Living With A Golden Retriever [10 Things To Consider]

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[Updated July 2019]

Do you wonder what it is like living with a Golden Retriever? Perhaps you are considering a Golden Retriever as your first or next dog, and want to know all the good things and bad things about this breed.

Goldens are one of the most popular dog breeds out there, they make great family dogs, they are easy to train, smart, loyal, and beautiful.

They certainly have great qualities about them, but not everyone likes everything about them and they are not the right dog for everyone.

In this article I will share some insight into what it is really like living with a Golden Retriever, I currently own a female Golden named Ellie.

1.   They Are High Energy

White Golden Retriever running on the sand.

A Golden needs a daily amount of exercise in order to burn off all that high energy.  If you enjoy being outside and getting physical activity yourself, you’ll have a perfect companion, and it should be easy to tire them out.

They enjoy being outdoors going for walks/jogs, and they love to swim. Once you introduce a Golden to water you will never get them out. They are always up for a game of fetch and love to chase anything, including squirrels.

A Golden Retriever will not exercise without you, even if you have a big yard and let them out by themselves they will stand by the door waiting for you to go with them.

If you are considering a Golden Retriever puppy, expect them to be high energy, and not to calm down until the age of two or three.

Remember that male dogs mature slower than females, and a Golden Retriever, in general, remains more puppy-like and matures slower than other dog breeds.

You will find them doing laps inside your house, and outside as well.  People refer to this as the puppy zoomies.  A sudden burst of energy!  Believe me, once you witness it you will know what I mean.

They romp and jump with full energy and can easily knock a person over.   If you have small children, supervision is a must.

I have been on the receiving end of a Golden Retriever knock down a few times. They don’t mean to do any harm, and you will soon learn to bend your knees when they come running towards you.

If you are considering a Golden Retriever, then you need to set aside 2-3 hours a day of exercise for them, so they do not get bored and become destructive.

Along with exercise, they need mental stimulation. They are easily trained and love to please their owners.

2.   You Will Never Be Alone

Golden Retriever and owner standing on the beach looking out in the water.

Golden Retrievers love human companionship and will follow you everywhere. If you enjoy your alone time, this is not the breed for you, but if you love to have a furry best friend always by your side then you should consider a Golden.

Goldens love to spend time with their humans and are always eager to do anything with you. You can expect to share the couch with them, and they’ll have no issue in snuggling up to you in bed. Wherever you go, they will follow, even to the bathroom.

They are very intuitive to your feelings and can sense when you are sick, or unhappy, and will do everything they can to comfort you.

3.   Your House Will Never Be Clean

Golden Retriever puppy standing in a wicker basket.

You can expect your house to have Golden hair everywhere.  If you own a Golden you know that even after you vacuum you will find hair everywhere.

Golden Retrievers shed heavily twice a year (Spring and Fall), and moderately throughout the rest of the year.

As a Golden owner, you will own quite a few lint brushes and a really good vacuum. You might even find yourself wearing the same colour clothes as your dog to disguise the dog hair.

If you are a neat freak, this may not be the dog for you. Goldens love to roll in mud and don’t care if you just cleaned the floor. They don’t see a problem with walking all over your freshly mopped floors and shaking themselves all over the furniture. They even do it with a smile on their face.

When I walk my dog Ellie in the rain, she always comes inside and jumps on the couch and slides back and forth on it to dry off. This is after I have towelled dried her off outside.

Did you just do the laundry? Well then expect them to grab those nice clean socks of yours and run around the house with them. They don’t care, to them, it is a game of fun.

You may have guests in the house and your dog will come running down the stairs with your underwear in their mouth, always good for an embarrassing laugh.

4.   Your Yard Will Have A Collection Of Sticks

White Golden Retriever laying in the grass chewing on a stick.

Goldens love to carry things in their mouth, and soon your front and backyard will have a collection of sticks and whatever else your dog decides to bring back from their daily walk.

My Ellie has brought back so many sticks, and big rocks as well that I have had to get rid of quite a few of them. Now we just have 3 or 4 sticks in the backyard and front yard for her to chew on.

Watch out when you walk a Golden in your neighbourhood because they will pick up anything they can find such as socks, gloves, tennis balls, and toys.

We have a collection of tennis balls in the backyard that Ellie has found throughout our neighbourhood and on our walking trail.  There’s really no need to buy new ones because she does her own shopping for them.

5.  You Will Meet New People

If you are an anti-social person, then this is not the dog for you. Goldens are extroverts and very social. They enjoy meeting new people and making friends with everyone they meet.

They need and crave human companionship, this is not the type of dog that you can leave home alone for long periods of time. If left alone too long, they will get bored and destructive, and become depressed.

