What Are Golden Retrievers Good At? [13 Not So Obvious Things]

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Anyone who has ever owned a Golden Retriever knows just how special this breed is. I have heard numerous times from Golden Retriever owners that there’s no other breed like them. What is it about this breed that makes everyone love them? What are Golden Retrievers good at?

Most people know that Golden Retrievers are friendly and make awesome family dogs, which is why they consistently rank within the top 5 most popular dog breeds in the United States. They’re also super smart, love to swim and make great service dogs, but these are all obvious things.

In this lighthearted article, we’ll dive into the not-so-obvious things that Golden Retrievers are good at. Since I am a Golden Retriever owner, it was easy for me to come up with 13. I am certain there’s plenty more that this breed is good at, but the following points pretty much sum it up.

13 Not So Obvious Things That Golden Retrievers Are Good At

If you own a Golden Retriever, I’m sure you can agree with some of these things if not all of them. I know that every dog is unique and has its own personality and quirks, but these dogs tend to share similar traits that make us love them.

1. Making You Laugh

What Are Golden Retrievers Good At-Wet Golden Retriever walking along the beach carrying a large stick.

Ask any Golden Retriever owner, and they will tell you that their dog has made them laugh countless times. They are such fun-loving happy go lucky dogs. Many of them can be quite goofy at times.

I’m sure your Golden has greeted you at the door with their favourite toy, or maybe an unmentionable item stolen from the laundry basket. How about when your Golden has the “zoomies” and runs around the house or yard like a crazy person!

I remember when my Golden Ellie was a puppy and she would dig a mile a minute in our backyard, and we tried to stop her, and she would “attack” us! One time she grabbed a piece of freshly laid sod and ran into the house with it. Of course, this made my husband super mad at the time (I was secretly laughing), but we can both laugh about it now.

This breed often remains “puppy like” into their old age, it’s a very endearing quality.

2. Being Friends With Everyone

Adult Golden Retriever and Golden Retriever puppy laying on a pillow together along with a black cat.

There’s really no dog breed that is friendlier than a Golden Retriever. This breed has a way of making everyone love them, sometimes even non-dog people!

When I’m out walking my dog, Ellie, she wants to meet everyone. She tends to invite herself over to other people and say hi to them, in hopes to be petted and maybe get a treat. A Golden Retriever doesn’t judge or discriminate against anyone, they just want to be friends with everyone, and maybe even brighten someone’s day with their happiness.

They’re usually great with other animals too, including cats, horses, donkeys, other dogs, you name it.

3. Getting Everything They Want (Being Spoiled Rotten!)

Dark red Golden Retriever laying on a queen size bed.

Does this sound familiar? “My dog eats better than me” or “I just live here, this is my dog’s house.”

Their cute faces seem to get them everything they want, and their owners give in! I’m guilty as are many other Golden Retriever owners!

My Ellie has boxes upon boxes of toys, my husband is the one who brings home a new toy for her all the time! He can’t resist how excited she gets when she receives a new toy. I on the other hand love to get her new leashes and collars, cause one just isn’t enough. She needs a variety, Lol!

How about when your dog takes over the bed and you are left with a tiny fraction of space, but your dog’s comfort is more important than your own. Or, when it’s the middle of winter and you are driving in your car and have to pull the window down so your dog can stick his head out of it. Been there, done that! (Meanwhile, I’m freezing!!)

4. Having Fun, Not Taking Life Serious!

If we all acted like Golden Retrievers, our lives would be so much more fun and less stressful! Think about it, how many times has your Golden Retriever cared about having a clean house? Never! How about caring if he or she got dirty? Never!

A Golden Retriever will often seek out the dirtiest mud puddle or swamp to lay in, and they always have the biggest grin on their face afterwards. You on the other hand are fuming!

Don’t even get me started on the many times my Ellie has rolled in poop or has ate it. Yuck! But, she was always having fun.

5. Oozing Confidence

Side profile of a Golden Retriever striking a pose with his head in the air.

Golden Retrievers are super confident, it’s almost like they have a certain swagger about them when they walk. They almost have this attitude of “I’m all that”, or look at me “I’m beautiful”. I certainly notice this when my Ellie walks, she is calm, cool and confident about herself.

6. Turning Heads & Drawing Attention

Golden Retrievers just seem to have a way of making people notice them. They are such beautiful dogs, and they are always happy and loving life that people are just drawn to them.

Golden Retriever owners always hear “What a beautiful dog”, or “What a friendly dog”. It makes them proud to own this breed.

