Can Golden Retrievers Live in Apartments? (Should They?)

Not all aspiring Golden Retriever owners live in a house with a big backyard. A Golden Retriever, however, is a fairly big dog with a lot of energy. But does that mean if you live in an apartment, you shouldn’t have a Golden? Can Golden Retrievers live in apartments?

Golden Retrievers can successfully live in apartments. However, because of a Golden’s high energy levels and need for daily exercise, a Golden Retriever owner who lives in an apartment will need to be prepared to meet their dogs exercise needs with daily walks and outings.

While Golden Retrievers can live in apartments just fine, there are some things you’ll need to consider such as the size of the apartment, the effect on your neighbors, potty breaks, exercise, and your overall lifestyle. I’ll get into each of these in more detail below.

Can a golden retriever live in an apartment?

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Your Golden Retriever vs. The Size of Your Apartment

Many people recommend extra-small to medium-sized dogs for apartment dwellers, making the medium to large size Golden Retriever fall outside the upper recommended limit. Golden retrievers, however, don’t need as much physical space inside as many people think.

While they need to be able to have some space to walk around comfortably, most of their running and rambunctiousness will be taken care of outdoors. Golden retrievers while energetic, are often pretty mellow indoors as long as you’re giving them the regular and proper exercise they need (more on exercise further below).

Do keep in mind, however, that Golden’s love spending time close by their family members above all else, so no matter the size of your apartment your Golden retriever is likely to always be underfoot. This is just as true whether you live in a small apartment or a 5,000+ square foot house!

I would recommend that your apartment is at least 500 square feet or larger (depending on how many people live in that space) before seriously considering a Golden retriever in an apartment. I lived for several years in a studio apartment with my Golden retriever Jackson. The apartment was around 600 sq ft. It was just him and I, and we got along just fine.

Recommended Reading: How Much Space Does a Golden Retriever Need? (Explained!)

Apartment Life and a Vocal Golden Retriever?

If you live in an apartment, it is important to know that Goldens can be vocal dogs. While Golden retrievers aren’t big barkers, they will bark at strangers, noises they hear, and anyone knocking at the front door. If you’re living in an apartment, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be living with your dog in close proximity to other people.

A loud Golden retriever will not be appreciated by your fellow apartment dwellers. Training is the key here. By discouraging barking with consistent training, a Golden retriever will quickly learn what behavior is acceptable and what behavior is not.

Another thing to consider is that Golden retrievers sometime get what’s called the ‘zoomies’. This happens when a Golden has built-up a reserve of energy that they can’t contain anymore and starts running back and forth through the apartment or jumping up and down. As you can imagine, this creates a lot of noise, and is not a good thing if you live on the upper floor in an apartment building, especially one with thin walls or floors.

In this situation, training is only part of the solution. As I’ve mentioned before, Golden retrievers have energy for days, and the best way to control the zoomies is to tire your pup out. Try a long walk or make a visit to the dog park.

Golden Retriever Apartment Potty Time!

Of course, your Golden retriever is going to need to use the bathroom. When you live in an apartment, it’s a bit more difficult to have a potty routine. Those who live in houses can just let their dog out in the backyard to do their business. While some apartments have that privilege, not all of them do.

If your apartment building doesn’t have a backyard or a gated area that works for bathroom usage, you should quickly establish a walking route that would best suit your schedule. Generally, most adult Golden retrievers will need to go out to use the bathroom three to five times a day (more often for a Golden retriever puppy or an older dog).

However, it’d likely be best to go out in the morning, sometime in the afternoon, and again right before you go to bed. So as long as you can figure out a good routine and route for your dog’s potty usage, you should be okay to get a Golden retriever.

This is an area that your pup will have to completely rely on you. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold outside or raining, you’ll have to plan on regularly leaving the apartment to give your Golden regular potty breaks.

Is it possible to raise a Golden retriever in an apartment.

Exercise and Living in an Apartment With a Golden Retriever

This is where the rubber meets the road! Golden retrievers were bred to have an endless supply of energy, and it’s crucial for their mental and physical health that they have an opportunity to expend that energy on a daily basis.

Whether you live in a house or an apartment makes no difference. It’s not about the size of the interior living space as much as it’s about the time spent running and playing outside. Of course, if you live in a house with a big backyard it’s much easier to be able to step out back and play fetch with a tennis ball to wear your dog out.

