Golden Retrievers: Breed Information, Weight, Temperament & More

Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs. Like the Labrador Retriever, they were originally bred to retrieve water birds, like ducks. With Goldens helping them, people long ago could find food to eat.

These days Goldens can work as assistance dogs for people with disabilities, as search and rescue dogs, as retrievers in field trials, and more. They enjoy agility, fly-ball, , swimming, rally, and competitive obedience and are one of the most popular dogs in america and highly recommended for families.

Coloring and Size

Golden Retrievers can grow up to 24 inches tall and weigh between 55-75 pounds. Males are bigger than females.

These large dogs have a beautiful, light or dark, golden coat. The hair is thick and water-repellent (doesn’t soak up water easily).

Golden retrievers can be dark golden color. Some Goldens have straight hair and some have wavy hair.

Personality

Goldens are friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. They are not shy or nervous dogs, which means they are usually not afraid of things. Do you want a friend you can count on? A Golden can be a very good friend.

Goldens are cheerful, kind, and gentle dogs. They are playful and affectionate. Goldens are a lot of fun! They would love to play almost anything with you. They like to go places and discover new things.

Goldens are usually very happy, especially when they have toys.

Exercise

Goldens need exercise quite often and can run very fast. Golden Retrievers are muscular and strong. They are energetic and can play for hours. It would be a good thing to walk your Golden every day even if he has a yard. Goldens enjoy being active, playing games, and participating in activities like fly-ball, agility, tracking, and obedience.

Most Golden Retrievers are good swimmers. Many Goldens love the water so much that they will get their face wet no matter where they are. If you live near the beach, your Golden will be a happy camper. Or just turn on the hose and have a blast!

Know Your Breed

Goldens love to put things in their mouths! They have to be watched very carefully when they are young so they don’t eat anything that could be dangerous. They can also eat your sofa, so keep an eye on your rascal! There’s one thing that almost all Goldens want you to know about them – they love to play fetch. Throw a ball and watch them run!

Because your Golden loves to chew so much, be sure to give him lots of healthy, safe things to chew when he’s a puppy. He will also be teething (losing baby teeth and getting adult teeth) and his gums may be sore. If he has good things to chew, his mouth won’t hurt so much.
Golden puppy chewing on a bone.

Socializing

Golden Retrievers are social dogs. That means they like people and other animals. Spending time with your Golden will make him a very happy canine! Goldens trust you to take good care of them. Goldens are loyal and affectionate.

Golden Retrievers don’t like to be left alone very much. They get very lonely when left in the yard with nothing to do. It’s good to go outside to spend time with your dog, or to let your Golden in the house. If he has learned the house rules, everyone will be happy to have him in the house.

When he gets older, you can start to take him places. Socialize your pup from an early age so he is comfortable in many different situations. Taking him places where he will meet other dogs and new people will help him be a better companion for you.

Grooming and Care

Bathing your Golden regularly will help keep him clean and smelling good. Dogs are more fun to hug when they are clean.

Brushing him two or three times every week will help keep the hair in the brush and not on the floor. Brushing also feels good to your dog and helps keep his skin healthy.

A Golden Retriever’s coat has two layers: the beautiful golden hair you can see, and a hidden, second coat called an undercoat. This undercoat helps a Golden stay warm and dry while he’s swimming or in cold weather.

Training

Goldens are alert, intelligent dogs. Goldens are very trainable. That means they learn quickly when taught with patience and kindness. They are very good at paying attention. This makes them fast learners in obedience. Teaching your dog obedience will help him become a good citizen and help him to have good manners. Goldens love you and they want to learn from you.

It is important that your Golden start learning his manners when he is young. As he grows, he will get stronger and it will be harder for you to train him. You don’t have to be harsh. Puppies learn through play. There are lots of games you can play with your puppy and he will be learning at the same time. Teaching him tricks will teach him how to learn. You both will have lots of fun.

Spend lots of time with your new pup from an early age so he is comfortable with you. Roll him over, touch his feet, look at his teeth, and brush him gently. This will help him get used to being handled and he will be a better companion when he is older.

Golden Retrievers also crate train easily, making them perfect companions inside and outside the home.

All About Goldens

(from their kids!)

