Caitlin UltimoBehavior / Breed Lists

Dog Breeds: The Lovable Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are an American staple in many households. From their starring roles in ‘90s sitcoms to their popularity in family friendly movies, the breed holds true to its claim to fame as an agile hunting dog, obedient service animal and loving family pet. These athletic, large dog breeds have a strong and self-confident body combined with a friendly face, making them the perfect travel companion, workout partner or cuddle buddy.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) lists the Golden Retriever as the third most popular dog breed, following only the German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever. The Golden Retriever temperament and attentive nature along with their activeness make them a versatile pet and great addition to any family.


Golden Retriever puppies, on average, are born in litters of six to 10 pups. As the puppies mature, the females grow to range between 55 and 65 pounds while the males, on average, weigh 10 pounds more. The symmetrical features of the Golden Retriever are an identifying trait of the breed. Their long fur and uniform coat are signature to the breed, and their striking golden color sets them apart from other retrievers.

The Golden Retriever has a broad skull and long, straight muzzle. This dog breed’s snout comes out at a roughly 90-degree angle, whereas other dog breeds often have a more sloped connection between eyes and muzzle.

The Golden Retriever’s tail is long with hair falling on both sides, creating a waterfall-esque look from the base to the tip of the tail. Due to the Golden Retriever’s water-repellent double coat, his fur is thick at the chest and belly in order to weather various climates and glide in and out of water.


Golden Retrievers are one of those dog breeds that are known for their extremely friendly and sociable personality. The Golden Retriever is people oriented and motivated by his owner’s acceptance and love. Because of this, the typical Golden Retriever temperament makes them likely to adapt to the lifestyle of their humans.

Originally bred for hunting, Golden Retrievers are extremely active dogs that fit best in an environment where they receive daily exercise. Whether it be playing fetch in the yard, taking daily walks around the neighborhood, running in the park, hiking in the mountains or swimming in a lake, Golden Retrievers are happiest when they can spend time with their families.

The friendly, loyal and docile Golden Retriever temperament makes them the ideal family pet. Because Golden Retrievers are extremely intelligent, they can be easily trained to understand basic commands, and their patient, calm and loving personality makes them kid-friendly and perfect for active families.

TRAINING: Old Dog, New Tricks

A Golden Retriever’s temperament allows them to be very easily trained, and their adaptability makes them extremely versatile dogs. From family pets to service dogs, Golden Retrievers take on many different roles.

Golden Retrievers do their jobs proudly and support their person in any way they know how. Known for their work as seeing eye service dogs and epilepsy assistance animals, amongst many others, Golden Retrievers are able to be trained from early on because of their calm demeanor. Because they aim to please and are motivated by praise, they are easily encouraged and trained with voice commands and hand signals.

HEALTH: Heart of Gold

Dr. Jerry Klein, Chief Veterinary Officer of the American Kennel Club, states that, “All dogs need a well-balanced, nutritious, good-quality diet with the appropriate vitamins and nutrients.” Bred for the active lifestyle, Golden Retrievers are healthy dogs, overall, but do require daily exercise to stay fit and active. The largest concerns with Golden Retriever health is hip and elbow dysplasia along with eye and cardiac disease. A proper, breed-specific diet along with seeing your veterinarian regularly will ensure that your Golden Retriever puppies grow up to live long and happy, healthy lives.

The Golden Retriever life span ranges from 12 to 14 years old. Though older dogs do, occasionally, face some health issues, ensuring proper veterinary and dental care in addition to proper nutrition and exercise will keep your four-legged family member active and strong.

DIET: Eat Like a King

Because Golden Retrievers are considered large breed dogs with lots of energy, they need food that supports their lifestyle. “Kibble size should be matched to the dog’s size,” says Dr. Klein. A specialized breed formula, such as Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog Food, is formulated to support what Golden Retrievers are bred for and prevent health issues that this dog breed may be predisposed to by promoting healthy skin and coat, ideal weight, and most importantly, healthy cardiac function. The kibble size and shape is also breed specific, and it’s designed to help scrape off tartar and plaque as your dog chews to promote healthy gums and teeth.

For Golden Retriever puppies, Royal Canin also offers a puppy-specific formula that aids in digestive health and natural defenses for strengthened immunity. The Royal Canin Golden Retriever Puppy Dry Dog Food is specially formulated for Golden Retrievers between eight weeks and 15 months old with a smaller size kibble. This dog food promotes the agility and character traits of the Golden Retriever dog breed and helps extend the Golden Retriever puppy’s life span from early on.

GROOMING: No Bad Hair Days

Due to their thick double coat and its medium length, Golden Retrievers do need to be bathed regularly and brushed twice per week. As with any dog, routine nail trims and dental care are extremely important for short- and long-term comfort and health. Maintaining proper dog ear care should also be added to grooming regimen. Ears should be cleansed regularly to prevent wax and debris buildup as well as ear infections.

Though Goldens do shed, semi-annual grooming visits along with a proper, breed-specific diet will ensure that your pup stays confident, healthy and strong so that his coat shines from the inside out.

Golden Retrievers are truly unique dogs. Whether they are celebrities on-screen or family pets, they’re the most special pups around. Like any dog, Golden Retrievers require regular maintenance and care to ensure that they live their lives happy and healthy. “Potential owners should research and fully understand breed characteristics, health issues and personality traits,” when picking out a dog, says Dr. Klein. The unique personality and temperament of the Golden Retriever makes him the perfect breed for any owner willing to give him the care, attention and exercise that he needs. With daily walks, proper nutrition and all the belly rubs that your hands can give, your large breed dog will become your partner and best friend.