Dog Breed Guide – Golden Retrievers

Everything You Need to Know About Golden Retrievers

Everything You Need to Know About Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers rank third as the most popular dog breed in America according to the American Kennel Club owing to their good looks and excellent temperament.

They are playful, friendly, intelligent making them the perfect family pet. They also get along well with children, strangers, and other dogs.

They were discovered in the mid-1800s in Scotland where they were bred and raised by gamekeepers at an estate owned by Lord Tweedmouth.

Golden Retrievers are a cross-breed between a Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct), an Irish Setter, and a Bloodhound. They were originally bred for hunting.

Physical Characteristics

Golden Retrievers male dogs stand at a height of approximately 23 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 65 to 75 pounds. Females, on the other hand, stand at a height of between 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 65 pounds.

They reach sexual maturity at 2 years.

Golden Retrievers are muscular, sturdy dogs with a symmetrical body frame.

They have broad heads, a wide black or brown colored muzzle and short triangular shaped ears that flop down which when pulled forward cover the eyes. Their eyes are medium to large-size and are brown in color.

They are well known for their medium length gold-colored glossy hair coat which consists of a water-repellant  topcoat and a straight or at times wavy undercoat.

The fur on the legs, paws, front of the legs and head is short. It fans out at the back of the front and hind limbs, under the stomach, the front of the neck and the tail.

Their hair coat comes in 3 distinct colors as recognized by the American Kennel Club.i.e. dark gold, gold and light golden.

They have a general life span of between 12 to 15 years.

Temperament and personality

Golden Retrievers are lovable, charming and intelligent dogs. They are easy to train and thrive around people who display leadership. They aim to please their masters making obedience training a worthwhile investment.

They are warm, gentle and get along well with children. They maintain their high energy all throughout their life.

They make excellent watchdogs and always bark when a stranger approaches though not aggressive.

Golden Retrievers require both physical and mental stimulation otherwise they can become destructive and over-exuberant.

They make excellent sniffer dogs and can be used for hunting, retrieving, narcotics detection, competitive and obedience tricks. They also make excellent swimmers.


Golden Retrievers are easy to train. Early socialization is crucial to enable them to acquire good social skills. They can be exposed as early as 7 weeks to 4 months to different animals, strangers, sights, and sounds.

Reward-based training and positive reinforcement are most effective as they love pleasing their master.


Golden Retrievers are shedders. Regular brushing is required to maintain their double coat and to manage loose hair. They shed heavily twice a year (spring and fall)  and their coat should be brushed daily during this time to prevent tangling.

Their hair coat is water repellant, therefore, should be bathed occasionally.

Their teeth should also be brushed at least twice or thrice a year to keep away plaque and tartar.

Their nails should also be trimmed twice or thrice a month. Care should be taken when trimming their nails not to cut too short as they may bleed. 

Their fold over-ears are prone to infections as they present a conducive environment for microbes to thrive. They should, therefore, be kept clean and dry at all times.

Always check for rashes, hair loss, hot spots or signs of infection on the skin during grooming.

Overall make grooming a positive experience from puppyhood to make it a smooth exercise.

Living conditions

Golden Retrievers are friendly and warm. They get along with children and other animals. This makes them excellent family dogs and can thrive in multi-pet households.

They enjoy the noise and commotion that comes with having children around. However, their interactions should be supervised as they can knock over toddlers during play.

Children should also be taught not to approach a dog while sleeping and eating or try to take away their food as some can become aggressive.

They are also very energetic and love the outdoors. This makes them excellent companions for hikes, jogs, camping tips or bicycle rides.

They require regular exercise e.g 30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily otherwise they can turn destructive. This also makes a stand-alone home with a compound to run around more appropriate for these dogs.


Golden Retrievers grow very fast especially between the age of 4 months to 7 months making them susceptible to bone disorders. They should, therefore, be put high calcium and protein diets to support bone and muscle growth.

They should be fed 2 to 3 cups of good quality food two to three times a day with water given at liberty. Pet owners should, however, note that dietary needs vary depending on the age, size, and level of activity of their dogs.


Though considered a very healthy and fit breed, Golden Retrievers are predisposed to certain health conditions such as:

  • Mast cell tumors
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Congenital eye defects
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Heart disease
  • Skin allergies
  • Obesity
  • Cancer

Before taking home a Retrievers puppy always make sure they get a hip evaluation, elbow evaluation, cardiac exam and ophthalmologist evaluation.

Regular vet check-ups, a healthy high-quality diet and plenty of exercise help to keep these breeds of dogs in good health.


Golden Retrievers can be termed as America’s sweetheart. Their charming personality and good looks make them a popular favorite, ranking them the 3rd most popular breed in the United States.

These dogs make excellent family pets, getting along with children, strangers, and other animals. They also serve as working dogs, often used for sniffing narcotics, hunting, obedience tricks, and retrieving.

They, however, require regular grooming as they are shedders, especially during spring and fall.

They also require regular exercise to use up their pent up energy otherwise they can turn destructive.

They are easy to train.  Always use positive reinforcement and reward-based training during sessions as they desire to please their masters.

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