Apartment living with a Golden will require that you get a bit more active yourself in order to provide the hour of more of daily exercise your Golden retriever needs. Taking long walks or trips to the local dog park are the two best ways to get the job done.

This is crucial for a Golden retriever living in an apartment (or anywhere else for that matter). If you can’t see yourself spending at least half an hour walking your Golden twice a day, then a less energetic dog would be a much better choice for you.

Almost all Golden retriever behavioral problems, can be traced back to them not getting enough regular exercise. It’s that important!

Are Golden Retrievers Friendly Enough For Apartment Complexes?

Absolutely! Golden retrievers are one of the most friendly and social dog breeds there is. A Golden will be very excited to meet and play with the neighbors whenever they can. Keep in mind that not all the neighbors will like dogs, so be respectful of everyone’s space and individual preferences.

If any of your neighbors have problems with dogs, just avoid them when you’re walking your retriever. Otherwise, you should be fine to have a Golden retriever in your apartment building!

While most Golden Retrievers are naturally super friendly, it is possible that your Golden (especially if they’re a rescue animal with a rough past) will be wary and untrusting of people. With some patience and training, it’s likely that this will turn around quickly, and your Golden will soon be angling to be pet by anyone they can get near.

How Often Will You Be Home (This is Important!)

As a breed, Golden retrievers require more attention from their family members than some other dog breeds. If you have a busy lifestyle or work excessively long hours that keeps you away from home a lot, a Golden retriever might not be the best choice.

Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to be by your Golden’s side every minute of the day, but keeping your Golden shut up in an apartment day after day, for long hours, with very little release is going to unleash a slew of behavioral issues, including separation anxiety, and make for one very unhappy Golden retriever.

Recommended Reading: How Long Can You Leave a Golden Retriever Home Alone? (The Facts!)

When I lived in an apartment with my Golden retriever, I worked a full-time job and Jackson was left home alone for the day. I did, however, make sure to give him a good walk both before and after work. Later, when we moved to an apartment closer to my work, I was able to come home for lunch as well which always brought a smile to my Golden’s face!

So definitely plan on a walk before and after work, and if possible, you may consider hiring a dog walker to come in the middle of the day, once or twice a week. You may even find someone you trust in your apartment building who loves your dog and would be happy to earn a bit of extra cash.

Another option would be to take your Golden to a doggy daycare once a week just to mix things up.

Be aware that there may be an adjustment period if there are any drastic changes in the amount of time you’re home. If your Golden’s used to you being home all day and you suddenly get a full-time job, it will require some getting used to. Because of this, it’s a good idea to train your Golden retriever to be okay spending some time alone. You can do this by slowly increasing the amount of time you’re away from home.

Finally, when you’re away from home, it’s a good idea to provide some mental stimulation in the form of toys your Golden retriever will love. Toys will give them something to do while they are at home waiting for you. Be sure to change out the toys every couple day or even everyday so that there is always something new and interesting to play with.

Getting a puppy and living in an apartment.

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!

Is a Golden Retriever a Good Choice For An Apartment?

An apartment is a great choice for your Golden retriever as long as you’ve considered all the factors. Sure, a house with a big backyard makes things easier for you as a dog owner, but an apartment will work just fine. Knowing a Golden retrievers requirements, make sure that you are committed to meeting their needs on a daily basis and are willing to put in a bit of extra effort due to living in an apartment.

If you’ve figured that all out, then you can most certainly have a Golden retriever in your apartment!

If you’re unsure of apartment rules and weight limits, talk to your landlord and your vet if you’re worried about moving to an apartment with a dog you already have. Your main priority is making sure your dog is happy and won’t have any problems. Just be sure to provide as much love and attention as possible.


Golden retrievers can live just about anywhere as long as they have everything they need. If you want a Golden retriever to be a good apartment dog, first consider your apartment’s size, the pet rules of the complex, pet deposit (if any), your dog’s size, their energy level, vocalizations, bathroom routines, walking routes, friendliness, and how often you’ll be home with them.

Golden retrievers are pretty easy to figure out. As long as their basic daily needs are met, and they get to spend time with the people they love, they’ll be happy being an apartment dog.


Pet WebMD – Separation anxiety

Google Books – The Golden

Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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