Golden Retrievers


Golden Retrievers

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Breed Notes:

During the early 1800s, the need for a medium-sized dog that could retrieve birds both in water and on land led to the development of the Golden Retriever. In the ancestry of the Golden Retriever are water spaniels including those bred near Inverness in Scotland, the Newfoundland, the Irish Setter and the Bloodhound. The goal was a strong dog that could withstand cold water and work in the heavy vegetation of upland Scotland. They became popular in England toward the end of the 19th century and were introduced to the United States in the 1920s.
Golden Retrievers are successful in field trials, hunting, obedience, guide dogs for the blind, as well as loving companions who are especially patient with children. They are friendly, gentle, trustworthy and reliable. They need ample exercise.
The head of the Golden Retriever has a broad skull with a wide foreface that is almost as long as the skull. The muzzle is slightly wider at the area of the eyes than at the tip. The eyes are friendly, intelligent in expression, medium large and preferably dark brown. The ears are short with the front edge attached well behind and just above the eye and falling close to the cheek. The nose is black or dark brown and the bite is scissors. The topline is straight, strong and level. The body is well balanced and short coupled. The width between the front legs should be as wide as a man's closed hand, including thumb. The tail is thick and muscular at the base and reaching to but not below the point of hock. It is carried with a merry action either level or moderately curved upward. The legs are strong but not coarse. The feet are medium sized and round. The coat is dense and water-repellent with a good undercoat. The outercoat is firm and resilient but not coarse or silky. There is moderate feathering on the back of the legs, underside of tail and front of the neck. Color is to be a lustrous golden color. Feathering may be lighter than the rest of the coat. The gait is to be free, smooth and powerful with good reach. As speed increases the feet converging under the body toward as center line of balance . Average size is between 21 inches to 24 inches and 65 to 70 pounds.


Name withheld by request of New Jersey writes:

Loving, playful, adjustable, trainable &shyp; the perfect dog.
My dog is the perfect dog. I got her as a six-month-old puppy while I was single, working long hours and running for local office &shyp; the wrong time to have your first dog! Fortunately, my neighbors all chipped in and played with her, took her for walks, fed her and made sure she was loved. When I was home, I spent all my time with her. The breed was perfect for this. They love everyone, are eminently adjustable to changing environments, can be trained quickly and happily, and can handle being alone while their family is at work. Now I am married and working the same bad hours, but she has adjusted to all this and the rescue dogs we bring home. All in all, the most perfect breed on earth.


me4murphy@aol.com of New York writes:

A challenge.
We have a two-year-old Golden that was purchased at a pet shop (which we will never do again). He has become increasingly aggressive at times. Most of the time he is very lovable, however the aggression seems misdirected and never calculated, it is almost as if he is not sure why he does it. We are becoming increasingly afraid he will hurt someone in our home. He is well cared for, exercised and loved. We are seeking professional training. Just be careful with pet shops.


Name withheld by request of Phoenix, AZ writes:

Great family dogs.
These dogs are the sweetest dogs you can ever get. They are very good with children and other animals and are very playful. Also they are very adorable and love people. I highly recommend this dog!


Name withheld by request of California writes:

My, how times have changed ...
I think this breed is teetering on the edge of ruin. Once upon a time you could actually believe that your Golden was going to be, well, "golden." Nowadays, you must do your homework and then some, and even with a good breeder you could just as easily get a dog with an abundance of problems that the breed NEVER used to suffer from. I see more and more Goldens with temperament problems. Dog to dog aggression, dog to people aggression, incessant barking and hyperactivity. I blame this on the breed's reputation as "the perfect family dog." So many people interpreted this to mean it was a low maintenance dog. The demand was high so there was a proliferation of poor litters. Not just the newspaper dogs either, professional breeders just cranking out pups in the hopes of getting one that is show quality contributed to this. Couples went out and bought the first cute Golden puppy they saw (and they are all cute), brought it home and then went "HOLY COW! WHAT HAVE WE DONE?" when their cute puppy began to tear up the house and knock the kids over and pee all over themselves at every loud noise. So, out into the backyard it goes, to bark and bark and bark and dig. They can't walk it because it tries to attack other dogs. They can't have it in the house because it is destructive.
There is a high incidence of cancer in the breed as well as skin disorders. They aren't necessarily easy to train (and I've been a competition obedience trainer for years) because they cannot reliably focus any longer, and so many of them are afraid of strangers and have terrible separation anxiety. It is a crime what has been done to this breed. If you get a good one, make sure you keep contact with that breeder and that dog's lines.


