Golden Retriever – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The time has finally come to get yourself a Golden Retriever? If so, you should learn what you can expect from this breed first. Read on.
Dog Breed Group:
Sporting Dogs
21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
55 to 75 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

The Golden Retriever is the world’s favorite when it comes to dogs.

They are medium-sized dogs with famous golden or honey colors, going to cream shades.

Golden Retrievers were bred to be hard-working dogs, mostly being able to retrieve. When it comes to retrieving show waterfowl, such as ducks, they are the best.

This breed is almost identical to their initial purpose and instincts. This is why these dogs are even today extremely friendly, loyal beyond average, and very active.

Golden Retrievers can have up to 24 inches and 75 pounds, and in general, they have a long life expectancy of between 10 to 12 years.

All in all, the Golden Retriever is a breed with a long lifespan. However, due to their intense nature and a strong need for exercise and activity, they may have joint issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia.

As ultimate people-pleasers, they are easy to train and will get along in any home or family. Golden Retrievers are great with children and very protective of their humans.

Friendly and muscular dog, the Golden Retriever is famous for his dense and golden coat that gives the breed its name. Eyes are always intelligent and friendly, while the ears are short.

Goldens are among the most popular dogs in the States and globally. Knowing that they are outgoing, trustworthy, and eager to train it doesn’t come as a big surprise.

These dogs are energetic, powerful, and always ready for a fast game of fetch.

Quick Facts

Real name: Golden Retriever
Other names: Flat-coated Retriever, Golden Yellow, Golden Retriever
Origin: Scotland
Breed type: Sporting Dogs
Weight: 55 to 75 pounds
Height: 21 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 4 – 12 puppies
Color: Light golden, golden, and dark golden
Coat: Dense, water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat

Golden Retriever History

The Golden Retriever is probably the best-known dog in the world.

They are present in every corner of the world, and as for the States, they are the country’s favorite. However, only a few know that originally this is a European breed.

In fact, this golden dog was developed in Scotland during the 19th century.

This popular dog has created thanks to the efforts of Sir Dudley Marjoribanks who used Flat-coated Retrievers and mixed them with Tweed Water Spaniels and some other British dog breeds.

He continued perfecting the breed until he got a yellow-colored Flat-coated Retriever dog called Nous.

This dog was the source of the Golden Retriever that we know today. The AKC recognized the breed in 1932, while the Canadian Kennel Club, recognized the breed in 1927.

The period between the World War Wars was challenging for this breed, as the number started decreasing.

This was common for almost any dog breed. However, this breed was too popular for dog lovers to neglect the breed’s numbers.

Sadly, many breeds simply vanished during the Second World War, but that wasn’t the case with Golden Retriever – luckily.

As of the 1940s, the popularity of the breed only continued to grow, taking the Golden Retriever to the title of the most known and loved dog breed in the world.

Golden Retriever Physical Appearance

Golden Retriever is a breed that is easy to recognize. They have a feather-like coat that is commonly in golden/honey color to cream. These dogs are larger in size, weighing up to 75 pounds, with females being slightly smaller and slimmer than males.

These dogs come with wavy or straight coats, whit fur feathers on the back of the front legs and underbody.

As puppies, they will have a thick and long-ish golden coat and a strong and compact body.

Golden Retrievers will have short ears and a straight muzzle, with a feathery tail.

Overall, this breed is powerful and well put together. They were bred to work all day long and to excel in the most challenging surrounding. Therefore, their bodies were built to support those needs.

They have a compact head, neck of medium length, and a strong backline. All in all, their body is well balanced and easily carried. Gait should be free and smooth.

Golden Retriever Personality

If Golden Retriever were a human, he would be the one that everyone loves.

This dog is intelligent, gentle, and highly affectionate toward those he knows.

In fact, this breed will be gentle toward those that he doesn’t know a lot.

The Golden Retriever is a typical retriever breed: this means that they are calm, soft, easy to train, and keep to please their people.

The Golden Retriever is a family dog. This breed is highly tolerant when around children. Still, children should know how to behave around dogs.

In fact, children should know when it’s ok to approach the dog, and when they should stay away like when the dog is eating, drinking, or resting.

