Golden Retrievers Really Like To Cuddle (Here’s Why!)

Golden Retrievers are a friendly and affectionate dog breed, who are always looking for ways to please their owners. Besides that, they’re easy to train, love giving and receiving attention, and make perfect additions to any family! But do Golden Retrievers like to cuddle?

In general, Golden Retrievers love to cuddle! Through cuddling, Golden Retrievers express their love to their owners. However, some Goldens may be more-cuddly than others. For instance, female Goldens reportedly cuddle less on average than males. Goldens sometimes even like to cuddle with other pets.

In this article, I’m going to share with you:

  • Ways a Golden Retriever can cuddle and show you affection
  • Why Golden Retrievers like cuddling so much
  • How and when a Golden Retriever puppy is most likely to cuddle
  • Reasons a Golden might be avoiding cuddling
  • And what to do to get your Golden Retriever to cuddle with you more
Woman cuddling with a Golden Retriever.

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Ways Golden Retrievers Cuddle and Show Affection

If you’re a current Golden Retriever owner, then you probably already know that they’ll go to great lengths to win your approval and favor. They communicate this to you through cuddling, but they also show their love in other ways as well. Here are some of the ways your Golden Retriever may show affection:

  • Sitting or lying close to you
  • Kissing and hugging
  • Resting their bodies across your laps
  • Sharing a bed with you
  • Licking you
  • Putting their paws on you
  • Wagging their tail while looking straight into your eyes

By showing these gestures, your Golden is communicating how much they care about you and would like to bond with you as their owner or family member. A Golden Retriever is just a big lap dog at heart!

Recommended Reading: How Do Golden Retrievers Show Affection? (Find Out Here!)

5 Reasons Golden Retrievers Like To Cuddle

Goldens are family-friendly dogs with even temperaments and out-going characteristics. Apart from their energetic and hopeless devotion to their owners, here are 5 reasons why the Golden Retriever breed is especially cuddly:

Stress Reliever

Just like in humans, cuddling releases a ‘feel good hormone’ called oxytocin in dogs. Also called the love hormone, oxytocin levels increase in dogs when they cuddle and get pet, making them develop trust and strengthen their connection with their humans.

Scientific research also shows that gazing for a few minutes into the eyes of your pet dog will elicit the same hormonal response. It works the same way with human babies and their parents.

Provides Warmth

Golden Retrievers tend to be most active and enjoy outdoor activities more in mild to cool weather as compared to the hotter summer months. This is because of their extremely thick double coat.

However, when it’s cold, e.g., during winter, a Golden Retriever will often like to cuddle even more in order to share body heat and keep warm. You’ll notice this even in their morning routines as they tend to be hesitant to get out of bed on colder days, just like us humans!

Goldens Are Very Loving

Golden Retrievers are incredibly loving and loyal dogs that will spend as much time with their family members as possible.

Their favorite way to express their love is by spending time close to their owners cuddling up and getting cozy on the couch, floor, bed…really anywhere they can. Perhaps they’ve also figured out that humans also love cuddling as much as they do, and that’s why they’ll do it over and over to please you.

With a Golden, you’ll also notice them repeatedly put their paws on you as a sign of affection. It’s kind of like holding hands for a Golden Retriever.

Recommended Reading: Do Golden Retrievers Have a Favorite Person? (Explained)


The friendly nature of Golden Retrievers is something that dog breeders know humans love, so they do their best, through proper breeding, to encourage the dogs they breed to maintain their cuddly and snuggly personalities.

Well-bred Golden Retrievers are so eager to please and give love that their happiness is contagious. They enjoy receiving cuddles as much as giving them. If you strive to reciprocate their affection and friendliness, you’re sure to have one very happy dog!

Genetic Inheritance

Humans have been taming dogs for a very long time. Research has shown that wild animals who easily bond with humans are more likely to survive as a species than other animals which aren’t able to form the same bonds as easily. Let’s face it, a friendly, happy, social pooch like a Golden Retriever is much more likely to be taken care of by humans than a snarling, aggressive wild dog.

Golden Retrievers were bred specifically to have the genetic traits that humans were looking for. While Goldens were initially bred to retrieve game for hunters, they were also purposely bred with the ability to be great companions during the hunt.

Golden Retrievers, as a breed, use this advantage to strengthen their ties with the planet’s most powerful species-man. So for survival reasons, it’s in this breeds best interest to be sweet and cuddly. While it may sound a bit opportunistic, it’s really just ‘survival of the fittest’ at work.
Watch this Golden Retriever cuddle his mom. So adorable!

Do Golden Retriever Puppies Like to Cuddle?

While adult Goldens love to cuddle, what about a Golden Retriever puppy?

Golden Retriever puppies like to cuddle just as much as adult Goldens do. A Golden Retriever puppy, however, has a lot of energy and a short attention span causing it not to want to sit still and cuddle for very long. Once a puppy’s energy has been expended, they are more than happy to snuggle up with their owner for a nap.

