Golden Retriever Breed Traits & Facts

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Last Updated on September 20, 2023

The Golden Retriever or Golden is a well-known member of the American Kennel Club’s Sporting Group. He’s currently ranked third in the A.K.C.’s chart.

Similar to the Labrador, Golds, these gundogs were bred for hunting and retrieving shot water. The Golden is a wonderful family pet. The trustworthy Golden is a loyal pet who is eager to please and can also be trained.

These pups never seem to grow beyond their puppyhood. They are happy, playful and full of life right up to their senior years. Goldens are great with children, dogs, and cats! You’ll need to learn more about the Golden Retriever before you decide to bring one into your home. This guide will answer all your questions regarding the Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever


The Golden Retriever breed was developed during the Victorian era. The current Golden Retriever is thought to be a mixture from several breeds, including a yellow retriever and flat-coated retriever as well as a red setter and a Tweed water spaniel.

Dogs that look very similar to Golden Retrievers are visible in old paintings and studbooks. These dogs were bred by Lord Tweedmouth, an English landowner.

The breed was finally classified in 1911 by the English Kennel Club as “Retrievers.” The name yellow or Golden retriever was first recognized in 1920. The American Kennel Club first registered the Golden Retriever in 1932. The modern Golden Retriever is a member of the Sporting Group.

Goldens are hunting and working dogs. They also make great family pets and used for the following:

  • Search and rescue
  • Therapy
  • Arson detection
  • Drug detection
  • Assistance work for disabled people

Goldens can also enjoy action sports such as agility, dock diving and flyball. The Golden Retriever’s remarkable temperament and personality are the main reasons for its popularity.


The Golden is gentle, kind and eager to please his owner. Golden Retrievers are affection-seeking and very people-oriented. All these characteristics are present in a well-bred Golden Retriever. Unregulated breeding has resulted in some Golden Retrievers with aggressive, introverted traits that can be directed at other dogs or people.

The Golden Retriever’s enthusiasm can cause him to jump up at strangers. That’s a real issue if you have small kids in your household, so early obedience training and socialization are essential if you want to have a mannerly dog in your home. The golden retriever is highly trained and can be taught basic obedience skills.

Some Golden Retrievers may become aggressive if left alone for too long. An isolated Golden can display behaviors such as digging, chewing and stealing food if they have not been given enough mental stimulation or exercise.

Size & Appearance

*Golden Retrievers can be large dogs. Male Goldens can stand from 23 to 24 inches in height at the shoulder, weighing in at between 65 and 75 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, standing 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and weighing 55 to 65 pounds. Learn more in our Golden Retriever growth chart article.

These large frames are strong, confident, and powerful. They are balanced and poised, with a symmetrical stature. Their heads are large with a slight arch at the lateral and a rounded stop. Funny, friendly, and kind have a genuine expression. This handsome dog has a full face of sex.

Coat & Colors

The Golden Retriever comes in various shades of rich and lustrous gold, ranging from deep red to almost white. The double, water-repellent coat of Goldens is thick and durable. They shed a lot. You’ll need to work hard to stay on top of the fur, so invest in the right grooming products to keep hair shedding down.

These golden coats have a medium length and grow longer around the neck, ears and tail. This longer hair is commonly known as feathering fur because it is slightly wavier than the rest of its fur. The feathered fur might be lighter than the rest. They feel silky soft to touch.

Exercises & Living Conditions

Golden Retrievers need plenty of exercise; ideally, two-hour-long walks per day. You might consider taking your Golden to the local lake or beach for a fun swim.

Goldens enjoy all dog sports including agility, dock diving, obedience and obedience. This is a great way to burn off excess energy. Your children will have hours of fun fetching tennis balls for your Golden Retriever. You can also teach your dog tricks.

However, it is important to not overdo your exercise in the first two years of your puppy’s life. Golden’s growth plates still form during this period. Exercising too often can cause damage. Avoid jumping activities for the first few years of your dog’s life.

Goldens are very much people-oriented. A Golden Retriever will not be able to live outdoors in your yard.

A lonely, frustrated Golden Retriever will quickly begin barking, digging up your yard, and generally becoming destructive. A Golden must live with his family.

