Golden Retriever smiling face, with eyes closed.

What Is Bad About Golden Retrievers?-13 Surprising Faults

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As a Golden Retriever owner myself, I can certainly go on and on about all the great things about this breed. But, nevertheless you are here because you want to know what is bad about Golden Retrievers?

I will give you all the insights into the bad things about this breed, but I do have to warn you that because I am so in love with this breed, I am able to get past the so called bad things. Perhaps when you read this article you will find out that a Golden Retriever’s negative traits, are really just things that you can overlook.

Golden Retrievers are certainly popular, but they are not for everyone. If you are considering adding a Golden Retriever to your family, keep reading to find out if you too can look past their bad things.

1. They Shed

It’s no surprise that this breed sheds. Their long flowing coat is actually a double-coat, that consists of a fluffy undercoat and a protective outer coat. If you have allergies, this breed is definitely not for you. If you can’t handle all that hair, don’t bother getting a golden.

A Golden Retriever will shed all year long. Heavy shedding occurs in the Spring and Fall, to make room for their new coats of the season. The undercoat is what sheds, in the Spring shedding occurs to make room for a golden’s lighter summer coat, and in the Fall thicker hair grows to make a warmer winter coat.

During the rest of the year you will notice moderate shedding. Feeding a golden a high quality diet is crucial in maintaining a healthy coat, and to help reduce shedding. There are other things that you can do to help reduce and get control of all that shedding, to find out click here.

2. They Are Stubborn

Many owners of this breed can attest to the fact that their dog is stubborn. I know firsthand just how stubborn this breed can be.

Golden Retrievers are extremely intelligent, which makes them easy to train, but they also have a mind of their own. If a golden doesn’t want to do something, you can expect him to put up a fight.

By that I mean he will just sit there and not move. Perhaps you want to turn right at the street instead of left, but your dog wants to go left, you can expect your dog to sit there and not move until you go his way, or you coax him into going your way with a treat.

3. They Are Too Friendly, And Not Great Guard Dogs

A Golden Retriever is a people dog. They enthusiastically want to meet everyone, strangers, other dogs, other animals, anyone who they think will give them the time of day. If you’re not a social person, and don’t enjoy meeting new people, then a golden is not the right dog for you.

A golden wants to be friends with everyone, even strangers that come to your door. Don’t expect them to keep your house safe from a burglar. I mean sure they will bark at strangers, but when a stranger approaches they will wag their tail and greet them with a smile and probably expect to get petted.

4. They Take Over Your Furniture

Golden Retriever puppy sitting on bed.

Be prepared for a golden to get comfortable on your couch, or even your bed. Some owners enjoy sharing their furniture with their dog, and some don’t.

When I first got my golden Ellie, I didn’t want her on the furniture. I tried putting tinfoil on the couch to prevent her from jumping up. That scare tactic lasted 2 days at the most, after she realized tinfoil isn’t scary, and the couch is so comfortable. Now I share the couch with her.

I think the reality is that you can train your dog to stay off the furniture, but sometimes it is easier to just give in.

5. They Are Food Obsessed

This breed is motivated by food, this can be both good and bad. Being motivated by food makes them easier to train. A golden will pretty much do anything for a treat. The bad part is that they will eat anything and everything, and you’ll need to watch their food intake, because this breed is prone to obesity.

There have been plenty of times when I have walked my Ellie, and she has picked up and ate some very questionable stuff. It’s not that I am letting her eat stuff off the ground, it’s that she is so quick, and eats it. Walking a food motivated dog can be frustrating at times.

6. They Are Chewers

Golden Retriever chewing on a stick.

Many dogs are chewers, but goldens in particular love to chew. I’m sure whenever you see a golden, you can usually see them carrying something in their mouth, whether it’s a stick, a tennis ball, or their favorite plush toy.

If you plan on owning this breed, you will want to have plenty of appropriate chew toys on hand, or else they will find something of yours to chew on.

7. They Are Messy

If you like to keep a neat and orderly house, forget about owning a golden. I have already mentioned they shed, and hair is going to be everywhere, but this breed loves to get dirty. They love water, as well as mud.

