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Do Golden Retrievers Like to Cuddle? Breed Temperament & Preferences

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Golden retriever dogs lying on floor

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in America. They are known for being friendly, intelligent, and good with children. Golden retrievers are also great athletes and love to play fetch. Golden retrievers are often chosen by families because of their loving and easy-going personalities.

If you’re looking for a cuddly pup, you may be wondering if Golden Retrievers like to snuggle. The answer is yes—most Goldens love to stay close to their humans. But there are a few things you need to know about physical closeness with Goldens before bringing home your new furry friend. To ensure your dog and you have a successful relationship, let’s dig a little deeper.

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Do Golden Retrievers Enjoy Affection?

Most Golden Retrievers enjoy it when we show them physical affection, according to experts. Just like people, Goldens need love. To feel secure and appreciated, they crave affection on a regular basis. You can show Golden affection in many different ways, such as grooming, patting their head or scratching behind their ears. A cuddle is just one way to show your Golden Retriever that you care and that they are important to you.

It is important to keep in mind that some Goldens may enjoy getting cuddles from their humans, while others may not be so fond of them. In large part, it depends on the personality of the dog.

young happy couple holding and hugging golden retriever puppy
Image by: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Are Golden Retrievers the Most Affectionate Dog Breed?

The definition of an “affectionate” dog breed varies from person to person, so there is no definitive answer to this question. However, due to their friendly and outgoing personalities, many people tend to find Golden Retrievers to be especially loving. There are several other breeds that are considered to be particularly sweet and cuddly, including Bichon Fries, Labradors, Pugs, Shih Tzus, and Welsh Corgis. It is common for these breeds to crave human companionship and to enjoy being petted and cuddled by their owners.

Why Do Goldens Like Physical Affection from Humans?

In order to feel happy and content, most Golden Retrievers need human interaction, including petting and hugging. This might be due to the fact that dogs are pack animals and crave social interaction. Furthermore, physical touch releases oxytocin, which is sometimes referred to as the “cuddle hormone” since it promotes feelings of happiness and bonding. Furthermore, petting your Golden can help reduce your stress and anxiety. Golden Retrievers love getting physical affection from humans for all these reasons!

What Does “Cuddle” Mean to You?

The term “cuddle” refers to the act of physically interacting with your pet dog in a way that is considered affectionate. In the context of a Golden Retriever, this might involve petting or scratching your pet’s back, sitting closely together, or simply putting your arm around them while talking or watching TV. Almost all Golden Retrievers love to be physically affectionate with their owners. However, if by “cuddle” you mean “hug” read on for some tips on how to make check your Golden is comfortable and enjoys this interaction.

Happy family stroking Golden Retriever
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

How To Cuddle Your Golden Retriever the Right Way

Getting the most out of a Golden Retriever cuddle requires approaching the dog the right way. Hug your dog by gently placing your arms around their neck and torso, not around their legs. In this way, you can hug the dog without squeezing them too tightly. You can also pet your dog on their back, which is a gesture of affection that many dogs appreciate. If you crouch down at your dog’s level they will feel more comfortable and you will appear less intimidating.

Give your Golden a gentle hug by opening your arms wide and leaning in slowly. Be careful not to squeeze too hard. Slowly release the hug after a few seconds. After hugging your dog, show them some further love and attention. It will reinforce their good feelings about the hug.

Related: Can Golden Retrievers Live in Apartments? What You Need to Know!

How to Tell If Your Golden Retriever Doesn’t Like Being Cuddled

A Golden Retriever that dislikes being cuddled can show it in many ways. You might find that your furry friend is tense or stiff when you cuddle them. Your Golden Retriever may yawn or curl up in a ball if they are uncomfortable. Squirming or pushing away from a person can indicate that your Golden is trying to escape physical contact. Goldens may also show signs of anxiety by hiding, panting, or drooling. You may also notice that they avoid eye contact or shake when stressed. More seriously, your dog may growl, bark, scratch, or nip in a defensive manner.

If you notice any of these behaviors when you initiate cuddling with your dog, it is a sign that your Golden is becoming stressed and overstimulated. If this happens, you should break contact and give your Golden some time to relax and you might need to rethink your approach to showing affection in the future.

Many Goldens Don’t Like Human-style Hugs

The majority of Golden Retrievers enjoy being cuddled by their owners, while a rare Golden may find it uncomfortable or even frightening. When it comes to hugs, you may be surprised to learn that in fact, most dogs (of every breed) don’t particularly like human-style hugs, according to the American Kennel Club. Those who do not like human-style hugs may feel trapped or restrained by the gesture, or they may interpret it as aggressive or dominating. When determining whether your dog enjoys being cuddled, watch their body language and listen to their vocalizations.

young girl with white golden retriever
Image By: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

Other Ways to Show Your Golden Retriever Affection

You can show your Golden affection in many ways, including showering them with verbal praise, petting them, and giving them treats. Having the chance to spend time with their beloved human pack leader is often enough of a reward for Goldens, who often enjoy playing fetch or other physical activities with their owners. A bath, nail trim, or brushing may also be appreciated more than cuddling by some dogs.

How Do Golden Retrievers Show Physical Affection to Their Owners?

There are several physical ways in which golden retrievers express their affection to their owners. A favorite way in which Goldens express love and appreciation is by licking their owners’ faces or hands. In addition to wagging their tails, Goldens may also press their bodies against their owners or rest their heads on their laps. These behaviors are all indicative of a desire for closeness and companionship.

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In conclusion, Golden Retrievers do enjoy cuddling with their owners. They are known to be loyal and loving dogs that crave companionship. If you are considering getting a Golden Retriever, be prepared to have plenty of snuggle sessions! However, if they ever appear to be uncomfortable, move away and give them space. Whenever you are dealing with a dog, the last thing you want to do is to force them into doing something they don’t want to do.

Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

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