Golden Retriever puppies are either always on the move or asleep. While an adult dog will like sitting curled up next to you while they’re awake or sleeping, a Golden Retriever puppy will be most likely to cuddle with you when they are asleep.

4 Reasons Your Golden Retriever May Not Want to Cuddle With You

As a general rule, Golden Retrievers love to cuddle and be in close physical proximity with their owners. There are situations, however, that may leave a Golden with little to no interest in cuddling or curling up next to you.

Here are four reasons Golden Retriever might not want to cuddle:

Bad Past Experience

Dogs adopted from a shelter might be less-cuddly if they experienced mistreatment or abuse from their previous owners. Like human beings, they have good memories and will try to avoid making the same mistakes by keeping their distance and avoiding too much physical contact.

The good news is that this can change. If you spend time comforting and socializing with your Golden, they are likely to come around. Showing your Golden Retriever unconditional love and affection, in addition to some patience, will cause them to eventually overcome their misgivings. In time, you will become the focus of their abundant cuddles!


Dogs also experience depression. A depressed Golden Retriever is sad, lethargic, and withdrawn. This may be caused by the death of the owner or a companion animal, extreme loneliness, and abrupt changes in daily routines. In such a case, you can cheer them up with fun activities they will enjoy like road trips, exercise, and interacting with other dogs.

Recommended Reading: Is Your Golden Retriever Lonely? (How to Tell & What to Do!)

Illness or Injury

Look out for signs of injury or illnesses if your Golden Retriever’s behavior suddenly changes, and they abruptly stop wanting to cuddle. Your pet may appear exhausted or show other symptoms of disease. The best solution, if unsure, is to take your Golden to a vet for a checkup and treatment.


Apart from being previously mistreated, your Golden might be fearful in the moment and avoid cuddling due to loud noises from thunder or fireworks, people arguing nearby, or having a new pet in the house. Even having strangers around can make them fearful.

Your Golden may also be fearful and unsure if you move into a new house. In this case, they will remain less-cuddly until they familiarize themselves with their new environment and begin to feel more comfortable.

Other factors that may cause a Golden Retriever not to want to cuddle include hunger, advanced age, and the desire to go out to exercise (too much pent up energy to sit still).
This is a typical snuggle session when you have a Golden Retriever.

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!

How To Get Your Golden Retriever To Cuddle More

If you find that your Golden Retriever isn’t as cuddly as you’d like, there are some things you can do to more fully bond with your Golden that will encourage them to snuggle and cuddle more often.

Positive Reinforcement Training

This involves rewarding your Golden Retriever when it behaves appropriately. To find success with this technique and get your Golden cuddling more, try the following steps:

  • Train your Golden to follow simple commands, for example, coming when called.
  • Reward him when he comes.
  • If you sense he’s losing his focus, capture his full attention on you again by giving another command (such as ‘sit’) and reward him again if he follows your direction.

Repeating the steps above will teach your Golden that you are a person that they should always watch, and they will naturally bond closer with you. The cuddles will follow 🙂

Avoid Punishing or Getting Overly Emotional With Your Golden Retriever

Avoid punishing your Golden Retriever or getting overly upset with him. Of course, if he’s shredding your new pair of shoes he will need to be stopped and disciplined, but if his bad behavior isn’t so extreme, try just ignoring it by not giving him any attention.

The key to positive reinforcement training is to reward the dog, either through words or treats, when he does something you want. By focusing on the desired behavior, your Golden learns that he will get what he wants most (attention from you) when he behaves appropriately.

When you punish and yell at a Golden Retriever, it will just drive him away. Your Golden may not even be aware of why you’re punishing him, which really sends confusing signals to your pup.

Your Golden wants to please you, and will be much more loving and cuddly when he knows what is expected of him, and he feels secure with your emotional state.

Give Your Golden a Lot of Exercise and Attention

As we’ve seen, one of the reasons Goldens avoid cuddling is a lack of exercise. Goldens love exercise and a Golden Retriever who’s not getting enough will not be content enough to want to chill and cuddle with you. Making sure your Golden is getting enough exercise will leave him calm, relaxed, and ready to cuddle.

Spending more time with your Golden will also lead naturally to more snuggle time. Having fun and playing with your pup is just as important for bonding as obedience training is. Having a balance of both is good for your emotional connection with your Golden.

Recommended Reading: Why Does My Golden Retriever Sit or Lean On Me? (10 Reasons)


In general, Golden Retrievers love to cuddle. In fact, they love to cuddle so much, as a dog owner, you may find yourself wanting a little space from your pup from time to time. Being close with their humans is second nature to most Goldens and the desire to snuggle up together comes quite naturally.

If your Golden isn’t interested in cuddling, it’s most likely due to one of several factors including being scared or ill. If you’ve eliminated those as possibilities, spending more time with your Golden Retriever and strengthening your bond will likely cause your Golden to become a cuddle machine.

Remember, cuddling has psychological benefits for both humans and dogs!


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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