Most dogs will walk around a mud puddle in order to avoid it, but not a golden. A golden sees a mud puddle, and if you’re lucky will just walk through it, but if you’re not lucky they will decide to plop down and roll around in it. Can you say mud bath?

It’s really a golden owners worst nightmare, having a mud covered dog. Not to mention they don’t mind shaking all that mud off in the house.

8. They Can Easily Knock Over Small Children

It is true that goldens make great family dogs, and they are great with children. However, when they are puppies they are very bouncy and energetic, and they are large enough to knock over a small child.

Puppies need to be supervised around small children. This breed is very energetic, playful, and loves to run and jump around. Even adults need to be careful, because a golden can easily knock you over, when they get excited and start running into your legs.

They certainly don’t mean to do any harm, it is just their excitable nature.

9. They Need Plenty Of Exercise

Golden Retriever walking on dirt road.

If you are a couch potato and expect your dog to be as well, forget about getting a Golden Retriever. This breed is high energy, especially when they are young, up to the age of 3-4.

Golden Retrievers were bred to be hunting dogs, and they are very athletic and smart. They need plenty of exercise as well as mental stimulation every day, in order for them to be the calm and happy relaxed dog everyone wants.

Giving a golden plenty of exercise throughout the day will prevent them from getting bored, and developing bad behaviors.

Golden Retrievers love to play fetch, and they love water. Providing them with plenty of opportunities to vent their energy and do the things they love is a must.

10. They Steal

Yes, a Golden Retriever steals your heart, but that’s not what I am talking about. Golden Retrievers are great little thieves. I already mentioned they like carrying things in their mouths, well, they enjoy stealing anything from you, and love to parade it around in their mouth.

Turn around for even a second, and you can find a golden taking dirty socks out of the laundry basket, or worse your underwear, and make you chase him to get it back. It’s all a game to a golden.

When you’re walking a golden, don’t be surprised when he picks up someone’s glove, or someone’s tennis ball off the ground, and carries it home. Everything is fair game to a golden.

11. They Cannot Be Left Alone

Golden Retriever puppy laying on floor.

If you’re thinking of getting a dog that you can leave at home alone during the day, don’t even think about getting a golden. Golden Retrievers crave and need human attention.

If you don’t plan on making a golden an important member of your family, you shouldn’t get this breed. Golden Retrievers are very social, and love to be around their family. They need to be included in family activities, in order to be happy.

If you work all day, it is a good idea to take your golden to a doggie day care, or hire a dog walker to walk your dog. This way your golden will not become bored, or depressed from being alone all day.

12. They Are Prone To Many Health Problems

As with any purebred dog, Golden Retrievers have their share of health problems. Some health problems that a golden can be prone to include:

Cancer, Hip & Elbow Displasia, Cataracts, Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Heart Disease, and Skin Conditions like Allergies. This is just to name a few, and not all goldens will have all of these problems, or have any of these problems.

If you are considering this breed, you need to be aware of the health issues that affect them.

When buying a purebred puppy, it is important to find a good reputable breeder, and ask for health clearances of the puppy’s parents. Health clearances show that a dog has been tested and cleared for a certain condition.

For more questions to ask a breeder, and to find out how to pick a puppy from a litter, click here.

13. Their Lifespan Is Too Short

We made it to what I think is the number one bad thing about goldens, their short lifespan. Golden Retrievers live on average 10-12 years, and if you ask any Golden Retriever owner they will tell you that is too short.

Final Thoughts On What Is Bad About Golden Retrievers?

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. As a total fan of this wonderful breed, I thought it would be hard to come up with anything bad about Golden Retrievers, but easily came up with 13.

What about you? Are you able to look past the 13 bad things about Golden Retrievers? Let me know what you like or don’t like about this breed. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this article, you will also enjoy my article on Living With A Golden Retriever.

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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 Peterborough, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

24 thoughts on “What Is Bad About Golden Retrievers?-13 Surprising Faults”

  1. I agree totally, mine has done all of those. We love her dearly and wouldn’t trade her for anything. She is so smart it blows my mind. I don’t think I will ever be able to afford another one. I hope she lives a very long life. We did pay a lot for her but she’s worth every penny. She’s the only dog I’ve ever owned that doesn’t itch or bite or scratch herself.

