Do Golden Retrievers Need A Big Yard? [4 Things To Know!]

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Golden Retrievers are large dogs with a lot of energy! Naturally, you would assume that they need a lot of space and a big yard to run around in. But, you may not have a big yard or a yard at all, and you’re wondering, do Golden Retrievers need a big yard?

Rest assured, in this article, I’ll answer this commonly asked question, and the answer may just surprise you!

Do Golden Retrievers Need A Big Yard?

No, a Golden Retriever does not need a big yard or any yard at all to live their best life! While having a big yard is certainly an advantage to let your Golden Retriever run and play in, it is by no means a necessity. The thing to remember is that a yard does not exercise your Golden, you do! As long as you give your Golden Retriever all the love and attention in the world and exercise him daily, he will do just fine without a big yard!

1. Exercise Is Provided By You Not Your Yard!

Do Golden Retrievers Need A Big Yard - 2 Golden Retrievers laying on the grass in the shade.

So many dog owners assume that having a big yard will tire their Golden out and exercise their dog instead of them. Well, guess what?

A Golden Retriever will not just exercise himself in a big yard, he will be waiting for you to join him.

Golden Retrievers are very people-oriented!! They love to be with you at all times. So, if you think your Golden will go outside to play by himself without you, think again.

I know from experience that your Golden will probably just be standing by the door waiting for you, or wanting to be let back inside.

So unless you are willing to accompany your Golden in the yard, you can forget about your Golden getting exercised by a big yard.

2. Yard Size Matters, Or Does It?

Big yard, small yard or no yard at all, does it really matter? No, the size of your yard or lack of yard doesn’t matter to your Golden Retriever as long as you are exercising your dog daily!

Daily walks, playtime and mental stimulation are all crucial in making sure your Golden’s daily exercise needs are met.

Having a safe place for your Golden to run off-leash is ideal, but having a small yard or no yard at all doesn’t mean you’re out of luck.

Golden Retrievers can run and do laps when they get the zoomies in a small yard as well. The important thing is that the area is safe and preferably fenced. Having no yard, just means you need to find other safe areas for your Golden to run off-leash.

So, when it comes to your yard, size really doesn’t matter. I had a postage-stamp-sized yard when my Golden Retriever Ellie was younger, and she did just fine. Now we have a larger yard, which is definitely a bonus, but it does not replace our daily walks!

3. Golden Retrievers Want To Explore And Socialize, Not Be Trapped In A Yard

Golden Retrievers are very social, they absolutely love to meet new people and other animals. But, most importantly people!!

They thrive on human contact and are friendly to everyone they meet. These dogs really are social butterflies!

So if you’re worried your yard is not big enough for your Golden Retriever, or you can’t provide a yard, don’t worry!

Your Golden would rather be out and about with you exploring the world around him. Golden Retrievers are happiest when they are spending time with you, and meeting new people.

As long as you are taking your Golden for daily walks to sniff and explore, as well as allowing your dog to socialize, he’ll do just fine.

4. Make Sure You Have Enough Indoor Space

Do Golden Retrievers Need A Big Yard - A Golden Retriever puppy laying on a couch with a full sized pillow.

Instead of worrying about a yard for your Golden Retriever, the real question you should be asking yourself is, “Is my couch and bed big enough?”

Trust me, as soon as your Golden finds out just how comfortable your couch and bed are, you’ll have a hard time keeping him off of them.

Goldens need enough space inside to be comfortable, after all, they’ll be spending the majority of their time indoors with you! So you should really make sure your apartment or home has ample room.

Things To Consider If You Don’t Have A Yard

Obviously, having a yard for your Golden Retriever is ideal, but as we have learned it is not necessary.

If you don’t have a yard, chances are you are living in an apartment building or a condo. This is completely fine, as many Goldens do well in apartments too, but there are things to consider such as:

  • Having no yard makes it harder to let your dog out for potty breaks.
  • Potty training will be harder because you can’t just let your pup out to pee. You need to take your pup down the stairs or elevator and take them outside or for a walk.

That’s really the two main things to consider when you don’t have a yard. No yard can make owning a dog a bit more challenging especially when it comes to potty training.

You really need to ask yourself, do I really want to walk down a flight of stairs or ride the elevator several times throughout the day to let my dog out?

