Is a Golden Retriever the Right Dog for Me? (Owner’s Guide)

Bringing home a new dog, especially a Golden Retriever, is a huge commitment that can drain your time, energy, and finances. But what if you absolutely fell in love with a Golden Retriever at the pet store or shelter, and you’re wondering: Is a Golden Retriever right for me and my family?

A Golden Retriever is the right dog for you if you have a loving home, the time and energy to exercise them daily, and can afford how much food they eat. You should have a lifestyle that enables you spend time with your Golden, and give them as much love and attention as this incredibly social breed needs.

Before bringing home a golden retriever, you will want to read through this owner’s guide so you can make an informed choice about having a Golden in your life.

How to decide if a Golden Retriever is the right dog for you.

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The History of the Golden Retriever Breed

The Golden Retriever dog breed was officially recognized in 1925 when the American Kennel Club noted the first documentation of the breed in England and Scotland. The name “retriever” comes from the Golden Retriever’s impeccable ability to locate and retrieve waterfowl that had been downed during a hunt.

Today, Golden Retrievers are most widely known for their exceptional intelligence, loyalty, and loving nature. Goldens are ranked as the third most popular dog breed in the United States.

How Much Room Do Golden Retrievers Need?

When considering a Golden Retriever, one of the first and most obvious questions you may have asked is: Is my home big enough for a Golden Retriever? The answer may surprise you! While Golden Retrievers are big energetic dogs, they don’t necessarily need a large home to live in.

Even though Golden Retrievers can be rambunctious dogs, they are happy to get most of their energy needs met outside. So if you live in a smaller house or even an apartment, you probably have enough room for a Golden Retriever. It’s all about meeting their exercise requirements (more on that below).

If you can provide for their daily exercise needs outside of the house, a Golden Retriever will tend to be a calm and happy dog, even in a tighter living space.

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

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

As a family dog, Golden Retrievers are tops, because they love and look out for every member of the family, including the kids. This is just one of the many reasons that Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular family dogs.

When it comes to playtime, Golden Retrievers are exceptionally versatile. Older kids and teenagers can play rough and wrestle around with their Golden Retrievers, while a well-trained Golden will be calm and gentle around babies and toddlers. Golden Retrievers are quite possibly the perfect dog for kids!

Recommended Reading: 12 Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Make Good Family Pets!

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Other Pets?

The answer to this question is a resounding YES! Golden Retrievers are known for their gentle, loving nature, and they are generally good with other household pets. That being said, it’s important to keep in mind that not all animal personalities will mesh well with each other so it’s best to introduce your pets slowly when bringing a new dog home.

After all, you don’t want either of them getting hurt during the process or having bad associations with one another going forward. Keep in mind that while Goldens are typically good with other pets, it depends on the particular Golden’s individual personality and past experiences.

In many cases, Goldens are just as good with other animals as they are with people, making them the perfect new pet to introduce to the household.

Recommended Reading: Will a Golden Retriever Get Along With a Smaller Dog? (Explained!)

What Are A Golden Retriever’s Exercise Needs?

Before deciding on a Golden Retriever you’ll need to determine if you have the time and energy to give them the exercise they’ll need. Golden retrievers are high energy dogs that require daily vigorous exercise. This can be in the form of a walk, run or even a swim. A Golden Retriever will require at least 1 hour of exercise per day to be happy, healthy, and well-adjusted.

Most behavioral problems associated with Golden Retrievers are due to a lack of consistent exercise, so it’s important to remember that a Golden Retriever is happiest when you can provide them with quality time and a lot of exercise.

Recommended Reading: How Long Should a Golden Retriever Be Walked? (Explained!)

What Are a Golden Retrievers’ Grooming Needs?

Golden Retrievers require a fair amount of grooming because of their thick beautiful coats. Goldens are double-coated, with a water-resistant undercoat and a longer top coat. Their outer coats can grow up to 3 inches in length they tend to shed A LOT.

For this reason, you’ll need to give a Golden Retriever a thorough grooming every six weeks or so! Weekly, or daily brushing will help eliminate any tangles or mats from forming in their coat, and will help reduce significantly the amount of hair found around your house.

Most dog breeds will also require regular nail trimming, as well. I’ve, however, not found that to be the case with my Golden Retrievers. The breed is so energetic, they will keep their own nails filed down, as long as they’re getting enough exercise.

Recommended Reading: How to Take Care of Your Golden Retriever’s Coat: Step-by-Step

Is a Golden Retriever a good dog for first time dog owners.