Because they can be destructive, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of Golden Retriever-approved dog toys laying around to keep them entertained when they aren’t engaged in vigorous training sessions.


One of the things owners love most about their Golden is his intelligence and willingness to learn and to please. They are easy to train and can walk with a leash or harness. We recommend training with a Golden Retriever-sized dog harness that discourages pulling.

Capitalize on your Golden’s smart nature by introducing him to many different situations and people during his puppyhood. Take your puppy to puppy class when he is old enough.

You might also want to look at the American Kennel Club’s S.T.A.R. Puppy Program. Goldens are also fast learners when it comes to crate training as a puppy.


Although Goldens are generally healthy dogs with an average lifespan of between ten and 13 years, the breed is prone to a few genetic health conditions of which potential owners should be aware, including:

  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Lymphosarcoma
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Bone cancer
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Eye problems
  • Subaortic stenosis


Hemangiosarcoma (H.A.S.) is a type of cancer that occurs in the endothelial cells that normally create blood vessels. The cause of the disease is unknown. The condition can also develop in the belly skin, inner thighs, and eyelid membranes.


Lymphosarcoma, the third most common canine-related cancer, is a very serious condition. This condition affects lymphoid tissue (a type of blood cell) and lymphocytes. The lymph nodes, liver and spleen can all be affected.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia can be an inherited condition. It occurs when the thighbone head doesn’t fit properly in the hip socket .. Hip dysplasia eventually leads to painful, chronic arthritis that requires costly surgical treatment.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is another genetic condition where the elbow joint is deformed or doesn’t develop properly. Osteoarthritis is eventually a result of the disease.

Subaortic Stenosis

Subaortic Stenosis is a condition where the aortic valve narrows. The aortic heart valve allows blood to flow from the dog’s heart to the rest. Aortic stenosis causes the valve to become narrow, causing the heart to work harder to push the blood out of the valve. This condition eventually leads to heart muscle failure and other problems.

Other Conditions

Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are vulnerable to several other non-inherited conditions, including:

If you adopt a Golden Retriever, be ready for a lot of veterinary visits throughout their lives. You can help offset medical expenses with pet insurance.

Health Certifications

Many health issues that affect Golden Retrievers can be traced back to genetics. Ask your Golden Retriever’s breeder for written proof that the puppy is free from any of the above conditions.

You can check the health screening records of your puppy’s relatives by searching the Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) database. Also, the Golden Retriever Club of America insists that every dog registered on CHIC has hip and elbow evaluations carried out by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (PennHP). An O.F.A. is required. cardiology examination and an eye clearance check from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation are required.

All test results must be entered into the CHIC database. So, you can check the scores received by your puppy’s parents and grandparents. Your vet can explain the scoring system to you if you are unsure.


The first thing you should know about feeding your Golden Retriever puppy is that puppies must eat more frequently than adult dogs .. A Golden Retriever adult should be fed once a day, while a puppy might need to be fed three times a day.

It’s a smart idea to ask your puppy’s breeder what kind of food he’s used to eating. Keep the pup on that brand for his first six months, and then change to high-quality, adult food formulated for Golden Retrievers.

Your Golden will appreciate your treats and they can also be an useful training aid. Be careful not to give your Golden Retriever too much food or too little exercise. They can become obese quickly if they are given too much food.

Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how much to feed your dog, and if you are in any doubt, have a chat with your vet.


You’ll need to brush a Golden Retriever daily to keep his coat in good condition and prevent excess shedding. Your home shouldn’t be covered in dog hair.

If you have pet hair allergy sufferers in your household or you’re a very house-proud person who hates a mess, a Golden Retriever would not be a good choice of dog for you. They shed quite a lot!

Golden Retrievers love water. After your Golden has taken a dip, you will need to give him a wash with fresh, clean water . This will remove any salt, chlorine, or lake muck from his coat. Because Goldens are susceptible to skin problems, you will need to clean your dog’s skin.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Golden Retrievers can have up to eight puppies in a litter. Golden breeders usually keep their puppies at least eight weeks old. That allows the pups time to begin the socialization process and gives the breeder chance to get to know each puppy’s personality, enabling the breeder to place each puppy in the perfect home.