    Reply
    • Hi Renee,
      I appreciate you taking the time to share your experience. Golden Retrievers just steal our hearts, don’t they? They are super smart, sometimes too smart LOL, and no matter what trouble they may get into and test our patience we wouldn’t change anything about them. I hope you continue to be amazed by your Golden and that you share many wonderful memories together.

      All the best,
      Jenny.

      Reply
  2. What a great article!

    Despite the 13 negatives, I still wish we got this breed. I’ve never met a golden that I didn’t like. Oh, you know, maybe another downside is the price. I think this breed is a little pricey compared to others? Our Labradoodle came from an Amish backyard breeder in Waterloo, Ontario. We bought him as a puppy for $500 and the Golden that we wanted was selling for $2,000 from a quality breeder so we went for this instead.

    HUGE mistake to make a decision based on price, to be honest!

    This destructive bugger has since cost us more money than what we saved. Two and a half years later he’s much more mellow.

    My friend’s Golden retriever still plays with his toys when he was a puppy and has never destroyed anything in the house despite being left alone for periods of time. This came from the breeder I mentioned.

    As you mentioned, these dogs have short lifespans. Cherish every moment with Ellie. She’s so pretty so full of life.

    Thanks again for this article

    Sonny

    Reply
    • Hi Sonny,
      I agree with you about Golden Retrievers being expensive. It is difficult to find one now for less than $2000. When we got Ellie from a breeder she was under $1000, but that was almost 5 years ago. When it comes to choosing the right breed of dog for you, you must factor in your lifestyle and the breeds personality, physical activity needs, as well as price. I believe price should be a factor because if you cannot afford to take care of the dog throughout its lifetime then you shouldn’t own a dog. So many dogs are brought to shelters because dog owners fail to research the breed, as well as factor in the cost of dog ownership.

      That being said, you also must follow your heart and if a Golden Retriever is your breed of choice, then you shouldn’t settle for a different breed.

      I think every dog regardless of the breed has the tendency to be destructive. Especially during the puppy stage, or when they become bored and unattended. For example, when Ellie was younger she would dig holes in the backyard and rip the sod off our yard and drag it into our living room. We always had to watch her very closely so that she would not destroy anything! The key is to tire them out with physical and mental activity.

      It sounds like your Labradoodle has caused you a few headaches as well! All dog owners have their own nightmare stories to tell, but once our dogs start to calm down we are happy but maybe miss that “puppy stage” just a little bit. We can later laugh about it, but at the time it is frustrating.

      You mentioned that your friend’s Golden Retriever still plays with his puppy toys and has never destroyed anything in the house, it is true that Golden Retrievers are a calmer breed than others and are gentle with their toys, but this is not true for all Golden Retrievers. Some of them destroy their toys and things in the house.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and taking the time to comment. I really do hope you enjoy your Labradoodle, especially now that he is much more mellow. I am sure you can enjoy the non-shedding of him as compared to a Golden Retriever.

      Thank you for your kind words about Ellie, she is my life!

      Jenny.

      Reply
      • We have a golden called Digby. He is 8 and has never destroyed anything other than branches of felled trees. He still has and adores his puppy toys, needless to say we have a log basket full.
        My son also has a retriever. He has chewed through almost every toy, shoe and slipper in the house. Now he’s turned 9 he has calmed down but still destructive. Same breed totally different temperament.

        Reply
        • Hi Judy,
          It is amazing to hear about the different personalities and temperaments within this breed, and the comparison between your Golden Retriever and your son’s. I would like to say that in my experience females are generally calmer than males, but again that is a generalization. Sometimes a dog’s destructive behaviour is a result of a lack of mental and physical stimulation, but without knowing how much exercise your son’s dog gets each day I cannot speculate. Every dog is different, and some dogs are gentle with their toys and others not so much.

          I want to thank you for sharing your experience and taking the time to comment. You have proven that every Golden has its own personality and temperament.

          Jenny.

