The Golden Retriever-Pitbull Mix is an active breed that needs regular exercise and mental stimulation. It is also important they receive proper training and socialization beginning at a young age. Pitbulls have a bad rap for aggression, but, remember, the dog is never to blame. It’s always the owner.
The Golden Retriever is known to be an excellent family dog, making these mixed-breed dogs a good consideration for relatively inexperienced dog owners. However, it is crucial that you also understand the history of the Pitbull and how to handle any bouts of aggression. Basic obedience training should begin young.
Given how active both parent breeds are, you can even consider signing your dog up for agility, obedience, or other sporting events. Here we’ll outline everything there is to know about this wonderful mixed-breed, so you know exactly what you’re in for
It’s virtually impossible to identify the exact history of the Golden Pitbull. It is, therefore, best to look to its parent breeds to better understand the background.
The Golden Retriever’s history begins with Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, born in 1820 and is of Scottish descent. He was passionate about dog breeding and kept meticulous records in his leather-bound journal at the Kennel Club in England.
In 1865, Marjoribanks was taking a walk with his son when he saw a dog named Nous on the street. Nous was gold-colored, which was unusual for the time, as black dogs were considered superior, and the rest were typically disposed of.
After acquiring Nous for himself, Marjoribanks bred him to a Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle. This produced a water-loving retriever dog capable of hunting on land and in water. This first litter, born in 1868, was the first Golden Retrievers to exist.
Marjoribanks kept breeding Goldens until he died, but his legacy continued well after his death.
The Pitbull breed traces its origins to the early 19th century United Kingdom. They were created from Old English Bulldogs, who were used for bull-baiting. Essentially, this dog was used to attack the bull for hours until the animal collapsed.
In 1835, Britain outlawed bull baiting. People then turned to ratting, where a hoard of rats was placed in a pit (where “Pit” Bull comes from), and people took bets on whose dog could kill the most rats in a given amount of time.
Both ratting and dogfighting required more agility and speed, so people crossed Bulldogs with Terriers to produce the first-ever Pitbull Terriers.
British Isles immigrants came to the United States just before the Civil War, and Pitbulls became “American” Pitbull Terriers. Pitbulls were all-around dogs used for herding cattle, guarding livestock, and protecting the family against threats. They were so good with children that they were nicknamed the Nanny Dog.
Unfortunately, the media lost sight of the Pitbull’s true nature and depicted them as terrors. This is why the stigma against Pitbulls is as prominent as it is today. However, any experienced dog professional will tell you that aggression is never a dog’s fault; it’s always due to how humans raised him.
While you never quite know what you’re getting with a mixed breed, there are some general predictions you can make.
Golden Retriever-Pitbull Mixes are meant to be family companions. This means they are prone to separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods. If you work long shifts and leave your pup at home, this may not be the dog for you.
If you plan to leave your dog regularly, crate training is an absolute must. Familiarize your dog with the crate the instant you bring him home. Associate the crate with only positive experiences, such as treats, mealtime, and relaxation. Never shut the door to the crate on an excited or anxious dog. Choosing a crate that is designed for a Golden Retriever or one suited for a Pitbull should work well for this breed.
Additionally, this crossbreed will almost certainly need lots of exercise. Both Golden Retrievers and Pitbulls are working dogs, so they need both mental and physical stimulation. Plan for long, intense walks at least once per day in addition to mental exercise. Despite these similarities, the two breeds also have many differences.
For mental stimulation, consider hiding treats around the house, scheduling an obedience session, or buying puzzle toys for your dog. Of course, given the intelligence of both parent breeds, your mix will pick up on things quickly. Structured learning sessions from a young age help create a behaved, well-trained adult dog.
Given how protective the Pitbull is, this cross should make a great watchdog. They are aware of their surroundings and may bark to alert you of activity at the door. For this reason, socialization with strangers is important so your dog knows when to alert you and when to stand down.
This breed has a high prey drive. So, exercise caution if keeping him around cats or smaller animals. Introduce them to each other slowly, and never leave them unsupervised.
Size & Appearance
The dog is generally medium-to-large-sized and stands anywhere from 17-24 inches at the shoulder. He weighs anywhere from 50-80 pounds.