A Golden Retriever will have no problem with walking up to a stranger to say hi and get petted. They will make it seem like they never get any attention at home. They are definitely not shy.

Personally, I have met and gotten to know so many people because of my dog Ellie.

6.   It Will Never Be Boring

Golden Retriever puppy walking thru a tunnel obstacle course.

Being the owner of a Golden Retriever means that your day will never be boring. Never being bored may sound like a good thing, but at times you will pray for boring.

Goldens have a way of easily getting themselves into trouble and keeping you on your toes.

You may find yourself chasing them around the house for those clean socks they stole out of the laundry, or stopping them from eating food off of your plate, or trying to stop them from digging in the backyard. No matter what, they will always find a way to make you laugh.

My Ellie tries to outsmart us, and oftentimes she does. For instance when we go walking she knows that she gets a treat every time she pees, (something that we did since she was a puppy) and she has tried to do a fake pee in order to get a treat.

Another example is when she will just stop and sit and not walk anymore until she gets a treat, we call it her “stop and go” trick.

7.   They Eat Everything

I have heard people call their Golden Retrievers “walking stomachs”, and I can totally relate. My dog will eat anything and everything.

As a dog owner, this is very frustrating. When you are out walking your dog, and your dog will eat anything off the ground and it is almost always bad for them.

So many times my dog has eaten something questionable, and no matter what you do it happens so fast. I can yell “leave it” and it’s already too late, she has gulped it down.

Goldens love food, and you really have to watch what they eat, as they can easily become overweight.

They will sit and stare at you while you are eating, hoping that you will give them something, or that something will fall on the floor for them.

It is hard not to give in to their sad puppy dog eyes, but keeping them at an ideal weight will keep them healthier and they will live longer.

8.   They Need Regular Grooming

In order to keep a Golden looking their best, they need to be groomed regularly. Brushing should be done on a daily basis to prevent any mats and tangles, and to keep the coat looking clean and healthy.

Brushing regularly will also help to reduce some of the shedding. Bathing should be done regularly as well to keep a Golden clean and smelling good.

Goldens have floppy ears which can be prone to ear infections, so ears should be cleaned regularly, and nails trimmed as well. It is never recommended to shave a Golden, but their coat can be trimmed to keep them looking neat.

The grooming requirements of a Golden Retriever may be more demanding than that of other dogs, but it is not difficult and can easily be done by the owner at home.

You’ll find that Goldens love to be pampered, and show off their beauty. Grooming is a great bonding experience, and you’ll find they love the attention.

9.  You Will Fall In Love

White Golden retriever puppy laying on the floor looking at you.

Once you become an owner of a Golden Retriever, you will most likely never get another breed of dog.

Most owners love this breed so much that they own more than one. What’s not to love, they are basically big teddy bears. They are loving and loyal to their family, and everyone they meet.

You will find that your phone will have more pictures of your dog than anything else, and you will constantly be telling stories of your dog to other people. You will be a very proud owner.

10.   Their Lifespan Is Not Long Enough

If you have ever owned a dog then you can agree that the time spent with them is just never enough! They quickly steal your heart and become part of your family.

Golden Retrievers live to be 10-12 years old on average. They are a large breed dog which automatically shortens their lifespan.

Genetics play a big role in their lifespan, as well as how you take care of them. Goldens are prone to certain health issues such as cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, cataracts, heart disease, thyroid issues, as well as skin conditions and allergies.

Keeping your Golden at a healthy weight, feeding a high-quality diet, giving plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and regular vet check-ups will all help to ensure a healthy life.

Don’t forget the most important thing you can do, provide your dog with lots of love and affection.

Final Thoughts On Living With A Golden Retriever

I hope this article has shed some insight into what it is really like to own and live with a Golden.

I have been the proud owner of one for over 4 years now, and I can honestly say it is absolutely wonderful! Ellie has quickly stolen our hearts and has given us so much joy and happiness.

What About You?

Do you live with a Golden Retriever?  Are you thinking of getting a Golden Retriever?

Find out what the best toys for Golden Retrievers are.

Please share your experience below, as well as any thoughts and comments.  I would love to hear from you.

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28 thoughts on “Living With A Golden Retriever [10 Things To Consider]”

  1. Son added a golden to the family circle last month. Ellie is now 12 weeks and growing so quickly. She is super active and smart. My husband and I babysit her twice a week. I love being outside with her and watching her explore. She runs back to me to get some love and then off again. Your article answered so many questions.

    • Hi Reebs,
      Thanks for sharing your story, I think it’s great that you are able to be a part of Ellie’s life and watch her grow. I love how you mention that she comes back to you to get some love and then she’s off to explore again, I can totally picture that!
      I’m glad my article was of help to you.
      Enjoy all the wonderful moments with Ellie, they really do grow up so fast!

