2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report

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The results of the 2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report are in!

If you’ve ever wanted to know:

“What do other people feed their golden retriever?”

Or, “What’s the best vacuum to clean up all the golden retriever hair?”

Or, “Should I enroll my pup in a puppy training class?”

Then you’re going to love this!

I’ve asked these questions myself, so we put together this big survey to finally get some answers.

600 golden retriever parents shared some of their favorite products and services for their golden and we’re so excited to share the results with you.

Let’s dive in!

2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report Results

We’ve got a ton of great info for you here, but it can be a lot, so here’s a table of contents:

Background on the 2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report

Best products for goldens

Golden retriever training tips

Fun facts about golden retrievers

And if you like to look at spreadsheets, you can see all of the data (minus names) in this spreadsheet here.

Background On The 2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report

why golden retriever owner survey

Why This Study

If you post in a golden retriever Facebook group asking what the best vacuum is to clean up all the golden fur around the house, here are the answers you might get:

“I hated Vacuum X, so I went with Vacuum Y!”

“The belt in Vacuum Y broke after two uses, so I went with vacuum X and it’s the BEST VACUUM IN THE WORLD!”

Isn’t this so frustrating?!

Too many contradicting opinions!

So to help you, as a golden retriever owner, get some better data on the best products and services for your pup, we decided to build this survey and give you some concrete numbers.

Who Participated In This Survey

600 golden retriever owners filled out this survey.

Most of them found this survey through Instagram, golden retriever Facebook groups, or through the Golden Hearts email list.

The majority of participants are here in the US, and we thanked them for their time by entering them into a drawing to win a gift card to their favorite pet store.

(Editor’s note: the winner decided to have me donate the $100 to her local golden retriever rescue instead of getting the gift card for herself. Isn’t that awesome?!)

Here’s some more info about who this data is coming from:

Golden retriever age:

golden retriever age

Less than a year: 38.1%

1-4 years old: 41.8%

5-9 years old: 13.6%

10 years old or older: 6.6%

Where these goldens came from:

golden retriever rescue vs breeder

Breeder: 89.9%

Rescue: 5.7%

People who’ve rescued goldens and purchased them from a breeder:  4.4%

Now, let’s get into the study results!

Best Products For Golden Retrievers

best products for golden retrievers

Where To Shop For Your Golden Retriever

Before we talk about what products to get your golden, let’s talk about where to get them from.

Here’s where people shop for their dog:

best pet store to shop for golden retriever

Chewy: 28%

Local big box pet store: 22.4%

Local mom and pop pet store:18.8%

Amazon: 16.8%

Other: 8.2%

Online big box pet store: 5.9%

Most Popular Food For Golden Retrievers

Here are the 5 most popular foods for golden retrievers:

most popular golden retriever puppy food
  1. Purina Pro Plan
  2. Royal Canin Golden Retriever
  3. Hill’s Science Diet
  4. Raw
  5. Blue Buffalo

At least 21%* of golden retriever owners feed their dogs Purina Pro Plan, while 14% of golden retriever owners feed their dog Royal Canin.

*The reason I said “at least 21%” is that many people just answered “Purina” for this question, so I didn’t want to assume they all feed their dogs Pro Plan.

Now the numbers above are for the study overall.

But when filtered for only golden retriever puppies, here’s what the data looks like for the most popular golden retriever puppy food:

golden retriever puppy food
  1. Purina Pro Plan
  2. Royal Canin Golden Retriever (mostly “Golden Retriever Puppy“)
  3. Hill’s Science Diet
  4. Raw
  5. Blue Buffalo

At least 23% of golden retriever puppy owners feed their puppy Purina Pro Plan, while about 16% of owners feed their puppy Royal Canin.

Now here’s a big disclaimer: this doesn’t automatically mean one of these foods is the right food for your golden.

These are just the most popular food brands.

Talk to your vet about what the right food for your pup is because, depending on their age or health, they may have special needs.

purina pro plan large breed puppy food

Get Purina Pro Plan Large Breed Puppy Food from Amazon here.

Most Popular Treats For Golden Retrievers

Here are the 5 most popular treats for golden retrievers:

best treat for golden retriever
  1. Anything and everything
  2. Peanut butter
  3. Chicken
  4. Milk-Bones
  5. Cheese

Golden retrievers are certainly not picky when it comes to treats.

According to most of the participants in this study, if it’s in your hand, your golden will happily eat it.

But something interesting to note here…

Besides “literally anything”, there was no clear winner for most popular treat.

There was just such a variety of answers.

The good news is that whatever you choose to give your golden as a treat, they’ll probably like it.

