Breed Golden Retriever

BreedsAbout the Breed: Golden Retriever

With its intelligence and eager to please attitude, the Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States.


The Golden Retriever originated in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s and was used predominantly for hunting. The breed was developed by Lord Tweedmouth, whose goal was to create a superb retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain and available game. He crossed his original “Yellow Retriever” with the Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct) found on his estate. Later integrations of Irish setter, Bloodhound, and more Tweed Water Spaniel produced the retriever we know today.


Goldens are outgoing “people” dogs. They thrive on love and attention, and need to be with, around, near, on the lap of, or underfoot their humans. In second-hand Goldens these traits are often exaggerated.

Consider your lifestyle and household schedule—do you travel a lot, do you work long hours, are you busy with your children’s activities? In other words, do you have time to give the love and attention a Golden needs?

Best with:

  • Families who are dedicated to spending maximum time with their dog.
  • Owners who want to bring their dog with them wherever they go.
  • People who are willing to invest time in regular brushing.
  • Owners who have the time to meet the high exercise needs of this breed.
  • Homes with securely fenced yards.

Not for:

  • Inactive or absent owners, those who work long hours, and/or are gone from home a lot. You cannot abandon a Golden to an empty home, back yard, or garage.
  • People who can’t stand the idea of fur. If you cannot tolerate some hair in the house, regardless of diligent grooming, a Golden is not for you.
  • People who prefer an independent dog.
  • People who don’t have time to provide consistent daily exercise.


Friendly, highly trainable, loving, loyal, fun-loving.


Lots of shedding, potential health issues, high exercise needs, needy.

More Info:



Medium to large-sized dogs. The breed standard is 23″–24″ in height for males, 21-1/2″–22-1/2″ in height for females. Weight standards are 65–75 pounds for males, and 55–65 pounds for females.

In our experience with Rescue Goldens, males can range between 23″–26″ at the shoulder and weigh between 75–105 pounds. Females can stand between 21″–23″ and weigh between 55–85 pounds.


The lustrous golden-colored coat is the hallmark of this breed, and can range from light to dark gold. Feathering may be lighter than rest of coat.

Energy Level:

Goldens need to have hard, consistent, daily exercise (20-30 minutes twice a day) in order to adjust to the calm house pet role expected by most owners. Goldens will not exercise themselves, their owners must interact with them.

Goldens that do not get enough exercise can exhibit problem behaviors such as inappropriate chewing, excessive barking, unruliness, and digging. Even senior Goldens require daily walks and playtime in order to stay healthy.

Fenced areas for safe exercise are a must!

Life expectancy:

Goldens have an average life span of twelve to thirteen years although fifteen year old Goldens are not unknown. Consider what your plans might be in five to twelve years. Will you still welcome the responsibility of a highly social dog when you begin to raise a family, go back to work, have an “empty nest” when the kids go away to college, or when you retire and want to travel?


Golden Retrievers are by definition friendly, reliable and trustworthy with children. However, the majority of rescue Goldens should be considered “a breed apart” from Goldens who have lived in loving homes from puppyhood.

Most rescue Goldens come to us requiring special care, attention and training. Small children, many at a dog’s eye level, see a Golden as a play partner or a stuffed animal. The quick movements of a young child and their loud noises can become too much for these rescue Goldens, which has led to injury to the children.

Therefore we highly recommend that if potential adopters have children in the home, that the children are above the age of five years old.

Other animals:

Golden Retrievers typically get along well with other dogs, and also have been known to tolerate other animals well. However these dogs were originally bred to retrieve fowl, so livestock may present an issue.


Because Golden Retrievers are people-pleasers, they are known for being highly trainable. They typically excel in performance sports such as agility, obedience, weight pull, tracking, and fly-ball. The working ability that has made the Golden such a useful hunting companion also makes him an ideal guide, assistance, and search and rescue dog.


Goldens have long, beautiful coats that shed at least twice a year. Regular brushing and professional grooming can keep the amount of hair loss to a minimum; however, you will always have some dog hair on furniture, rugs, clothing, and occasionally, in your food!


Feeding one medium-sized dog for a year will cost about $300–400. Basic / routine veterinary expenses run between $200–300 a year.

Goldens, like all breeds, have certain hereditary conditions. They are prone to skin allergies, hot spots, and ear infections, and occasionally have hypothyroidism (underproduction by the thyroid gland which is easily treated with daily oral medication) or hip and eye problems.

Though many expenses are hidden in the grocery bill (food, dishes, leashes, collars, brushes, shampoos, toys, etc.), they do affect the family budget!