Golden Retriever Running with a Ball

Getting to Know Your Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers are a popular breed in the United States and it’s easy to see why. They are smart, loyal, and lovable dogs with a beautiful golden coat. But before you run out to get your very own Golden retriever, you should know a bit more about the breed.

In this quick guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these wonderful dogs so that you can make the best decision for your home and family.

Physical Characteristics

This is a somewhat larger breed, falling into the sporting dog category. Your Golden retriever will grow to a max of about 2 feet tall at the shoulders. Their weight when they are full grown will be somewhere between 55 and 75 pounds.

Golden Retriever Body Look

They have a thick coat which can be either wavy or straight. Often, there are some soft tufts of fur known as “fur feathers” on the chest, thighs, and tail. Their fur is always golden but it can range from very light to dark gold.

Personality and Temperament

It was originally bred to be a hunting dog with more loyalty and a gentler manner at home than the Cocker Spaniels and Setters that were being used at the time. You can see this in the high level of loyalty and care a Golden retriever will show for its family.

They are significantly calmer and gentler than you might expect for a hunting dog. But they are also highly skilled hard workers. They are eager to please and enjoy being around humans.

Three Cute Golden Retriever Puppies

Golden retrievers get along with children very well but some supervision is required around small children because the dog is big enough to accidentally knock a child over. However, you won’t have to worry about your dog becoming too aggressive or too violent with your children.

Common Health Issues

This is a fairly robust and sport breed but there are a few issues you should be aware of and a few conditions that you need to take steps to prevent:

  • Obesity: Golden retrievers love food. If you leave their food out where they can access it at will, they will eat and eat and eat. So it’s absolutely essential that you portion their meals for them and keep the food stored out of reach.
  • Hip Dysplasia: this is a condition that affects many different breeds but Golden Retrievers are at a fairly high risk. With this condition, your dog’s thigh bone does not fit properly into the hip joint. This will cause pain and immobility in one or both of the hind legs. Watch for signs of discomfort or difficulty walking, sitting, and getting up. It’s also recommended to take your dog to the vet for an X ray to screen for the condition. Treatment can help manage the symptoms and keep your dog up and mobile. But you should not breed a dog with this condition as it is genetic.
  • Bloat: this is a potentially fatal condition that larger breeds are particularly prone to get. It happens when your dog eats too much in one sitting or too quickly. What happens is the stomach fills up rapidly and distends, filling with gas. Then, if your dog runs around or is active, the stomach will twist, trapping that gas inside. Symptoms include attempting to vomit with nothing coming out, bloated abdomen, and lethargy. Without treatment, it can be fatal. But it can be prevented by measuring out your dog’s food into separate meals so they never eat too much at once. And you should prevent them from being too active for about an hour after eating.

Cute Golden Retriever Puppy Eyes

Basic Care Instructions

To give your Golden retriever the care and love that he deserves, you should follow these basic guidelines:

  1. Feed your pooch 2 to 3 cups of dry food per day, depending on activity level. Divide this into at least 2 separate meals to prevent obesity and bloat.
  2. Golden retrievers are a very active breed. They need a minimum of 40-60 minutes of exercise every day. But the more they get to run and play, the happier they will be. As they are natural retrievers, fetch is one of their favorite games.
  3. Provide some durable toys for them to chew and play with as they are a “mouthy” breed.
  4. Golden retrievers shed all year but will shed even more in spring and fall. Daily brushing will help to keep the problem under control but, in general, you’re just going to have to learn to live with dog fur in the house. Daily brushing is also important for preventing tangles and matting.Golden Retriever Jumping over Obstacle

Golden retrievers love to please and are very intelligent so training will be easy compared to many other breeds. We recommend focusing on positive reinforcement as your main technique but you can use moderate negative reinforcement (carefully and correctly) to stop bad behaviors like chewing up your socks and shoes.

Make training a fun and enjoyable experience. Your Golden retriever is already eager to learn.

Final Word

This is an absolutely wonderful choice of breed for a family home. The Golden retriever loves to be part of a “pack” and will show your pack complete and total loyalty for life. However, you’ll have to be prepared to be as active as your dog needs to be (and you’ll have to get used to fur around the house and on your clothes).

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