Golden Retrievers: Everything You Need to Know!

Golden Retrievers:  Everything You Need to Know! 1

If you are a parent looking for the ideal family dog, you know how important it is to choose a breed that will be good with children.

You want a dog that will be a family pet, play well with kids, be easy to train, and have a pleasant temperament.

So which breed is a perfect match for all of these traits?

The Golden Retriever!

golden retriever is great with children

One of the most popular breeds in the United States, the Golden Retriever has a long history of being one of the best family dogs.  It’s temperament and character make it one of the most loved dogs in history.

Are you ready to learn why the Golden Retriever should be your next family pet?  

Let’s get started!

History

The Golden Retriever has a unique history beginning in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s.  

A gentleman named Dudley Marjoribanks, known as Lord Tweedmouth, was known for his careful breeding of both livestock and dogs.  

Dudley Marjoribanks, known as Lord Tweedmouth, loved Golden Retrievers

His ultimate goal with breeding dogs was to create a superior breed of retrievers that would excel in the Scottish climate when hunting and retrieving local game.

In 1865 Marjoribanks purchased a puppy named Nous.  Nous was the only yellow dog in a litter of Wavy-Coated Retrievers, and her unique color intrigued Marjoribanks.

In 1868 and 1871, Marjoribanks bred Nous to his Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed now extinct).  Both of these litters had several yellow puppies.

Marjoribanks continued breeding the yellow offspring with other retriever breeds, including Red Setters.  Because he liked the yellow color of some of these puppies, he continued breeding the yellow dogs and giving the others away.

In 1906 the Golden Retriever entered its first dog show under the name “Retriever – Wavy or Flat Coated.”  The first registration in the American Kennel Club (AKC) was in 1925, and the AKC granted the Golden Retriever official recognition in 1932.

General Information

general information about golden retrievers

Unlike some breeds of dogs, Golden Retrievers do not come in multiple variations.  

The general size of a Golden Retriever is 20-24 inches tall at the shoulder.  Most adult Golden Retrievers weigh 55-75 pounds.

The average lifespan for a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years old.

More recently some breeders have begun breeding the Golden Retriever with different breeds to create crossbreeds.  The most popular Golden Retriever crossbreed is the Goldendoodle. This is the result of a purebred Golden Retriever and a purebred Poodle.

size and lifespan of golden retriever

Personality Strong Points

Golden Retrievers were bred to be used in hunting and retrieving game.  However, when many people think of the breed, other characteristics come to their mind first.

After all, isn’t it a bit unique that a dog designed for hunting has become one of the most popular family dogs in the local cul-de-sac?

Not at all!  

If you are familiar with Golden Retrievers, you know they have many characteristics other than their retrieving nature.

So what are some of the most-loved characteristics of the Golden Retriever?

golden retriever personality strong points

Family Dog

The Golden Retriever is the definition of “family dog”!  

They have a kind and gentle spirit, particularly around children.  They love family interaction and will quickly bond with family members.

Golden Retrievers have a sole purpose of being “part of the pack.”  No matter what the family is doing, the Golden Retriever wants to be a part of the action!

golden retriever is a family dog

Playful

Golden Retrievers love action, especially when it involves them being able to play with other dogs or humans.

Golden Retrievers do not like to sit still!  Instead, they love any kind of activity where they can be moving; this can include running, going on walks, playing fetch, swimming, or other activities.

Cheerful

It is unusual to label a breed based on their temperament, but the Golden Retriever is an exception.

What makes them unusual?

Their cheerful attitude.  

As long as they are loved and feel they belong, Golden Retrievers will display a cheerful and positive attitude.  They are also known to have a continual smile on their face.

Trainable

Golden Retrievers are one of the easier breeds to train.  This is due to their easy-going temperament combined with their desire to please their owners.  

Training will come faster if the training is done when they are puppies, and if the training is done in a consistent and non-threatening method.

Whether it is basic house-training or more advanced training involving tricks and other unique commands, the Golden Retriever is well prepared to be trained and taught.

Retrieving

True to their name, the Golden Retriever loves anything involved with fetching or retrieving.  This applies not only to the context of playing with the family. Hunters and farmers have found this helpful as well.

