Adopting A Senior Golden Retriever [10 Amazing Reasons To Consider]

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Are you thinking of adding a Golden Retriever to your family? Have you considered adopting a senior Golden Retriever? Senior Golden Retrievers are usually overlooked in shelters because everyone wants the cute puppy! Well, let me tell you, the majority of Golden Retriever owners cannot wait until the puppy stage is over and they have a calm and relaxed loving dog.

Senior Golden Retrievers are sweet, loving and loyal, and there are many in need of a loving home. In this article, we’ll look at 10 amazing reasons why you should consider adopting a senior Golden Retriever.

Adopting A Senior Golden Retriever

Adopting A Senior Golden Retriever - A senior Golden Retriever sitting outside in the snow looking at you with a happy expression.

Adopting a senior Golden Retriever is a very rewarding experience. It means that you are opening your heart and home to a mature Golden that is 7.5 years or older. It also means that you can skip the troublesome puppy stage and be rewarded with a calm, loving and gentle companion.

Many people are surprised to learn that such a loving breed is in need of rescuing. There are many reasons why senior Goldens end up in shelters or rescues, and it has very little to do with their behaviour or temperament. It almost always comes down to owner related issues such as:

  • Their owner dies.
  • They are no longer wanted because of their age.
  • Their family cannot afford their medical bills.
  • Divorce.
  • Abandoned/Stray.
  • Rescued from other countries who euthanize dogs or use them for meat market.
  • Retired from breeding.
  • Lifestyle changes of owner, such as a move, loss of job, or new baby.

While there is no guarantee of how long a senior Golden Retriever will live or any dog for that matter, the fact is these dogs will give you unconditional love until their dying days. The lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years, but you will find that many Golden Retrievers live healthy lives well past this average.

If you’re thinking of adopting, please don’t look past the older Goldens, as there are many reasons why they make the best pets.

10 Reasons To Consider Adopting A Senior Golden Retriever

1. You Are Saving Their Life

A woman's hand shown petting a senior Golden Retriever on the head.

One of the best reasons to consider adopting a senior Golden Retriever is that you are saving their life. Hundreds of dogs are put up for adoption each and every day, causing shelters to become overcrowded.

Puppies and younger dogs are usually the quickest to get adopted, leaving the senior dogs overlooked and unwanted. Unfortunately, many shelters will euthanize older dogs in order to make room.

I remember seeing a post on a social media group about a 14-year-old Golden Retriever being dumped at a shelter by its owner because it was old. I was absolutely disgusted by this behaviour, how could anyone do this to their dog? A shelter is no place for a Golden Retriever of that age to be living out the rest of their life.

When you open your heart and home to a senior Golden Retriever, you are ensuring that they live out their golden years with dignity and love.

2. What You See Is What You Get

With a senior Golden Retriever, there is no guessing how big your dog will get or what their adult coat will look like in terms of colour and texture.

Senior Golden Retrievers have reached their full height, and have their adult coat. This allows you to judge exactly how much space you’ll need to give up on your couch and bed in order for them to be comfortable.

3. You Bypass The Puppy Stage

Senior Golden Retrievers are calm, relaxed and mellow. They do not keep you up all night whining and barking to be let out, they do not chew on your furniture or shoes, and they do not drain all of the energy out of you as a puppy would.

Puppies are a lot of work and need to be watched like a hawk because they can certainly get into trouble! Seniors do not have the crazy energy that puppies do and are quite content to just hang out with you.

4. They Easily Adapt To Their Surroundings

A senior Golden Retriever is ready to make a new life with you. They easily adjust to their new surroundings and are happy to adapt to your schedule. That means they are willing to walk when you are ready to walk and they don’t require you to get up several times throughout the night for bathroom breaks like a puppy would.

They sleep on your schedule and are ready to greet you with a wagging tail when you get home. You don’t have to worry about any destruction in your home if you happen to go out, unlike with a puppy.

5. They Are Usually Trained and Housebroken

Senior Golden Retrievers usually already know the basic commands as well as what no means. Many are already housebroken and don’t have accidents in the house like a puppy.

An already trained dog will save you a lot of time and energy, which means you can focus your attention on creating some wonderful memories with your new furry best friend.

6. Their Behaviour Is More Predictable

An older Golden Retriever’s personality is developed, which means their behaviour is more predictable. You’ll be able to tell if the senior you decide to adopt is shy, friendly, outgoing, etc., which allows you to determine how they will fit into your family and lifestyle.

7. Their Lower Energy Requires Less Exercise

Golden Retriever laying on grass with its paw on a football.

