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Golden Retriever: Characteristics, Traits, Facts

Golden Retrievers are intelligent, playful dogs that are eager to please.

These ideal family dogs are one of the most popular breeds in the UK. This highly social dog breed gets along well with everyone including children, other dogs, and even strangers.


Golden Retriever Overview

Golden Retriever lying in a water pool

Golden Retriever Overview

  • Origin: Scottish Highlands
  • Size: Medium / Large
  • Height: 21 – 24 inches
  • Weight: 24 – 34 kg
  • Official name: Golden Retriever
  • Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
  • Temperament: Gentle, Friendly, Intelligent, Playful, Outgoing, Social
  • Colours: Cream, Gold, Yellow
  • Coat: Long, Double Coated
  • Shedding: Frequent
  • Energy level: Active
  • Exercise Requirements: High – Min. 1 hour daily
  • AKC Breed Group: Sporting
  • Training: Easy

History Of Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers date back to 1868 in the highlands of Scotland. The first person to breed these wonderful dogs was Lord Tweedmouth from his Guisachan Estate. His purpose in breeding these dogs was to create the perfect gun dog. He crossbred various breeds with his yellow retriever including the Tweed Water Spaniel, Irish Setters and Bloodhounds. Through many generations of breeding, the Golden Retriever we now know and love was born.


Choosing A Golden Retriever Puppy

Labrador puppy being held by their owner smiling at them

Choosing A Golden Retriever Puppy

Golden Retriever puppies are classed as ideal dogs for first time owners due to their loyal and loveable nature.

These bundles of golden joy can be very talkative when young and can often be found running and jumping trying to get your attention due to their high energy levels. 

As they are so devoted to their family they can be prone to separation anxiety when left alone. Early socialisation training is therefore key to keeping your puppy happy into adulthood.

They grow rapidly in the first six months of life and will roughly put on 1.5 lbs a week when fed a healthy, and nutritious diet.

Golden Retriever Growth Chart

As with many dog breeds male dogs do tend to be slightly larger than female dogs. Around 4 months old they will be approximately half their adult height so you should be able to estimate how tall they are going to be. 

The puppy adolescence period starts around 5 months old and they do not fully mature until they are between 2 -3 years of age. Regular dog training as well as teaching social skills key at this stage to ensure any unruly behaviour is kept at bay. Local puppy classes or enrolling them into a doggy day care centre would be a great solution.


Senior Years Health Guide

Golden retriever dog cuddling their teddy and sleeping on their dog bed.

Senior Years Health Guide

Golden Retrievers are generally a healthy breed but there are certain health issues they are prone to as they grow.

Senior dogs can develop issues such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, eye issues such as glaucoma and cataracts, hypothyroidism and cancer. Regular vets checks are therefore key to ensure you keep your dog happy and healthy and comfortable. If you notice any changes in your dog’s behaviour or if something is worrying you it is always best to get the opinion of an expert.

Golden Retriever Coat & Colours

Golden retrievers have a double coat. Their long outer coat is water repellent which covers a soft, fuzzy undercoat. This combination offers great protection for all weather types, protecting their skin from the heat of the sun as well as cold and moisture. The thickness of these layers do change with the seasons so they are more prone to heavy shedding in the spring and autumn months. 

As their name suggests they are yellow or golden in colour but can come in a variety of colour tones from light to dark. You do occasionally find red retrievers but these are rare. The colouring of these is believed to come from when they were bred with Irish setters many generations ago.

Grooming Tips

A Trim To Keep Them Tidy

Golden Retrievers do not need to have a full haircut but a simple trim helps keep them tidy and looking smart. Trimming ears, feet, tail and neck will help keep your dog looking their best. As long as you brush your dog daily, dog grooming is only needed every 8-10 weeks. 

Try A Teddy Bear Cut

Teddy bear cuts can be given to breeds like Retrievers to help regulate their body temperature in summer. This involves cutting the torso short, shaping the legs with scissors and trimming the feet and tail into a curved shape. 

Dog Grooming At Bruce’s

Dog grooming for a Golden Retriever at Bruce’s doggy day care starts from just £55. As well as hair cutting and bathing they also offer nail trimming as well as ear cleaning and teeth cleaning.


Feeding Guide

1 – How Much Should I Feed?

Golden Retrievers should be fed twice a day to be kept happy and healthy. If feeding dry dog food, on average 2-3 cups should be split between these 2 feeds. Investing in good quality food is important to your dog’s health. 

2 – Puppy Food Is Important

If you have your dog from a puppy ensure you are feeding high quality, low calorie puppy food until they are 12 months old. This will give them the best start in life due to the extra nutrition it provides and will allow them to grow at the right rate. Growing too quickly or gaining too much weight too fast can cause bone density issues down the line.

3 – Keep An Eye On Weight Gain

Remember all dogs are different so the amount you feed your dog may differ slightly. Their age, size, metabolism and activity level all play a part. Keeping a close eye on your dog’s weight is the perfect way to make sure you are feeding them the right amount of food. If in doubt you can alway ask a vet.


Top Personality Traits

Golden retriever wearing easter bunny ears

Top Personality Traits

  • Good Tempered
  • Friendly
  • Easy Trained
  • Intelligent
  • Dependable
  • Loyal
  • Calm
  • Affectionate
  • Social
  • Outgoing

Golden Retrievers are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. They do really well in obedience training and are often used as guide dogs and search and rescue dogs due to this. 

They can be calm and collected so make ideal family pets and are good with young children. They do also have high energy levels so plenty of off the lead fun which could include swimming and retrieving toys, is needed. Spending this quality time with your pooch is beneficial for you and them.

These friendly, sociable dogs are very loyal to their owners and will love your attention. They often see themselves as big lap dogs so expect to be climbed on as they do love cuddles.
In short, they are great dogs. As long as you keep your dog well fed, with plenty of exercise and enrichment this could be the perfect family dog for you.

Famous Golden Retrievers

This breed is often used in films due to their laid back nature and how easy they are to train. Here are a few famous names:

The current most famous Golden Retriever is Tucker Budzyn. This loveable pup has over 3.5 Million followers on Instagram. Check him out:

Lastly, if you want to have an up close and personal experience with this breed take a trip to The Golden Retriever Experience in Somerset. Spending time with a pack of dogs will definitely allow you to make up your mind if this is the breed for you.

Golden Retriever FAQs

Is a Golden Retriever a good family dog?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are great family dogs. They possess many great qualities that make them well-suited for family life. Their friendly and sociable personalities make them great companions for people of all ages. They also have a playful but patient nature which makes them ideal for families with children.

Do Golden Retrievers bark a lot?

Golden Retrievers are not considered as a breed that suffers with excessive barking. As with all dogs there are certain triggers that may cause barking such as excitement, boredom and attention seeking. As they are easily trainable any unwanted behaviour should be easily resolved.

Do Golden Retrievers shed?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are known as frequent shedders. As they have a double dense cost they tend to shed more as the seasons change to accommodate the changes in temperature. Regular brushing should help keep stray hairs at bay and occasional dog grooming will help keep them tidy.

How long do Golden Retrievers live?

Golden Retrievers on average live to be around 10-12 years of age. Diet,  genetics, exercise, and overall healthcare plays a big part in how your dog ages. Getting your dog from a reputable breeder and looking after it in the best possible way could see your Golden Retriever living to 14 years or more.

Compare Dog Breeds

If a Golden Retriever doesn’t seem to be the dog for you why not check out some other dog breeds:

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