Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers [15 Of Your Burning Questions Answered!]

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Welcome to the ultimate guide on Golden Retrievers.

Whether you own a Golden Retriever or are considering adding one to your family, this article is for you.

This guide answers 15 of the most burning questions people have about Golden Retrievers. Since I am the proud owner of a female Golden Retriever, I have added my own personal experience.

If you’re looking for honest, non-generic answers from an experienced owner, this is the place.

Be sure to use the table of contents below to quickly navigate to a question that you are interested in knowing the answer to.

Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers

1. Is A Golden Retriever A Good Family Dog?

Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers - A toddler crawling on the floor next to a Golden Retriever.

Absolutely! Golden Retrievers are considered the ideal family dog, and one of the many reasons why they are so popular!

With their easygoing personality, and friendly and calm disposition, a Golden Retriever makes a wonderful family dog.

As long as you have the time to devote to your Golden Retriever, and include them in family outings, they will be happy.

Spending time with their family, whether that’s playing outside, going on an outing, or just hanging on the couch, Golden Retrievers just want to be with their loved ones.

Golden Retrievers do have a lot of energy when they are young and can be quite boisterous. Families with young children should be cautious, as these dogs can easily knock over a small child when they get excited.

A Golden Retriever is capable of adapting to any lifestyle. They are wonderful companions to families with children, seniors, or young adults, even households with other pets.

2. Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?

Golden Retrievers do not bark a lot. They are considered a pretty quiet breed, but they will bark occasionally.

Usually when the doorbell rings, or they see someone walking by their house or yard. Many Goldens will bark for food, or when they want attention.

A Golden Retriever’s bark is typically friendly and welcoming.

It is pretty uncommon for a Golden Retriever to bark a lot, or bark aggressively. However, it can happen and is usually an indication of fear, aggression, boredom, or excitement.

Golden Retrievers have their own personalities, some will bark more than others, and some may not bark at all.

I have heard many owners mention that their Golden Retriever doesn’t even bark when the doorbell rings, or move for that matter. But, when the fridge opens they bark, LOL!

How much a Golden Retriever barks, depends on several different factors. Their personality, environment, and how they were trained.

If a Golden Retriever has received little to no training or has been subjected to a hostile or aggressive environment, he/she will most likely bark more than normal.

Golden Retrievers who live in loving and calm environments, and who have been given enough physical and mental stimulation, typically bark much less than the average dog.

3. Are Golden Retrievers Lazy?

Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers - A Golden Retriever laying on dirt gravel sleeping, with a tennis ball in front of him.

Golden Retrievers are definitely not lazy when they are puppies and young adults! They are very active and have plenty of energy.

As they get older, typically around the age of 5 or 6 they start to become more mellow. However, I still wouldn’t call them lazy.

During the puppy and young adult phase, it is difficult for many owners to keep up with the energy and playfulness of their Golden Retriever.

I remember those times very well. With endless walks and playtimes, I was more exhausted than my Golden!

You shouldn’t expect your Golden Retriever to be active throughout the entire day. They do sleep a lot, especially if their daily physical, mental, and social needs are met.

Golden Retrievers will take part in whatever their favourite human is doing, if that happens to be lounging on the couch with you, that’s ok.

They can be lazy on occasion, however, if it is persistent, it could be an indication that something is wrong.

Persistent or sudden laziness can indicate a medical issue, emotional distress, boredom, too much physical activity, diet, or weight issues.

It is important to address your concerns with your vet, to rule out any medical issues.

Golden Retrievers will slow down with age, as well as when the weather gets hot outside. This is all normal, and shouldn’t be seen as lazy.

4. Do Golden Retrievers Bite A Lot?

Golden Retrievers tend to bite a lot when they are puppies. They are considered a very mouthy breed, and always need to have something in their mouths.

As long as you train your Golden Retriever and teach him proper bite inhibition, they will learn to not bite in order to do harm.

Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve shot waterfowl. They carried the waterfowl in their mouths, without doing any further damage.

They are known for their soft mouths, many Goldens are capable of carrying an egg in their mouth, without breaking it.

Thanks to their gentle and friendly nature, Golden Retrievers are considered one of the safest dogs to be around. They typically do not bite.

However, biting is common for puppies who are going through the teething phase.