Golden Retrievers are considered high-energy dogs, especially when they are young! If the thought of running a marathon with your dog is off-putting to you, consider a senior Golden Retriever.

Adopting a senior Golden Retriever doesn’t mean you get out of exercise, it just means you don’t have to run a marathon to try to tire them out.

Senior dogs require less exercise than puppies and younger dogs. Just because a Golden is labelled as a senior doesn’t mean they aren’t active. Many seniors are quite active and agile well into their mature years, enjoying daily walks, a game of fetch and swimming.

8. They Show You Lots Of Love

Golden Retrievers are one of the most loving and loyal breeds out there. Just because you weren’t there for your senior as they were growing up doesn’t mean you won’t bond or be able to have a strong connection with them.

Your senior Golden Retriever will be forever grateful to you for giving them a second chance. They will show you lots of love as long as they receive it in return.

9. They Are Great Companions

An older Golden Retriever makes a wonderful companion to anyone who is looking for a sweet, gentle and calm dog. Unlike a puppy who requires constant training and monitoring, a senior Golden Retriever is ready to do the things you enjoy.

They are happy to go for long walks with you, play fetch at the park, or just chill on the couch next to you. With their high-energy days behind them, they are a great fit for anyone wanting to enjoy a slower-paced lifestyle.

10. You Can Teach Them New Tricks

If you’re worried that an older dog can’t learn anything new, you couldn’t be more wrong. Golden Retrievers are super smart, easy to train and they are eager to please you. Senior dogs can learn new tricks, just as well as a puppy if not better!

Their attention span is much greater than a puppy’s, which means training them is easier.

Where To Find A Senior Golden Retriever To Adopt?

The easiest place to start your search for a senior Golden Retriever to adopt would be a breed-specific rescue group. There are numerous Golden Retriever rescue groups throughout North America.

In Canada, you can search rescue groups in your province, and in the US search by state. Canada’s largest Golden Retriever rescue group is called Golden Rescue, and in the United States, nearly every state has a Golden Retriever rescue group.

You can also contact local dog clubs and shelters, as well as contact breeders. Often, breeders will have an older Golden Retriever that is retired from breeding and is ready for their own home.

Bringing Your Adopted Senior Golden Retriever Home

There will be an adjustment period for both you and your senior Golden Retriever. It will likely take a week or more for your senior to get used to his new surroundings.

Helpful Tips To Ease Through The Adjustment Period:

  • Start Slow: Introduce your senior to other members of the household one at a time. Don’t invite your entire family over for a meet and greet.
  • Take A Tour Of The New Surroundings: Allow your dog to sniff and explore his new surroundings, including the house and backyard.
  • Provide A Safe Spot For Your Dog: Give your dog a safe spot to rest and be comfortable. This includes a comfortable bed or crate where he can go to feel safe and get some sleep.
  • Don’t Switch Food Abruptly: Senior dogs often have sensitive stomachs. You will want to avoid making any drastic diet changes right away. If you know what food your senior has been eating before, stick with that for a while before you transition to different food.
  • Expect There To Be Accidents: Getting used to a new environment can be very stressful, and your senior dog may have a few accidents in the house, during the adjustment period.
  • Keep A Consistent Routine: Dogs love routine, it helps them to feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Be sure to feed your dog at the same time, go for regular potty breaks, daily walks, playtime and bedtime all at the same time each day. This will help your senior adjust easier.
  • Be Patient: Golden Retrievers are an easy-going breed and they seem to love everybody, which can make the adjustment period easier. Some Goldens will take to you and their new surroundings quickly, while others need a little more time. Don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you expect for your Golden to adjust.

This short video gives you an overview of adopting an older Golden Retriever:

Senior Golden Retriever Health

Adopting a senior Golden Retriever means being prepared to care for any age-related health issues that could happen down the road or that your senior is facing now.

Golden Retrievers in general, are prone to many breed-specific health issues that could happen at any stage in life. Hip and elbow dysplasia, skin conditions such as allergies and hot spots, eye diseases and cancer are the most common.

Senior Golden Retrievers can be affected by:

  • Arthritis.
  • Diabetes.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Heart Disease.
  • Dementia.
  • Changes in weight.
  • Skin and coat changes.
  • Hearing loss.
  • Incontinence.

To read more about the health issues that your senior Golden Retriever may face, check out my previous article on Aging Golden Retriever Health Problems.