If you’re looking for treats that are more convenient than carrying around peanut butter or cheese for training your pup, here are some that were mentioned in the study:

Whimzees, Greenies, BarkBox treats, and bully sticks were also mentioned quite a bit.

zuke's mini treats for golden retriever

Get Zuke’s mini training treats from Amazon here.

Most Popular Shampoo For Golden Retrievers

Here are the most popular shampoos for golden retrievers:

golden retriever shampoo
  1. Burt’s Bees
  2. Earthbath
  3. Baby Shampoo
  4. Tropiclean
  5. Skout’s Honor

Burt’s Bees with a dominating victory here!

There were many different kinds of Burt’s Bees shampoos listed here, but the most popular one was the Burt’s Bees puppy shampoo.

burt's bees golden retriever puppy shampoo

Get Burt’s Bees puppy shampoo from Amazon here.

Most Popular Vacuums For Golden Retriever Owners

Golden retrievers moms sure love talking about their vacuums.

Here are the most popular vacuum brands:

best vacuum for golden retriever hair
  1. Dyson
  2. Shark
  3. Bissell
  4. Roomba*
  5. Hoover

32% of golden retriever owners have a Dyson, while 26% have a Shark.

As far as which Dyson was most popular, most people had a version of the Dyson Animal.

The Shark Navigator was the most popular Shark vacuum, and the Bissell Pet Hair Eraser was the most popular Bissell vacuum.

The Roomba has an asterisk next to it because several people answered “robot” and they didn’t specify whether it was an iRobot Roomba or not.

Many people also noted that they have both an upright vacuum and a robot vacuum, with the 1-2 punch of a Dyson and Roomba being most popular.

dyson animal for golden retriever hair

Get the Dyson V11 Animal vacuum from Amazon here.

Golden Retrievers’ Favorite Toys

Goldens are playful dogs and love toys.

Here are the most popular ones:

best toys for golden retrievers
  1. Stuffed or squeaky toys
  2. Ball
  3. Kong
  4. Rope
  5. Bone

Some of the most popular stuffed or squeaky toys were stuffed lamb chops and hedgehogs.

Tennis balls and Chuck It balls were among the most popular balls.

Kong classic and Kong stuffed toys headed up the Kong toys.

And Nylabone and Benebone toys were the most popular bones.

It should also be noted that there were a couple of “my fingers” votes from the puppy owners!

Hang in there puppy owners!

lamb chop toy for golden retriever

Get the Multipet Lamb Chop from Amazon here.

Most Popular Dog Subscription Boxes

Here’s how many golden retriever parents are subscribed to a dog subscription box:

golden retriever dog subscription box survey

21.2% of golden retriever owners in this study are subscribed to a dog subscription box.

Here’s what they are subscribed to:

best dog subscription box for golden retriever
  1. BarkBox
  2. Super Chewer
  3. PupBox
  4. Other
  5. The Farmer’s Dog

BarkBox is the winner by a long shot here (68% of people who have a dog subscription box are subscribed to BarkBox), then you’ve got Super Chewer, which is also owned by BarkBox.

(See our BarkBox review here)

PupBox is interesting because, even though it’s only made for puppies, there’s still a decent amount of subscriptions here.

Which makes us wonder, what’s the most popular subscription box for golden retriever puppies?

When you filter the data and only look at the results from owners who have a golden retriever under a year old, here’s what you get:

best dog subscription box for golden retriever puppy
  1. BarkBox
  2. PupBox
  3. Super Chewer
  4. Other

BarkBox is still the winner, but not by quite so much, and PupBox takes over second place.

Something else that’s not shown here is that almost 13% of people who are subscribed to dog boxes are subscribed to multiple boxes.

Those are some lucky pups!

Golden Retriever Training Tips

golden retriever training

Did you crate train your puppy?

Some people say crate training is one of the best things you can do for your puppy, while others think it’s mean.

Here’s what the data says:

crate train golden retriever puppy

75.7% DID crate train their golden retriever puppy.

24.3% DID NOT crate train their golden retriever puppy.

I agree with the data — here’s why crate training can be helpful:

  • It can keep your puppy safe from chewing or swallowing things that could be dangerous
  • It can help with potty training
  • It can keep your house safe from your pup tearing it up
  • It can give your puppy a safe space that’s their own away from the noise and distractions in the house

I’m not saying it’s easy — it’s hard! — but as you can see, most golden retriever owners believe crate training is worth it.

Did you enroll your puppy in a puppy training class?

One of the first things my vet said to me when I brought in my golden, Oliver, for his first appointment was this:

“Make sure you get him enrolled in a puppy training class asap so he can start socializing with other puppies and learn basic obedience.”