      Take care,

  2. I really liked your article about golden retrievers. I have always been a dog person but I’ve been really stressed about saying good bye to the family dog when I go to Lewiston for college next year. The house that I will be living in there, is a family friend’s rental. You are allowed to have dogs there and I really want to purchase or adopt a golden but I want to make sure that they will be home ok while I’m in school. I love spending time with my current dog and I feel like I take better care of her than I do myself. What do you think I should do?

    • Hi Emma,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Golden Retrievers are not good at being home alone, they need and want constant attention and affection. In my experience, I am fortunate enough to be working from home and therefore I am always around my dog Ellie.

      Before, when I had a job that I had to be away from home, I would take Ellie to a doggie daycare. This way she was around other dogs and people and had plenty of attention and interaction.

      I cannot tell you what to do, but I certainly understand your love for this breed. If you do decide on a golden, maybe you could take them to doggie daycare or have someone walk or dog sit while you are in school.

      I hope you thoroughly think this through, as it is a huge responsibility. I hope everything works out for you.

      Thanks again for your comment, and all the best to you.


  3. I’m considering getting a golden retriever. It’s interesting that they have such high energy levels! That’s definitely something I need in a dog. I need to be able to go jogging with them, and stuff like that.

    • Hi Braden,

      I think it is great that you are considering getting a Golden Retriever. A golden would make an excellent jogging companion for you. They do have a high energy level, especially when they are young (up to the age of 3-4), then they mellow out as they get older. Golden Retrievers are wonderful and so loving!

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, if you have any questions or need some more information about Golden Retrievers please do not hesitate to contact me. Also, check out my website for other interesting and helpful articles.
      Take care,

  4. Your article described our Golden Retriever, Max, completely! He was totally a part of our family. In fact, my husband and kids said that I loved him more than them! Ha! Ha! He definitely kept us entertained, especially when he would get hot in the summer and would go sleep in the bathtub.

    We lost him unexpectedly in February at the age of almost 11 and our house was empty without him.

    For Mother’s Day, my sons gave me two golden retriever male puppies. The breeder said they were best friends as soon as they were born so he was happy we wanted two because he hated to separate them. I love them already but I sure forgot about that puppy stage! Potty training is going ok but it’s exhausting! They are funny because when they finally land, they have to be by each other.

    • Hi Angie,
      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Golden Retrievers sure do have a way of stealing your heart, and making you laugh. I can just picture your golden sleeping in the bathtub, too funny. So sorry to hear that you lost your beloved Max, it is the absolute worst part of dog ownership.

      I am happy to hear that you received the best Mother’s Day gift, 2 golden’s!! How great, now you will have double the trouble, double the laughs, and double the love. The puppy stage takes a lot out of you for sure, but just enjoy it, because it will not last forever.

      I wish you all the best with your 2 male golden puppies.
      Thanks again for taking the time to comment.


  5. Congratulations “Mom”…it sound like you have a whole new exciting chapter in your life.  What a treat!

    You hit some great points….#1 these dogs are high energy as you note right from the start.  If you don’t exercise them daily that energy comes out in some unique ways.  One thing they like to do when they get frustrated is DIG.  They will dig along a fence line if they don’t get enough exercise….outside the fenced area.

    Goldens can also be a bit territorial and will do a territorial bark (excessively) or growl or bite if they feel threatened or is strangers approach their area.  

    I wish you many happy years together!

    • Hi Tim, thank you for your comment.  Yes these dogs DIG!!!  When Ellie was a puppy she would dig and dig some more.  She has since grown out of the digging phase, but it could more likely be that we are exercising her more.  I find that when she starts to dig now, it means that she is tired and bored and its time for her to go inside and rest.  

  6. You speak from the heart with a gentle but sure authority on the topic at hand, and I left your website feeling as though someone really cared enough to share the truth about the facts of having a pet.

    So often we forget that we need to fit in with the pets we decide to bring into our homes.  I found your advice very sound and at times felt reprimanded since I don’t spend as much time as I should exercising my dogs, although for the owners that I house-sit for, I need to carry out their wishes and sometimes it includes long walks for their pets.

    I’m so glad you’ve confirmed a lot of questions I’ve had about my cross-breed of Labrador and Border-Collie being a puppy still and also eating so much… it becomes a bit expensive at times!  But not overweight by any means. 

    Overall, I am pleased I came across your website and am grateful to you for sharing your insight about Golden Retrievers, and yes, you are right, they make your heart melt!

    May you continue to prosper in your new-found adventure with an amazing companion! 🙂


    • Thank you so much for your kind words.  I am glad that I was able to confirm some of the questions you had.  I will continue to write insightful articles about my experience as a first time dog mom.  Thank you.