mgeorge19439@comcast.net of Southgate, MI writes:

Ever faithful companion.
My Golden was a wonderful dog and a friend to everyone he met. He brought a lot of joy to my family and me, because he was lovable, playful, and very caring. We had a lot of great times ... the memories are endless. He was always there to greet us at the door when we came home with a smile on his face. He was very energetic and loved to play. He also loved to go for walks. He loved attention, but when you weren't able to give it to him, he'd find a way to keep himself busy. He'd either find one of his balls and play alone, or he would chew on his bone. He loved to put a tennis ball between his front paws, to see how far he could shoot it! I was very sorry when he passed away last spring. It was like losing a family member. I really miss him, but plan to get a new one soon. He lived eleven years and I know he enjoyed every minute of it. We also enjoyed having him here with us. We've had many dogs over the years ... he was the first Golden we ever had, but he won't be the last.


Name withheld by request of Ohio writes:

Great friend.
I have had my dog for four years and there has never been a dull moment around him. Everytime I go outside to do some work he is there by my side, watching me do whatever I am doing. He works so hard to make me laugh. Whatever I'm working with he takes when I turn my back. When I tell him to bring it back (in a nice, laughful matter) he goes and brings it back as though he was laughing. He is the best tempered dog I know. When I take him to the river and play fetch he always watches me every second. Golden Retrievers are the best breed you can have.


bamtsw@msn.com of Pennsylvania writes:

Unconditional love and affection.
My Golden was a wonderful companion for me and my family. It takes about two years for them to mature but they are young at heart forever. They need exercise and coat care. Watch their ears. Keep them lean. They are very social. I would say don't leave them alone too often or too long. A special note: carefully choose a kennel, particularly in the summer to make sure it is not too hot.


nmanceau@aol.com of Texas writes:

Part of the family.
I have had such wonderful experiences with my Goldens. If you are a person who loves dogs and affection this is the breed for you. They want to be close to you all the time. However, they have a lot of energy. I take mine jogging three times a week for exercise. They love to run as puppies (up to two and a half years old). Make sure you have a fence and always have them on a leash.


Name withheld by request of Western Pennsylvania writes:

Cannot ask for more.
The Golden Retriever is just that ... Golden. Extreemly intelligent, they are very easily trained. By ten weeks, my boy knew sit, lie down, shake, crawl, sit pretty, come, and stay. He housebroke in less than a week. They are clowns through and through ... they LOVE to make you laugh! They go out of their way to be funny. Yes, they are easily distracted when training. That is why obedience classes are recommended. They expose the pup to working with distractions. I have heard people say there are vicious Goldens out there ... well, I have never met one or heard of one. There are a few protective ones out there, which isnt desirable by the standard, but isn't much of a real problem. My boy is a tad on the protective side, but I am actually glad he is. It gives me a sense of security ... even though if people come up to him, he melts. He is a social butterfly, loves to meet new people and it is a law that they pet him. He loves to play with other friendly dogs, and is just a joy to live with. He does demand attention, either by pawing you until you focus attention completely on him, or by giving a forceful thrust upward under your arm with his nose. Other Golden owners know exactly what I mean! Goldens are extremely versatile; they can do basically anything: #1 family dog, hunting retriever, search and rescue, tracking, explosive detection, Seeing Eye dog, hearing dog, therapy dog, top obedience dog, agility dog, you name it! If anyone is considering a Golden as a family pet, even though they are great, do your homework. There are a lot of health concerns with the breed, make sure the pup's parents have the right clearances.. OFA hips and elbows, SAS, CERF, and thyroid tested. Also, buy from a responsible breeder. Don't go to the pet store, where the pups come from puppymills, and don't buy one out of the paper. Call the GRCA or AKC, and they can give you the name and number of a puppy referral person in your area. Also, consider rescue! There are TONS of wonderful Goldens looking for homes.


