The Golden Choice: Owning a Golden Retriever Pros And Cons, Tips, etc.

Golden Retriever ranks as the 3rd most popular dog in 2018, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). Besides, who can resist the cuteness of these large doggos? They are the perfect buddy for almost any owner: Goldies are smart, extremely friendly, trainable, and very affectionate. And although their grooming needs are quite challenging, the sacrifice is all worth it. But before you head to the nearest shelter or breeder, know that this breed has its ups and downs. For this post, we discuss owning a Golden Retriever pros and cons, together with more useful information.

Background of Golden Retrievers

owning a golden retriever pros and cons

Golden Retrievers or fondly called as Goldies don’t have a solid origin. But for the past years, it’s believed that these sweethearts are descendants of Russian circus dogs. However, according to the AKC, Goldies are Scottish gundogs bred to be companions for fieldwork. They can retrieve fowls and other items that their masters hunt outdoors.

Golden Retrievers are documented for as early as 1835. They were discussed in detail on the record books of gamekeepers at the Guisachan estate of Lord Tweedmouth. This is located in Inverness-Shire, Scotland.

Back in 1952, the records were publicized to provide factual information about the breed. Over the years, Golden Retrievers were domesticated, trained to be working dogs, and groomed for competitions.


Under ideal conditions, Golden Retrievers can live for up to 12 years. They reach the middle age by 5 and the geriatric or senior age by 10. However, since it’s a large dog, it’s more prone to various health problems that may impact its lifespan.


Take note that Goldies are large canines, often growing at the height of 2 feet tall. They are also heavy at around 55 to 75 pounds upon adult age.

**Breed characteristics

Golden Retrievers belong to the Sporting Dogs dog breed group. Although massive in size, Goldies are Velcro dogs that will follow you around and jump on your lap. They have a golden brown color that fades as they age, thus their name. Also, they have short ears, feathery tail, straight muzzle, and thick coats. They are also heavy shedders and moderate droolers.

**Preferred environment

As sporting and athletic dogs, Golden Retrievers aren’t advised to be kept on a small apartment. If you want to thrive with this breed, you need a large yard where it can romp and burn its energy. Also, they shouldn’t be left alone for long as Goldies are notorious for separation anxiety.

Moreover, Goldies can’t tolerate very hot weather, so make sure that you keep them cool during hot months.

Are you planning to own a Goldie? Make sure you know these five things first!

The Good

The good thing about the Golden Retriever breed is they are extremely friendly and affectionate. They are great across families due to their gentle demeanor. In fact, Golden Retrievers are the preferred canines for homes with small children as they can tolerate roughhousing.

Also, another great thing about Goldies is they aren’t wanderers. They prefer staying within their families unless compelled to run away due to fear, extreme stress, and violence. And although they are very active and energetic canines, their intensity is very manageable. They also get along with just about any dog, thanks to their vibrant and welcoming personality.

Golden Retrievers are gentle around kids, and they always have a dose of energy for playtime. So if a Goldie suddenly becomes reluctant to play, there’s something wrong going on with its health.

Moreover, Goldies aren’t intense barkers, but they will sound off with excitement when they see a stranger at the door. They have moderate prey drive, which isn’t a cause of concern.

The Bad

Goldies are amazing canines, but accept the fact they are lousy guard dogs. Friendliness is their second nature, and they will greet strangers with a wagging tail. If trained and domesticated well, Golden Retrievers will be excited to meet everyone. Nevertheless, this can both be a good and a bad thing, depending on its owner.

Also, you should watch out since Golden Retrievers are mouthy dogs. They love exploring the world through their mouths, and that includes your new pair of shoes, couch, and curtains.

Aside from that, Goldies aren’t always advisable for first-time dog owners. Their intense energy and desire for attention can be a bit demanding, especially for busy owners. But for those who can endure their personality, Golden Retrievers will be an unforgettable pet.

The Ugly

I really can’t point anything ugly thing about Goldies. I guess the most negative aspect is their susceptibility to orthopedic problems. Nevertheless, if you get your pup from a responsible breeder, this risk can be minimized. Other than that, there’s no ‘ugly’ thing about Goldies.

Working dogs: the best of its class

Aside from being the star of the house, Golden Retrievers are also noble working dogs. They are one of the top choices for police work, emotional support tasks, and service dogs. Goldies are highly capable of working canines with the right mix of large size and intelligence.

Goldies excel as service dogs due to their calm and friendly nature as well as their brilliance. They also don’t mind being pet by anyone. Most of all, this breed is a people-pleaser, and they always want to make their masters happy.

Moreover, Golden Retrievers are trained to support hearing impaired and blind individuals. They can also be groomed to be emotional support canines and therapy dogs. Aside from that, this breed can be excellent assistance dogs as they can turn off the lights, close and open doors, and act as physical support for mobility-challenged individuals.

