Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs? It’s Clear

From being hunting companions to tracking and retrieving game for hunters, Golden Retrievers even worked as K9 police dogs.

Considering that they are one of the most popular breeds in the United States and the world, it’s probably not surprising to learn that they’ve had some pretty remarkable work history.

Given the popularity, this breed undoubtedly has prospective pet parents who love it.

But, are Golden Retrievers good family dogs?

This article will answer the questions you may have about owning this breed by looking into different aspects, from its basic information to its care needs.

Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information

Fluffy Golden Retriever Dog Lying on Grass
Height23 to 24 inches (male), 21.5 to 23.5 inches (female)
Weight65 to 75 pounds (male), 55 to 65 pounds (female)
Life Expectancy10 to 12 years
ColorsGold, Yellow, Cream
TemperamentGentle, Active, Affable, Strong-willed
Ideal ForEveryone (including first-time owners)
AKC GroupSporting Group
Puppy Price$1,000 – $2,000

Golden Retriever Characteristics


A Typical Golden Retriever Temperament

Retrievers are one of the best there is. They rank high among the most active, playful, affable, intelligent, and fiercely loyal companions.

They tend to take a liking to kids and as they get older, they grow more calm and docile.

Golden Retrievers are incredibly active which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering that they once were hunting companions who tracked games, and on occasion, retrieved them for hunters.

Given their long history of being around and even working with people, it probably isn’t all that surprising that they are complaisant to a fault with their human family.

If you are looking for guard dogs though, Retrievers should definitely not feature on your list on account of their overtly affable temperament.

Unlike their distant cousins, for example, Pitbulls, Dalmatians, etc., Retrievers do not really need access to fenced-in yards to keep them off mischief.

They can thrive just as nicely in condos and city apartments. They’re an especially great choice if you live in the city.

If you would keep a Retriever though, you must make provisions to exercise it daily and keep it lively.

Golden Retrievers left alone for long time periods are often restless and are prone to destroying household items.

Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?

Happy Family Cuddling Their Golden Retriever Dog Outdoors
Photo: Fotostorm / Getty Images

Golden Retrievers are an excellent fit for any family. They are easy to train and if you’ve never owned a pup prior, they would be a great choice as a first dog.

They are excellent with kids. A typical Retriever thrives on the noise and unruliness of little children.

Being large breeds, it’s essential they are never left alone with kids as they could unintentionally knock them over.

Early socialization is key to getting the Retriever to fit snugly with the everyday activities of family life.

Like any other pet, the best way to keep them satisfied is to treat them with tender loving care from all applicable quarters.

With any new pet addition, it’s essential that every member of the family, especially children, are familiarized with how best to interact with the new member.

Teach little children that approaching sleeping dogs is a no-no and neither should they ever disturb the dog while eating.

Similarly, kids should steer off pulling the dog’s tail, or biting its ears. Best you supervise every possible interaction of the dogs with your children.

In case you are short on ideas, a way to socialize your Golden Retriever better with kids would be to assign tasks involving them with your children.

For one, you could task the oldest child with walking your pooch regularly around in the neighborhood and the youngest with feeding it.

6 Types Of Retrievers – Which Breed Is Best For Me?

Why are Golden Retrievers Good House Pets?

The Golden Retriever’s kind, friendly attitude perfectly makes them great family pets, and their high intelligence makes them very easy to train.

We’ve summarized 6 reasons why you definitely should adopt or purchase a Golden Retriever puppy today:

  • Retrievers are lovable and affectionate.
  • They are fiercely loyal to their pet parents and family.
  • They are complaisant to a fault and consequently, very easy to train.
  • Unlike some other breeds, you do not need to worry much about their coat health as they don’t need to be groomed all that often.
  • By default, they are energetic and active.
  • They are super fond of kids and would go extra lengths to keep them entertained for long periods of time.

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Cats, Other Dogs and Pets?

Golden Retriever Dog Snuggles with a British Shorthair Cat
Photo: Chendongshan / Getty Images

The Golden Retriever notably tops the list of best dogs for cats and they tend to get along well with other canines and even strangers.

Proper socialization of dogs is central to having them get along nicely with other pets later in their lives.

However, it’s advisable that you supervise interactions of your pooch with other pets regardless of how long they’ve known one another.

Are Golden Retrievers Easy to Train?

Golden Retrievers are complaisant, affable, and loyal to a fault. All these personality traits make them easily trainable.

