65 pounds

We got to see our career changed service dog puppy, Charlie when we visited Seattle, WA. At 2 years old he was close to full grown and he was very small for a male at around 55 pounds which is below the breed standard.

On the flip side we raised guide dog puppy, Apache who weighed in at a whopping 90 pounds when he was only 18 months old. I believe he had some room to fill out and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was close to 100 pounds when full grown. This again is outside the breed standard for Golden Retrievers.

Our very own Raven weighs in around 65-70 pounds. which is on the upper end (just outside) of the breed standard for a female Golden Retriever.

9. Golden Retriever Puppies Aren’t Great For Families With Small Children

We grew up with a Golden Retriever puppy. My parents got a Golden when I was one years old and my brother was three years old. My sister wasn’t born yet.

Everything worked out great but I wouldn’t recommend getting a Golden Retriever puppy with small children in the house.

Goldens can be rambunctious in their early years and not too concerned about the things they bump into.

While they have a great easy-going temperament they often don’t realize their size, strength, surroundings and can easily knock down a small child just learning to walk.

Unless you are an experienced dog handler the Golden Retriever might not be the right breed for your family with small children.

10. Goldens Are Prone To Health Issues

This one is a biggie as Golden Retrievers are known to be susceptible to cancer and other health issues.

It’s recommended that Golden Retriever breeding dogs be screened for the following health conditions:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • NCL DNA Test
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Check out the Golden Retriever Clubs Health Statement.

11. Goldens Are Pretty Much Good At Almost Everything They Do

When you think of any job a dog can have, you’ve probably seen a Golden Retriever doing it.

Whether it’s search and rescue, hunting, being a therapy dog, or being the guide dog for a blind person, Golden Retrievers are excellent at any job they set their mind to.

The AKC states that they are incredibly hard workers whose physical strength aids in their ability to perform their duties well.

Though their capabilities certainly have a lot to do with intelligence, their excellent job performance can also be credited to their amazing adaptability.

As the GRCA puts it, a Golden Retriever is “equally comfortable with a hike, swim, romp in the snow, snuggle on the sofa, or taking up most of your bed at night!”

Any situation a Golden is presented with they will adapt to comfortably and eagerly – so long as a devoted human is by their side!

Golden Retriever Christmas - 8 Goldens ready for Christmas

12. Being A Guard Dog Is The Exception

Perhaps the only job a Golden Retriever might be bad at is being a guard dog. After all – they are super friendly!

You may not want to trust your Golden Retriever to protect your home.Golden Retrievers are first and foremost devoted to their families.

If an immediate threat was obvious, they may certainly step in.

But when a stranger comes to the door, the typical reaction of a Golden is to bark until the new person comes to greet them.

And before you know it, the new person has quickly become a new friend – no matter who they are!

This is in part due to the fact that Golden Retrievers do not do well alone.

It is recommended that Golden Retrievers never be left home alone for more than 4 hours at a time.

In fact, for all the positive rankings Golden Retrievers receive on the AKC website, only 53% of owners agree that they do well left alone.

13. Golden Retrievers Have A Lot Of Energy

Golden Retrievers are in the Sporting Group and just liked you’d expect from a sporting dog, Goldens have a ton of energy.

This is great if you’re an athlete too and are looking for a partner to exercise with.

Golden Retriever require a decent amount of both mental and physical stimulation otherwise they can resort to destructive behavior out of boredom.

If you get a Golden make sure you’re ready to give her ample exercise.

14. Not All Goldens Love The Water

It’s common knowledge that Golden Retriever love water, right? They were bred to retrieve from the water but that doesn’t mean they all love water.

While they are all natural swimmers (at least from what I’ve observed) we’ve had more Goldens that were not so eager to go swimming then ones that were.

There’s possibly a good reason for this. Most of the dogs we come across were not bred to hunt and retrieve.

Instead they are bred to work as service dogs which means jumping into a body of water would not be looked highly upon when their job is to guide a blind person or open a door for a person in a wheel chair.

While I’m not sure if this is the reason the Goldens we work with usually aren’t water lovers but it makes sense, doesn’t it?

15. Goldens Love To Play Fetch

Just like the assumption that all Goldens love water, you might assume all Goldens love to play fetch.

While I’m sure there are some that don’t like playing fetch and others who are indifferent, so far all of our Golden Retrievers have loved playing fetch.

However, you might have to teach them some of the nuances of the game of fetch. For instance, we’ve had Goldens who chased a ball, brought it back, but refused to release it.

If your Golden is having some troubles with the game of fetch your might try reading this article on how to teach your dog to fetch.

16. Goldens Are Mouthy Dogs

What one person considers mouthy another might consider bitey. I think that’s a word, “bitey”. Anyhow, Golden Retrievers are mouthy.

There’s a good reason why Goldens are mouthy. They are bred to retrieve and carry birds and other game back to their owners.

The good news is they are meant to softly carry birds back to their owners without damaging the bird. This is why most Goldens have a “soft” mouth, that is they gently put their mouth on objects.

The bad news is they like to put their mouth on inappropriate things like your arms, hands, and legs.

We often joke that Raven likes to shake hands with her mouth.

17. Golden Retrievers Are One Of The Most Popular Breeds

Every year the AKC puts out a list of the top dog breeds and every year the Golden Retriever is inside the top 5 of registered dogs.

In fact, looking back over the past 10 years, Golden Retrievers have bounced between the number 3 and number 4 spot on the AKC’s top breeds.

Here are the top 5 dog breeds in 2021:

  1. Labrador Retriever
  2. French Bulldog
  3. Golden Retriever
  4. German Shepherd Dog
  5. Poodle
Golden Brothers - two goldens sitting together

18. Goldens Are Also One Of The Smartest Breeds

If you’re looking for a smart dog that can learn new commands quickly then a Golden Retriever might be the dog for you.

It’s an older book but Stanley Coren’s Intelligence of Dogs lists the Golden Retriever as the #4 most intelligent dog and is considered one of the brightest dogs meaning they understand commands in less than 5 attempts and obeys the first command 95% of the time or better

19. Goldens Retrievers Have A Face for Fame

With their wonderful personalities – and good looks too! – it’s no wonder we are constantly seeing Golden Retrievers on the big screen.

Movies like Homeward Bound or Air Bud and television shows like Full House all feature lovable Golden Retrievers.

If you’re an old timer like me then don’t forget Punky Brewster’s Golden Retriever, Brandon.

In fact, one Golden Retriever in particular stole the hearts of America for a time.

Buddy was perhaps the most famous Golden Retriever in the United States during the mid 1990’s.

Buddy famously played Air Bud in the original “Air Bud” film and also played Comet the dog on the tv show “Full House.” Sadly, Buddy has since passed away.

But his legacy lives on in these timeless stories.

Final Thoughts

Is the Golden Retriever the perfect breed? For some, maybe.

We love our Golden, Raven but she does have her quirks.

Do you want your dog to follow you all around the house that constantly wants to put her head on your lap?

Do you want a dog that drops her dirty tennis ball at your feet for a game of fetch every time you step into the backyard?

Do you want one of the smartest most popular breeds on the planet?

If you answer yes to these questions and everything else we covered in this article then a Golden just might be the dog for you.

We’d love to hear about you.

Do you have a beloved Golden Retriever in your life?

Share a photo or a story with us in the comment section below.

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So You Want A Golden Retriever - Two Golden puppies in a box with head poking out.

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