          Reply
    • I have 2 white golden retrievers male and female. Both completely unruly! I treat them as I would a child and they will tell you what they are feeling. Both of my goldens come from questionable places my male especially I know he was abused. It took a while to show him there was no more threat then I got my female after my other dog died and that was amazing to watch him train her. She kicks his but sometimes but I couldn’t imagine them without each other. I’m dreading when they breed. So many puppies will drive me crazy but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

      Reply
      • Hi Christopher,
        I think all Golden Retriever owners can relate to the fact that their Golden is part human! I am sorry to hear that both of your Goldens have had a terrible past, it is so hard to comprehend how someone could abuse a dog, but unfortunately, it happens all the time.
        I think when you own both a female and male Golden Retriever, the female will always be the “boss” regardless of the age.
        Thank you for taking the time to share your experience.

        Jenny.

        Reply
  3. Hi Jenny!
    I loved your article. Having had Goldens my entire life I agree completely with you on all points. Sadly, cancer is a big problem in Goldens. My Golden, Serena, passed last December of lymphoma at 10 years of age. She was an amazing dog and I miss her greatly. Several Universities are doing research on why cancer in Goldens has increased so much in the past 10 years. We can hope they are able to find answers soon. I now have a little Golden puppy, Savannah. She is a little spitfire! She makes me laugh at how curious, energetic AND stubborn she is- well not laugh so much at being stubborn. I, of course, want to do all I can to reduce her chances of getting cancer. I found that research has discovered that by getting Goldens fixed at 1 year of age and after the first heat cycle there can be a reduction of up to 25% in the top three cancers prevalent in Goldens. I contacted a vet at Michigan State University School of Veterinary Medicine about this information. He agreed with it and advised that this should be followed by Goldens and Labs. While you never can be sure if this will be true for all Goldens it is something worth considering. I am waiting to see with Savannah. Enjoy your Golden Baby Girl! Goldens are pure Love!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Debbie,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I am sorry for your loss of Serena at 10 years old to lymphoma. It is so heartbreaking to lose a beloved family member so soon to cancer. Cancer is every Golden Retriever owner’s fear! I just wrote an article on why Golden Retrievers get cancer, and I discussed the 4 common cancers in Goldens as well as the research that is currently going on (Golden Retriever Lifetime Study). I think you would find it interesting. Golden Retrievers are not living as long as they have been only a few decades ago, and hopefully, this study will give us some answers.

      Thank you for sharing that information about getting your Golden spayed after the first heat cycle to reduce the chances of cancer. That is a huge reduction of 25% and it is definitely something to consider.

      I hope you enjoy your new puppy Savannah, and that you will make some wonderful memories with her. You are absolutely right that Goldens are pure love!!

      Thanks again for your comment, all the best.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  4. Certainly, I agree that most of these “traits” come with the breed. But I discovered throughout the years and with many Goldens in the family, you can train your dog in the first three or four months out of those strange behaviours. My beautiful Scottish Golden is a testament to that. The only thing that seems pervasive and permanent in all of our dogs (I assume all Goldens) is their stubbornness. Sadly, most of them are prone to so many illnesses and health problems! My 7-year-old is a masterful swimmer, fetcher, retriever and, all in all, a super-rounded personality, but he’s showing signs of arthritis. Goldens, as ALL dogs, are loving, caring and fantastic companions. Very much, part of the family.

    Reply
    • Hi Peter,
      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Training your Golden while still in the puppy stage is crucial to having a well-mannered and well-behaved dog through the adult years. However, mistakes happen especially to first-time owners such as myself and you end up with a dog that pretty much owns you! LOL!! I have learned from my mistakes and would do a few things differently the next time around, but having said that I wouldn’t change a thing about my dog Ellie. It is a common thing for owners of Golden Retrievers to say that their dog is stubborn! I think they all are! It is certainly annoying at times but it is part of their charm.

      The sad thing about this breed is that they are prone to many illnesses, and cancer especially is very prevalent in this breed. I am sorry to hear that your 7-year-old Golden is showing signs of arthritis, it is hard for any dog owner to see their dog show signs of ageing. Golden Retrievers are very loyal, loving and make the best companions, and are certainly part of the family. It is important to show our faithful companions as much love and care during their senior years, as they have shown to us. I recently wrote an article about the ageing Golden Retriever health problems, I think you might find it interesting.