Please don’t let their health issues deter you from this wonderful breed. Adopting a senior Golden Retriever doesn’t necessarily mean you are getting an old frail dog. Age is just a number, and not every senior will be affected by these health issues.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has opened your eyes to the many reasons why adopting a senior Golden Retriever is so rewarding. Not only are you saving an older Golden Retriever’s life, but you will get to experience the true beauty that this breed has to offer.

Have you adopted a senior Golden Retriever? In your experience what is the biggest reward of adopting a senior Golden Retriever? Please share your story with us.

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8 thoughts on “Adopting A Senior Golden Retriever [10 Amazing Reasons To Consider]”

  1. Good afternoon!

    I am adopting a neglected adult golden retriever myself in a few days. Poor baby was very much neglected and the person who found the dog was looking for a forever home, I was able to adopt the dog. He will be coming home in a few days.

    Question is, I have a 2-year-old golden girl (already spayed) myself. She’s fairly calm for her age and doesn’t bark or get in trouble with other dogs. I’ve seen lots of comments saying adult dogs don’t get along together.

    Please let me know if there’s any advice on how to introduce the 2 dogs in a good way so that they form a good bond.

    • Hi Ulemj,

      Thank you for reaching out, and also thank you for opening up your home to this Golden Retriever!

      Golden Retrievers are a very easygoing breed, and are very accepting of other dogs, regardless of their age. While you may have heard comments about adult dogs not getting along with each other, this may be true of several other breeds but is rarely the case with Golden Retrievers.

      Oftentimes the reason adult dogs don’t get along has to do with gender, personality, and even neuter status. For instance, two alpha males can have aggressive tendencies, as well as two alpha females. Also, neutered males can become aggressive towards an unaltered male dog, especially when a female is around.

      Dog experts agree and advise that getting dogs of the opposite sex is much better, as they will get along better. However, many Golden Retriever owners have great success with two or more Golden Retrievers of the same sex.

      I am certain you will have no issues with your female Golden Retriever accepting your male rescue.

      Here are some tips on how to introduce them:

      Introduce them on neutral ground. Choose a location such as a park, parking lot, friend’s house, etc., this way your female will not feel threatened about her territory.

      Let them sniff each other and become familiar with one another. Don’t force the meet and greet.

      Before bringing your male Golden home, remove any toys, beds, food, etc., that belong to your female. This will eliminate any territorial aggression from your female if your male goes near her items.

      You can put back the items once you know how both dogs get along.

      Feed both dogs separately. This way there will be no competition over food.

      Be patient, as it could take quite a while for both dogs to form a bond.

      For more information on having two Golden Retrievers, and how to properly introduce them, please check out my article: Are Two Golden Retrievers Better Than One?

      I hope this advice helps you out! I wish you all the best, and I’m sure in time your two Goldens will become best friends!

      Take care, and thanks for taking the time to comment.


    • Hi Karen,

      Great question. Depending on where you are located, you can reach out to your local shelters, or rescue groups.

      Another good idea is to reach out to local Golden Retriever breeders in your area. Oftentimes breeders have Golden Retrievers that are retiring from their breeding program and need to find a new home.
      To find a reputable breeder, you can do a search through the kennel club website in your country, American Kennel Club, UK Kennel Club, or Canadian Kennel Club. It doesn’t hurt to reach out to a breeder, as they may know of any Golden Retrievers needing a home.

      Here in Canada, we have Golden Rescue, which rescues Goldens from Cairo, Istanbul and Mexico. Many Goldens find loving forever homes.

      You may be surprised to know that many older dogs end up at local shelters, for various reasons. This is especially true around the holidays and after.

      I hope you have luck in your search.


  2. Oh my goodness, what a sweet article from a loving heart. I applaud your efforts to encourage people to give a home to a senior golden retriever, as they are known as wonderful pets with easy-going temperaments. 

    On a somewhat related note, a handful of your reasons for adopting a senior golden will also apply to rescuing most breeds of dogs (or other animals). I rescued my purebred cat from a rescue group, and I must admit that I both appreciated knowing the temperament of the cat (info shared by foster family) and knowing that I was helping an animal in need.

    • Hi Aly,

      I wanted to bring attention to the wonderful qualities that a senior Golden Retriever has to offer.  Many people don’t even think of adopting a senior pet because they are afraid of the expensive medical bills that could come their way.  Yes, dogs are expensive, and as they age there are certain health issues to deal with, but puppies are expensive too!

      Rescuing from a rescue group has many advantages, just as you mentioned, you can learn about your potential dog from the foster parent.  This allows you to have a better idea of the dog’s likes, dislikes, temperament, and any health issues.  It is a step forward to making sure the dog you adopt will be a good fit into your family and lifestyle.

      Thanks for sharing your experience,



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