Part of being a retriever is having the characteristic of being a “mouthy” dog.  Golden Retrievers usually like to have something in their mouth to chew on or carry, and this is a direct result of the retriever part of their breeding and genes.

golden retrievers have a cheerful and positive attitude

Other Characteristics

Like any animal, the exact characteristics of the Golden Retriever will vary based on the puppy that you choose, the environment where it is raised, and the regular attention and care that it receives.

There are a few characteristics of the Golden Retriever that some people may not find ideal for their particular situation or wants.

These are not necessarily negative characteristics, but they should be considered if you are wanting a breed that has these specific personality traits.

Regular exercise needed

The Golden Retriever is an active dog and needs regular exercise.  As a general recommendation, it should have 40-60 minutes of daily activity.  

Golden Retrievers have been known to get into trouble when they are trapped in confined spaces too long.  Some owners do not realize that giving their Golden Retriever plenty of exercise will decrease the amount of “chewed-on furniture” in the house.  

What constitutes daily exercise?

This can include playing in the backyard or local park, going on a walk or run, or swimming.

Keep in mind that puppies should not be involved in vigorous exercise activities such as jogging until they are six or eight months of age. Over-exercising at an early age can cause joint problems. Begin with taking your puppy on short walks with frequent breaks.

If you are looking for a low-energy dog that will not require regular aerobic activity, then the Golden Retriever is not the best breed for you.

golden retrievers are not low-key dogs and require exercise

Not the best watchdog

Because they are so friendly to strangers and people, the Golden Retriever does not make the best watchdog.  

Golden Retrievers may bark when a strange person or vehicle approaches the house, but sometimes they are just happy to see another person.  They also will not be as quick to protect a child or defenseless person as some other breeds.

Space Considerations

Space is a concern with any pet, and Golden Retrievers are no different.  Because of their need for daily exercise and their larger size, you will want to make sure you have enough space in your house or back yard for your Golden Retriever.

If you live in a small apartment or have limited access to outdoor space, then the Golden Retriever is probably not the best breed for you.

Grooming

The Golden Retriever is a breed known to have longer and shaggier hair.  If their hair is not properly groomed, their coat becomes dirty, knotted, and gnarly.  It is important to groom your Golden Retriever regularly to avoid this.

One of the keys in properly grooming your Golden Retriever is to start when they are a puppy.  If grooming and care is done regularly and gently from the start, your Golden Retriever will become used to it and grooming can be done quickly.

So what are some of the best grooming practices?

They should be brushed daily to keep the tangles out of their coat and remove loose hair.  Make sure you use a brush that is made for coarser hair.

Golden Retrievers should also be bathed at least once a month to keep them clean and not having strong odors.  If your Golden Retriever is outdoors frequently and becomes dirty, then more bathing is suggested.

Other care for the Golden Retriever is routine for dogs.  Be sure to keep their nails trimmed. It is also recommended that you brush their teeth several times a week with approved toothpaste.

best grooming practices for golden retriever

Health

Obviously, the health of your Golden Retriever is a critical factor in your dog’s quality of life, as well as how long it will live.

The Golden Retriever is subject to many common disorders and illnesses of all dog breeds, but there are a few that are more specific to its breed.

What is your first line of defense?

The best time to be on the lookout for health issues in your Golden Retriever is during regular grooming.  Looking for sores, rashes, unusual skin or hair color, or other issues when you groom your Golden Retriever will help you get a jumpstart on any problems.

One of the more common issues found in dog breeds is hip and elbow dysplasia.  

This occurs when a joint in the dog’s leg or hip becomes weakened or malformed.  This can result in arthritis or even lameness if it goes untreated.

One way to help prevent this is to keep your Golden Retriever from running on hard surfaces.  This is most important while their bodies are growing and developing, but it will also negatively affect adult dogs.

Thankfully dogs can be tested for dysplasia since it is a genetic disorder.  Ask your breeder if they have any dysplasia testing or health records on your puppy’s parents.  If your puppy shows any negative signs, be sure to have them seen by your local veterinarian.

So what health problems are more specific to the Golden Retriever?

Because of their long and thick ears, Golden Retrievers are more prone to get ear infections.  This occurs when moisture gets inside their ears but does not dry because their larger ears prevent adequate air flow.

The best prevention against ear infection is to make sure the ears are thoroughly dried if your Golden Retriever has been swimming or gets significantly wet.  