spar_kle2@yahoo.com of Kansas writes:

Never again!
My sister and I each bought a Golden Retriever puppy. They were full brothers and, basically, complete opposites in every annoying way. Mine was pale-haired and my sister's was dark and curly, but their differences extended far beyond appearance.
Mine, to his credit, was very willing to learn, but his enthusiasm and constant desire to please were irritating and, most of the time, I wound up smelling like him and covered in slobber. His extremely high energy level did NOT dissipate with age. He's nine now, belongs to my aunt, and the problem still exists. You can hardly pet him without him going completely insane.
My sister's Golden Retriever was a fairly sweet dog, or so said the people he frequently abandoned us for. He would run away at any opportune time, getting loose and following home the first tourists he saw. We became very well-known to the local dog-catcher and the authorities. His new friends contacted to report a "lost" dog they'd found. Every time we picked him up, they said, "If you ever want to find a home for him, let us know!" I'm not sure why we didn't take the third or fourth group up on their offer immediately. He was impossible to housebreak, and our carpet bore his stains unceasingly. Much of this could be blamed on the fact that we had no fenced-in yard, and possibly that the breeding behind our dogs was poor, but nevertheless our Golden Retriever experience was much different than what many report.


vtchome@hotmail.com of Rio Grande, NJ writes on 2/23/01:

Wonderful companion.
My Golden is now 11 years old. We've recently discovered that he has cancer, and the vet has told us that his chances for living are between two weeks and two months. These dogs are not for people who like to "put there dog out of the way for a little while," or see dogs as just a "thing" that they laugh at and cuddle with every now and then. In my opinion, if anyone is considering a Golden Retriever, you should first consider if you are the right person. If you would like nothing more than to cuddle up at night with an absolutely wonderful friend, and pay attention to his loveable daily antics, then he is for you. In my own case, my parents got my dog when I was about 3 years old. Now 17, I understand that our time together is almost coming to an end. I simply can't put in words the sorrow that comes with the end of his life, but at the same time, he has given me a friendship that exceeds anything you can find in a human. Despite what people think, I can come to no other conclusion than that my best friend knows exactly what I am thinking. He just begs for attention, yet once he notices that you are not in a good mood, he seems to know just exactly what to do to cheer you up. When I'm sad, he cuddles up by my side, and buries his loveable face in my lap, staring innocently into my eyes. When I am angry, thought of my buddy help me get through the day.
Our dog absolutely loves to go for rides - he is a part of my family. Believe it or not, the local banks, gas stations, fast food restruants all know exactly who he is. Each time we go to these places, and drive up to the window, he is given a cookie, and everyone tells us how much they love him. I am still shocked today when new employees, who I have never seen, will immideately come to the window and gaze at him, while giving him a treat. It would appear that employee orientation includes a lecture on just who he is, and what to do when he arrives! His face is so loveable, and a stare from a golden gives you a responsibility to fulfill his needs, because you will forever feel guility if you do not.
If you are seriously considering a dog, I cannot express how sincere I am in my advice, that in fact, that there is no pet better than a Golden Retriever.
The only problems with the Goldens are there medical sides. You must pay attention to their needs, wheter it be ear infections, skin disorders, cancer, or other dilemmas. Your Golden is like your best friend - though not perfect in appearance or health, inside, they are absolutely unbeatable.
Your dog will make it known that he is not your normal pet - he is, in fact, a Golden Retriever. You cannot simply walk away from him, because he will make it known that he is your best friend, and my own dog desires attention all of the time. It is not demanding, though, like other dogs - it is just this unexplainably cute power that he possesses, and with that power, he attracts you to him. He attracts the whole town. Beau, by now, is like the town mascot - and I couldn't have had a better friend for the past twelve years. Wild as a puppy, but loveable as can be. Beau's wolf-like instincts have even protected my mother from harm, when she was in a parking lot one night, at 7-Eleven. He knew - he knew, somehow, that this approaching man was a criminal. When a friendly person approcahes - he knows, and he innocently wags his tail and waves his big loveable tongue, for cookies. But when this particular man came to the car, he somehow saw into his heart, just like I know he sees into mine, and protected my mother. He stood up against the man, growling and showing his teeth like a wolf - something he has never done to a friendly person. He is an amazingly loyal guarddog, perhaps brought forth due to his wolflike and retriever instincts, and yet at the same time, when he is with loved ones and nice strangers, he is the most wonderful companion one could ask for. No one can ever replace your best friend, and when it comes down to a pet like him, absolutely no one will. I know he will pass on to a better place, soon, yet at the same time I look back at the years we have spent together. I have never felt such love for anyone - family or friends included - and I know that when he does pass away, I will never feel as devastated for anyones death; Nor, could I ever feel so lucky to have spent twelve years with the greatest friend you could ever ask for.


