Getting a golden retriever is a big commitment, so to help you make the right choice, we made this list of pros and cons for you.
Yes, we do love golden retrievers here (this is a golden retriever blog, after all), but golden retrievers are definitely not for everyone.
The worst thing that you could do is get a golden retriever, find out that it’s not a good fit, and give them up, so hopefully, this list makes your decision a little bit more clear.
Alright now, let’s dive in!
Golden Retriever Pros
There’s a lot to like about golden retrievers, as you’ll soon find out from this list of pros.
However, for every pro, there’s usually an opposite con, so be sure to read both lists.
Golden retrievers are great family dogs and are good with children
Goldens love nothing more than being with their families.
They’re very social animals and are happiest when they’re around people.
They’re also typically good with kids of all ages.
Golden retrievers have great personalities
The golden retriever smile says it all.
They are sweet, loving, gentle dogs that like to please people.
They’re also loyal, goofy, and playful.
Golden retrievers are smart
According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s book, The Intelligence Of Dogs, golden retrievers are the fourth smartest dog breed.
This is based on their ability to learn new commands and perform commands they already know.
Golden retrievers are relatively easy to train
Because they’re smart, like to please people, and love treats, golden retrievers are relatively easy to train.
You can start training them as soon as you bring them home at eight weeks, and many good breeders start training their pups even a little bit before that.
This is a great way to build your relationship with them, plus it helps stop bad habits from forming.
Also, not only are they easy to train, but they love to train.
They like to be challenged and like to be rewarded with praise and food.
Golden retrievers are beautiful
This may sound like an opinion, but it’s actually a fact.
Their long, golden coats, sweet smile, and joyful tail make them one of the best-looking dogs.
Not to mention, they’re absolutely adorable as puppies.
Golden retrievers are moderate barkers
But that doesn’t mean they’re not expressive.
Goldens wear their emotions on their sleeves and you can seemingly always tell what a golden retriever is thinking by looking at their body language.
Golden retrievers are good with other dogs and animals
Golden retrievers don’t just love people, they also love other dogs.
They’re always down to play and typically get along great with other dogs.
And because of their gentle personality, they’re usually good with other animals, too, provided a proper introduction and supervision.
Golden retrievers make great therapy dogs
Goldens are one of the most common breeds that serve as therapy dogs, and even if your golden isn’t an official therapy dog, they can definitely be your personal therapy dog.
They’re great to hug, are super soft, they’re great listeners, and they’re world-class secret-keepers.
Golden Retriever Cons
Although goldens are wonderful dogs, they’re not perfect.
Below is a list of some of the cons of owning them, but keep in mind that many of these things, like grooming and paying for vet visits and food, will be cons of owning any breed of dog.
Golden retrievers shed a lot
If you get a golden retriever, you’ll need to get used to hair being everywhere.
Yes, hair will be in the typical spots like on your furniture, floors, and clothes, but I frequently find my golden’s hair in my food and sometimes even on my toothbrush.
It just seems to be in the atmosphere in our home.
Click here to learn more about managing your golden retriever’s shedding.
Golden retrievers need a lot of grooming
These beautiful dogs don’t come with a low-maintenance package.
They need regular grooming tasks done, such as cleaning their teeth, brushing their coats, clipping their nails, cleaning their ears, and taking a bath.
Of course, you can do these tasks yourself, or bring them to a professional groomer to get them done.
Golden retrievers have quite a few health issues
Because of things like backyard breeding and inbreeding, golden retrievers seem to have a lot of health issues.
60% of golden retrievers are affected by cancer, but thankfully there are studies like the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study to try and find an answer.
Golden retrievers are not cheap
Here are some numbers about how much golden retrievers cost:
- Purebred golden retrievers from a breeder range from $500-3,000
- Adopting a golden retriever will range from $200-500
- Expect to spend about $2,077.53 – $2,947.53 in the first year
- Expect to spend about $1,506 – $2,464 in their adult years
Click here to see how we got those numbers.
Golden retrievers don’t live forever
The average golden retriever lifespan is about 10-12 years.
I wish it was longer, but larger dogs typically do live shorter lives than smaller dogs.
Click here to learn more about how to give your golden retriever a long, happy life.
Golden retrievers don’t make great guard dogs
They say that if a burglar broke into your home, your golden would probably show them where all the expensive things are in exchange for a head scratch.
But the good news is that golden retrievers do make great alarm systems.
As mentioned earlier, they have a very loud bark, and they’re not afraid to use it when someone is at the door.
Golden retrievers need a lot of exercise
Goldens were bred as hunting dogs, which means they had to have a lot of energy to retrieve gunned down birds out in the field all day.
And those energy levels haven’t decreased just because they’re not working in the fields as much.
Goldens need one to two hours of exercise per day.
Most people recommend only getting a golden if you have a fenced in yard.
If not, expect to make lots of trips to parks and fields where your golden can run around and get their energy out.
Golden retrievers are mischievous
Goldens love to play, and their smarts and energy levels can sometimes get them in trouble.
Take the adorable Thieving Archie in the video below for example.
Oliver also likes to be chased and play keep away, but not quite as much as Archie.
When he steals something, such as a rag, I’ll ask him to sit so I can come get it from him.
You can literally see the wheels spinning as he tries to decide whether he wants to obey or try to force us to play his favorite game.
Golden retrievers don’t like being alone
Because they’re so social and love people, they don’t like to be alone.
They would much rather prefer to be with their families all the time.
Golden Retriever Facts
We just covered a lot of pros and cons, but this next section covers some facts that might be a pro or con, depending on your preferences.
Golden retrievers are medium to large dogs
Goldens are definitely not small dogs.
They range from 21-24 inches tall and 55-75 pounds.
They take up quite a bit of room in the car and in the bed, although that also means there’s more dog to love and cuddle with.
Golden retrievers mature slowly
Golden retrievers typically don’t calm down until about two to four years old.
And even then, many people say golden retrievers are puppies for life.
I was tempted to put this in the cons side because they can be difficult as wild puppies, but their goofiness and playfulness is endearing.
If you’re thinking about getting a golden retriever, I hope this list of pros and cons helped make your decision a little easier.
They’re difficult to raise because they’re high-energy, mischievous dogs that need a lot of care and aren’t cheap.
But they will bring more love and joy to you than you could ever imagine.
Are you thinking about getting a golden retreiver?
Let me know what you decide in the comments below!
And if you know someone who’s thinking about getting a golden retriever, pelase share this with them!
P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love our Ultimate Guide To Golden Retrievers.