Top Tips For Owning A Golden Retriever Without A Yard

The good news is, you don’t need a big yard or any yard at all to keep your Golden happy. Here are some top tips for owning a Golden Retriever without a yard:

Daily Walks Are A Must!

Golden Retriever being walked by a woman.

Even if you have a yard, you still need to walk your Golden. Two long 45-60 minute walks a day are ideal, or you could break them up into shorter walks throughout the day.

Take Your Golden With You On Errands

Consider taking your Golden with you as you run errands. Remember Goldens love to see the world around them and meet new people and experience new sights and sounds.

Consider taking your dog to pet-friendly retail stores, or just along for the car ride. But, never leave your dog in the car on a hot summer day!

Provide Plenty Of Play Time

Not all play has to be outside in a yard, it can be indoors too. Tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek, are fun games to play indoors.

Here’s a great video to show you how to exercise and mentally tire your dog out while being indoors.

Explore A New Hiking Trail Or Neighbourhood

Taking your Golden to a new area or hiking trail that you’ve never walked before, makes for a great adventure. It allows your dog to get excited about a new area to explore and sniff. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your dog.

Visit A Dog-Friendly Beach Or Local Swim Spot

Goldens are natural-born swimmers and are happiest in their element. Visiting a dog-friendly beach, local creek, or lake where your Golden can go swimming is a great way for your dog to exercise and have fun.

Arrange A Playdate With A Neighbour Or Friend That Has A Yard

Does your friend, relative or neighbour have a yard? Maybe they would allow your dog to use their backyard for some off-leash playing and running.

Make A Playroom For Your Golden

Without a yard, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space inside your home or apartment for your Golden Retriever. If you have a spare bedroom or empty space in your basement, you could use that as a playroom for your Golden.

Consider Getting An Exercise Playpen

Not everyone has a spare bedroom or basement to dedicate as a playroom for their dog. An exercise or playpen is a great option. It allows your dog to be contained in a safe space while being able to move around freely and play.

Exercise pens also come in handy when you need to separate your dog from guests, other pets, or kids. It’s also useful when you need to do some housework, and can’t watch your dog. You can also take it with you when you travel.

Local Parks

Dog parks are an option. I will say this, I’m not a fan of dog parks, because too many bad things can and do happen. That being said, they can be hit or miss, you really need to make sure your local dog park is safe. I would suggest visiting alone before bringing your dog, so you can get a feel of the environment.

Visiting other local parks that have big outdoor green spaces is great for your Golden to explore and sniff. You can also visit playgrounds and sports fields during off-peak hours, to let your dog have some playtime.

Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers do not need a big yard. They do however need to be exercised daily, and the source of their exercise is owner-driven, not yard-driven.

The activities and exercise that you provide for your Golden, are far more important than the size of your yard.

In fact, many Goldens will not even use their backyards unless you are outside with them. They are so people-oriented, and would rather be wherever you are.

Does your Golden Retriever have a big yard? Do you own a Golden Retriever, but don’t have a yard? Does your Golden Retriever enjoy the backyard without you?

Feel free to share your experience or any thoughts or comments you may have. I would love to hear from you!

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2 thoughts on “Do Golden Retrievers Need A Big Yard? [4 Things To Know!]”

  1. This is a nice, well-thought-out article that I hope would-be owners will read, before making a lifelong commitment to getting a dog.  So many people think that just having a garden is enough to wear a dog out and it just is not true. When I let my big lump of a dog out all he does is pee, roll about on the grass and chase the cat and when he’s not doing that he just snoozes in the sunshine ( not that we get much of that! ). So when left to his own devices…no matter how big the garden… he won’t walk himself. So well done you for pointing that out. Oh and…. regarding the size of your couch….. here size definitely matters! You got that spot on. We always have to share in our house 🙂 

    • Hi,

      Many dogs who don’t have a yard actually get more exercise than those dogs that do have a yard.  No yard means that the owner has to take their dog for a walk several times a day.  Having a yard makes some owners lazy because they think their dog is exercising themselves!

      Couch size matters in my house too, as I share it with my Golden Retriever, or I should say my dog shares it with me. LOL!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts,

      Take care,



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