Does everybody else agree?

Here’s what the data says:

puppy training class for golden retriever puppy

52% DID enroll their puppy in a puppy training class.

48% DID NOT enroll their puppy in a puppy training class.

But thanks to COVID-19, there’s a bit of a plot twist here.

Many people are staying home, and some places are shut down, which is decreasing people enrolling their puppies in a puppy training class.

how covid affects puppy training class

When you only look at people who only have golden retrievers that are less than a year old (golden retrievers that don’t know a world before COVID-19) here’s what the data says:

46.4% enrolled their puppy in a puppy training class.

Then, looking at people who have dogs older than a year old (so dogs who were puppies before COVID-19), here’s what the data says:

55.2% enrolled their puppy in a puppy training class.

According to this data, enrollment in puppy training classes is down 16% since COVID-19.

Did you find the puppy training class helpful?

Although enrollment in puppy training classes is a little down right now… are these new puppy owners actually missing out on anything?

Here’s what the data says:

puppy training class rating

89.2% said it WAS helpful.

10.8% said it WAS NOT helpful.

So it looks like puppy owners not signing up for puppy training class are missing out!

If you’re on the fence about enrolling in a puppy class or not, go for it.

Great work puppy class teachers!

Have you ever hired a dog trainer? (Not including a puppy training class)

Here’s how many golden retriever parents have hired a professional dog trainer (not including for a puppy training class):

hiring dog trainer for golden retriever

28.8% HAVE hired a professional dog trainer.

71.2% HAVE NOT hired a professional dog trainer.

Did you find the dog trainer helpful?

Here’s whether or not golden retriever owners thought it was helpful to hire a trainer:

hiring dog trainer for golden retriever helpful

94.6% DID find it helpful.

5.4% DID NOT find it helpful.

This is encouraging for those of you whose dog has some behavior problems that you need some help fixing.

Hiring a dog trainer works!

Great job dog trainers!

Have you ever purchased an online dog training course?

Here’s how many golden retriever parents have purchased an online dog training course:

online dog training course for golden retriever

8.3% HAVE purchased an online training course.

91.7% have NOT purchased an online training course.

But that’s looking at dog owners of all ages who’ve had their dogs pre and post COVID-19.

How has COVID-19 affected these numbers?

When we look at only people who have puppies, here’s the data:

14.6% of current puppy owners have purchased an online training course.

And then when we look at people who got their dogs before COVID-19, here’s the data:

4.6% of owners purchased an online training course.

Purchases of online dog training courses have more than tripled since COVID-19!

Now here’s the big question… are these online courses helpful?

Let’s find out…

Did you find the online course helpful?

Here’s whether or not golden retriever owners found the online training course helpful:

are online dog training courses worth it

91.5% DID find it helpful.

8.5% DID NOT find it helpful.

Here’s the bottom line: getting professional help to train your dog works.

If you’re struggling with a particular behavior, hire a trainer or purchase an online dog training course.

And to help build a strong foundation in your pup, take them to a puppy training class.

Don’t give up on your pup — help is available for you!

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers

golden retriever fun facts

Where To Find A Golden Retriever Breeder

Most people (94.3%, according to this survey) get a golden retriever from a breeder.

But how do you find a breeder?

Here’s what the data says:

how to find golden retriever breeder

Referral from a friend: 30.2%

Google: 20.2%

Facebook: 13.7%

American Kennel Club (AKC): 9.8%

Golden retriever club: 4.9%

Instagram: 2.6%

Other: 18.6%

There were a variety of answers for the “other” answer, but some of the most popular answers were:

  • An ad in a local paper
  • Craigslist

Only three people said they got their golden from a pet store.

How Much Golden Retrievers Cost

The cost for golden retrievers varies widely.

Here’s how much people paid for them:

golden retriever price

$0 – $999: 29.2%

$1,000 – $1,999: 38.3%

$2,000 – $2,999: 24.4%

$3,000 – $3,999: 5.7%

Over $4,000: 2.5%

Here are some factors that affect price:

  • Breeder location
  • Breeder skill and experience
  • Purpose of the puppies (i.e. dogs bred for show may be more expensive than dogs bred to be companions)

Most Popular Golden Retriever Colors

Golden retrievers come in a variety of colors, but for this study, we broke them into three categories:

  • Light gold (or cream)
  • Gold
  • Red

And here’s how popular each color is:

popular golden retriever colors

Gold: 51.6%

Light gold (or cream): 31.5%

Red: 16.8%

There’s a lot to be said about the different colors of golden retrievers — you can learn more about them here:

Most Popular Golden Retriever Names

Out of 675 names in this survey, here are the 20 most popular ones:

  1. Tucker
  2. Finn/Finley/Finlay
  3. Bailey
  4. Charlie
  5. Henry
  6. Murphy
  7. Bella
  8. Harley
  9. Oliver
  10. Willow
  11. Winston
  12. Stella
  13. Beau
  14. Cooper
  15. Daisy
  16. Leo
  17. Lola
  18. Oakley
  19. Rosie
  20. Winnie

Tucker Budzyn is the most popular golden retriever around right now, so it’s no surprise that that’s the most popular name.