When it comes to children and Goldens, you should know that these sweet dogs are excellent service dogs. Thanks to their soft nature, and a strong need to please they are often used as support dogs for children with autism – these dogs provide excellent emotional support, and are real buddies.

No matter how well dogs and children get along they should never be left without supervision.

These dogs are not much of guarding dogs, so if you want guarding dogs you should focus on breeds with stronger guarding instincts.

As an active breed of great gundog traits and excellent smell, they will love any activity in which they can use these traits.

Any family activity should be done with them. In fact, this is the most commonly kept breed of companion dogs in the States.

Fast fact: Are you familiar with the recent breed, Boxer and Golden Retriever Mix?

Golden Retriever Training

Golden Retrievers are super easy to train.

They are larger in size and as such, they wouldn’t be recommended for first time dog owners. However, since they are highly calm by nature and easy to train it’s ok for novice owners to start their canine ownership by getting a Golden Retriever.

These large dogs are great companions and training them should be the real enjoyment.

Training sessions should be fun, consistent, safe, clear, engaging, and packed with treats.

Don’t use too many treats because it can easily lead to obesity.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise across the States, and you don’t want your dog to be part of this trend.

Weight gain can lead to many issues, including serious joint-related issues. Weight loss in dogs is possible, but it’s a long, challenging, and often expensive process.

Do your best to learn about best feeding practices, how often should you feed your Golden Retriever, and when.

Early training and socialization will help you have a well-behaved canine citizen who will know how to behave both indoor and outside. Proper training, attention, and exercise will pay off.

Golden Retriever Exercise

Golden Retrievers thrive on three things: human companionship, when there is a job to be done, and exercise.

Any exercise is what keeps them happy, agile, mentally and physically stimulated. To keep your Golden Retriever at the top of his game you should provide a minimum of two hours of exercise per day.

What kind of activity keeps this dog active? Luckily, it’s easy to keep Golden Retriever interested as long as they feel engaging enough, such as intense walking, hiking, jogging, and even swimming.

They are massive water-lovers and will appreciate every swim. Be careful when they are puppies.

You don’t want to overexercise them and cause any joint-related issues.

Golden Retriever Grooming

They may seem like a lot of work, but Golden Retrievers require only basic grooming. This means that you should provide weekly brushing sessions and the rest of the care.

The basic care includes:

  • Regular brushing
  • Additional weekly brushing during the shedding session, in spring and autumn
  • Grinding or trimming nails monthly
  • Checking gums and eyes weekly
  • Brushing teeth if needed
  • Bathing only when needed
  • Cleaning ears when needed

If you have to bathe your Golden Retriever you should use only dog shampoo.

Dogs have different skin than humans do, and they don’t need as frequent bathing as we do.

Be extra careful during the summer if you are based in a hot state. This dog has a thick undercoat, specially designed to keep him warm during the winter days.

This undercoat keeps them warmer during the summer as well, which is why they are prone to heatstroke.

This should go without mentioning it, but leaving your Golden Retriever in front of the store or in a car on hot days isn’t safe.

Always do your best to be a responsible dog owner.

Golden Retriever Health

Golden Retrievers are generally considered to be healthy dogs.

If you choose to work with responsible breeders only you will get healthy puppies.

Breeders will always screen puppies for the most common health issues in the breed, and present you medical documentation on the puppies. This is something that you will never experience in a puppy mill.

Some of the health conditions that you can see in this breed include:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Pigmentary uveitis
  • Progressive retinal atrophy
  • Heart disease

This doesn’t mean that your Golden Retriever will experience any of the listed issues. It just means that you should provide enough veterinarian check-ups to keep these issues away.

Also, care about dog’s nutrition, feeding style, and provide enough exercise, next to proper vaccination and parasite control.

Altogether, these efforts should enable your dog to live a long and healthy life.

Is Golden Retriever For You?

If you want a dog, but you don’t want a dog who needs an intense workout, who sheds a lot, and has a distinctive doggy odor, then this breed isn’t for you.

On the other hand, if you want a super-friendly dog, is large and natural-looking, and eager to please, then a Golden Retriever may be right for you.

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