They are a delight to kids as they easily learn enough tricks to be able to catch a thrown disc or toss a ball.

Do not underestimate the essence of training to your pooch’s development.

Socialization is the other pair and both are key to the transformation of your pup into the amiable companion you want it to be.

This complete guide to training your Puppy would come in handy.

Golden Retriever Grooming Needs & Care

Young Couple Brushing their Golden Retriever Fur
Photo: Elnur

Golden Retrievers tend to require a lot of grooming given that they are big fluffy dogs.

It becomes even more pressing, especially in springtime, to have them groomed, as they tend to shed more during this period.

We understand that you might consider having your pooch’s fur shaved in readiness for summer.

However, remember that your dog’s fur was originally intended to keep your pooch safe from extra layers of afflictions floating around.

You can choose to bathe your Retriever every week or at least once every 5 weeks.

The secret to preserving a healthy coat for the Retriever is regularly having them bathed and thoroughly drying them out after bathing.

Consider taking a dryer to their hair to blow off stuck dirt or any loose hair on their coat. You could then take a Slicker Brush to their coat to reduce the instances of loose fur. 

You should consider bathing them twice. One, to remove dirt stuck to their coat and another to serve as the proper bath.

You could equally apply a conditioner to their coat to keep them hydrated.

Grooming Supplies

Generally, to groom your pet, you need the following set of basic supplies:

  • A Good Comb
  • A bottle of spray to smoothen the coat as you groom.
  • A Slicker Brush

Be prudent in selecting your grooming brush and comb. If the bristles and teeth are otherwise rough, they could scrape your dog and give it a lot of skin abrasions.

Exercise Needs

Retrievers are born athletes with an inclination for a great deal of exercise and activity.

You are more likely to find Retrievers involved in dog sports than any other breed.

Set aside some time every week to work your pooch out.

Exercises you could try out with your Retriever include jogging, bike rides, hiking, or even hunting.

Do not overlook the importance of great exercise—more often than not, it makes all the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy pup.

Common Health Complications in Retrievers Face

It’s not unusual for Golden Retrievers to develop some health complications later in their lives, after all, they are purebred

Such defects are inherent to most purebred dogs and are usually linked to the presence of recessive genes in the respective dogs.

However, it is possible to have a pup run a lower risk of developing these complications.

Their parents need only be medically screened to rule out the possibilities of the nefarious recessive genes popping up.

Your retriever runs a fair chance of developing these common conditions:

Joint Problems

  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: Other dogs including Rhodesian Ridgebacks and Cane Corsos are equally prone to developing dysplasia. This happens when their hip joints do not fit nicely. It could potentially result in arthritis, and in worst cases, lameness.

Eye Defects

  • Cataracts: Cataract causes the affected dog’s eyes to go cloudy as though a milky solution was suspended underneath.
  • Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia: This results in a cancerous growth at the rear end of the affected pet’s retina. It ultimately results in blindness if not treated early.

Some other conditions include heart problems.

Here’s a more comprehensive list of the common Golden Retriever health problems you should keep an eye out for, and their symptoms.

Related Questions

What is bad about Golden Retrievers?

Like other purebred dogs, they run an active risk of developing a variety of health complications later in their lives including joint problems, lungs and heart problems, eye defects, and skin conditions.

It’s also not beyond them to experience issues affecting their blood circulatory systems.

Can Golden Retrievers be aggressive? 

Frankly, it’s not beyond Golden Retrievers to get aggressive—their affable temperament notwithstanding, or any other dog breed at all, if they are badly trained.

If they are sufficiently incensed, they could get potentially malicious. 

How expensive is a Golden Retriever Puppy?

You can expect the Golden Retriever price range to be around $1,000 to $3,500 for a puppy from a breeder. However, the price may vary depending on many factors

Finally, is the Golden Retriever Right for You?

Golden Retrievers are one of the best fits for any family.

Extremely playful, affable, and easily trainable, this dog breed does not make much trouble, they get along well with kids and socialize rather nicely with other pets.

Being ‘all-round’ dogs, they can thrive in virtually any household and they’re a good fit for first-time dog owners.

However, It’s best you understand the full extent of their energetic temperament before adopting or purchasing a puppy.

Inherent to them is a perpetual drive to constantly ‘retrieve’ items around your home.

Some folks find this adorable but with others, it’s a bit annoying.

Nonetheless, having a Retriever in your home is essentially you setting yourself up with a best friend for many years to come.

References and Notes:

Featured Image: FatCamera / Getty Images

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Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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