But is Tucker Budzyn the reason for that name being so popular, or is it just chance?

Well, when you filter out the data and only look at families that have dogs less than a year old, here’s what you find:

About 3% of golden retrievers below the age of 1 are named Tucker, but only about 2% of golden retrievers above the age of 1 are named Tucker.

So go Tucker for being so influential!

You can see all of the other golden retriever names here.

Most Embarrassing Golden Retriever Nicknames

Here’s a little secret for those of you who don’t have a golden yet…

Nobody actually calls their golden by their real name.

We golden retriever parents give our pups several different nicknames, then wonder why they don’t listen when we call them…

Now most nicknames seem to fall in two categories:

  1. Sweet
  2. Bathroom humor

Examples of those that fall in the sweet category include:

  • Baby Bear
  • Mr. Snugglesworth
  • Angel Face
  • Sweet baby angel

On the other hand, you’ve got the potty people:

  • Stinky Butt
  • Poopy Pants
  • Fluff Butt
  • Monkey Butt
  • Fartie Boi
  • Marty McFarty

Lots of butt, poop, and fart references here!

Which category do you fall in?

If you want a good LOL, check out the full list of golden retriever nicknames here.

How Many Golden Retrievers People Have In Their Lifetime

Us golden retriever owners are obsessed with the breed.

If you get one golden retriever, there’s a 48.5% chance you’ll get another.

Here’s how many goldens people have had in their lifetime:

how many golden retrievers people own in their life

1 golden retriever: 52.1%

2 golden retrievers: 20.8%

3 golden retrievers: 13.1%

4 golden retrievers: 6.3%

5 golden retrievers: 2.8%

6 or more golden retrievers: 5%

Even though they’re crazy and expensive, we just can’t get enough of these sweet dogs.

And I’ll tell you what…

I sure hope I’m blessed enough to have six golden retrievers in my life!

Owning Multiple Golden Retrievers

Now that we know that if you get a golden, there’s a good chance you’ll get another…

How many golden retrievers do people have at one time?

Here’s what the data says:

how many golden retrievers people currently have

1 golden retriever: 86.4%

2 golden retrievers: 10.8%

3 golden retrievers: 1.3%

4 golden retrievers: 0.8%

5 or more golden retrievers: 0.7%

Although almost half of all golden retriever owners will get a second dog, 86.5% only have one golden right now.

As someone who’s currently fostering a second golden retriever, let me tell you, two goldens are a lot of work!

Golden Retrievers And Other Dogs

Want to know if golden retrievers are good with other dogs?

Here’s good news:

31.6% of people have more than one dog and 57% of those people have a golden plus another breed.

Here’s how many dogs golden retriever owners currently have:

how many dogs people currently have

1 dog: 68.4%

2 dogs: 23.2%

3 dogs: 5.4%

4 dogs: 1.8%

5 or more dogs: 1.2%

Golden Retrievers And Cats

Want to know if you can own a golden retriever and a cat at the same time?

Here’s good news:

golden retrievers and cats

25.3% of people who own a golden retriever also own a cat.

So yes, you can own both!

Golden Retriever Grooming

Golden retrievers are beautiful dogs, but this beauty ain’t easy to maintain.

You’ve got to brush them often, clean their ears, clip their nails, and brush their teeth regularly.

So can you do it all alone, or do you need to take your dog to get professionally groomed?

Here’s what the data says:

golden retriever grooming

37.6% of people groom their dogs themselves without any professional help.

24.6% of people only have a professional groom their dogs.

37.8% of people do a mix of both.

Golden Retrievers On The Couch

I’m upset if my dog isn’t on the couch me.

But what do other people think about letting their golden on the couch?

Let’s find out…

golden retriever allowed on couch

82% of golden retriever owners DO allow their dog on the couch.

18% of golden retriever owners DO NOT allow their dog on the couch.

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t understand the other 18% of you folks.

Is your golden allowed on the couch?

