Pros And Cons of Golden Retrievers

Updated March 15, 2023
Pros And Cons of Golden Retrievers

Knowing the pros and cons of golden retrievers is handy for anyone considering getting a golden puppy.

Unfortunately, many people focus on the advantages and neglect the pitfalls when choosing a dog’s breed, which leads to frustration and disappointment.

But adequately evaluating a dog’s compatibility with your lifestyle and getting familiar with its needs is crucial to providing the dog with a decent life.

Golden retrievers are intelligent, friendly, obedient, sociable, affectionate, and playful dogs that never fail to improve the owner’s mood and won’t let them get lazy.

However, prospective owners must be aware of golden retriever cons, including genetic health issues, gluttony, excessive activity, and intense shedding.

They Are Intelligent & Obedient

The American Kennel Club ranks golden retrievers the fourth most intelligent dog breed, following border collies, poodles, and German shepherds. Of course, canine intelligence is a bit different from human intelligence.

Researchers base their ranks on how quickly a dog can memorize commands, how often it obeys the orders, and how well it understands human facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.

Golden retrievers excel at every parameter since they were bred as hunting companions. Hunting dogs must obey commands, be intelligent, and effectively communicate with the owner.

Golden retrievers regularly win American Kennel Club obedience championships. The 2021 National Obedience Championship winner was a golden retriever Juicy, and in 2018 the winner was a golden retriever Streak.

Due to such intelligence and obedience, golden retrievers make perfect working and service dogs. They quickly learn to perform complex tasks and are highly sociable, never causing trouble in public places.

They Get Along With Everyone

Golden retrievers are the most sociable dogs that are genuinely willing to be friends with everyone, be it the owner, a child, or another pet. Goldens never express aggression first and strive to avoid conflict by any means.

Golden retriever tops the list of the best dog breeds for families with other pets.

Naturally, the relationship between two pets depends on the personalities and behavior of both, but if one of them is a golden retriever, the success is almost guaranteed.

Golden retrievers never mind guests in the house and will happily let everyone pet them. They are gentle with kids and are never mean to strangers.

Golden retrievers are the best dogs for extroverts because of their outgoing nature but may be a bit over-the-top for introverts.

They Aren’t Barky

Golden retrievers are among the least barky dog breeds. Like all dogs, golden retrievers bark at times since it’s their primary way of communication, but they never bark without a valid reason.

The reason golden retrievers don’t bark frequently lies in their nature.

These dogs were bred to hunt waterfowl, so if they would constantly bark, they would scare away all the birds. The understanding of when barking is appropriate is deeply rooted in their genes.

Female golden retrievers tend to be slightly barkier because they are more protective. Still, a golden retriever is unlikely to wake you up at night or make a child cry with loud barking. This trait makes golden retrievers perfect family dogs.

Interestingly, although golden retrievers don’t bark a lot, they hold the Guinness World Record for the loudest bark. A golden retriever named Charlie from Australia, Adelaide barked at an astounding 113 decibels.

They Are Affectionate

Golden retrievers are some of the most affectionate dogs. They like to cuddle, look into the owner’s eyes, lick hands, sleep in the owner’s bed, and otherwise show their admiration. This trait can be both a pro and a con.

These dogs aren’t the best breed for reserved people who don’t like to show emotion and prefer a dog to stay on the floor. However, they are perfect for people who lack affection, are dealing with depression or anxiety, and families with kids.

A golden retriever will not simply sit patiently while a child is hugging it – it will genuinely enjoy it. Golden retrievers make excellent therapy dogs because they have a well-developed empathy and can understand human emotions.

A golden retriever will never leave its owner sad or anxious. These dogs will do their best to comfort a sad person and make them smile.

They Will Keep You Fit

If you’re looking for a dog to motivate you to get moving, consider a golden retriever, but adequately evaluate your athleticism. These dogs need regular exercise and can become unbearable if they don’t get it.