What Do Golden Retrievers Eat?

A balanced diet is absolutely essential to the health and well-being of a Golden Retriever. You can’t just feed them the cheapest food and expect them to thrive. Goldens require a high-quality dog food, something like Blue Buffalo Life Protection (Amazon) will provide well for their nutritional requirements.

Both wet and dry food are recommended by experts for different reasons. Dry kibble can aid in preventing tartar buildup by gently scraping the surface of their teeth, while wet food can serve as a supplemental source of necessary vitamins and minerals.

In most cases, you will want to feed dry kibble on a daily basis, with an occasional treat of the wet food. Keep in mind, that Golden Retrievers are medium to large sized dogs, and they tend to go through a 30lb bag of kibble fairly quickly. This is something you will have to factor into your budget and monthly food bill.

Recommended Reading: How Much To Feed a Golden Retriever Daily (Puppy, Adult, Senior)

What Are Some Common Health Issues of the Golden Retrievers?

Proper care and nutrition can certainly help avoid any life-threatening medical conditions. However, there are a number of common health issues associated with Golden Retrievers. Hip dysplasia is the most common issue. It’s when the hip and ball socket starts to rub or grind, and is associated with either genetic issues in young dogs (poor breeding), or is a sign of advanced age.

Some other health issues commonly associated with the Golden Retriever breed are:

  • Ear infection
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Cataracts
  • Thyroid problems
  • Elbow dysplasia

Many of these conditions can be minimized with a proper diet and regular exercise. If you’re purchasing a Golden puppy, it is critical to find a reputable breeder. The money you save with a dog from a puppy mill may be lost many times over if you end up with a sickly dog that is the result of poor breeding.

Golden Retrievers have an average life span of between 10 and 12 years old. Upon reaching the age of eight, the retriever is considered a senior dog. At this age, the dog should be cared for accordingly, which might include a change in diet to avoid weight issues, and modification of the regular exercise routine.

Recommended Reading: How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live? (5 Tips for a Longer Life)
Golden Retrievers are the funniest dogs!!!

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!

Where Can I Buy or Adopt a Golden Retriever?

Nowadays online searches are one of the easiest ways to find a Golden Retriever puppy for sale. However, I’d urge you to consider looking for a Golden Retriever to adopt in your area. You can use a website like PetFinder, to search for dogs by breed, age, location, and many other specs.

Search engines like this utilize information from numerous adoption and rescue agencies in order to match you with the right pup. Alternatively, if you’re set on getting a Golden Retriever, there are many breed specific rescue groups located throughout the United States.

A rescue group that specializes in the Golden Retriever breed (i.e. Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue), will have many Goldens to choose from, and it shouldn’t be hard to find a beautiful purebred Golden Retriever that is the perfect fit for you! Not only will the initial Golden Retriever price tag be less, in my experience, rescue dogs are the best dogs in the world!

You can also visit your local shelter, as they tend to have dogs of all different breeds and ages up for adoption, which is a more personal way to meet and get to know a dog prior to adoption. Additionally, volunteers and employees at the shelter may aid in helping to match you with the perfect dog for you.

What Should I Do After Adopting or Buying a Golden Retriever?

During their first week at home with you, it is essential to build trust and a sense of security with your new Golden Retriever. Your Golden should be greeted by a calm, inviting environment, and be allowed ample time to explore and become acquainted with you, as well as your living space.

For Golden Retriever puppies, additional measures should be taken for their safety and yours, which might include moving breakable items and covering sharp corners.

If you already have a name chosen for your pup, keep in mind that repetition is key. In other words, your Golden Retriever puppy is more likely to recognize and respond to their name if it is frequently repeated.

Throughout this process of welcoming your new friend into your home, patience is important. While experts recommend spending a full week on gaining trust and building a comfortable environment for your pup, this process cannot be rushed. It is important to set aside all the time that your Golden Retriever may need.

Recommended Reading: 15 Reasons Golden Retrievers Are Great First Time Dogs!

So Is a Golden Retriever Right For You?

Golden Retrievers are one of the most loyal and affectionate breeds of dogs there is. If you have a loving home environment, and are willing and able to put in the time and energy, definitely consider adding a Golden Retriever to your household. You will have a friend for life!

Although there are a number of factors to consider when deciding which type of dog best fits your household, pet owner guides such as this one can be of great assistance. I hope that this guide has helped you to better understand the needs of a Golden Retriever dog, and whether you’re ready or not to be a Golden Retriever owner!


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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