Golden Retriever dog breed characteristics, origin and care

Golden Retriever breed characteristics

  • Size: Large
  • Traits: Affable. Smart. Playful.
  • Maintenance: Medium maintenance, brush coat 1-3 times a week
  • Best Suited To: Households with big backyards and lots of activity. Golden Retrievers are not apartment dogs.
  • Lifespan: 12 to 14 years

Fun-loving. Clever. Lively. The Golden Retriever may just win the contest for the world's most congenial dog. A family favourite, the longhaired Golden Retriever is a joyful addition to any outgoing household. If you are seeking a super-friendly and affectionate dog that loves to play fetch and will be your best friend, a Golden Retriever may be the ideal choice.

Where I'm From

Golden Retrievers originate from Great Britain and were bred by British aristocrats to help hunters retrieve downed birds from waterways. Specifically, Lord Tweedmouth developed the breed at his country estate in the late 1800s.

Tweedmouth was an avid hunter who wanted to create the perfect dog to fetch his game. He bred a yellow Wavy-coated Retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, renowned for their calm retrieval skills. Subsequent light-haired litters were bred with other similar dogs until the Golden Retriever was perfected.

England's Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1911 before their worldwide export to places as far away as Australia and New Zealand where they became popular pets. Today, Golden Retrievers are consistently one of the top 5 most sought after breeds in Australia, New Zealand, the USA and the UK.

What I Look Like

Golden Retrievers are sometimes mistaken for a longhaired Labrador but are actually a separate breed with their own distinct traits. A medium to large-sized dog, they have a strong, athletic body with a luxurious, wavy and water-repellent coat. Golden Retrievers range from a cream colour to a deep gold. Puppies can appear quite pale, but the darker tip on their ear will indicate their adult hue.

How I Act

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their beautiful demeanours and playful personalities. They love and need to be around people who engage with them often and are great with children. As professional retrievers, your Goldie will love to play a game of fetch and should have numerous toys around the house to play with.

Easy to train, Golden Retrievers still need consistent obedience training and socialisation from a young age to become well-balanced family pets. They are good with other animals of all shapes and sizes. Though additional pets should be introduced to the household gradually to allow time for your dog to get used to a new member of the family.

Golden Retrievers originate from a working breed and require significant daily exercise of 30-60 minutes to stay healthy. You should aim to tire out your Golden Retriever through exercise and games so your dog remains good-natured and well-behaved.

Looking After Me

Golden Retrievers are essentially healthy dogs. However, they may be affected by a number of bone diseases including hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as eye and heart issues and other ailments such as blood clotting difficulties and bloat. It is advisable to check the temperament and medical history of a puppy's parents and view veterinarian clearance certificates to ensure you get a healthy dog. Be very wary of uncertified backyard breeders.

Golden Retrievers have a life expectancy of 12-14 years.

They need to be fed high-quality dry food twice a day as per packaging recommendations. Goldies have a propensity to overeat so it is best to limit their food intake to specified times and take away any uneaten portions until the next feeding.

Golden Retrievers have a medium length water-resistant coat, which requires some upkeep to remain manageable. A daily brush is recommended, especially in times of seasonal change when your Goldie will shed profusely. Due to their shedding they do not make good pets for people with allergies or those who do not like vacuuming! If you appreciate a pleasant smelling dog your Goldie will also need a monthly bath.

Their floppy ears, which can incubate an infection, need to be checked regularly for any foul smell or redness that could indicate a medical problem.

Am I the pet for you?

Golden Retrievers are one of the best and most popular family dogs around. They suit exuberant families with large backyards that like exercise and the outdoors. Golden Retrievers are not suitable for layabout homebodies or small apartments.


  • Golden Retrievers are gentle, playful dogs that love boisterous families and kids. Like all dogs, Golden Retrievers should be supervised when around children.
  • Golden Retrievers love to exercise and retrieve things so they are the perfect dogs to take with you to the park and play 'go fetch'.
  • Friendly and outgoing, the Golden Retriever may not make a greatest guard dog but will likely bark to alert the household of a visitor.


  • Golden Retrievers love to live inside the house with the family but they also shed profusely especially during seasonal changes. This ill-fated combination will require following your dog around with a vacuum cleaner daily when they are moulting.
  • You are their 'pack' so don't expect to go anywhere without them.
  • Golden Retrievers are not delicate creatures. Over exuberance may lead to clumsy crashing into furniture and small children!

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