So You Want to Get a Golden Retriever


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If you are considering the purchase of a Golden Retriever, you ought to know all the facts—the delights and the frustrations of owning this lovely breed of dog. The Golden Retriever is a medium to large-sized dog with males up to a standard of 24 inches at the shoulder, females around 22 inches. While you may adore the charming puppies, make sure that a dog this size is suited to your home and lifestyle. On the positive side, with proper training, Goldens develop very good manners, and this can minimize the problems that might otherwise be associated with their size.

Golden Retrievers have medium length hair and longer feathering on their tail, legs and chest. They shed a bit throughout the year, just as humans are continually shedding hair from our scalps. Once or twice a year, they will shed substantially, because they have a double-coat (as labs and many other breeds do). The soft undercoat beneath their water-repellent outer coat sheds twice a year. Though this shedding does not approach the proportions of a Collie or Old English sheepdog, daily brushing is recommended during a couple of weeks of shedding. Some Goldens are wash-and-go; they may have less undercoat, but still will shed during the fall and late spring period.

DVGRRGolden Retrievers are extremely intelligent, ranked high in the top five breeds in intelligence. This intelligence is required to learn the complicated commands for blind retrieves in the field or tracking, acting as service dogs such as Seeing Eye dogs and search and rescue dogs, as well as being outstanding competitors in obedience trials. While this is a positive factor in your companion, it is also means you MUST take the time to at least take your Golden through a basic obedience class and start training him early as a well-mannered member of your family. While some wait to enroll their pup in formal obedience until the pup is about six months old (some schools permit earlier entry to puppy class), you will be unhappy if you do not start teaching him his place in your home the very day that you bring him home. Behaviors that may be cute in a puppy lose their charm in an adult dog.

Goldens are likely to be spirited and exuberant; you will not remove this with proper training; you will simply put it in its proper perspective. It will take some time and effort. If you do not feel that this would be feasible for you, you might want to consider a less intelligent breed.

Golden Retrievers are known for their loving, affectionate temperament. They excel when they are members of the family living in your home. While their physique can tolerate kennel living when necessary, if you want a kennel-dog, you would do well to choose a breed that is less devoted to family life. Even breeders with large kennels see that each dog spends time in the home with the family.

Because the Golden is a happy, eager dog, they need a lot of attention right from the start to channel all their energy into positive directions. Goldens need obedience training. If you don't take the time to train your dog, he'll soon become a huge, uncontrollable 60-70 lb. nuisance. Just like other family members, Goldens also need companionship. Your dog will suffer if you're on the go a good portion of the time, leaving him alone. No dog does well under these circumstances. They become bored and with boredom comes trouble such as chewing, barking, and digging. Dog ownership brings with it a tremendous responsibility. With a little commitment on your part, you'll have a happy, well-adjusted pal. You will get back from your dog only what you are prepared to give. Keep in mind that the lovely, calm and obedient Golden that sold you on the breed did not accidently grow that way. Thoughtful breeding and many consistent hours of work, love, understanding and patience went into developing the finished product.

DVGRRThen again maybe a puppy isn't right for you at present and you would prefer to have an older dog. Golden Rescue might be where you'll find your forever pet.

Because Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, there are many Goldens and some are surrendered to Golden Retriever rescue groups. Many of these Goldens were surrendered because their owners were moving to an apartment that didn't allow pets, or because owners were going through a divorce, or an owner's illness prevented them from caring for their pet. Sometimes, these are young dogs that were not fit for the confirmation ring, or were surrendered to breeders who are seeking to place them. On some Golden breeder web sites you can find older Goldens that are available for adoption from a breeder.

There are a number of Golden Rescue groups throughout the country. Check out their web sites where some have photos of available Goldens. Others have a waiting list, so you may want to check out their policies on adoption.

For further research on finding the right dog for you the American Kennel Club (AKC) and Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) are two excellent resources. You may also find the following linked articles of interest:

Acquiring a Golden Retriever
Are You Ready for a Dog
Are You Ready for a Dog Quiz
Be a Responsible Dog Owner
Finding Your Dog
Profiler for Golden Retriever Compatibility
The Right Dog for You
Why a puppy is not a good idea for Christmas