A good place to begin your search for a Golden Retriever puppy is on the Golden Retriever Club of America’s website. Look for a breeder that has agreed to the Club code of ethics. This prohibits the sale of puppies through auctions or outside agencies.

Basically, you will need to locate a breeder that can provide written evidence that his breeding dogs have been health-screened by the relevant canine health organizations. If you are unable to keep the Golden, the breeder of your puppy should provide written assurance that he will return the Golden.

Another great place to find Golden Retriever breeders can be found on the American Kennel Club’s breed page on their website.

A well-bred purebred Golden Retriever bought from a reputable dealer can cost from $500 to $3,000. Prices can vary depending on where you live, the accomplishments of the parents and other factors. The English version with a lighter coat will cost more. These are often marketed as English Cream Retrievers but are just Golden Retrievers that originated in England with a lighter coat.

If a Golden Retriever puppy is offered for a very bargain-basement price, beware! It is likely that the puppy was bred in a backyard or from a puppy mill.

Puppy farms or puppy mills produce as many puppies in a short time as possible. The whole idea is to make a lot of money very quickly. The result is that the breeding dogs of mills are often left in terrible conditions.

Puppy mills do not bother to screen their breeding animals for health issues. This is because the costs of veterinary testing are less expensive than the profits. Consequently, puppies from mills often come with inherited health problems and are often unvaccinated or dewormed too.

Avoid small pet shops as they often purchase their puppies from mills.

Rescue & Shelters

Unfortunately, many Golden Retrievers are languishing in shelters and rescue centers right across the U.S. If you’re happy to give a forever home to an adult Golden Retriever, you might want to consider searching one of these for your perfect pup.

You could also ask Golden Retriever clubs around your area for contacts that might be able help you find the right pet. Also, the Petfinder website is a good source of rescue center information.

A word of caution; many dogs in shelters do not come with a history, so it’s a potluck as to what you’re getting. It is possible that your Golden Retriever may have health issues or have an unusual temperament.

For that reason, it’s worth asking the shelter if you can take the dog home on a short trial arrangement for a few weeks to see if he settles in well with your family. This arrangement of “try-before-you buy” can be very beneficial for both the dog and owner. You can give the Golden Retriever back to the shelter if he doesn’t suit your family.

There are many different types of Golden Retriever Mixes that are popular. Some of the most well-known are

As Family Pets

Now that you know more about the loving, noble Golden Retriever let’s review the key points to help you decide if a Golden is the right pet for you and/or your family.

  • If you don’t have enough space or live in an apartment, don’t get a Golden Retriever.
  • These are big dogs that need plenty of space, including an outside area where they can play.
  • The golden retriever is characterized by a long, beautiful coat.
  • Unfortunately, he’s also a very heavy shedder, so you’ll need to have plenty of time to groom your dog every day, and you won’t need to mind the mess!
  • A Golden Retriever is not the best choice for pet allergy sufferers.
  • Golden Retrievers love everyone, including little kids and other dogs.
  • However, that could be a potential issue if you have small children who could get knocked off their feet by a lively, unruly Golden.
  • If you don’t enjoy spending time outdoors, walking, jogging, or cycling, don’t get a Golden Retriever.
  • Goldens are a working breed, and they do need lots of exercise.
  • If you and your family are interested in canine sports like agility, dock diving, and obedience, then the Golden Retriever might be the right choice.
  • Golden Retrievers don’t appreciate being separated from their human family for long periods. Your Golden will not be content living outside. Separation anxiety can lead to destructive behavior and excessive barking.

A Golden retriever is a great family pet if your home has a large back yard and your family lives an active lifestyle. Goldens are great with children and other animals, so a household with multiple occupants would be a good fit for a Golden Retriever. When the time comes, make sure you pick the perfect Golden Retriever dog name.

Final Thoughts

A Golden Retriever is a great choice for anyone looking for a companion dog who can get along with kids and pets.

Golden Retrievers require a lot of exercise. They will happily join you on hikes, bike rides, and beach trips. Your Golden can participate in many canine sports including agility, dock diving, and obedience if you are interested in competing.

The only problem with Golden Retrievers is their heavy shedders. You’ll need to dedicate lots of time each day to groom them. You won’t mind sharing your carpets, upholstery, and clothes with shed dog hairs!

Good luck finding your perfect canine companion!

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