Given the musculature of both parent breeds, your mix will carry itself well and have a lot of muscle tone. Golden Retrievers are prone to obesity, so spare the treats and keep your dog on a well-balanced diet. Giving him the exercise he needs will also help keep him lean and muscular.
Coat & Colors
Your dog’s coat color will be any combination of the golden, yellow, and cream colors of the Golden Retriever and the white, blue, black, and brown colors of the Pitbull. Often the coat appears slightly wavy, but other times it will be short and straight.
A longer coat may require regular maintenance. If the coat is longer, arm yourself with a slicker brush and groom weekly, possibly daily, to avoid profuse shedding. Golden Retrievers have thick coats that shed year-round.
Exercise Needs & Living Requirements
The adult Golden Pitbull needs regular, intense exercise. Aim for 40-60+ minutes each day, including activities like swimming or running. Remember: a tired dog is a good dog. If you don’t give your pup enough exercise, he will expend that energy destroying the house and up to no good.
This dog is a cross between two working breeds. Consider signing your dog up for more structured exercise, such as agility, obedience, or fly ball. This uses the mental and physical capabilities of the breeds.
Often, mental exercise is more exhausting than physical exercise. If you’re exercising your dog sufficiently (make sure it’s hard!) and playing with him, but he’s still rambunctious, it’s time to focus on mental activities.
These can include puzzle toys, hide and seek, obedience, or anything that forces your dog to focus his mind. If you opt for puzzle toys, the dog can play with them by himself, and you can get some work done.
As with any dog, training needs to begin early. Start with basic obedience: sit, down, stay, leave it, come, walk on a leash. Puppies are like sponges and can learn these tricks as young as eight weeks of age.
With a young dog, it is vital to keep training sessions short and use positive reinforcement. Puppies get bored quickly, and their minds start to wander. Training beyond that threshold will leave you and your dog frustrated.
Potty training should be easy given the intelligence and obedience of this breed. This is another instance where crate training comes in handy. Dogs hate soiling “their” area, so putting your dog in the crate when he is unsupervised helps prevent any unwanted accidents.
If you’re potty training your dog, make sure you take him out:
- First and last thing each day
- After meals, naps, and play sessions
- In intervals depending on age
Keep in mind that one month of age equals one hour of bladder capacity. For example, a four-month-old puppy can hold his bladder for up to four hours. Dogs generally shouldn’t go more than four to six hours without a potty break, regardless of age.
Begin socializing your dog the day he comes home. Slowly introduce him to different people, animals, sounds, and environments. It’s essential to take your dog to as many new locations as possible, from the mall to other people’s homes to the dog park.
You can even play soundtracks while your dog is playing or eating to help get him used to scary sounds such as fireworks, sirens, car engines, and so on.
Remember that puppies are not fully protected against dangerous illnesses like Parvovirus until 16 weeks of age. Consult your vet and do not take a puppy younger than 16 weeks to places frequented by many dogs, such as pet stores and dog parks.
As with any dog, there are some health concerns to be aware of. Here are the most common ones for the Golden Retriever-Pitbull Mix:
When the hip socket does not properly cover the thigh bone, the hip can dislocate. Dogs with hip dysplasia are in a lot of pain and begin to limp. Hip dysplasia is common in large dogs and is congenital, so regular hip evaluations are a must.
To help prevent hip dysplasia, keep your dog a healthy weight and avoid high-impact exercise until the bones are fully formed, usually around 24 months. This includes running, long hikes, agility, or any other physically demanding activity that can strain the skeletal system. If you are particularly concerned, consider joint supplements like glucosamine.
Like hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia occurs when the elbow joint misforms, causing it to pop out of the socket. This is incredibly painful, and an afflicted dog will become inactive and have difficulty standing up. He will be lame, sore, and his joint may swell.
X-rays are necessary for a proper diagnosis. Treatment depends on the severity of the case. In more mild instances, a corrective treatment may work, but you may need surgery in more severe cases.
Symptoms may include exercise intolerance, coughing, or fainting. If left untreated, heart disease could lead to fatal heart failure.
Diagnosing heart disease is tricky. A physical examination picks up any heart murmurs or abnormal blood flow through the heart. In contrast, an ECG or x-rays are necessary to determine the exact kind of heart disease or if heart failure is present.