Other reasons why a Golden Retriever may bite include:

  • Fear
  • Aggression
  • Stress
  • Pain
  • Abuse

5. Do Golden Retrievers Like To Cuddle?

This all comes down to personality. Some Golden Retrievers like to cuddle with their owners, while some do not.

I also believe this comes down to the sex of your dog as well. In my experience, male dogs tend to be cuddlier and want to cuddle with their owners more than females do.

My female Golden Retriever does not cuddle or snuggle up with me, she prefers to be petted, have her ears rubbed and all attention put on her.

A common expression that you hear many Golden Retriever owners say is “Males love you, and Females want to be loved.” I think it is pretty accurate.

However, all Golden Retrievers love to be petted.

Many Golden Retrievers seem to have a natural instinct to comfort you when you are sick, feeling sad, or just need cheering up. They will lay next to you and try to make you feel better.

The thing to keep in mind is that cuddling is not the same as hugging. Most dogs do not enjoy being hugged at all. Golden Retrievers, however, seem to tolerate it more than most dogs.

6. Do Golden Retrievers Protect Their Owners

Golden Retrievers are very loyal to their owners and they will show protective tendencies. They like to claim their humans for themselves, especially when another dog is around.

Usually, they do so by sitting by their owner’s feet and leaning up against their legs.

However, Golden Retrievers are definitely not considered guard dogs! You shouldn’t expect them to protect you when someone breaks into your home.

Instead, they will alert you by barking when they hear a noise, or when a stranger is at the door. They make much better watchdogs than guard dogs.

Speaking from experience, my Golden runs away in the face of danger, and leaves me to fend for myself!

I do believe that personality and how your Golden Retriever is trained are factors that determine if your Golden Retriever will protect you.

Golden Retrievers do have certain attributes that would make them good protective dogs, such as:

  • They are large in size.
  • Their bark is loud.
  • They are smart and understand body language.
  • They are obedient.
  • They are loyal.
  • They have a high prey drive.

Even the friendliest and most gentle Golden Retriever may surprise you in how they react when their owner is in need of protection.

Here is a short video that proves Golden Retrievers will protect their owners from danger:

7. Do Golden Retrievers Like To Be Alone?

Golden Retrievers do not like to be alone! They love to be with their favourite humans at all times, 24/7.

Many owners affectionately call their Golden Retriever a Velcro dog because they will follow you even to the bathroom.

This breed is not the type that does well when left alone for a long time. Because of their highly social nature, and need for human interaction, they are very susceptible to developing separation anxiety.

While they would rather be with their favourite humans, that’s not always possible. Golden Retrievers can be left alone, just not too long.

Depending on your Golden Retriever’s age, health and training, they can be left alone for 2 to 6 hours, and no more than 8 hours maximum.

While your Golden Retriever is alone, he should always have access to fresh water, and food, and be able to take potty breaks.

8. Do Golden Retrievers Shed A Lot?

Yes, Golden Retrievers shed a lot. You will notice hair in your home and on your clothes every single day!

Golden Retrievers shed heavily twice a year, in the spring and fall, and moderately throughout the rest of the year.

Their thick double coat consists of a fluffy undercoat and a top protective coat.

The undercoat is what sheds, in order to make room for their new coat for the summer and winter.

If you own a Golden Retriever puppy, you may be shocked at all of the hair during the initial shed. This usually happens around 6 months of age, as your puppy is starting to grow his adult coat.

Shedding is a daily occurrence. To minimize the amount of hair in your home, you need to brush daily (outside is recommended), groom regularly, feed a high-quality diet, and vacuum often.

If your Golden Retriever sheds more than normal, it can be due to a thyroid issue, skin allergies, or improper diet.