The best time to check for moisture or infections in the ear is during regular grooming.

golden retrievers are prone to ear infections because of their long, thick ears

Another important thing to monitor with a Golden Retriever is its food intake.  Golden Retrievers love to eat, and many of them will overeat which can result in unhealthy weight gain.  

The best way to keep your dog a healthy weight is to measure regular feedings.  Don’t give your Golden Retriever large amounts of food at a time. It is also important to prevent them from eating too many table scraps and food leftovers.

Golden Retrievers have also been found to be more prone to cancer.  It is not yet fully known what causes this to be more prevalent in the Golden Retriever line, but several foundations have begun extensive research on this problem such as the Golden Retriever Foundation.

monitor golden retriever's food intake

Allergy Concerns

A potential problem for some people with Golden Retrievers is the concern for allergies that they may create.  

It is true that Golden Retrievers are a breed that can cause allergy problems in humans.  However, it is important to note that care can be taken to reduce the allergy problem with the Golden Retriever.

What causes people to be allergic to dogs in the first place?

The simple answer is dander.  Dander is caused by dead skin cells that are shed by dogs and other animals, including humans.  

Because of their longer and thicker hair, Golden Retrievers will create and shed more dander than some breeds of dogs, and this should be considered if someone in your family has concerns with pet allergens.

Proper and regular grooming and cleaning a Golden Retriever will reduce the number of allergens that a Golden Retriever releases.

Choosing Your Dog

3 options for choosing your dog

When it comes to choosing a dog, there are several options.

You can purchase from a previous owner, adopt from a shelter, or buy them as a puppy.

What are some pros and cons of the three places you can get your dog?

Buying from a Previous Owner

The first 16 weeks of a puppy’s life are critical stages of their development. When buying a Golden Retriever that is several years old, those early stages of development are past. This means that much of the training and development has already happened, whether good or bad!

A well-trained dog will save you a lot of time and energy on training, but a poorly trained dog will require work to break their bad habits.

It can also take longer to bond with an older dog that has had a previous owner.  Thankfully Golden Retrievers are social and can adapt quickly if given love and attention.

You should also ask for any veterinarian records on your dog.  This will allow you to keep up-to-date records on your dog’s health, as well as help you and your veterinarian know that your dog is current on all recommended vaccinations.

Golden Retrievers:  Everything You Need to Know! 2

Adopting from a shelter

Adopting from a shelter will provide a loving home to a dog in need, and the results can be beautiful.

Animal shelters are continually looking for good homes and families to adopt homeless pets, and this provides a way to give back to your local community and humane society.

If you choose to adopt from a shelter, you do want to be aware that it might require some additional TLC, patience, and training.  Much of this depends on the condition of your dog when it arrived at the animal shelter and the environment from which it came.

Many times the animal shelter may know very little about the dog’s background, so spending some time with the Golden Retriever in person will help you learn more about its personality.

Buying as a Puppy

Many people like to buy their Golden Retrievers as puppies, especially if they want a family pet.  

Buying a puppy provides you with a pet that will live a long, full life.  It also gives you the opportunity to provide quality training during the critical stages of development.

One of the biggest benefits of buying your Golden Retriever as a puppy is that you maximize the amount of time you are able to spend with it.  

Why is this important?

If you are able to bond with your Golden Retriever right away as a puppy, this will establish a strong bond between the puppy and your family.  

When you purchase a dog as a puppy, you can provide it with a quality environment from day one. You can avoid issues resulting from a poor environment, negligence, or lack of training.  

Along with purchasing a puppy comes the added responsibility to train the puppy.  You can either do all of the training yourself or enroll your puppy in a local obedience school.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a family-centered, playful, and cheerful dog; look no further than the Golden Retriever!

Purchasing a Golden Retriever will ensure you and your family a companion that loves every minute they can spend with you, and we can guarantee that you will love every minute with them as well.

If you are looking for a family-centered, playful, and cheerful dog; look no further than the Golden Retriever!

If you are ready to add a Golden Retriever to your family, head over to the Infinity Pups Golden Retriever puppies page to view our available Golden Retriever puppies.  All puppies listed with Infinity Pups are guaranteed not to be from puppy mills, and they come with a 1-year health guarantee.

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