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What Are the Pros & Cons of Getting a Golden Retriever? Breed Considerations

Written by: Chelsea Mortensen

Last Updated on April 9, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever dog on a couch

What Are the Pros & Cons of Getting a Golden Retriever? Breed Considerations

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs out there, and these sunny dogs might be the perfect choice for your home. But if you want a golden retriever mostly because of their beautiful coats and reputation for friendliness, it’s important to do your research. These dogs won’t be happy in every situation.

Here are five great reasons why you might want a Golden Retriever, and five drawbacks to consider before you make the choice.


Pros of Owning a Golden Retriever

1. Easygoing and Friendly

If you want a dog that’s friendly, easygoing, and happy around people, a Golden Retriever is a great choice. They’re natural extroverts, and most love to meet strangers, play with others, and spend time together. They also tend to be less anxious than most dogs, especially with good socialization. In a lot of ways, these dogs are the “man’s best friend” tale come true!

Golden retriever
Image Credit: sasastock, Shutterstock

2. Good With Kids, Other Pets, and Busy Families

Going hand in hand with their good tempers, they also make great family dogs. Some dogs might be scared of toddlers or aggressive towards small children, but most Golden Retrievers love kids of all ages. They are highly playful and usually not too rough.

They also don’t usually have a tendency to snap or bite at children. And since these dogs are high-energy, they don’t mind having a more chaotic house full of kids. They also get along well with other pets.

3. Clever and Trainable

Another great reason to consider a Golden Retriever is that they are very trainable. These dogs are often used for agility competitions, therapy work, and service dogs because they are both clever and eager to please. Most Golden Retrievers can learn new commands quickly and love to show off, so if you’re interested in dog training, they’re a great choice. Although some can be a little more stubborn than others, once you get a trusting relationship and make training into a “game”, they will be eager to keep at it all day long.

Dog trainer teaching a Golden retriever obedience
Image Credit: 16081684, Pixabay

4. Beautiful

Let’s face it—there are few dogs as pretty as a Golden Retriever. Their silky coats really do look like shiny gold, especially if they are freshly groomed. They’re also a great size—big enough to keep up with you all day long, but not a giant. And their beautiful, streamlined proportions! Although we know that personality is more important than looks, we can’t forget that these dogs are just beautiful.

5. Not High Barkers

Dogs have a spectrum of barking behaviors, with some staying strong and silent and others barking all day long. Golden Retrievers are somewhere in the middle—they’ll bark occasionally when playing or if something is wrong, but they usually don’t bark all the time. They also don’t usually bark at strangers or other animals, which is nice if you have visitors often or live in a busy area.

Golden Retriever sitting in the dirt
Image Credit: Olena Brodetska, Shutterstock


Cons to Consider Before Getting a Golden Retriever

1. High Activity Needs

Golden Retrievers are great, but they’re not for everyone. The biggest reason to hold off on getting a Golden Retriever is that they’re pretty needy dogs. These dogs need a lot of exercise, usually 40–60 minutes a day, and sometimes more. Along with that, they get bored easily and don’t always do well with being home alone, at least for long periods. If you don’t have a lifestyle that will give them the attention and playtime they need, you might find your dog becoming more anxious and unhappy. You might also see a spike in chewing and destructive behaviors.

golden retriever swimming
Image Credit: paulbr75, Pixabay

2. They Shed and Drool

Golden Retrievers also need quite a bit of maintenance help. Their flowing coats shed—a lot! You’ll need to groom them regularly, and you’ll still see quite a bit of hair around the house. Don’t forget to budget the time and money to take care of their coats.

Along with shedding, some are messy in other ways. Although not all Golden Retrievers are droolers, many are. Their wet mouths can be a little gross and make frustrating messes. Between the hair and the drool, you’ll need to stay on top of cleaning.

3. Not Good Guard Dogs

Golden Retrievers are great with strangers, but that comes with a flip side. These dogs aren’t particularly protective and don’t make good guard dogs. They aren’t likely to bark at a break-in and will often want to play or run away rather than go on high alert. If you want a big dog to add to security around your house, a different breed might be a better choice.

golden retriever dog watching over his owner's house
Image Credit: Luc Brousseau, Shutterstock

4. Expensive

Golden Retrievers are in the mid-range of prices when it comes to the initial setup. They are so popular that it’s not impossible to find one at a shelter, but buying a puppy from a reputable breeder will set you back a fair bit.

But just looking at the cost of buying a puppy isn’t the whole picture. These dogs are on the more expensive side when it comes to monthly care. They’re big, energetic dogs, so they eat a ton, and you’ll want to get them good-quality food. They also are more expensive when it comes to healthcare, so you’ll want to budget more when it comes to insurance.

5. Health Issues

Golden Retrievers are also not the healthiest of breeds. In fact, there are a lot of health issues that these dogs are prone to, including some dangerous and expensive issues like cancer, thyroid issues, hip dysplasia, and bloat.

When you get a Golden Retriever, you should plan on paying for higher-coverage insurance just in case and staying on top of regular health checks to catch these issues early. If you’re going through a breeder, look for one that offers health clearance paperwork.

Image By: Tatyana Vic, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are a big commitment, in both money and time. Many end up frustrated and unhappy because they were adopted into the wrong family. But if this breed is a match for your lifestyle, there are few pets that are better! Your clever, active, friendly dog will certainly win your heart.

Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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