The Loyal Golden Retriever: Traits and Characteristics

When considering which breed is best suited for your family, you may be prone to looking at lists of popular dog breeds in the United States.

Oct 27, 2023By Devin Flaherty
golden retriever traits and characteristics

One breed that is consistently towards the top of the list in the United States is the Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers are a great option for families of all shapes and sizes. This article will detail some reasons why these family-friendly beings have become the quintessential dog of American households.

Physical Characteristics

golden retriever

It’s hard to see a Golden Retriever and not immediately fall in love with their friendly, beautiful faces. They are fluffy, soft creatures that have a signature smile that is charming to most everyone they meet. Golden Retrievers are known for their gorgeous, medium length coats. Goldens also have a broad head with short ears and friendly, intelligent eyes. Male Golden Retrievers are slightly larger in stature than female Golden Retrievers and female Goldens weigh in just a bit lighter than male Goldens on average.

Personality and Temperament

golden retriever child

The Golden Retriever is an eager to please, laid back companion. According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers have a kind, easy-going temperament, and they are extremely friendly, affectionate dogs that make great family dogs.

The breed is also known to be great with young children, but it is important for parents to supervise a dog and a child when they are together to ensure the safety and comfort of both parties.

If you are looking to introduce a watchdog into your home, the Golden would not be recommended. Golden Retrievers are known for their extremely social personalities and typically are very open to strangers. Goldens might alert you to an occasional squirrel or maybe someone approaching the house but generally welcome newcomers into the home with a happy wag of the tail.

golden retriever lounging

Their personality resembles that of the Labrador, but the most significant difference between these two breeds is their energy level. Both breeds are considered to have high energy levels, but Labs are known to require slightly more physical and mental stimulation to remain happy and healthy.

Golden Retrievers are also known for their bountiful energy. However, their adaptive personalities are another aspect that makes these pups perfect family dogs. On one hand, they have the energy they’ll need to burn off, but on the other hand, they are also content to lounge around with their humans.

Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?

fluffy golden retriever

When looking at possible breeds to bring into your home, grooming, and maintenance of your potential pup is likely a consideration of yours. As with any breed, Golden Retrievers require regular baths, teeth brushing, and nail trims to keep your dog looking and feeling good. It wouldn’t hurt to invest in some lint rollers to keep around your house to get the long, golden hair off your clothes too.

Golden Retrievers also have a somewhat unique double coatthat requires a certain degree of special maintenance. Many owners believe that it is a good idea to shave their pups in the summer to keep them cool, but it can have the opposite effect on the dog. Despite their long coats, the Golden Retriever’s coat actually functions to keep the dogs cool in warm weather, prevent sunburn, and even help to prevent insect bites. A trip to the groomer a couple of times a year for a little trim is a great way to keep your Golden looking fresh, in addition to regular brushing tokeep their coats free of dead hair.

Keeping Golden Retrievers Physically and Mentally Enriched

golden retriever walking

As mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers are adaptable to a range of family models. However, it is important for families to expect that their pup will have quite a bit of energy for the first couple of years of the dog’s life. Every dog is different. Some dogs will need a couple of hours of exercise a day, while other dogs are content to lounge around the house.

Most often, though, these dogs enjoy an active lifestyle and will sometimes get into trouble if they do not receive enough exercise. It is important to recognize this and expect to provide your furry companion with enough daily exercise to satisfy their own personal needs.

Some dog owners find success in keeping unwanted, troublesome behaviors at bay by providing their dogs with mental enrichment in addition to physical exercise. Enrichment activities provide dogs with mental stimulation, allowing them to engage with some of their more instinctual behaviors, such as shredding or sniffing. There are tons of enrichment options that you can buy from your local pet store or even pull together with some items you already have at home.

Training Golden Retrievers

golden puppy training

To have your dog fit your family’s needs best, it is important to get it involved in some form of dog training. Golden Retrievers are extremely smart and want to please their owners, which makes training them a breeze.

Goldens are playful and fun-loving, so many of them benefit from more game-based training sessions. Golden Retrievers can be extremely food-motivated and absolutely thrive in training when they are positively rewarded with DIY dog meals, or small, low-calorie treats. Sometimes, you can even get your pup to work for parts of their dinner to make mealtime mentally enriching as well.

Crate training can also be beneficial for dog owners to implement in their homes. Especially during the puppy stage when dogs lack impulse control, it is important to keep your belongings–and the pup–safe when they cannot be actively supervised or you just need a break from the crazy puppy energy. Some people question the ethics of crate training, but when crate training is implemented properly, most dogs learn that a crate is their safe space, and they are happy to be in it.

Consistent obedience training starting at a young age will ensure that your new furry friend will be a perfect new addition to your home. Golden Retrievers are special dogs, and any family would be lucky to give one of these beautiful pups a great life!

Devin Flaherty
By Devin Flaherty

Devin is an animal lover with a particular affinity for dogs, primarily Golden Retrievers. She has been a lifelong dog and cat owner. Devin enjoys training her Golden Retriever puppy, Roberta, reading, and exploring her community in her free time.