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Goldens Rule

Goldens Rule

Tips to Living with your Golden

Strikingly beautiful, full of love, and energetic, the Golden Retriever is one the most popular dog breeds in North America.  It’s no wonder.  Their amazing appearance with a softly plumed coat and happy-go-lucky temperament provide the perfect combination for a loving family member.

While it all sounds like golden bliss, it’s important to understand what makes a Golden tick.  Goldens have unique behavioural characteristics that you will need to understand and learn to live with.

Here are some of the key characteristics of the Golden Retriever breed and what to expect when sharing your life with a Golden.

Common characteristics of Golden Retrievers:

Highly intelligent

Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence.  That’s why they are used in a variety of roles including guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, hunting, illegal-drug detection, and search and rescue operations.


Golden Retrievers are also natural athletes, excelling in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience.


If you can give your Golden brisk walks daily, play fetch games and take him out for a good long run at least once a week, you’ll find he is adaptable to almost any lifestyle.

Extremely social

Most Golden Retrievers are extroverted and very social. They need and love human interaction. As a result, this is not a breed that does well left at home alone for long periods of time. 

Loyal and gentle temperament

A hallmark of the breed, the temperament of the Golden Retriever is described as kindly, friendly, and confident. Most Golden Retrievers are easy going and kid-friendly, making them popular family pets.  They have soft mouths, which means that even in play, they tend to be gentle and don’t nip.

Friendly, eager-to-please demeanours

Golden Retrievers are bouncy dogs with warm, affectionate personalities – they always seem to be smiling. Goldens are easy to love and easy to train. They live to please! 

Daily Demands of your Golden:

Ensure plenty of daily exercise to reduce digging, and other behavioural issues.

Because Goldens are intelligent and have medium energy, they need daily exercise to help reduce boredom, digging, and other behavioural issues. Find out more about the Power of Exercise to help reduce boredom and destruction.

Chewing tendency

Retrievers naturally like to pick up things with their mouth. You can control his tendency to chew on objects and to mouth your hands. Keep a box handy with toys so he can carry things around in his mouth.

Prone to roam

The Golden’s roots retrieving wildfowl for hunters make them prone to roaming. While they need lots of exercise, they also need a fenced yard to curtail their roaming tendency and prey drive.

Dominance or Dominance Aggression

Many Goldens are naturally dominant – they will appear confident and stable but that doesn’t mean it will lead to aggression.

Aggression is not who the dog is, but about how he/she reacts. There are many reasons for aggression (fearful, possessive, territorial, defensive, etc.).  There has been a dramatic increase in all types of aggression with Golden Retrievers and it’s important for Golden owners to understand how to recognize and manage it. Find out more about Dominance Aggression.

Be prepared for shedding

Golden Retrievers are known for their amazing coat – they also shed a lot. Here are some things you can do to manage the shedding:

  • Regular brushing – brush several times a week to reduce free-floating hair (comb the thick undercoat weekly – an undercoat rake works well)
  • Regular bathing – not more than once every three to four weeks to prevent drying the skin
  • Feed a high quality diet – nutrition affects the quality of the coat
  • Use dog shedding tools – use your vacuum cleaner regularly and keep lint brushes in several rooms so they’re handy

Every spring, Golden Retrievers lose their thick winter coat and will require extra grooming. Another important aspect of care: you can prevent ear infections by keeping the ears clean. If your dog is prone to ear infections, you can cut away excess hair to provide better air exchange.

Learn more about the joy and challenges of living with your Golden on the Golden Rescue Facebook page!