Dog Breed

Golden Retriever

Primary image of Golden Retriever dog breed
Full Name
Golden Retriever
Alternate Names
Golden, Yellow retriever
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Life Span
10 - 12 years
55 - 75 pounds

The Golden Retriever is known as the ultimate family dog. They are medium to large-sized dogs who love water, are always playful, and are very intelligent. They also have a gorgeous coat that comes in the standard golden, dark golden, and cream (light golden) variety, which only has the downside that it will most likely end up all over your home and clothing, as the golden retriever does tend to shed a good amount. Retrievers are very friendly with both humans and other dogs, and even a good choice for first-time dog owners, since they are eager to please their owner. Because of their incredible popularity, prices have gone up for goldens, as well as wait times- often exceeding 6 months for puppies from certain breeders.

United Kingdom
Bred For
Family Considerations
Child Friendly

Is the Golden Retriever good with children? Nearly all dogs enjoy playing with small children, but some can play too rough, or be a bit careless. In some cases dogs can get jealous of small children, or try and "herd" them due to their natural instincts.

Stranger Friendly

Is the Golden Retriever friendly with strangers? Getting a dog that is friendly with people really depends on what your lifestyle is. Dogs who are more cautious with strangers oftentimes make good guard dogs, which can be a great fit for some owners. If you are social, live in the city, or frequently have guests over, you may want to consider getting a stranger friendly dog.

Dog Friendly

Is the Golden Retriever friendly with other dogs? Of course this is particularly important if you already have another dog at home. However, it's an important factor to consider as well if you plan on frequently going to the dog park. Otherwise, even a dog who is not automatically friendly with other dogs can be an excellent fit, as they can still be affectionate with their human family.

Likes to Cuddle

Does the Golden Retriever like to cuddle? All dogs want love, but they have different boundaries when it comes to physical affection. If you plan on frequently having a dog on your lap or pushed up against you, then you should consider whether this breed enjoys that.


Does the Golden Retriever like to play? All puppies are playful, but as adults certain dogs are more playful. If you have children, or otherwise want to keep your dog active with plenty of play, there are plenty of options of breeds who will be happy to play all day.

Service Dog Ability

Does the Golden Retriever make a good service dog? When looking to train a service dog it's important to consider how they were historically bred, and if their personality makes a good fit. A service dog must be smart, patient, and obsessed with pleasing their owner. Working dogs are a good fits since service dog 'work' gives them a feeling of accomplishment from doing a job.

Overall Ease of Breed
Ease for Novice

Is the Golden Retriever good for first time owners? Dogs that are good for first time owners are ones who are easy to train, and are eager to please their owner. Very large dogs, or dogs with very high energy may also not be the best for first time owners since it adds a layer of complexity.

Training Potential

How well can the Golden Retriever be trained? This rating is about the training potential of the Golden Retriever. Dogs with high training potential oftentimes are good service dogs, police dogs, and dog show competition dogs. This does not necessarily mean they are the easiest to train, since many will be very intelligent and demanding.

Amount of Shedding

Does the Golden Retriever shed a lot?

Ease of Grooming

Is the Golden Retriever easy to groom?

Exercise Need

Does the Golden Retriever need a lot of exercise?


How smart is the Golden Retriever?

Amount of Barking

How much does the Golden Retriever bark? Does the Golden Retriever bark too much? It depends on your lifestyle, and where you live. Dogs use barking to communicate, keep guard, and alert. A strong bark can be a good characteristic for guard dogs, or flock guardian dogs who need to be vocal.In apartment living you should consider getting a dog who is less vocal.

Guard Dog Ability

Is the Golden Retriever a good guard dog?

Tolerates Being Alone

Is the Golden Retriever good at staying alone? Is the Golden Retriever independent?

Home and Environment Considerations
Good for Apartment Living

Is the Golden Retriever a good apartment dog? Can the Golden Retriever live in an apartment without becoming frustrated or destructive? Typically people immediately consider the size of the dog, but energy level and historical habitat are also factors.


How big is the Golden Retriever?

Tolerates Heat

How much does the Golden Retriever tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Golden Retriever?

Tolerates Cold

How much does the Golden Retriever tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Golden Retriever?

Potential to Run Away

Does the Golden Retriever try to run away? Some dogs have natural wanderlust and are escape artists... they will do everything to get out and explore.

Physical Characteristics
General Health

Is the Golden Retriever a healthy dog? The general health of a Golden Retriever should be measured not just by how many years they live, but how often they have health issues during their lives. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

Energy Level

How energetic is the Golden Retriever? Is the Golden Retriever too energetic for your lifestyle?

Amount of Drooling

How much does the Golden Retriever drool?

Prey Drive

Does the Golden Retriever have a large prey drive? Does the Golden Retriever like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals? Prey drive can be bothersome at the park, but really an issue at home if you have small animals, since this comes as a natural instinct for dogs with high prey drive, to chase cats, birds, etc.


Is the Golden Retriever atheltic? Is the Golden Retriever fast and strong?

Breed Variations

  • Image for the Black variation for dog breed


  • Image for the English Cream variation for dog breed

    English Cream

  • Image for the Dark Golden  variation for dog breed

    Dark Golden

  • Image for the Yellow variation for dog breed


The Golden Retriever is a purebred dog that belongs to the Retriever sub group, which falls under the larger Sporting dog breed group.
Sporting group: Sporting dogs are the natural athletes of the dog world. They have high energy, and always look to be stimulated with some activity or challenge. These dogs thrive in the outdoors- particularly the woods and the water. Sporting dogs include the best swimming dogs, retrieving dogs, and other field activities. They have traditionally been bred to assist hunters find and retrieve birds and other smaller hunting game. Sporting dogs are not known as guard dogs, but because of their alertness and loyalty to their family, with proper training they can be good home protectors as well. Over the years they have become extremely well-rounded, so with plenty of exercise can make excellent home companions. They are willing to please their owners, so if you put the time into training and exercise you will be rewarded with an amazing dog.
Retriever sub-group: Retrievers are one of the most globally recognized and loved breeds. They were bred to retrieve (especially birds) for their hunters. This has translated to a natural eagerness to please their owners. Combine that with their friendliness and intelligence and they make an amazing family dog. They can be trained well, and do not necessarily need an alpha type of owner. Because of the retriever's incredible versatility, they excel in a variety of other activities such as drug detection, service dogs for the blind, search and rescue dogs, and more. An owner should take advantage of the dog's eagerness to please by giving them challenges, and letting them feel rewarded for their good actions. The 'retrieving' is so bred into the nature of the dog that typically you do not need to teach them to "fetch" ... they just do. Retrievers aren't perfect though- they have been known to have a variety of health problems, most common being hip problems. Make sure you go through a reputable breeder, and don't be shy to ask about the hips of their dogs.

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