ruavol@gateway.net of Tennessee writes on 6/30/00:

My first born.
I honestly don't think that I could love this animal any more if I had bore him myself. A golden's deep, expressive eyes can see into their loved one's soul. It has long been contriversual, but let
there be no doubt that these animals can and do smile, pout, and even cry. Although goldens aren't for everyone(they ARE NOT yard dogs - and require much attention), with proper TLC this animal will EASILY find a place in your heart that you never knew existed.


JayhawkMO@aol.com of Wichita, KS writes on 6/4/00:

The best dog ever.
Our Golden Retriever is a member of the family. We take her where ever we go. If we don't she feels left out and "pouts." We also have a swimming pool in the backyard, since our dog hates walking we seem to keep her in shape by her daily swim, which we throw her toys out and she retrieves them for hours. I can't think of another dog which would love us as much as our dog does. When the hot and humid summer in Kansas come, she would rather come and sit in the hot vehicle and be with her family than to stay home and be with the cool air conditioning, so it feels as though we punish her by making her stay home. After work when I get home, she is so excited to see me and the rest of the family. She runs to the back door and jumps up and down until I open it and then she comes and smells me like she hasn't seen me in years, when in fact it hasn't been more than eight hours. The only problem is that they shed and shed and shed. Other than that, prepare to get a new member of the family.


ONDINE5070@hotmail.com of Ontario, Canada writes on 5/8/00:

Great dogs, but do you homework!
I have been around Goldens for almost 10 years now. They are truly "man's best friend!" They only thing - try not to buy on impulse. Their wonderful faces are hard to say no to, I know. But, when you find a responsable breeder it makes the whole dog experence that much better! Make sure about hips, eyes, and heart. It is sad that too many people have had to find that out the hard way!


cs006624@tampabay.rr.com of Florida writes on 5/5/00:

A blind woman's review of Goldens from a guide dog perspective.
I have always enjoyed Golden Retrievers, but it wasn't until I owned my first one that I realized why. This review is based on my experience both with my own Golden guide dog but from my experience with other Goldens that I have been in contact with. Also, I've tried to include information useful to both those who are considering a golden as a working dog, and as a family pet, or maybe both.
The first thing noticed about Goldens is their loving personality. Once they have bonded, which usually does not take long, they are your friend for life. They are very forgiving, and will do anything to please. I'm often told that my Golden must think I hung the moon from the way she looks at me. If she thinks I'm the least upset with her, she gets upset and tries even harder to please me. As a working dog, this has it's advantages and disadvantages. The advantages are that they train easily and with the right amount of praise and love, are willing to learn anything and perform as much as they possibly can. The disadvantage is that they distract easily with other people, especially if they think they'll get petted. Their affectiveness would depend on what the work with involve, and of course the individual dog. I can think of no disadvantages for Goldens as a family pet, as far as personality is concerned.
Goldens as a whole seem to be a little sensitive as well. They do not, as a whole, do well with extremely loud noises or harsh corrections. Also since they like to be around people, it would be best to have a golden inside, or at least in a situation where they will get lots of attention and chances to play. Aside from personality, Goldens have a very soft coat. Most have long hair, and yes they do shed. There are short haired Goldens, and although rare, their fur is the softest I've ever felt. They do tend to mat and get hot spots if not cared for, and even if cared for sometimes. I have to keep a close watch on my dog to prevent these hot spots especially. Also, due to the way their ears are positions, ear problems are a little more prevalent than in some other breeds. They are pretty agile dogs, and don't seem to develop many other health problems any more than other dogs.
The only other comments I would make is that if the dog is going to be out in public, the fear problem is much less than with other breeds. The Goldens have certainly given themselves a well deserved reputation for being sweeties.


