The Golden Retriever Dog Breed – Is It The Best For Families?

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a Friendly, Intelligent, Devoted Family Dog

The “Golden” is a popular, friendly, family dog. Their owners love their calm, social tendencies and for good reason – they might just be the quintessential  pet every child should have growing up. 

The Golden is an intelligent dog and can be trained to work with people on many levels. Their intelligence makes them easy to train and their loyalty just comes naturally.They are often crossed with Labrador retrievers for Guide Dogs for the blind, especially in the U.K.

A Golden Retriever sitting on a patch of grass by the edge of a blue lake.
Golden Retriever Dog Breed

Being as intelligent as they are, these dogs be easily taught tricks, and they are often seen on the show circuit.  Goldens do well in field trials, hunting, obedience, and of course, conformation. They are being used more and more as guide and therapy dogs.

They are very affectionate and love to be around their owners. Their affection can be a bit incessant, as their need for attention can cause them to pester their owners and be disruptive if not curtailed through basic training. 

It is important for owners to be caring and in charge at the same time, lest your loving puppy becomes an adolescent nuisance.

A Golden Retriever running across a grass field towards the camera, holding a stick in its mouth.
Golden retriever

Being the quiet, calm dogs they are, these retrievers are great for people sensitive to volumes of noise. Their less vocal personalities make it possible for Goldens  to adapt to apartment life as well or just be a quiet addition to the family.

Around other dogs, they handle themselves well. Hardly ever greeting with aggression, they display the same playfulness towards other canines that they display towards humans. Check out the YouTube video below, sent to us by Mark Barkan;

This is one breed of dogs that does exceptionally well  with other pets, but it is best to raise them with pets from a young age, especially if the other pets are not dogs and the other pets resemble something the golden thinks he should retrieve.  Pocket Pets?  Probably not a good idea.

Despite their calm, quiet personality, these retrievers do need a fair amount of regular exercise. Without regular exercise, Goldens  can become high strung and rowdy.

These retrievers also need regular exercise because, without this outlet for all that energy, they are prone to weight gain, which can accentuate some already common health issues.

The Golden likes to chew. Having been developed to retrieve game, their soft gums make it easy for them to pick things up without causing undue harm. They can often be found munching on or carrying something soft in their mouths.

Being the social dogs they are, they need a lot of socializing from day one.  This means letting them get to know different people, other animals,  places, sights and sounds. 

A well socialized dog will remain calm and any future obedience training can curtail some of their more rowdy inclinations.

Golden Retriever Breed History

A Golden Retriever in the Water
A Golden Retriever in the Water

In the early 1800s, there was a high demand for a medium sized dog that could retrieve fallen game with ease and without harming it too much. The Golden was the perfect dog for the job. 

Their webbed paws helped them traverse water with ease and their  soft gums were helpful when retrieving birds and other game without harming it further.

The origins of this Retriever breed can be traced back to Inverness, Scotland, where a Lord Tweedmouth was developing the breed on his estate. They were dubbed “golden retrievers” because of their apparent coppery, golden coat and their natural ability to retrieve.

This breed is thought to have made their first appearances in North America in the late 1890’s.  No written records were kept until they were first exhibited in the 1920s dog shows.  

Initially hunting dogs, these dogs made their way into their life as family dogs through their social and loyal personalities.

The American Kennel Club first recognized the golden  1925.

Today, the breed ranks third as the most popular breed in the United States and shares the same popularity throughout the world.

The Golden gained popularity as a jack of all trades, being a capable dog in many ways.

Goldens can be trained as service dogs, show dogs, hunting dogs, and domestic pets. The versatile breed continued to grow its fame by being portrayed as the family dog in pop culture.

Vital Statistics

Average Height: 21-24 in (53 – 61 cm)

Average Weight: 55 – 75 lbs (24-35 kg)

Average Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Light Golden Retriever Dog
Light Golden Retriever Dog


Goldens tend to have some shade of gold, some appearing almost red with the darkness of their coats.

Coloration varies and the subtle hues change giving them a striking appearance. 

The American Kennel Club recognizes three colors:  Dark Golden, Golden, and Light Golden.

Ease of Training

Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs. They are famous as being easy to train and are obedient to their owners.  These Retrievers can be trained with such ease that they are often taught new skills quickly.

It is important for the dog to have enough exercise to maintain their health. Regular exercise also helps reduce their high energy as well as their weight, keeping them from becoming too restless and obese.

Golden retrievers are social dogs regardless, but it is also important to expose them to different environments, people, and animals, so they are more comfortable and accustomed to them.


Golden Retriever Puppy
Golden Retriever Puppy

Overall, golden retrievers are not much in the way of guard dogs. Their social, affectionate personalities make it a bit difficult to repel unwanted company.

Given that they are not extremely vocal dogs, you may not even be alerted to a stranger’s presence.

A golden retriever is more likely to approach a stranger in an attempt to play rather than an attempt at defense. Golden retrievers were bred as hunting dogs, but to retrieve, not harm. So if you are looking for a formidable guard dog, this breed is not for you.

Unless you want a dog that can kill with kindness, a golden retriever is not a good dog to protect yourself and/or your family and may not even be able to serve as a watch dog.


Deep Red Golden Retriever
Deep Red Golden Retriever

Grooming can be a bit of a taxing ordeal with golden retrievers. Their double coats  are relentlessly shedding. Their coat repels water, but is not very advantageous to an owner aside from its lovely appearance.

It is important to regularly brush out this retriever’s coat, removing excess hair or anything that might be stuck in it. Golden retrievers are otherwise clean dogs, but they do manage to get into a lot of messes.

They only need to be bathed once a month, but it really depends on how dirty the dog manages to get.

Much of the dirt lodged in the coat can safely be removed through careful brushing.

FURminator deShedding Tool

We have found that the absolute best way of grooming any long haired dog breed is to use the FURminator grooming tool! We highly recommend this unique brush from Amazon to keep your dog in tip top shape. Click on the image below to find out more…

FURminator Undercoat Deshedding Tool for Dogs

For the most part, if you own one of these amazing dogs, plan on spending more time cleaning up hair on furniture and rugs and less time  cleaning the dog itself.

Health Considerations

Unfortunately, Goldens are prone to a few health concerns that are important to take in for consideration if you are planning on getting one.  This is true for all dog breeds.

Granted, a golden retriever is not likely to fall victim to any of these conditions, but it is still a good idea to be familiar with them.

  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Epilepsy
  • Allergies
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Osteochondrosis Dissecans
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gastric Dilation-Voluptuous
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Cataracts

Famous Members of the Breed

Buddy- Played Air Bud in some Air Bud movies

Click on the images below for further details!

White House Dogs

Ronald Reagan’s dog, Victory

Gerald Ford’s dog, Liberty


Dog Breeds Expert recommends you send as much time as necessary researching a breed before you make that first call to a breeder or rescue organization. 

So many wonderful pets find themselves in a shelter through no fault of their own because their owners chose them on a whim.  A cheap shirt is a great impulse buy–a puppy is not. 

Here are a few great breed books that we found that might help you make that all important decision. Just click on the images for more information.

1 thought on “The Golden Retriever Dog Breed – Is It The Best For Families?”

  1. The Golden Retriever dog breed is considered one of the best breeds for families due to its friendly, loyal, and gentle nature. They are great with children, easy to train, and love being around people. However, it’s important to note that each dog is unique and may have its own personality traits that may not be ideal for every family.

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