“A good dog deserves a good bone.” – American Proverb animal bar

“My name is Katie and I am 13 years old. I began doing agility with my Golden Retriever, four-year-old Dusty Snickerdoodle, when I was 11. My parents gave me my own dog when I was 9, and I chose a Golden Retriever. I knew that I wanted to do a competitive dog sport with Dusty, but couldn’t find the right one. I discovered agility on Animal Planet. It is perfect for Dusty: He is fast, strong, and lives to please me. I knew that this was the sport for us.

I have been Dusty’s only trainer and handler for his whole life. I began his early agility training in the backyard when he was around 6 months old. I used anything I could find to make jumps and tiny obstacles. Using lots of food and hugs, I trained Dusty to go over the jumps happily. By the time he was a year old, he could run short jump sequences off-leash. I enrolled him in a group agility class shortly after his first birthday.

With the help of our trainer, as well as more food and hugs, I taught Dusty to soar over jumps, race through tunnels, climb over the A-frame, zoom across the dog walk, and snake through the weave poles. He loved to do those obstacles, but he hated the teeter-totter. Our trainer and I tried everything: putting food at the end, pushing him up, helping him tip the board, racing ahead, calling him over. Nothing seemed to help. He would leap onto the miniature teeter in my backyard, but the big teeter at class scared him to death. Since the teeter and dog walk look similar to a dog, he started avoiding the dog walk as well. Finally, I discovered his love of whipped cream and squirt cheese. I would squirt piles of whipped cream and cheese up the teeter, and he happily licked it up. While he is still slow on the teeter, he always does it and he races across the dog walk like he used to.

Dusty learned to run longer courses while on the leash. A few months after we began training, we entered a special show called a show-and-go in which we were allowed to use a leash. Although he was still having a teeter problem and I had to push him up the teeter, we both had a lot of fun. I started running him on a lighter leash, and finally off-leash. It was a slow process. We entered the more advanced class at our training center, and I began to hope that our trainer would allow us to compete soon.

Dusty’s first competition was in February 2002, a year after we’d begun training. He was doing very well at lessons, but in the show he ran off the course to “visit” people quite a few times. Most Golden Retrievers go “visiting” at their first show, but Dusty continued to visit at our second show. And third. And fourth. He still goes “visiting” occasionally if I do not stay right next to him.

Our first clean run (a perfect run) was in June 2002. He got a first place, and I was so happy! At the next show, all four of his runs were perfect. On July 28, 2002 (Dusty’s third birthday), we got our Novice Agility title.

Dusty and I have always competed against adults, and we have done very well. He has won 14 blue ribbons and we have the following titles: AKC Open Agility and Agility Excellent Jumper; USDAA Agility Dog; NADAC Novice Agility and Novice Jumper; ASCA Regular Standard Novice and Jumpers Standard Novice.

Agility has been great for Dusty and me. It has made our relationship much stronger and taught me how to be a good dog trainer. My goal is for Dusty and me to be the first junior handler and Golden Retriever team to earn the USDAA and AKC champion titles. We are always working on running faster and being more accurate. I would recommend doing agility to anyone with a dog. It is a lot of fun to train your dog to run the course. Competing is thrilling, although I always get nervous. There is nothing like the connection that I feel with Dusty on the agility course. Dusty is a real agility dog.” Katie, age 13

“I love to swim, play fetch, and go for walks with my dog, Koa (Golden Retriever). He is getting old, but still as fun as when he was a puppy! My dog loves to go to the Colorado river with me and my sister!” Anonymous, age 13, California USA

“My dog is called Muska. My mom named him that because he was such a mush. He’s 11 years old and his breed is a Golden Retriever. I love him very much. He’s my best friend. He’s special to me because he loves me and I love him.” Ben, Age 8, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong, Asia

“I have a Golden Retriever, his name is Shine, and a Cocker Spaniel, his name is Shadow. They can do a lot of things like sit, stay here, jump over a fence. Also they are beautiful and intelligent dogs.” Juliana, age 14, Caracas Venezuela

“Max (Golden Retriever) is 9 months old. He likes to be in the house. He is getting big, but still likes to get on my dad’s lap. His favorite game is tug of war.” Jayden, Age 7, South Dakota USA

“I have a Golden Retriever puppy named Penny. She knows how to sit, stay (for a long time), lay down, and my “Get up against the wall”. That is my favorite trick!! All I did to teach her that was to put a treat
on the wall and when she jumped up to get it, I told her “UP AGAINST THE WALL, YOU’RE BUSTED!” Then I search her for a gun or drugs. She has always come clean.” Lacey, age 15, Louisiana USA

