Thinking about getting a golden retriever?
Golden retrievers have sweet temperaments and are loving, loyal dogs that make great family pets.
They have animated personalities and are smart, eager to please, and are typically not aggressive at all.
In this post, I’m going to share with you 11 reasons to love golden retrievers, but in the end, I’ll also share some things that some people might find not so great, as well as a few questions to help you decide if a golden retriever is right for you.
Let’s dive in!
Reason #1: Golden retrievers are good with kids
Golden retrievers are playful with kids of all ages, yet soft and gentle enough for small children.
They make great family pets because they seem to have a natural sense of boundaries with children, which is both impressive and adorable.
For example, at Thanksgiving this past year my golden, Oliver, was playing wonderfully and gently with my 2-year-old nephew, but the very next day was wrestling and rough-housing with me.
Reason #2: They love people (and people love them)
Kids, adults, babies, grandmothers… golden retrievers love them all.
A golden is most happy when they’re with their family.
But they don’t just love spending time with their families.
In fact, there’s a group of goldens called the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs that show up and provide comfort for victims, families, and first responders after tragedy has struck.
They’ve been there for tragic events such as the Pulse shooting in Orlando, the Sandy Hook shooting in Connecticut, and after Hurricane Sandy in NY and NJ.
Reason #3: Golden retrievers love to have fun
People often say that golden retrievers are playful puppies for life.
They love romping around the yard, throwing sticks or squeaky toys in the air, and playing fetch.
They often have “zoomies” (running around in circles) because they just can’t contain their excitement.
Golden Retriever Zoomies [VIDEO]
Even adult goldens have the zoomies!
Reason #4: Golden retrievers are smart
Although they love to have fun (and can look goofy doing it), they’re very smart.
They’re intuitive and give you the feeling that you’re hanging out with a furry little human toddler, and not just a regular dog.
Which leads us to the next point…
Reason #5: Golden retrievers are easy to train
Because they’re so smart, they’re easy to train.
But it’s not just that they’re smart, they’re also people pleasers.
The combination of wanting to please you and being mentally capable of understanding what you’re trying to communicate to them makes them some of the most trainable dogs.
And since they’re easy to train…
Reason #6: Golden retrievers are great workers
Golden retrievers were originally bred to be hunting dogs.
They still do work hunting in the field, but they also excel as therapy dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Their sweet temperament, loving personalities, the fact that they’re trainable, and their great sense of smell help them in these jobs.
I’ve already mentioned the LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs, but there were also several goldens that helped find people in the wreckage of 9/11.
Aren’t these dogs amazing?
Reason #7: Golden retrievers are fearless
Like I said in the previous tip, goldens were bred to be hunting dogs.
Specifically, they were bred to retrieve waterfowl in Scotland.
You can’t be fearful and be a hunting dog at the same time!
And that fearlessness still persists today.
Have you heard the story of Todd, the golden who saved his mom from a rattlesnake bite in Arizona?
He took a bite to the face while on a walk that could have easily been for his mother.
Todd The Golden Who Took A Snake Bite [VIDEO]
What a brave boy!
Reason #8: Golden retrievers are rarely aggressive and rarely bite
All of the love and good-naturedness doesn’t leave much room for aggression.
In fact, most golden retrievers are likely to be submissive rather than aggressive.
And although golden retrievers can be “mouthy” (they were bred to hold birds in their mouths, after all) they are known for their soft mouths and rarely bite out of aggression or fear.
Reason #9: Golden retrievers are not huge barkers
Goldens are mild to medium barkers.
They may bark to let you know someone is creeping around outside, but they’re confident dogs, not little yappy things that feel the need to bark at every little thing.
Personally, I’m very thankful because Oliver rarely barks.
Reason #10: Golden retrievers are good with other dogs
Golden retrievers don’t just love people, they also love other dogs!
They could play alllll day as long the other pup is up for it.
Oliver does ok at dog parks but seems to enjoy play dates with just a few dogs best.
Reason #11: Golden retrievers are good with other animals
Provided they have had a proper introduction, golden retrievers are good with other animals including cats, birds, tortoises, and even guinea pigs! (Check out the video below.)
Golden Retriever & Guinea Pig Are Best Friends [VIDEO]
These two are adorable!
6 Things You Might Not Love About Golden Retrievers
Although the 11 things above are absolutely adoring to golden retriever owners, there’s also a flip side to many of those endearing qualities.
Here are a few:
- Golden retrievers love people SO much, that they do have a tendency to jump on people if they’re not trained correctly.
- They also love people so much that it can be tough to get them to behave in public because there are so many people to say hi to.
- They make bad guard dogs because they’re more likely to lick someone to death than scare them off.
- They were bred to hunt all day so they need lots of physical and mental stimulation (otherwise they may try to entertain themselves by chewing on furniture or shoes).
- They take a while to mature and are pretty much puppies until about 2-3 years old, so they can be a little boisterous until then.
- They are so smart that they can often be mischevious.
Here’s a good quote to keep in mind when considering the potential negative qualities of golden retrievers: “A tired dog is a good dog.”
How To Make Sure Your Golden Has A Great Temperament
Although the majority of goldens are amazing dogs, there is the occasional dog that is very anxious (and chews up the house) or is uncontrollable around people (and leaps up on them).
Here are three tips to help you have the best golden possible:
- Socialize them as puppies appropriately. Many issues in adult dogs can be traced back to them not being socialized properly as puppies.
- Train them. Your golden doesn’t naturally know that it’s bad to jump on people. Instead, give them something to do when they greet people, like sit.
- Mentally and physically stimulate them. Like I said earlier, a tired dog is a good dog. If you do things like play fetch and tug, or train them, their physical and mental needs will be satisfied and they’ll be too tired to be naughty.
Is a golden retriever right for you?
As far as personality goes, if you’re looking for a dog that:
- Is loyal
- Is good with kids
- Loves their family (and pretty much everyone else)
- Likes to have fun, be active, and play outside
- Wants to be trained
Then a golden will be great for you.
If you’re looking for a dog that:
- You don’t really have to train
- You don’t really have to play with
- You can leave at home in the crate all day
- You can spend an entire Saturday watching Netflix with
Then you might want to look at a different breed (or maybe even a cat!).
Golden retrievers have some of the best temperaments of any dog out there.
They’re sweet, loving, and obedient, which makes them great family dogs, as well as good service dogs, therapy dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Do you have a golden retriever?
What’s their personality like?
Have any questions about golden retrievers’ temperament?
Let me know in the comments below!
If you know someone who is considering getting a golden, please share this with them!
And if you liked this article, you’ll love this article about how much golden retrievers cost.