In this service dog training school in Arroyo Grande, CA, numerous Golden Retrievers are being groomed for a noble job:

Golden Retriever temperament and behavior

A well-raised Golden Retriever is playful, vibrant, obedient, and always ready for action. They are lauded for their very calm stance, even under the pinching behavior of toddlers. However, you should remember that this breed matures slowly. Even if it’s already large in size, it can still throw puppy tantrums.

When Goldies are locked in your home for long, it will start to exhibit signs of separation anxiety. They can be destructive chewers and loud howlers. You need to keep them company to prevent any of these behavioral problems.


As a large doggo, Golden Retrievers will need a specific large breed formula. An average Goldie needs 2 to 3 cups of dry food per day. However, this will vary depending on their age, weight, activity level, and health condition.

For the first three months of a Goldie’s life, it should be fed three meals a day. Once it reaches adulthood, you should get it used to two meals a day. This pertains to the frequency and not the specific amount per serving.

Never free-feed a Goldie as this doggo has a good appetite. It can be overweight, which will lead to orthopedic issues later on. Also, as a large breed, Golden Retrievers are susceptible to overgrowth if fed in excessive amounts as a puppy.

Potential health problems

Just like any breed, Golden Retrievers are prone to several health problems. Proper care and getting a pup from a responsible breeder should reduce the risk for the following conditions:


Since Golden Retrievers can grow heavy and large, their joints take the beating of day to day activities. Some are even born with a high predisposition to hip and elbow dysplasia. This condition occurs when the bones don’t fit snugly on the joint. This leads to painful rubbing, which manifests as bunny hopping and limping.

Depending on the extent of the condition, hip and elbow dysplasia may require a surgical procedure. For mild cases, the vet will prescribe pain killers to manage the symptoms.


Since Goldies are mouthy dogs, expect that it will contract allergens along the way. Just like any breed, they can be allergic to a variety of substances. However, take note that each Goldie is different from the other. If the Golden Retriever of your friend is allergic to chicken, it doesn’t mean that your pup will have the same sensitivity. 

*Gastric torsion

Also known as Gastric Dilation-Volvulus, this condition can be life-threatening in a matter of hours. It happens when a dog consumes too much food and air that makes the stomach extremely distended. It’s common among deep-chested canines like Golden Retrievers. If not addressed right away, it can lead to death. This is the same reason why you should never free-feed a Goldie. 

Grooming and care

One thing that you should know before owning a Golden Retriever is this: it’s not easy to groom. It has a thick, double coat that sheds all year long. The heaviest shedding happens during the spring and fall season as the doggo sheds its winter coat.

And with their adventurous nature, these doggos can get really dirty. Aside from that, Goldies are notorious for that distinct ‘doggy smell’ if not bathe for too long.

Also, you have to brush their coats at least once a day (same with all breeds). And with their thick coats, it can be difficult to spot the presence of critters unless it’s already in an advanced stage.

You should also brush the large daggers of this pooch and bathe them at least once a month. And if you have hardwood floors, you should clip their claws every two weeks to prevent it from scratching people as well.

Golden Retrievers also have fold-over ears, which is a perfect breeding ground for fungus and bacteria. So aside from washing them, you should also give this pooch an ear cleaning solution once a month.

Trainability and intelligence

If you’re looking for a smart dog, nothing beats Golden Retrievers. They are one of the smartest canines that are always willing to learn new tricks. Although pups can be quite stubborn, a little bit of patience can go a long way here.

Even typical dog owners can train a Golden Retriever at home. As long as you start it young, the dog will yield to your instructions. They are also easy to housebreak.

Unlike other breeds, Golden Retrievers can recall a specific command easily.

For aspiring Golden Retriever owners, here are the things you need to know about training before day one.

Which should you get: male or female?

A lot of aspiring Goldie owners are torn between getting a male or a female one. Some believe that female Goldies are more affectionate and laidback.

In the long run, the gender of the dog won’t matter, unless you have another pooch at home. For example, if you have a male Pitbull, it’s not ideal to get a male Golden Retriever. Make sure that you check the personality of the other canine if you have a multi-dog household.

Adopt or shop?

We always encourage you to adopt less fortunate dogs surrendered to shelters. Some of these dogs are surrendered due to their previous owners’ inability to sustain their needs. Others are moving out or can’t handle the addition of new puppies.

The good thing, though, is that many shelters and kennels conduct routine vet checks on these dogs. They can also issue a certificate proving that the pooch is in the pink of health before you adopt it.

And if you’re not sure if Goldies are for you, the shelter can make you a temporary handler. On a specific timeframe, you’ll bring the pooch home and see if it’s a perfect match for you. After the indicated period, you can decide if you want to adopt it or not.

So is a Golden Retriever the right choice for you? Make sure that you consider the factors we discussed above. It’s easy to fall in love with this breed, but you also have to guarantee that you can support their needs. This way, the pooch will not be another lonely dog surrendered to a local pound.

Final words

Upon reading this owning a Golden retriever pros and cons, you should have an idea if this breed is the right match for you. Goldies are charming canines, but just like any breed, they are not for everyone. You have to ensure that the breed’s personality matches yours. What do you think of this post? Do you have something to add? Share it with us in the comment section!