Golden Retriever Temperament & Personality (10 Reasons To Love Them)

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 typically aren’t aggressive.

In this post, you’re going to see 10 reasons to love Golden Retrievers.

But at the end, you’ll also see some traits that some people 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.

golden retriever temperament personality

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 own 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.

Goldens make great therapy dogs because of their sweet personalities and love for people.

This is definitely my favorite trait about Golden Retrievers.

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.

We fostered a nine-year-old Golden for a few weeks and she loved to run around the yard and chase after tennis balls.

Goldens 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.

According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s book, The Psychology of Dogs, they’re the fourth smartest dog breed.

Only Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds are smarter.

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.

This 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, there are two other reasons they’re easy to train.

For one, they’re people pleasers that love to make you happy.

And two, they love treats!

The combination of wanting to please you, being mentally capable of understanding what you’re trying to communicate to them, and loving treats 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 fearlessness is one of the personality traits that still persist 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!

There’s also the story of Sadie, the Golden Retriever who protected her mom when a thief broke in.

Reason #8: Golden Retrievers are rarely aggressive

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 moderate barkers

Goldens are moderate 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 sound.

Plus, because they were bred to hunt birds, they had to be quiet in the field otherwise they would scare them away.

This is another one of my favorite characteristics!

Reason #10: Golden Retrievers are good with dogs & other animals

Golden retrievers don’t just love people, they also love dogs and other animals!

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.

And if you’re wondering if you can have a Golden Retriever and another dog at the same time, here’s a fun stat for you:

In a study we did earlier this year, we found that 31.6% of Golden Retriever owners currently have more than one dog.

Of those people, 43% have only Golden Retrievers, and 57% have a Golden Retriever plus another breed.

And 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!

Also in the study we did, we found that 25% of Golden Retriever owners also have a cat.

golden retriever cat

6 Things You Might Not Love About Golden Retrievers

Although the 10 qualities above are absolutely adoring to Golden Retriever owners, there’s also a flip side to many of those endearing qualities.

Here are a few cons about Golden Retrievers:

  1. Golden Retrievers love people SO much, that they do have a tendency to jump on people if they’re not trained correctly.
  2. 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.
  3. They’re not the best guard dogs because they’re more likely to lick someone to death than scare them off.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. They are so smart that they can often be mischievous.

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:

  1. Socialize them as puppies appropriately. Many issues in adult dogs can be traced back to them not being socialized properly as puppies.
  2. 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.
  3. 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, train them, and give them puzzle toys, 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!).

Take this quiz to see if a Golden Retriever is right for you.

Goldens & Their Wonderful Personality

golden retriever temperament

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.

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3 thoughts on “Golden Retriever Temperament & Personality (10 Reasons To Love Them)”

  1. My golden is a field dog. She is very good but she can be aggressive when she does not want to give up certain toys or food. She will growl and show her teeth. Maybe bite down a little to show you she the boss. Why does this happen not all the time but it does once in a while.

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  2. We have a 4 month old puppy. He is lovable and wants someone with him. Loves to nap on top of my feet so that I can’t go away. Recently got into a frenzy and started barking for no reason.

    Reply

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