Golden Retriever

If you can put up with the tumbleweeds of hair throughout your home, a Golden Retriever is a great addition to any household.

Golden Retrievers are friendly, lovable and intelligent. They are adaptable to many different family situations and generally love people and other dogs. They are often very enthusiastic and energetic as pups, so some work is required to burn off that energy, but as they age they are content with long walks and lots of company.

Golden retrievers are very intelligent, willing to please and very trainable. They are happiest when they feel needed and when given clear directions. They make excellent assistance dogs, guide dogs and companions for those with disabilities.

WHAT DOES THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER WANT IN THEIR PERFECT LIFE PARTNER/FAMILY?

I love to be the centre of attention. My ideal family is busy, full of love and ideally complete with some children to play with me. I would love someone to throw the ball at the park with me and would also love to live with another dog. So long as you don’t leave me alone for long periods of time I will be a joyful addition to your household.

AT A GLANCE

Lifespan 12-13 years
Weight 25-34 kg
Height (at shoulder) 51-61 cm

 

PERSONALITY

Playful – Life is just a game to your average Golden Retriever. They love chase, ball-games and playing with other dogs. As they get older they can become a little lazy, but if kept at a healthy weight will often stay playful into middle age.

Intelligent – These intelligent dogs are very trainable and need at least 2 hours a day of exercise and training when young and continuing on into adult-hood. Without mental stimulation and training they become easily bored and sometimes destructive.

Gentle – the gentle Golden Retriever loves to cuddle up on the couch and be with the family. They are lovable, sweet and kind and despite their enormous size they would never (deliberately) hurt a fly.

EXERCISE & TRAINING

Exercise Requirements High – 1-2 hours per day
Training Requirements Medium – 0.5-1.0 hours per day
Apartment Friendly? No

 

Golden Retrievers love to play and need lots of exercise and mental stimulation. They enjoy a trip to the dog park or a run with their families. They love a job to do and are very eager to please, so motivating them for training is easy.

They love games of fetch and retrieve, due to their hunting background, so focusing on these training tasks will make for a very happy dog. Flyball would be a great activity for a Golden Retriever and they love agility work.

As a pup plan for 2 hours of training, socialisation and exercise a day. As your dog ages, you will need to keep up with the training and play to keep your dog mentally stimulated, but teaching your dog to fetch is a great way to burn off some energy quickly if you become short of time.

Golden Retrievers love to swim, so chat to your vet about how to limit ear infections if your Golden is a swimmer.

GROOMING

Trips to the Groomer No- easy care at home
Tick Friendly? No
Hypoallergenic No
Brushing High – Daily brushing required
Hair fall High Shed – you will be living with lots of hair
Coat Type Long

 

Golden Retrievers shed a lot, as anyone who has lived with one will attest. They have a dense coat that needs regular brushing out. The topcoat is waterproof, so bathing them can be problematic and they tend to take a long time to dry out once finished.

They are best avoided in high tick areas or in areas with lots of prickles or burrs. Otherwise invest in some clippers and keep that coat short to make it easier to manage.

FAMILY SITUATION

Good With Kids Excellent – Good with kids of any age
Good With Other Small Pets High – Good with other animals
Sociability High – Loves other dogs and best in a multi-dog household.

 

Golden Retrievers tend to love everyone. They are great with kids and surprisingly gentle even with smaller kids. They can be boisterous as puppies until fully grown, so will need to be taught manners and not to jump up to make them suitable for a family.

They can live happily with all shapes and sizes of other dogs, but should be watched around smaller species like ferrets and rabbits, though they tend to be very gentle with other animals.

EXPENSES

Overall Expenses (Annual) Medium – $1500-$2000
Veterinary Expenses (Annual) Medium – $200-$500
Food Expenses (Weekly) High (large and giant) – $20-$30+

 

Golden Retrievers being bigger dogs tend to require a fair bit of good quality food. As they grow a good quality diet and ensuring weight gain is not excessive will limit the risk of hip dysplasia occurring. They are prone to certain types of cancers, but are otherwise very robust dogs.

HEALTH & WELLBEING

MAJOR HEALTH CONCERNS

Hip Displaysia– Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, and while more breeders are hip scoring in an attempt to breed out this devastating disease, in some cases it can still occur, particularly with overfeeding at a young age.

Elbow Dysplasia – This common cause of fore-limb lameness occurs in many large breeds and is caused by several possible defects, including osteochondrosis and an incongruous growth rate between the radius and ulnar of the fore-arm. This disorder is another reason not to overfeed a growing Golden Retriever.

Cancer – No one knows why, but Golden Retrievers have higher rates of cancer, including haemangiosarcomas and lymphomas.

PREVENTATIVE CARE & WHAT TO LOOK FOR:

Ask your vet to check those hips, particularly under general anaesthesia for desexing, or any other routine visits.

Ears can become infected, particularly if your dog swims, to get used to what ‘normal’ looks and smells like for your dog and if those ears are prone to getting dirty, ask your vet how to clean them.

Make sure you keep your dog a nice healthy weight, as it will limit the risk of orthopaedic diseases such as cruciate ligament tears and osteoarthritis, particularly if your dog is prone to hip problems.

Golden Retrievers are also scavengers on walks, so keep an eye on what your dog is eating if you walk off-leash!

BREED ORIGIN AND INTERESTING FACTS

As their name suggests, Golden Retrievers were originally bred as gun dogs in Scotlan to retrieve ducks and game birds for hunters. No wonder they have such a love of water. Their coat is also ideally suited to swimming, with that dense inner layer to keep them warm and the outer water-repellent layer.

Retrievers are gentle, trusting and affectionate, so often make very poor guard dogs. Most owners report their retriever is most happy to receive any sort of visitors, even the less welcome kind!

While they have a somewhat goofy persona, the Retriever is actually ranked number 4 in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs. Their trainability has meant they have been used extensively in service roles, as assistance dogs and guide dogs. Assistance Dogs Australia trains Golden Retrievers to perform tasks such as opening doors, unloading the washing machine, shopping tasks and helping less able bodied adults and children to be a little more independent.

Golden Retrievers are also very popular guide dogs. New puppies undertake almost 2 years of training for their roles. The first 12 months is spent with Puppy Raising Officers who take responsibility for basic obedience and socialisation. Next they undertake intense training at the dedicated Guide Dogs Centre, finishing with one-on-one training with their new owner. Those that are not suitable often end up as Pet Therapy dogs.

RESCUE A GOLDEN RETRIEVER

Petfinder lists all types of dogs who need homes, both purebred and mixed breeds, adults and puppies.

The Golden Retriever Club of America has Golden Retrievers across most of the US needing new homes.

The ASPCA often has Golden Retrievers for adoption, just do an advanced search on their adoption page.