9. Why You Should Not Get A Golden Retriever?

Golden Retrievers are not the perfect choice for everyone. You should not get a Golden Retriever for the following reasons:

  • You or anyone in your household has allergies. Golden Retrievers shed a lot, and they are not hypoallergenic.
  • You can’t handle all of their hair. Golden Retrievers have beautiful long flowing coats that shed heavily twice a year, and moderately the rest of the year.
  • They need constant attention. If you don’t want a clingy dog that always needs to be near you, a Golden Retriever is not for you.
  • They need a lot of space. Golden Retrievers grow up to be medium to large-sized dogs, weighing anywhere from 55 to 85 pounds or more. If you’re not ready to share your couch, bed or living space, then you shouldn’t get a Golden Retriever.
  • You want an outside dog. Golden Retrievers prefer to be indoors with their family. They are not meant to live outside.
  • You don’t want an active dog. Golden Retrievers are very active and are extremely high-energy when they are young. They need plenty of physical activity throughout the day.
  • You’re wanting a guard dog. Golden Retrievers are not considered guard dogs in any way. They are too friendly, gentle, and loving to do any harm to anyone.
  • You are a clean freak. If you can’t handle dog hair everywhere, muddy paw prints on your clean floors, water spills, or wet nose prints on your windows, you should not get a Golden Retriever.
  • You are anti-social. Golden Retrievers are very social and enjoy meeting new people. They have no issues with going up to a complete stranger and saying hi. If meeting people is not your thing, then a Golden Retriever is not the right choice.
  • You have no sense of humour. Golden Retrievers can be very goofy at times and often get themselves into mischief. Many of them remain puppylike well into their adult years. If you can’t laugh at them from time to time, they’re not right for you.
  • You’re unaware of their health issues. Golden Retrievers suffer from many health issues. Allergies, skin infections, ear infections, heart disease, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and cancer. Being aware of the health issues that could affect your Golden Retriever is a must!

10. Is A Male Or Female Golden Retriever Better?

Two Golden Retrievers looking straight at you while laying on the snow.

The gender of a Golden Retriever is a personal preference. One sex is not better than the other. Golden Retrievers regardless of sex are gentle, friendly, intelligent, and loving.

Golden Retrievers each have their own personalities, but when it comes to males or females, there are slight differences.

Males are larger than females.

It is said that females mature faster than males.

Many owners find male Golden Retrievers to be more affectionate and cuddly.

Females are known to be more independent but can be stubborn.

When it comes to choosing a Golden Retriever, I would focus more on the health and temperament of the Golden Retriever, rather than the gender.

11. What Is The Best Age To Get A Golden Retriever Puppy?

Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers - A Golden Retriever puppy sitting looking at you.  A dog crate is in the background.

The best age to get a Golden Retriever puppy is 8 weeks.

Many breeders allow their Golden Retriever puppies to be brought home with their new families at 7 weeks, which is okay, but the preferred age is 8 weeks.

At the 8-week mark, a Golden Retriever puppy has already learned quite a bit from its mother and littermates. A good breeder will have also taken the time to start to socialize the puppy.

When you bring your Golden Retriever puppy home at 8 weeks, they are still open to forming a strong bond with you, as well as being able to accept new experiences and adapt to new environments.

Taking a puppy away from its mother earlier than 7-8 weeks can lead to behavioural and personality problems later on.

During the 8 weeks with their mother and littermates, puppies learn how to play with each other, proper discipline, bite inhibition, and canine body language.

Leaving a puppy with its mother and littermates for longer than 8 weeks can also cause the puppy to miss out on essential socialization opportunities.

The first 14 weeks of your puppy’s life are critical for socialization.

Getting your pup at 8 weeks will ensure that you have 6 weeks to expose them to as many different sights, sounds, new experiences, people, other dogs and animals as possible.

12. Do Golden Retrievers Smell?

A Golden Retriever laying outside with its head on the grass, and its body on a dirt path.

Golden Retrievers like any other dog, are capable of smelling pretty bad. Usually, if your Golden Retriever smells, there is an underlying cause.

Not feeding a proper diet, not brushing or bathing regularly, or having health issues could all be reasons for bad odour.

Golden Retrievers have a double-coat that does need to be brushed regularly, daily is preferred. Brushing alone is not enough to keep your Golden clean. Bathing is important as well.

Feeding a low-quality diet can cause your Goldens coat to become dull, dry, or even greasy. Dry, dead skin and oily hair can give off a foul odour.

Keep in mind that Golden Retrievers love to swim, and will quickly smell like a wet dog. Bathing them more frequently is needed during swim season.

Bad odour can come from your dog’s ears, which indicates that your Golden Retriever has an ear infection. Your vet will need to prescribe antibiotics to clear the infection.