      Thank you again for your comment, and I wish you many years of happiness with your beloved Golden.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  5. Hi Jenny, very well written, had to laugh. So glad that I don’t own the only stubborn Golden. However I can usually persuade my Henry with a bit of love, he won’t be forced though. Luckily he doesn’t shed much. He has skin allergies which can drive you crazy, other than that a healthy beautiful boy who loves life’s party, and is loved by all who meet him. Best breed ever!

    Reply
    • Hi Annette, thank you for sharing your experience with your Golden. You are certainly not the only one with a stubborn Golden! Lol. I think all Golden’s have it in them to be stubborn.

      Skin allergies are very common among this breed. Have you tried coconut oil? You can give it orally as well as apply it topically. It really helps and has many health benefits. I recently wrote an article about coconut oil for dogs.

      I am glad to hear that your Golden doesn’t shed too much, you are obviously doing something right, feeding a high quality diet and brushing regularly.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment. I am so glad that you enjoyed this post.

      Take care!
      Jenny.

      Reply
  6. I didn’t realize that Golden Retrievers were so stubborn. I’m a big animal lover and pets add so much joy to our lives. I chose a Yorkshire Terrier not only because they are small, mine is 13 lbs, but for other factors such as they don’t shed, extremely loyal and great with kids. You’re right to point out that new pet owners should carefully take into consideration all of the pros and cons of specific breed personalities. Because most dogs live 10-15 years, it’s a big commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. I loved the video!

    Reply
    • Hi Annette Cristina,

      Yes, Golden Retrievers can be very stubborn.  My golden is very stubborn, it’s just one of the many things I love about her.  I am glad you enjoyed the video, it’s pretty funny, and I’m sure many golden owners can relate to it.

      Thank you for commenting, and sharing your experience.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  7. Some of these things are quite literally a part of their nature, but some can be trained out.

    Any dog can show some of these traits, and some golden retrievers will not, but from my experience, this definitely describes the majority. The thing is, the smarter the dog, the more stimulation they need. Golden retrievers are very smart, so they need constant play, movement, and interaction.

    I’ve had a pure black lab, and they are very close when it comes to personality.

    Very well written, and informative.

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • Hi Tyler,

      I am glad you enjoyed my article.  Yes, many of the things are part of a Golden Retriever’s characteristics, and many of the behaviour issues can be trained out of them.  

      Golden Retrievers are extremely smart, and do require plenty of mental stimulation each day.  

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and share your experience.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  8. Great article about the bad side of a Golden Retriever.

    I personally find some of the bad points about a Golden Retriever loveable.

    I like that they are friendly, it is very important for my dog to show love to my guest, true on the bad side they are not a good guard dog but still love that about them.

    I really hate that they shed and have a short life span other than that I can deal with.

    Reply
    • Hi Etah,

      I agree with you, and I am sure every other Golden Retriever owner will too, the bad points are something that can be overlooked.  My dog is very stubborn at times, and while that can be very annoying, I wouldn’t change anything about it. 

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      Jenny. 

      Reply
  9. Hi, some good points here about retrievers, some are points that can be addressed. They can be trained not to do some of the things i.e. points 4 to 11 with the exception of needing exercise, can and should be trained out of them.

    Most dog breeds have a few things that are a problem but I think it is up to their owner to guide and instill better behaviour don’t you?

    I hope you and your dog have a wonderfully long life together. Dogs are fabulous companions.

    Best Wishes,

    Louise

    Reply
    • Hi Louise,

      I agree with you that most breeds, will have some kind of flaw or bad thing about them that their owners must deal with.  Training is a way of doing so, in order to instill better behaviour.   

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      Jenny.

      Reply
  10. Hello,

    I’m impressed by your review on Golden Retrievers, and the part that caught my attention was when you said Golden Retrievers are certainly popular, but they are not for everyone. I totally understand that statement because the Golden Retriever possesses some characteristics that could be stressful to some people.  Only a great lover of dogs or someone who’s obsessed by it can manage all its shortcomings.

    Thanks for the review.

    Reply
    • Hi Salim,

      Thank you for your comment.  I am glad you enjoyed my insight into what is bad about Golden Retrievers.  

      Jenny.

      Reply

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