16 Golden Retriever Pros and Cons

Golden retriever pros and cons

Are you unsure whether you should own a Golden Retriever or any other breed dog? Here, I have talked about the pros and cons of Golden Retrievers so that you can figure out whether this breed is ideal for your lifestyle or not.

Golden retriever pros and cons

According to FCI, there are around 360 dog breeds all over the world. It’s not easy to select the right dog breed, especially for newbies.

Before owning a new dog, knowing the pros and cons of the dog breed can help a lot in making the right decision.

In this post, I will talk specifically about the Golden Retriever breed. It will give you an idea of whether this dog breed is the right fit for you or not. But, before that, let’s have a look at the basic overview of the breed.

Golden Retriever: Breed Overview

Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. As per AKC’s “2020 Most Popular Dog Breeds Rankings” list, Golden Retriever ranks number fourth (after Labrador, French Bulldog, and German Shepherd).

This retriever dog breed originated in Scotland, United Kingdom. It was bred primarily to retrieve birds undamaged. Due to a soft mouth, a golden retriever can easily grab a bird and take it back undamaged.

Apart from working as a hunting dog, the breed is also known for its ability to work as a guide dog for the blind and a hearing dog for the deaf.

In this guide, I am going to walk you through the Golden Retriever pros and cons to help you know about this breed in a detail.

Golden Retriever

Pros and Cons of Golden Retrievers

Well, here is the list of pros of golden retrievers:

  1. They are happy and friendly
  2. They are smart and intelligent
  3. They are easy to train
  4. They are good with families and kids
  5. Playful nature
  6. They get along well with other dogs and animals
  7. They aren’t barky
  8. They are extremely loyal
  9. Ideal for first-time owners

Now, let’s check out the cons of golden retrievers:

  1. They shed a lot
  2. They don’t like being left alone
  3. High grooming requirements
  4. High exercise needs
  5. They are costly
  6. They aren’t great guard dogs
  7. They are prone to certain health problems

Pros of Owning A Golden Retriever

Let’s talk about each point in a bit detail:

They are happy and friendly

This is the main reason which makes it the most popular dog breed. The fun-loving and affectionate nature of this breed makes it perfect for families. If you are looking for a dog companion for you and your family, GR can be the best choice.

Happy adorable golden retriever puppies

Goldens are very sociable and they love to be loved. The extroverted nature of Goldens is what makes it easy for them to get along with anyone they meet. They get along well with families, kids, other dogs, and even strangers.

They are highly intelligent

Smartness is another reason to get a Golden Retriever dog. Due to their high intelligence, they quickly learn new commands and behaviors.

According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s (psychology professor and neuropsychological researcher) The Intelligent of Dogs book, the golden retriever is the fourth smartest dog breed for obedience and working intelligence. Dr. Stanley compiled the list in his book based on the dog breeds’ ability to learn new commands and behaviors.

They are easy to train

A higher intelligence level takes us to this point. When a dog is intelligent, providing various types of training becomes easier. In the above point, we have already seen that Goldens have good obedience and working intelligence. As they are smart and like to please people, they are easy to train.

They were bred to retrieve birds undamaged. To be obedient and please people are the characteristics of their ancestry. To boost a golden retriever’s motivation when providing training, you can use treats. Don’t do it too much as it can lead to obesity.

They are family-oriented

If you are finding the perfect family dog, a golden retriever can be the right choice. The GR dog would love to be a part of your family and will get along well with all the members.

Apart from that, the dog breed gets along well with children of all ages. A golden retriever puppy is the best gift you can give to your kids. The playful, affectionate, and fun-loving personality traits make them perfect for families with kids.

They are playful in nature

Golden Retriever playing with a ball

This retriever breed is energetic and can play with you and your kids for long hours. They enjoy playing with chew toys, fetch toys, plush toys, squeaky toys, etc.

Goldens enjoy outdoor games more than indoor games. Playtime sessions with fetch toys can be a good way to provide physical stimulation with fun. It is advisable to keep an eye on your Golden retriever when he/she is around your child. After all, it is a retriever dog; so it has some chasing instincts.

They are good with other dogs and animals

If you are thinking of pairing a new dog with the existing one, you can consider this dog breed. Golden retrievers are amazing companions and easily get along with other animals (like dogs, cats, and rabbits).

As compared to other dog breeds, Goldens have a low prey drive. As long as the other dog is friendly and loving, there won’t be any problem introducing a golden retriever to another dog.

They aren’t barky

As a dog owner, it can be irritating to hear loud barking noises from your pet dog the whole day. Talking about GRs, they come under the friendliest and most peaceful dog breeds. Compared to other dog breeds, they aren’t so barky.

There can be a list of different reasons why a dog barks. It could be due to excitement, aggression, or receiving attention. Goldens are smart enough and they bark when there’s a good reason. Though GRs choose to remain silent most of the time, they also hold the title of having the loudest bark in the world.

They are extremely loyal

This is another good reason to own a golden retriever breed dog. Apart from its friendly and affectionate nature, loyalty is another personality trait that makes the golden retriever one of the most popular dogs in the United States.

Golden Retriever with the owner

The loyalty of a golden retriever will stay throughout his life. This personality trait has to do with the breed’s history. Goldens were primarily bred as hunting dogs. Their main task was to spot and retrieve birds undamaged. The breed was loyal to the owner’s directions and commands. Hence, loyalty is one of the personality traits modern GR has received from its ancestry.