A golden retriever will get you out and about. It’s the perfect companion for exploring wild terrains, traveling, and doing water sports. Golden retriever owners have no choice but to stay active and fit.

Golden retrievers’ high energy levels can be explained by their nature. Furthermore, goldens are eternal puppies that like to fool around, swim, and play frisbee even when they’re ten years old.

They Are Always Hungry

Golden retrievers are highly food motivated. Owners can use it to their advantage when training the dog, but this trait has more drawbacks than benefits.

A golden retriever will never go past a dinner plate without sniffing it or asking for a bite, looking into the owner’s eyes like a cat from the Shrek cartoon. And resisting a golden retriever’s cute expression is nearly impossible.

Goldens constantly try to eat something off the ground while walking, so owners must always be aware. Unfortunately, such a love for eating often leads to the development of health conditions, including obesity and pancreatitis.

Neutered and spayed golden retrievers are more prone to obesity than intact dogs. To avoid the development of health issues, golden retriever owners must be strict regarding treats and provide their pets with sufficient exercise.

They Are Too Active

Some people find the high energy levels of golden retrievers the most appealing trait of the breed. Goldens are perfect dogs for athletes, families with kids who will play with the dog all day long, and explorers.

However, a golden retriever isn’t a dog for calm people. One can’t skip walking with a golden retriever because it rains outside or they had a tiresome day at work.

A golden retriever that isn’t getting enough exercise will simply turn the house upside down. It will run around in circles, dig holes in the garden, and chew furniture.

It’s also one of the worst dog breeds for retirees. One would expect a senior dog to be a perfect match for an elderly person, but golden retrievers never lose their playfulness and energy.

A senior golden retriever needs just as much activity as a young adult. That’s a pity because the affection and gentleness of goldens could benefit many retirees feeling lonely or depressed.

They Are Prone To Some Diseases

Like any purebred dog, golden retrievers are prone to some genetic diseases. Prospective owners must be aware of the most common golden retriever health conditions, including hip and elbow dysplasia, skin conditions, cardiovascular conditions, and Von Willebrand disease (VWD).

The best way to ensure your puppy won’t suffer from dysplasia or VWD is to ask the breeder for health clearances for the puppy and its parents. However, some health conditions are impossible to predict because they develop throughout the dog’s lifetime.

Many golden retrievers develop a thyroid hormone deficiency, causing hair loss, flakey skin, weight loss, and ear infections. Cataracts are also widespread, sometimes leading to complete blindness.

Furthermore, over 60% of golden retrievers develop cancer at some point in their lives. Cancer is the most common cause of death in golden retrievers and is prevalent in spayed female goldens.

They Have a Short Lifespan

Golden retriever life expectancy is only 11-12 years. This may not seem as short compared to other large dog breeds. For example, German shepherds live eight to 12 years, and Bernese Mountain dogs for seven to ten years.

However, only some five decades ago, golden retrievers used to live for 16-17 years on average, and such a rapid decrease in life expectancy is a worrying sign.

We don’t yet know the reason for this phenomenon, but the most plausible theories are irresponsible breeding and environmental factors. Proper veterinary care, sufficient exercise, and a correct diet can significantly prolong a dog’s lifespan.

Golden retrievers of particular bloodlines also tend to live longer than others due to a lack of genetic diseases. When you buy a puppy, consider asking the breeder how long their dogs live on average.

They Shed a Lot

Golden retrievers are among the most shedding dogs because of their dense, long, double coat. They shed year-round, and the fur is always noticeable because of how puffy and light it is.

If you want a golden retriever, brace yourself to find dog fur everywhere – on your clothes, in kitchen drawers, in the washing machine, and in your food. The shedding becomes extra intense in spring and fall.

Due to such an intense shedding, golden retrievers require regular grooming. Owners should brush their goldens at least once a week, sometimes even more frequently. Without regular grooming, a golden retriever may develop skin conditions.

Image credit: Pexels

Hit the like button!