Another way my Golden Ellie likes to draw attention to herself, besides being beautiful is by barking at someone who doesn’t pay attention to her. For instance, if someone walks by and says hello to me but not her, she will bark at them.

7. Being Notoriously Stubborn

Are all Golden Retrievers stubborn? Probably not, but it is a very common complaint that I hear from fellow Golden Retriever owners. I am one of those owners too, Lol! My Ellie is super stubborn!! Is it my fault? Probably, because I was an inexperienced dog owner and probably didn’t train her properly.

Examples of Ellie being stubborn include:

  • Refusing to come back inside after we have been outside forever.
  • Planting her feet into the ground and refusing to move.
  • Slowing down on a walk or refusing to go any further until she gets a treat.
  • Refusing to go into the water after she has rolled in something smelly (any other time you can’t get her out of the water!)

The list goes on, but this gives you a few examples.

8. Being Loyal To You

You may not think that Golden Retrievers are loyal, because of how friendly they are with everyone, even complete strangers! I know my dog Ellie, would walk with anyone or jump into anyone’s car after being petted, she once even tried to invite herself into someone’s home after just meeting them. But, this breed is one of the most loyal there is.

Golden’s do love everyone, but they show their loyalty to you. My Ellie will sit and lean against me or my husband whenever we are talking to others, and especially when other dogs are around. It’s as if she is protecting us or saying “These are my humans”. Whenever we go out without her, she will patiently wait for us to return, and she is always by our side. I believe this is loyal.

9. Being Super Smart, Often Outsmarting You

Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent. When it comes to trainability and learning new commands, as well as obedience and working intelligence, the Golden Retriever is ranked as the fourth most intelligent dog breed in the world! It’s no wonder why these dogs are used for search and rescue teams or as service dogs for the blind or disabled.

All of that intelligence combined with their eagerness to please you makes a Golden Retriever easy to train. That being said, smart dogs like Golden Retrievers need plenty of mental stimulation to keep their minds active, and to prevent boredom and destructive behaviour.

Golden Retrievers will often try to outsmart their owners, and many succeed! I know Ellie has succeeded many times! She has often tricked me into giving her another treat.

10. Neighbourhood Watch

If there’s any sudden movement or noise from outside, a Golden Retriever will alert you by barking. They are great neighbourhood watchdogs.

Ellie loves to look out the window and “people watch”, she loves to watch the world go by. If a cat happens to run through our yard, she will go crazy, if it’s a squirrel or people walking by, she’ll still bark but not as much. She has different levels of barking for different things. Cats really seem to get her going.

11. Loving You Until The End

Any Golden Retriever owner will tell you that there is no greater love than that of a Golden. These dogs are so loving and affectionate and will love you until the end. I hear quite often from fellow owners that even though their dog has suffered from cancer, or is in pain, they still show their love and affection to you.

12. Never Leaving You Alone

Golden Retrievers are good at never leaving you alone. They always have to be near you, by your side and in the same room as you. They are often called “Velcro Dogs”, and it’s true! You’ve probably seen the videos or pictures about an owner using the bathroom, and the Golden Retriever waiting outside the door or even inside the bathroom with the owner.

13. Making You Want Another One

3 Golden Retriever puppies playing together.

Golden Retrievers seem to have it all, beauty, brains, a sense of humour, loyalty, and love towards their owners. It’s no surprise that fellow owners of this breed tend to have more than one. Even when a Golden Retriever passes away, the owner will often get another one. Many of us are Golden Retriever owners for life!

What Are Golden Retrievers Good At? Final Thoughts

That concludes our list of the not-so-obvious things that Golden Retrievers are good at. I am sure you can relate to some of the things that I have mentioned.

If you enjoyed this article, perhaps you would also like to check out my other article, where I discuss the 13 surprising faults of this breed.

Do you agree with this list? What else would you add that your Golden Retriever is good at? Please share your thoughts and comments below. 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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2 thoughts on “What Are Golden Retrievers Good At? [13 Not So Obvious Things]”

  1. Thank you for your post. I love Golden Retrievers, and they have sure made me laugh a lot. But first and foremost, they are educated dogs: It is good to have a Golden Retriever because it is easy to teach them to respect spaces and people. Despite being large animals, they are aware of this and are not rude with children. Besides, if the situation warrants it, they will know how to behave accordingly.

    • Hi Ann,

      This is so true, Golden Retrievers just know how to act around children as well as small dogs.  They seem to have a great sense of this.  I have witnessed many Golden Retrievers, including my own, lay down, sit or get to the same level as a child or small dog.  They are very gentle with them as well.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      Take care,



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