They are ideal for first-time owners

Each breed has different temperaments and requirements. For first-time owners, it can be a bit difficult to select the right dog breed.

Talking about golden retrievers, their loyalty, affection, and smartness make them ideal for first-time dog owners. Goldens can get along with anyone easily, be it family members, kids, other dogs (and animals), or strangers. They are so loyal and they love to please their owners. Apart from this, training a GR is also very easy. As they are smart enough, there’s no need to work hard to make them follow your commands.

Cons of Owning A Golden Retriever

In the previous section, we have seen the pros of having a golden retriever breed dog. Knowing the disadvantages is equally very important. Here are golden retriever cons:

They shed a lot

After adopting a GR, shedding is one of the main issues you have to deal with. Goldens shed moderately throughout the year. Their shedding frequency increases twice a year – spring and fall seasons. More shedding means increased grooming requirements.

As a GR owner, you have to accept the fact that your dog will never stop shedding. However, there are certain ways to minimize the shedding level. Firstly, you have to brush your pup regularly. Maintaining a proper brushing routine would prevent tangling and ensure better coat health. Apart from that, providing regular baths (once a month or once every other week) and feeding high-protein food will also minimize dog shedding.

They don’t like being left alone

Goldens are fun-loving and sociable dogs. They always need someone to be around them. Leaving your Golden alone for longer periods is the worst thing you can do with him. It can lead to destructive behavior and separation anxiety. If you have a busy schedule, this may not be the right breed for you.

Golden Retriever lonely

Now the question is, how long can Golden Retrievers be left alone? The answer to this question varies based on the age of the canine, the training you provided, the individual dog’s personality, etc. In general, a golden retriever over 18 months of age can be left alone for 3 to 5 hours a day. And, the dog under 18 months of age can be left alone for a maximum of two hours every day. When left alone, the pup needs to have easy access to food, water, and a bathroom.

Their grooming needs are high

If you want to adopt a dog that has little to no grooming requirements, then this breed isn’t for you. Goldens have beautiful double coats that require regular grooming. In the absence of regular grooming, their coats can get matted.

After adopting a Golden retriever dog, daily brushing is something you will have to add to your routine. With regular brushing, you can prevent your canine’s coat from getting matted and also control shedding. Besides brushing, other grooming needs include bathing (monthly) and nail trimming. You will also have to provide professional grooming to your GR, from time to time. These grooming tasks can be overwhelming for some people, especially for new owners.

As they are energetic, their physical needs are high

Originally, Goldens were bred to run and retrieve birds. Due to high energy levels, they can run for long hours.

Golden Retrievers are energetic

Golden retrievers are energetic, hence they require daily moderate to intense exercise. Regular exercise is needed to help them utilize their excess energy levels the right way. Or else, it can lead to undesired, destructive behavior. Providing 40 to 60 minutes of daily exercise would be enough.

They are costly

Getting and maintaining a Golden Retriever can get quite expensive. When getting a new Golden Retriever, it’s up to you whether you purchase it from a breeder or adopt it from the shelter.

A purebred GR from a breeder can cost somewhere between $500 and $3000. And, adopting from a shelter can cost around $200 to $500. Your expenses don’t end here. After getting a Golden Retriever puppy, you will have to spend money on buying items like a leash, harness, collar, crate, food, toys, etc. Besides this, veterinarian visits, training classes, and professional grooming also increase expenses. On average, maintaining a Golden Retriever will cost you around $1500 to $2500 a year.

They aren’t amazing guard dogs

The Golden retriever isn’t the dog breed you should consider when looking for a guard dog. We have already seen that Goldens are so affectionate that they easily get along with anyone. This personality characteristic is amazing, but it has its downsides as well.

The breed was developed to be good-natured so you shouldn’t expect guard qualities in it. But, the good thing is it’s a highly intelligent dog breed. Thus, it is possible to train a Golden and make it a better guard dog.

They are prone to certain health problems

Before getting a Golden retriever dog, it’s better to know about common health issues. According to PetMD, common Golden retriever health issues are – Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Sub-Aortic Stenosis (SAS), Hypothyroidism, Eye Disorders, Mast Cell Tumors, Seizures, Osteosarcoma, Lymphoma, Hemangiosarcoma (a fast-growing form of cancer), and skin problems.

To ensure that the pup is healthy, it’s imperative to select a reputable breeder. It may cost a bit more, but it will give you an idea about the puppy’s and its parents’ health background.

Final Thoughts

Be it Labrador, French Bulldog, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever, or any other most popular dog breed, each breed has its own pros and cons.

Depending on the dog breed you select, the personality traits and requirements vary. For example – Goldens have double coats that shed moderately all year round, thus, their grooming needs are also quite high. Talking about French Bulldogs, they have a short coat that sheds minimally. And, Frenchies are easy to groom.

This was just about grooming needs. There are many other things one should research about the breed before bringing it home.

I’m sure the pros and cons of Golden Retrievers I have shared in this post will help you figure out whether the breed is ideal for your lifestyle or not.


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Brandon Dickinson

Brandon Dickinson

I love playing and spending time with pups. On RetrieverPaws, I share tips, guides, and my experiences with retriever dogs (Labrador and Golden Retrievers mainly).

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