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Becoming the proud parents of any dog is an exciting time, but it’s important to make sure the breed is a good fit for your environment and lifestyle. Are golden retrievers good family dogs? Read on to find out.
Golden Retriever owners are a lucky lot. That’s because this breed is famous for being highly intelligent, athletic, quick to learn, family-friendly, and well…just fun to be around. Goldies are not just beautiful sporting dogs―they are fantastic companion dogs as well. In fact, the many natural talents of these dogs make them superb at multiple tasks. They are outstanding retrievers―great field dogs as well as amazing water dogs. Golden retrievers are fantastic disability assistance dogs, police dogs, award-winning show dogs, kids’ dogs, and so much more.
But, as it is with all dogs, there are both pros and cons to owning this lovable breed. Fortunately, the positives that make Golden Retrievers so popular far outweigh the negatives. Please read on to learn the many positive reasons why a Goldie may be the perfect dog for you.
What Are Golden Retrievers?
It is generally accepted that Goldies originated in Scotland around the 1830’s. It’s thought the breed came out of a local desire for a superior upland retriever for Scotland’s 19th-century bird hunters. Basically, as shotguns got better there were more hunters and more game birds were being hunted….but more birds were being shot and lost. The need was great for a new dog breed that was dependable and easy to train as a water and upland fowl retriever. Thus, the Golden Retriever was born as a new sporting breed. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention in all things, including dogs!
In 1925, the AKC accepted Golden Retrievers as a distinct new breed. Today, Goldies are extremely popular in North America and Europe as a much-loved family pet, medical and police assistance dog, and as a prized sporting dog. As you will see below, the Golden Retriever is a wonderfully affable dog that bonds tightly with his or her human family.
What Makes Goldens So Special?
Trainability―Goldies do well in training because they are very athletic, intelligent, and receptive to commands. They also have an inherent need to learn new skills and to please their human family. This is a highly trainable breed that is capable of learning many new skills well beyond game bird retrieving. For example, Goldens are highly popular as family pets, K9 patrol dogs, military dogs, cadaver dogs, terminal patient care dogs, disability assisting dogs, companion dogs, and so much more.
Temperament―Golden Retrievers are even-tempered. They are typically very friendly with other pets and playful with their human family. These dogs love to clown around and carry toys, sticks, or other prized possessions in their mouths. But, they take their commands and assigned tasks very seriously. They are obedient and extremely devoted. Above all else, they seek the attention, respect, and praise of their human for a job well done.
Grooming―This is a long-haired breed with beautiful “feathering” of the hair, especially on the legs and tail. They will shed a lot and self-groom frequently. And, bear in mind that regular bathing and grooming by their owners is necessary to maintain the health and luster of the skin and coat. As sporting dogs they often pick up ticks and burrs in the great outdoors so frequent inspection and grooming are necessary.
Human Interaction―As mentioned, Goldies are easily trained but they need interactions with their humans to learn new skills and obedience. They must be exercised and challenged every day. This breed loves to play interactive games so toys and companionship are a must. They also love water and will swim for long periods if allowed. Goldies need lots of exercise, playtime, and praise mixed with their training. These things are key to having a happy, well-balanced Golden Retriever.
Athletic Dogs―As the breed name implies, Goldies are retrievers. They are highly skilled athletes with an intense dedication but a calm demeanor. Although they are classified as a sporting or hunting breed, Golden Retrievers are friendly, playful pets that are usually great around kids―as long as they are well treated. As adults the males will reach or exceed 75 pounds and the females typically range from 40 to 60 pounds. They are high energy dogs that require frequent exercise so as not to get out of shape and out of sorts.
Golden Retriever Mix Dogs
In recent years the golden retriever has been crossed with a number of other dog breeds to create what some people refer to as ‘designer dogs’.
These golden retriever mix dogs have created some controversy, however there is no doubt they have proved very popular with those looking to welcome a dog into their home. If you want to find out more about these dogs, including the pros and cons of each breed, this guide to 15 Golden Retriever Mix Dogs is a great resource.
Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?
The answer overall is yes they definitely can be. The temperament, trainability, and fun-loving approach make golden retrievers a good fit for family life. However, this is a breed that needs a great deal of training, grooming, exercise, and care. Make sure you factor those needs in, before you make a decision.
There are many things that make Golden Retrievers a special breed. I’ve only touched on a few here. But, the major takeaway is that Goldies are a special kind of dog that requires a special kind of home and owner. If you desire a medium-sized breed that requires a lot of attention but is relatively easy to train and well-mannered, then a Golden Retriever may just be the dog breed for you and your family.
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