“My dog, Goldie (Golden Retriever) is great, because she accompanies mewhen I’m alone, and knows when to sit quietly, and who to bark at. I wouldn’t exchange her for any dog in the world.”
Dianne, Age 10, Subang Jaya/Selangor/Malaysia

“I love my dog, Mr. Bear. He’s a Golden Retriever. He is a big baby and loves to be rubbed. I love him a lot.” Zachary, Age 8, Tennessee USA

“Molly (Golden Retriever) is so lovable. She does not bark. She loves to beg for food. She hates uncooked carrots and lettuce. She also love Christmas presents.” Rachel, Age 16, Kansas USA

“We play hide and seek with our two dogs, a Golden Retriever and a Cocker Spaniel, in a field of alfalfa.The grass and alfalfa get really high and I hide in it while my mom holds them where they can’t see me.Then she tells them to find me and they run and jump all over in the field until they find me. Many times they jump right on top of me to find me. It’s great fun.” Keri, age 8, Nebraska, USA

“I have an 8 week old Golden Retriever named Max. He can already beg, heel, sit, and get my dad’s newspaper. AND he plays for my basketball team, my football, and my soccer!” Jake, Age 13, Texas USA

“My dog’s name is Rusty (Golden Retriever) and he’s a sweetie…he was named after his color. Whenever someone’s outside or someone comes to the door, he barks a lot, but he’s so friendly he would never bite anyone! He loves dog biscuits, being petted, chasing after little lights, playing and chewing on his ball, and being lazy.” Mitchell, South Dakota USA

“I have a dog named Cookie. She is a Golden Retriever. She has a lot of energy and I love her a lot. I love to play with her and teach her to do agility.” Jaimee, Age 13, Manitoba, Canada

“My dog is a golden retriever, and he is VERY playful. Instead of guarding the house, he would ask any stranger to play with him! As he is rather big, many people in the neighborhood are terrified of him!” Victoria, age 12+, Singapore

“I have two Golden Retriever puppies. Their names are Doo and Clay. When I first bought them, they were 10 weeks old and I could hold them both in my lap. Now they are 18 weeks old and they both fight over trying to sit in my lap. They are so cute. Their favorite thing to do is wrestle together. They look like little teddy bears rolling around in the grass.” Dana, Age 14, South Carolina USA

“My dog is a Golden Retriever. He is so adorable. He is almost 10 years old. He has arthritis, but he always is running around with me. We got him when I was born.” Elizabeth, Age 10, Pennsylvania USA

“When I get our new house I am going to get a new puppy but he’ll be a big dog pretty soon. He will still be a puppy for a long time. He will be a Golden Retriever puppy. Pretty soon he will be a Golden Retriever dog.” Samantha, Age 7, Texas USA

“My dog is a Golden Retriever. She is the best dog in the world. She looks like an Irish Setter. She’s so funny sometimes.” Kelsey, Age 9, Grosse Ile, Michigan USA

“My dog, Jodie, is my best friend. She is a little silly sometimes, like when people pretend to attack me. She bites me! She is a Golden Retriever. Let me tell you, people mistake her as an Irish Setter! Jodie is the best (she likes me a ton too)! I wish she would never die.” Michelle, age 9, Missouri USA

“I love my dog, Sunny (Golden Retriever) because he is very cute and he helps me by protecting me always. He loves to play games and is very good and loves the world!” Jodie, Age 12, Tilbury Ontario, Canada

Adopt a Retreiver

There are many Golden Retrievers around the country without homes. Have your parents call a Golden rescue to adopt a warm, loving Golden just waiting for a home.

Check here for rescue information and an organization in your city.

Visit these sites for available rescued Goldens:
The Golden Retriever Club of America

Some Famous Golden Retrievers

  • Shadow, from Homeward Bound and Homeward Bound II
  • Liberty, the dog of U.S. President, Gerald Ford
  • Speedy, from the Drew Carey Show
  • Sun Dance, in Adam Sandler’s movie, Click
  • Duke, from Bush’s Baked Bean commercials
  • Comet, the Golden from the TV show Full House
  • Buddy, in Air Bud and all the Air Bud sequels
  • Brandon, the Golden of Punky Brewster