  7. Jenny,

    I really feel like you  described  Golden Retrievers.  I love how you say it like it is.  I have more experience with cats than dogs.  Your article is nice to know in case I decide to switch from cats to dogs.

    Also, I want to know how long does it take to brush your dog’s fur and how often do you give her a bath?

    • Hi Shira, to answer your questions I brush Ellie daily, it is part of her routine and she has come to expect it.  I brush her for about 10-15 minutes a day, and that is a thorough brushing. She lays outside chewing her stick and I brush, she loves it.  If I didn’t brush daily, it would take me longer the next time, to get any tangles and debris out.  As far as bathing her, it all depends if she happens to roll in something gross, if not then maybe once a month, it’s really not that often.  She keeps herself pretty clean.  Thank you for your comment.

  8. Hi 

    Thank you for this very informative, helpful and interesting article.

    You have raised very valid points to know before and during introducing a Golden Retriever into the family.

    Although I do not have one, my friend does and she is so lovable and a big part of the family.

    By this I mean she takes up a lot of my friends time just like having a small child, you have to keep your eye on her because she is so cheeky and will get up to her little tricks if she thinks that she is not being watched.

    She is also so clever and quick to learn, so training her is so easy.

    You are so right when you say that you will never be bored, I laughed when I read that part.

    I will be getting my friend to read this article.

    Many Thanks


    • Thank you Jennifer for commenting.  My Ellie is the same way, always trying to see what trouble she can get into, we have to watch her constantly.  Yes it is like having a small child, ha ha.   I’m so glad you enjoyed my article.

  9. Hi
    Thank you for this informative, educational and helpful article on Golden Retrievers

    I do love these dogs although I have never had one but my friend does and will be getting her to read this article.

    I feel that you have raised some very useful points that should be considered before owning a Golden Retriever.

    They are wonderful dogs to have around and very lovable they become a big part of the family.
    Thank you

    • Thank you for your comment Jennifer. I am glad you enjoyed my article. Its great that you are able to spend time with your friends Golden Retriever, and you are able to see firsthand how great this breed is. I hope your friend enjoys this article also. Thanks for sharing.

  10. We have never had a golden, but we had a yellow lab (he had to put down last year due to cancer) and I know they have some similar traits. You’re totally right on the house never being clean-ha! Hair everywhere. We currently have a corgi, and she always acts like she wants to go outside so bad, but then she just turns right around and stares in the door…LOL. So many dogs don’t like to be outside without their human, that’s for sure. Our lab was the same way!

    We aren’t ready to get another dog yet, but I have considered a golden retriever or a golden doodle (to try and lessen the hair issue).

    • Hi Holly, sorry to hear about the loss of your lab.  Goldens and Labs do share some similarities, and both love human attention.  I’m glad you are considering a Golden Retriever in the future, or a Golden Doodle.  Thanks for commenting.

  11. When I was younger we had a golden retriever, she was so much work. But the laughter we got from her and her antics was pretty amazing. She had so much energy, that we were never able to sit down with her. Nope she had to always be up and running.

    If we didn’t run with her, she would nudge us until we did. Now I miss her. My daughter now has a Chihuahua cross russell terrier, he seems like the same amount of work. But he isn’t as playful as my childhood golden retriever was. 

    • Hi Jag, I can relate to the fact that goldens are a lot of work.  They require so much time and exercise, some days I’m exhausted.  However, I wouldn’t have it any other way, the love that they give you is amazing, as well as the laughs.  Thanks for commenting.

  12. We have had Golden’s basically most of our lives. Ginger, then Samantha, Noah, Kristy and now Molly. ( My wife don’t know it yet, but I’m looking for another puppy.) We wouldn’t be without a Golden. If you want a loyal dog this is the one. Golden’s are very therapeutic. If you sick, they know, sometimes even before you know. Best dog to have as a family member!

    • Thank you for your comment Chuck. Sounds like you are a Golden Retriever lover for life. They truly are the best breed of dog. Hope you get your puppy, all the best to you.

  13. Great post! I do not have a golden retriever at the moment as I am a renter but I grew up with one and they are easily my favourite breed of dogs. So loyal and beautiful <3

  14. What a wonderful write up! Golden retrievers have been my favorite among dogs for years. I am between dogs right now, but I hope to have another one soon. Golden retrievers are so good with children, and such wonderful companions. Thank you for so many useful tips, and such a nice webpage.

    • Hi Clay, thank you for your comment.  Glad you enjoyed my post, and I couldn’t agree more about Golden Retrievers being wonderful companions.  I hope you get your Golden soon.  All the best.


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