Golden Retriever

A lovable, happy and eager to please breed that’s a kid at heart

Before moving on to learning all about​ one of the most popular breeds in the United States, try testing your knowledge!

What Do You Know About The ​Golden Retriever?

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Learn More About the Golden Retriever

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If you keep reading, you’ll get a quick rundown of some of the more important aspects you’ll need to know about the Golden Retriever.


United Kingdom

EARLY 1900’S

Golden Retrievers frequently make the list as one of the most popular dog breeds due to their friendly and loving personality, loyalty and general intelligence. Of course, they were bred with many of these traits in mind. While some paintings show similar looking dogs before Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth, began his breeding program, the antecedents of the modern Golden Retrieve are fairly clear. An ardent hunter, Marjoribanks wanted a retriever dog breed that would pay more attention to the human hunters and make an excellent house dog. Breeding the only yellow puppy from a litter of black, wavy-coated retrievers with a Tweed Water Spaniel, gave him four yellow puppies that would go on to become the start of this new breed. In 1911, the Kennel Club in England first recognized this new breed. In 1925, the American Kennel Club received its first Golden Retriever registrations and officially recognized the breed in 1932.

Original Purposes for the Labrador Retriever

Bred to be a more reliable and sociable hunting dog, Golden Retrievers combined several breeds into a dog that is an exceptional waterfowl hunter. Webbing between their toes makes them great swimmers, so they can go into the water after a downed bird.



Highly intelligent, Goldens need both physical activity and mental stimulation. They adore puzzles and learning new tricks. After all, a trick is an opportunity to play and get a treat, two of their favorite things.

Size: Height/Weight (both male and female)

Height: 21.5-22.5 inches; Weight: 55-65 lbs

Height: 23-24 inches; Weight: 65-75 lbs

Males typically stand 23-24 inches tall at the withers and weigh in between 65-75 pounds. Females are slightly smaller at 21.5-22.5 inches tall and 55-65 pounds. These are breed standards that apply to show dogs, but you will see Goldens that are larger or smaller than the standard.

Health Concerns and Regular Vet Care

Golden Retrievers live an average of between 10 and 12 years, but they are not immune to a variety of possible health issues. Some of the most common health concerns for these dogs include:

Dysplasia, both elbow and hip
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Skin Disorders

These are not the only health issues that may plague your Golden, but they are some of the most common and many come with early onset.


Golden Retriever Appearance/Standard

A dog built for work, Golden Retrievers are well put together with a balanced physique. They have a medium-length feathered coat that can come in several shades. The pale, almost white color is gaining in popularity. Broad in the head, tapering muzzles, black noses, brown eyes and pendant ears round out their most well-known features..

If you are interested in showing your Labrador, The American Kennel Club (AKC) has a very thorough description and standard, which can be viewed or downloaded here.


Maintenance: Grooming/Shedding

A thick, water-repellent double coat means that Golden Retrievers need a fair amount of grooming. Daily brushing time helps get rid of the tangles they might pick up during their regular exercise, and helps to control the year-round shedding that comes with the breed. You’ll also want to arrange a bath at least once a month to keep down the dog smell. Their ears can be prone to buildup, so you’ll want to check them weekly and clean out any debris regularly. Monthly nail trimmings keep their toenails from interfering with their stride, and a weekly tooth brushing helps prevent dental issues. An annual visit to the vet can help catch any problems quickly.

Pin Brush

Pin Brush – Amazon

Slicker Brush – Amazon

Nail Clippers – Amazon


The loveable, happy and eager to please temperament of a Golden Retriever is what has propelled these dogs to the top of the list as a favorite. Always happy to see you, these dogs do best when they are part of the family, and they are friendly toward children, other dogs, strangers, and pretty much anyone they meet.

Activity/Energy Level

High Energy

Goldens are hunting dogs. That means they have a lot of energy to run, swim, and play. Be prepared to go on long walks and help work out the kinks. A great game of fetch or running behind your bicycle will help tucker these dogs out. And, you want them tired so they don’t go looking for other things to do. A bored and under-exercised Golden can be very destructive.

Food Consumption

Some dogs self-regulate what they eat and never gain too much weight. Not Goldens. These dogs love food and will put on weight quickly if you don’t control what you feed them. Be sure to measure out their kibble and adjust it depending on their activity levels.

Limit treats and don’t leave food out all day. Depending on activity levels, a Golden Retriever usually needs somewhere between 990-1,750 calories per day.


Stage of Life Awareness (as puppy, adult, and senior)

Goldens start life as active and curious puppies that can be constantly underfoot. They want to be around people and will work to get there. Don’t expect that to change as they get older. Socialize your puppy while it is young if you want to keep that Golden temperament. The more they are exposed to, the calmer they will be as they get older.

Expect Goldens to keep that endless puppy energy until around 4-years old. Then, you’ll suddenly see a calm, mature and affectionate adult dog.

As Goldens get older, most keep their friendly personality, but you may find that they get tired more easily and prefer to spend their time lazing about on the couch or going for a relaxed walk around the block.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Golden Retriever lifespan?

A: Golden Retrievers usually live for 10-12 years.

Q: Is a golden retriever a labrador?

A: A Golden Retriever might look a little like a Labrador Retriever, but they are not the same. They are both retrievers, but a Golden is not a Labrador, and you can tell the difference at a glance-Labs have short, smooth coats.

Q: Do golden retrievers shed?

A: Not only do Golden Retrievers shed, they do it all year long. Be prepared to build up some muscle running a brush through their seemingly endless coat.

Q: Are golden retrievers smart?

A: Not only are Golden Retrievers smart, they are eager to please. That means they want to do what you want them to do, and work harder at learning tricks and good behavior.

Q: How much do golden retrievers cost?

A: Golden Retriever puppies start at $500, but if you want a papered pup with genetic screening to minimize the risks of certain diseases, you are probably looking at a low end of $1,200. Of course, you can always rescue an older dog and avoid most of the cost. Rescues typically charge a very reasonable adoption fee.

Q: Are golden retrievers hypoallergenic?

A: If you have an allergy to dogs, Golden Retrievers are not a great choice. The year-round shedding means that you’ll likely be running for the allergy pills. You can help minimize your reaction with weekly bathing and good grooming habits.

Q: Are golden retrievers aggressive?

A: Any dog can display aggression. Some Goldens may be more aggressive than others. Learning to redirect aggression and avoid dominance displays starts when they are puppies. Lots of exercise, plenty of positive reinforcement and firm and steady guidance will usually give you a dog that is a great family pet.

Q: When do golden retrievers stop growing?

A: A Golden Retriever usually has its full adult height by one year, and its adult weight by the age of two.

Q: Do golden retrievers bark a lot?

A: Some Goldens bark a lot, others rarely bark at all.

Q: Are golden retrievers good with kids?

A: Yes, Golden Retrievers are nearly universally good with kids, though they are large, active dogs that can knock down an unsteady child.

Similar Breeds

Labrador Retriever

German Short-haired Pointer

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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