helenhoop@hotmail.com of England writes on 2/26/00:

This is a wonderful breed.
We have two Retrievers.. They are loving and affectionate at all times! If socialized when young there will be no problems later on! They love to be stroked, and adore attention, but don't yap or pester when you aren't giving them your full attention. Bitches make excellent mothers. They cheer you up and always tell you what they want. Easy to train. Respects you and never questions your position as "top dog". At 12 years old we are now encountering some health problems. Retrievers sometimes have problems with their hips. This breed needs to be appreciated! They are loving, enjoy excercise, but if you have a big garden they excercise themselves(with additional walks). They love children and are only bad tempered when provoked. They are easy to groom and are always pleased to see you! This is the IDEAL family pet, provided you have room for them!


scott.armstrong@jhu.edu of Baltimore, MD writes on 1/22/00:

I love my Golden.
My Golden is my best friend for the past 7 years and is the greatest gift I have ever recieved. I am 20 years old and I receved him as preasent 7 years ago. He simply is the greatest friend I could have asked for. No matter what is wrong in my life or his he will show me love. He is never mad at me, and I am never mad at him. Before this Golden I had another Golden and he is the only being for which I have cryed over the death of. Goldens are simply the friendlyest and most loving breed around.


rlcarro@juno.com of Beavercreek, OH writes on 12/27/99:

My Golden makes my day lot easier than before!
I am deaf and legally blind in my right eye, married for ten years and I have been on a roller coaster trying to get the right dog. I went through the library and went through breeder and asked lots of questions and met the parents of puppies. How impressed and trained they are. I carefully made commitment to give a dog a chance and myself a chance to try work hard. I was so suprised he follwed me as leader, and he pays lot of attention to everything I say and do and don'ts. He isnow 9 months old, and he is wonderful. I am so grateful I have a Golden Retriever. He loves my kids, and is very protective and calm, loves to jump in creek by my house, loves to get all wet - and he always gets my attention and plays with favorite toy balls. My goal was to work with him through training to get him as certified trained seeing eye dog and hearing dog or a combination of both, but I need help with more inforamtion how I can go through training which I cannot afford to provide my training needs. Thank you for letting me share my feelings about my right choice of dog.


Name withheld by request of Pennsylvania writes on 10/17/99:

Lovable, fun - can't say enough.
Our Golden, Bear, is a great family pet. She loves everyone. It took her about 4 years to "calm down." She was very energetic! She is fun, smart and our best friend. Note -We have a 6 ft. fenced in yard so our neighbors can't see her, only hear her. She barks like a wolf when a stranger comes near the fence! (Good for our protection). But when company comes over she is the friendliest hostess!


truna@webtv.net of the U.S. writes on 10/11/99:

Look out for health problems.
A good Golden Retriever is a wonderful dog. It is getting harder and harder to find good ones however. They are prone to numerous health problems. Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, cataracts, SAS (a heart problem) and cancer are very common in the breed. It seems as though the life expectancy is around 7 years. A few generations ago, the dogs seemed to live well into their teens. There are also serious temperament problems plaguing the breed. Dangerously aggressive dogs are not uncommon. Others can be extremely soft and submissive. Choose a breeder with utmost caution.


EROMNI@aol.com of Wildwood, MO writes on 10/10/99:

A sweet and intelligent breed!
I received my first service dog from Support Dogs Inc. What impressed me most was her intelligence. One day one of my shoes was too far under the dresser for me to reach (I am in a wheelchair). Since my husband was outside I called "Clancy" over and pointed under the dresser and said "Take it." She looked under the dresser, put her paw under and dragged the shoe out, picked it up with her mouth and handed it to me. Knowing all the things she was trained to do for me I was still impressed! She was a loving devoted companion. She died of Cancer. Goldens are so special but many do develop skin alergies and daily grooming is a must.


Name withheld by request of NE Pennsylvania writes on 10/10/99:

Gentle, Intellegent and durable. Super "kid" dog!


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