Goldens are highly intelligent, sociable, beautiful, loyal, fun loving and sometimes goofy dogs. These are all wonderful characteristics but as with all breeds, there are some downsides. Before you begin the process of adoption do some research on the golden breed or any other breed that you might consider. Your goal should be to find the dog that best matches the needs and lifestyle of your family. For more information about all breeds visit www.akc.org.
Characteristics of Golden Retrievers
The traits shown below are generalizations about the Golden Retriever breed. Keep in mind that there are exceptions to some individual dogs. GRRAND will assess the health and behavior of each rescued dog and share that information with you. In addition, you will have the opportunity to meet the dog prior to placement.
High Energy – Young Golden Retrievers (up to 4+ years of age) romp and jump with exuberance. They don’t mean any harm, but things can go flying – including people who are not steady on their feet. Adult goldens have a wonderfully settled temperament and you can specifically look for a calm one.
Maturity – The Golden is slow to mature and retains the silly, playful personality of a puppy up to 4 years of age which depending on your state of mind, can be both delightful and annoying. Many keep their puppyish traits into old age.
Retrievers – The “retriever” part of the breed’s name is not just coincidental. Goldens are extraordinarily delighted and full of pride when they have something to carry in their mouths. This includes balls, soft toys, smelly socks, or any other tempting item in your household. They are naturally “mouthy,” and happiest when they have something to carry around with them.
Shedders – Golden Retrievers are heavy shedders – you need to be okay with this reality. You’ll find a lot of hair on your clothing and furniture. They also produce a lot of dander. This is not the breed for anyone with significant allergies!
Friendliness – Goldens are good watchdogs but make lousy guard dogs because they love people far too much to be effective. They are not bothered by the noise and commotion of kids — in fact, they thrive on it. Due to its size, exuberance and strength he can easily knock over a small child by mistake. As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear and tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he’s eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Health Issues – Goldens are prone to allergies, skin problems, ear infections, cancer and hypothyroidism. Common inherited health issues are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, various eye problems and heart disease. It is important to consider these conditions along with regular annual vet expenses including vaccinations, heartworm testing/prevention and grooming when making the decision regarding this breed.
What Golden Retrievers Need From You
Family “Pack” Members – Goldens were bred to work closely with humans and do best living indoors as part of a family. You will become their pack-mate. At times, their desire to be with their family may even come across as needy. Don’t consider getting a Golden unless you’re willing to have him in the house with you, underfoot, every day.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation – Goldens need regular opportunities to vent their energy and do interesting things. If you are looking for a dog to keep in the back yard or just let them in and out of the yard, goldens are not the dog for you. They will become bored and stressed which will likely result in rambunctious and destructive behavior. Training, leash walks, leash runs, retrieving, playing, etc., are great outlets to treat boredom and stimulate your dog’s mind. Simply said, a tired golden is a well-behaved and happy golden!
Grooming – Some Golden Retrievers have a medium-length coat that’s not difficult to groom, while others have a heavier coat with lots of feathering. These latter dogs need regular grooming to comb out tangles before they become painful mats. They shed profusely, especially in the spring and fall. Daily brushing will help, but if you live with a Golden, you’ll have to get used to dog hair.
Weight Control – Goldens love to eat and will quickly become overweight if overfed. Limit treats, measure out your dog’s daily kibble, and feed him in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time. Click here for more information about overweight dogs. Healthy snacks between meals may also help. Visit this site for a list of healthy snacks for dogs.
Training – This breed is extremely easy to train and comes in fourth in The Intelligence of Dogs by Stanley Coren, as one of the brightest dogs. Your golden will love training. They want to please and respond best to positive training methods. Negative or punishment training methods are obsolete and harmful to dogs long-term. Training builds your mutual bond, enhances the partnership and enriches the relationship you share with your dog.