Golden Retrievers & Kids: Everything You Need To Know

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Want to know if golden retrievers are good with kids?

The short answer is yes, but there’s a lot more to it.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • if golden retrievers can be aggressive
  • if golden retrievers are protective
  • how golden retrievers are around babies and toddlers
  • the 5 things children should not do to goldens
  • why a golden retriever might not be right for your family
  • and much more

If you want to know more about how golden retrievers are with children, keep reading.

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

Golden retrievers are great with kids.

They’re sweet, playful dogs that love being part of a family.

They have the ability to be soft and gentle around babies and toddlers, but can also play rough and tumble with older kids, adults, and other dogs, too.

And in addition to golden retrievers being good with kids, they can also be good for kids!

Growing up with a dog can teach your child responsibility, as well as provide them with an ever-present best friend.

But are they just perfect family dogs?

Is there anything to watch out for?

Let’s dive into that a little more…

Can Golden Retrievers Be Aggressive?

Although golden retrievers are generally loving dogs, just like any other dog breed (or even humans, for that matter) they can be aggressive.

Aggressive golden retrievers are usually created, not born.

They’re created from neglect, abuse, and a lack of proper socialization.

What does socializaton have to do with aggression?

Well, aggression from most golden retrievers comes from a place of fear, which usually stems from a lack of socialization.

For example, maybe your golden retriever has never seen a person in a hat with sunglasses on.

One day you’re walking on the street and come across a boy in a hat with sunglasses.

He asks if he can pet your dog and you say yes, knowing that your golden loves kids.

But since your golden has never seen a boy in a hat and sunglasses, this particular boy scares him, and he might bite the boy as he boldly approaches your pup and puts his hand towards his face.

So as you’re raising your golden retriever puppy, be sure to properly socialize them to avoid fear and aggression problems in the future.

Get them used to being around other animals, noises, objects, environments, and different types of people, so that they grow into confident adults.

Are Golden Retrievers Protective?

golden retriever good with children

Golden retrievers make great alarms, but usually not so great body guards.

A golden retriever actually has the Guinness World Record for the loudest bark, so they can definitely let you know someone is at the door and potentially scare them off.

But if that person comes in the house, your golden is probably more likely to bring them a toy and ask them to play than to attack them.

Here’s the good news, though: according to Miami Police Detective Freddie Burden, the best way to reduce the chance of a break-in in your home is to get a dog.

Just the presence of a barking dog will deter most criminals from attempting to break in, so whether or not golden retrievers are actually protective, their presence can still bring some security to your home.

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Babies?

Golden retrievers are known for being great around babies.

They’re gentle and loving, and are usually not heavy barkers.

But you still want to take be careful establishing their relationship.

Take it slow introducing them and always supervise your pup around your baby.

Also, keep in mind that their mouths could have some germs that you don’t want your baby to be exposed to yet, so be careful letting them get too close, as most goldens can’t hold their licker.

There are loads of stories out there about goldens sleeping under cribs or letting babies crawl or sleep on them, so if you have a baby and a golden, be sure to take lots of pictures and enjoy this precious time!

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Toddlers?

golden retrievers and toddlers
My nephew, Oliver, and me.

Just like babies, golden retrievers are known for being good with toddlers.

Goldens are patient and like attention, and toddlers are curious and like to touch things, so they’re usually a perfect match.

We spent Oliver’s first Thanksgiving (he was almost five months old) at my parents house and they had lots of people over.

One couple brought their two-year-old and he and Oliver played chase all through the house.

It was adorable and the best part was that you couldn’t tell who was having more fun — they were both having a blast!

However, just like with babies, you wouldn’t want to leave your toddler alone with a dog.

Toddlers can often grab, step on, or trip over dogs, which might scare or annoy them.

So as long as you supervise the two of them, golden retrievers are known for being good with toddlers.

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Older Children?

Golden retrievers just want to play and kids make some of the best playmates.

Goldens like to chase and be chased, and romp around the house and the yard, and that’s often best done with energetic children.

Plus, they make good cuddle buddies, and are experts at keeping secrets.

Golden retrievers can also help teach your child about responsibility.

Between walks, potty breaks, regular grooming, and feeding them, your child can learn to care for another living being.

Teaching Your Child To Be Good Around Golden Retrievers

So far we’ve been asking ourselves if golden retrievers are good with kids, but a better question might be this: are kids good with golden retrievers?

Just like you need to teach your golden retriever appropriate behavior around children, you’ll probably need to teach your children appropriate behavior around dogs.

Make sure that your kid doesn’t:

  • grab your golden’s fur, ears, tail, paws, or face
  • hit them
  • poke them
  • step on them or their tail
  • chase them when they don’t want to be chased

My nephew is a year-and-a-half old and he doesn’t quite have the coordination for a gentle pet (it resembles more of a slap than a pet), so their physical interactions are rather limited until he gets a little older.

Why A Golden Retriever Might Not Be Right For Your Family

Although golden retrievers make great pets, they’re not right for every family.

Here are some reasons that goldens might not be good for your family:

Golden retrievers are boisterous puppies

As puppies, goldens are energetic and excitable, and a crying baby or bumbling toddler can get them riled up.

Of course, the toddler and puppy phases will go by quick, so take this with a grain of salt, but just be aware that while your golden is a puppy they’ll require extra supervision around your children.

Golden retrievers have needs, too

Golden retrievers are not exactly low maintenance dogs.

They’re high energy breeds that need lots of exercise and attention.

A house with kids could be the perfect fit for a golden, but if you’re always away at soccer practice, or always changing diapers and trying to get the kids to sleep, it may be tough to attend to the needs of your golden retriever too.

Want To Ensure Your Golden Retriever Will Be Good Around Kids? Do These 3 Things

Although most goldens are naturally good with kids, if you want to give yourself the best shot at having a golden that’s great around kids, do these three things:

Socialize them

We talked a little about this in the section about aggression, but to make sure that your golden is calm and confident around your kids (and other people’s kids), be sure to socialize them.

Help them have positive experiences while kids are screaming or running around, or when you bust out the big scary stroller.

Also, get them used to different types of people in different types of outfits and situations.

Train them

When your golden is obedient, you’ll be able to control them better.

Did your kid just puke all over the floor?

Asking your dog to sit and stay (and not try to help you clean up) will make your life much easier.

Did your kid just fall and bust their knee?

They might not want your dog all up in their business right then and there, so asking your golden to sit and stay while you make everything better will also make life easier for everyone.

Exercise them

A tired dog is a good dog.

If your golden has pent up energy, they can chew up the house, run around the house, or be more apt to jump on your children.

But if you mentally and physically stimulate your dog, many of their bad behaviors will go away.

You can get some of that energy out by training them, playing games like fetch and tug, and giving them puzzle toys.

Learn more about exercising you golden retriever here.


Golden retrievers are one of the best breeds for families with children.

They’re sweet, gentle dogs that love being around people.

However, they’re also large, high-energy dogs, so if you’re too busy with your kids to attend to the needs of your golden, a golden retriever might not be right for you.

Have any questions about golden retrievers and kids?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you know someone who is considering getting a golden retriever, please share this with them!

P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love the Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers.

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4 thoughts on “Golden Retrievers & Kids: Everything You Need To Know”

  1. I loved this article because when we move to Texas my parents are finally going to let me get a dog and we are thinking about getting a golden retriever.


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