These hereditary conditions include ectropion (droopy eyelids) or entropion (where the eyelids roll inwards). A degree of ectropion is normal for some breeds, but anything more severe than that will need treatment. Both conditions cause inflammation, and entropion can cause infection or corneal ulcers.
This mix needs around 1,600 calories per day across two meals. Puppies need increasing amounts of food as they grow, typically across three meals.
High-quality kibble made for large, active dogs will be the best choice for your GoldenBull. Calorie needs to go up or down depending on age, sex, and how active your dog is, so carefully monitor him. Be careful not to overfeed this breed. Obesity can worsen problems like hip and elbow dysplasia and the risk of cardiac issues, so it’s particularly crucial to keep this dog lean. Dog food that’s specifically formulated for Pitbulls or made for Golden Retrievers will do just fine for your dog.
Here are some kibbles to consider (remember that puppies and senior dogs need specialized kibble):
- Bully Max 30/20 High-Performance Dog Food (535 calories per cup)
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Duck Recipe Grain-Free Dry Dog Food (416 calories per cup)
- Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food (370 calories per cup)
Avoid any artificial fillers or low-quality ingredients.
Dogs with long coats like the Golden Retriever need weekly or daily grooming to keep the coat smooth and remove dead hair. This also helps curb excessive shedding. Invest in a slicker brush and get your dog accustomed to being brushed using treats. For shorter coats, grooming once a week is nice but not super crucial. Using a rubber curry comb helps loosen any dead hair and stimulate the hair follicles.
If your dog has floppy ears like a Golden Retriever, be particularly vigilant about checking and cleaning out the ears to prevent infection. Trim nails and brush teeth frequently. Dogs can develop teeth and gum disease if oral hygiene isn’t part of your routine.
Whenever your dog starts to look or smell dirty, it’s time for a bath. Regular visits to the groomer can curb this problem and are particularly useful for long-haired dogs. Groomers can clip and style your dog’s coat to keep it looking fabulous.
Breeders & Puppy Costs
Given that this is a crossbreed, it’s nearly impossible to find breeders specializing in this hybrid. A basic Google search may turn up some results, but you need to be very careful. When searching for a breeder, conduct stringent due diligence. Are the facilities clean and spacious? Can the breeder provide health screening records for their dogs to prove there are no congenital problems with either parent? What agreements do they outline in the bill of sale? Do your homework now to avoid costly problems in the future.
Mixes like this can come from low-quality breeders or, even worse, puppy mills. The dogs will likely come with congenital diseases and serious behavioral problems in both cases, especially in puppy mills. This includes buying pets from pet stores. Steer clear of this at all costs.
Rescues & Shelters
Given the uniqueness of this breed, finding a rescue dedicated to it is hard. However, there are plenty of Pitbull, and Golden Retriever rescues out there that may have this mix. Picking a random dog out from a shelter can be risky. He can come with behavioral issues that may be hard to overcome. The great part about a rescue is that they spend time getting to know their dogs and can better place one into your home.
Present your rescue of choice with a list of requirements for your dog. This includes:
- Energy level
- Tolerability to being left alone
- Behavior around dogs, kids, cats, or other animals
- Obedience requirements
- Openness to trying new activities
- Anything that matters to you and your family
Here are some rescues to consider:
As Family Pets
Here’s what you can expect from the Golden Pitbull:
- Very active and needs regular, intense exercise.
- Generally does well with other pets, but it does have a prey drive, so be careful around smaller animals.
- Loves kids.
- Needs a home with a fenced-in yard and is not suited to apartments.
- Prone to separation anxiety, so it won’t do well with a family that leaves often.
- Requires as much mental as physical exercise. Consider obedience, puzzle toys, or hide and seek.
The Golden Retriever-Pitbull Mix is a unique dog that is intelligent, loyal, and playful. They do well with all types of people and love spending time with their families. These are protective dogs who will alert you of any intruders.
This breed needs frequent exercise but is easily trainable and suited for owners who understand the history of the Pitbull. Given its bad rap, this dog needs to be a shining example of his Pitbull side. With proper socialization and rules at home, the Golden Retriever-Pitbull Mix makes the perfect family companion.