Bad breath can be an indication of an underlying health issue and will need your vet’s attention. This article from PetMD lists the common reasons for bad breath.

If your Golden Retriever’s bum smells like rotten fish, it is because the anal glands are full and are leaking. Full anal glands need to be expressed by your vet.

Golden Retrievers also enjoy rolling in dead stuff, as well as poop! The smellier the better! This could be the reason why your Golden Retriever stinks.

If you feed a healthy balanced diet, brush and groom your Golden regularly, they shouldn’t smell.

13. Why Golden Retrievers Are The Best Dogs?

Golden Retrievers have so many amazing qualities, which makes them the best dogs! Let’s look at their qualities below:

They are goofy, smart, loyal, beautiful, friendly, gentle, affectionate, easy to train, easygoing, and funny!

Golden Retrievers are active, they love to swim, run, fetch, and can adapt to any lifestyle. All of these wonderful qualities make them the ideal companion for anyone.

If you have the time to devote to a Golden Retriever and are able to meet their exercise, social and mental needs, they will be the best dog!

A Golden Retriever will return the love you give to them tenfold.

Check out this short video to see for yourself why Golden Retrievers are the best:

14. Why Do Golden Retrievers Put Their Paw On You?

Putting their paw on you means that your Golden Retriever wants your attention.

Have you ever noticed that when you are petting your Golden Retriever, and you stop, your Golden will paw at you? Your Golden is trying to tell you to keep petting!

How about when you are eating something, and your Golden will put his paw on you? This means they want what you are eating.

Golden Retrievers will use their paw as a way to communicate with you.

Sometimes, a Golden Retriever will put its paw on another dog in order to initiate play.

My Golden Retriever will place her paw on my Mom’s dog if he is being petted by myself or my husband. This is her way of saying to him “back off, these are my humans”.

15. Do Golden Retrievers Have A Favourite Person?

Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers - A happy Golden Retriever looking at you with its tongue sticking out.  A flower garden is in the background.

Golden Retrievers show their love to everyone, but they do have a favourite person with whom they share a strong bond.

In my household, my female Golden Retriever favours my husband. Even though my husband and I both walk, feed, and play with her, she will gravitate towards him.

There are theories that suggest whoever spends the most time with their Golden or feeds them and plays with them, that is who will become their favourite. This is not the case in my house!

I’d like to think that it is because female dogs gravitate towards male owners. Who knows?

I also believe that the reason could be that my husband played “rough” with her as a puppy. I never did.

The good news is that Golden Retrievers are so loving, they have enough love to go around for everyone.

Final Thoughts

I hope you have found this ultimate guide on Golden Retrievers useful.

If you have any burning questions that have not been answered here, please ask them in the comments below.

Or if you just want to share your experience of owning a Golden Retriever, please feel free to do so! I would love to hear from you!

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Stirling, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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4 thoughts on “Ultimate Guide On Golden Retrievers [15 Of Your Burning Questions Answered!]”

  1. Wow, quite interesting, My Sister had a dog with the same features and description. I guess he was a Golden Retriever too. She called him Tiger, he passed away last year after a brief illness. He was lovable. 

    I am not a fan of dogs because I am somehow scared of dogs but I loved Tiger. He was always social and friendly to me after barking at me a few times he recognized me afterward.

    The golden retriever is a fun and lovable breed. I enjoyed reading this article.

    Reply
    • Hi Bethel,

      Sorry to hear about your sister’s dog Tiger.  Golden Retrievers have a way of making anyone love them, even if they are not dog people.  They just know how to put a smile on your face!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  2. I love Golden Retrievers and although I have never owned one myself, we often look after a friend’s Golden Retriever when they go away. They are the most wonderful family pets and love being petted and played with. Apart from the possibility of hip dysplasia,  I did not realize that they could have so many other health issues.

    This guide to Golden Retrievers will help anybody that is looking to get one as a pet. 

    Reply
    • Hi Line,

      How wonderful that you get the pleasure of taking care of your friend’s Golden Retriever!  They are just so wonderful!

      Yes, unfortunately, Golden Retrievers have many health issues, cancer being the biggest one!  They have one of the highest rates of cancer, which is so sad!  

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

      Jenny.

      Reply

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