We think Goldens are just about perfect, but those unfamiliar with the breed should think twice before adopting one. Before committing to a decade or more of dog ownership, please think carefully about the following points.
Consider their size ~ this is a sturdy and muscular breed. According to the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) breed standard, mature Golden Retriever males should measure 23"-24" at the highest point of the shoulder (the withers) and weigh about 75 lbs. Females are smaller 21.5"-22.5" at the withers and weigh about 65 lbs. Some Goldens entering the rescue program are substantially larger than this standard.
If you are an immaculate housekeeper, be aware that Golden Retrievers shed constantly (and especially in spring and fall). Grooming and regular household vacuuming are a must! Goldens retrieve. They will find all sorts of things to carry and present them to you when you least expect it. Expect to do some picking up after your dog. If you feel you need a guard dog, perhaps another breed might be a better choice. A Golden may or may not bark and growl when a stranger arrives; however, these dogs tend to be 'friendly marshmallows' and most make simply awful protective dogs. Goldens need to be exercised on a daily basis. If you hate the cold and rain and feel that a five minute stroll down the street is plenty of activity, you may wish to consider a less active breed.
All dogs are social animals and Goldens are perhaps a little more social than most. They need human companionship and attention! If you work outside the home all day and are gone most evenings and weekends, please consider carefully if it is fair to keep any dog at all. Responsible ownership of a Golden can be expensive. You may expect to pay $600 – $700 per year for food as well as about $200 for general sundries. Count on at least $200-$300 per year for basic preventative veterinary health care and remember that an injury or illness can be very costly. If you wish to have your dog professionally groomed or if you travel frequently, don't forget to add in groomer and kennel fees… and there's always the annual cost of licensing your dog with your city or town!