Golden Retrievers In The Bed

Does your golden retriever sleep in bed with you?

This is a tricky one.

On the one hand, I love cuddling with Oliver.

But on the other hand, he takes up half the bed and heats it up like a furnace.

So, what does everyone else say?

golden retriever sleep in bed

55.9% of golden retrievers DO sleep in the bed with their owners for at least part of the night.

44.1% of golden retrievers DO NOT sleep in the bed with their owners at all.

Does your golden sleep in the bed with you?

So What Do You Do With All Of This Info?

golden retriever study

The next time you’re considering a product for your golden retriever, check out some of the most popular ones here.

And if you’re considering a golden retriever, come back to this to see where to find a breeder, what to name your pup, and how you should go about training them.

Now here’s a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated in this survey.

This info will help out a lot of current and future golden retriever owners (it’s already helped me decide on some new toys and treats to try for Oliver) and it wouldn’t be possible without you.

And now for the 2022 Golden Retriever Owners Report…

What questions should we ask in next year’s survey?

Let us know down in the comments!

And if you liked this article, then you’ll love these 63 golden retriever facts you (probably) didn’t know.

P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!

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37 thoughts on “2021 Golden Retriever Owners Report”

  1. Love the info. My Golden Hope is crazy and I love her. I didn’t crate train but wish I did. She is 6 months now and I think I still may try. She has been awesome since day one. Sleeps all night with me but as of lately she likes the floor better. I think she just gets to hot. She is my first Golden but I would take another one today for her to have a friend.

  2. Our golden is named Cadeau. It’s french for “gift”. It was my grandfather’s family name until they americanized it when they moved here. He is a gift for sure. May be the most intelligent dog Ive ever owned. Also, we have a cat that is teaching Cadeau how to get along together. The main thing is -” don’t put your big paw on top of me! “

  3. I’m on my second golden. First was gold and my new puppy is cream. He’s a dream! We use the crate at night and he doesn’t seem to mind it; but he hates to use the crate during the day. He wants to be with us (typical golden!) If I run out I do put him in the crate and he is not happy. Poor puppy!

  4. Rosie is our third dog, but first golden and we see what all the fuss is about!

    She never adjusted to crate training, even after two solid weeks and the vet said some Golden’s never do. She has been perfect since night one. Never chewed or had a accident in the middle of the night.

  5. We love our Golden Boys so much or Vet told us about them all we have owned . We are our 5th Golden Meander Barker 5 and Mr Zambeane 11. . Love them so much. Everyday is a new adventure. Brighten our day everyday.

  6. Our first golden Gideon my daughter puppy raised for an organization that uses them as potential service dogs. Gideon is now in Texas with his new handler. Teddy is our second golden that we got at 8 weeks he will be 2 in April. The third one is Toby, we drove 4 hours one way to pick him up at 14 weeks old. I am hoping to train him to be my service dog, so a trainer is in the near future. I also have 2 mixed breed females that add to the jealousy issue among the puppies. Toby is doing so good with crate training, potty training in the winter is proving to be difficult. But, I wish I had been introduced to the goldens before age 55.

  7. I’ve had multiple dogs during my life, and I can honestly say my Rosie is the best dog I’ve owned. So sweet, loving and she listens!! She’s still very playful, for an old gal (12)

  8. Shiloh.is.Golden. Shiloh is my first Golden ever! I wish I had known more about this breed years ago! I raised and bred Maltese and Shih Tzu’s and loved them. However, in my golden years I am finding that my golden is unbelievably perfect for companionship. She goes everywhere with me and she is the best girl ever!!!

  9. Golden retriever are the best dogs out of the many breeds I’ve owned throughout the years. They’re loyal, friendly, loving, smart, etc. Their list of wonderful traits goes on & on too. I always used to joke with my parents that I had a perfect childhood except that I didn’t grow up with a golden retriever. I rescued my first golden & then I knew I had to own more. I’ve rescued a total of 10 & owned 8 at one time, but currently I have four. I have crohn’s disease & I’m stuck in bed a lot, but they’re always by my side to comfort me. Peace, Love & Goldens!!!!

    • My Golden Retriever has an Instagram Account!
      Chelsea is our first Golden and is Very Calm. We bring her to Dads office (Doctor) and she greets patients and makes them calm when needed.
      Undeniably the best decision our only Son made for us before he left for Med School 💕

  10. Lily is our fifth Golden! At 7 months, she is an adorable handful. Over 35 years, we’ve had a retired guide dog, a rescue, two pups from breeders, and now our baby gal. I’ve learned so much from your emails and postings. Thank you, Jake and Oliver!


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