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Golden Retriever Personality & Temperament – Facts & FAQ

Lorre Luther

By Lorre Luther

Golden Retriever

​​It’s hard to resist the sweet affection of a golden retriever. The beautiful dogs are the third most popular breed in the United States, and for a good reason. They’re smart, easily trainable, loyal, and generally great with kids. Golden Retrievers adapt well to new environments and don’t usually get worked up when exposed to new people and situations, making them great for families and individuals who love to explore.

Originally bred to be the perfect hunting dog and family companion, the dogs typically have a ton of energy, but most are mellow over time, and many are just fine lounging around the backyard with their humans. Are you interested in adding one of the adorable creatures to your family? Read on for more information about the Golden Retriever.

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Are Golden Retrievers Good for Families with Kids?

Golden Retrievers are fantastic choices for families with kids of all ages. They’re capable of understanding and reacting appropriately to toddlers and growing children who might have a tendency to play a bit too roughly or ignore the signals that a dog wants to be left alone. Golden Retrievers rarely express frustration as aggression, particularly once integrated into a family. Once bonded to a child, the sweet creatures are extraordinarily patient and forgiving of childhood antics.

At the same time, they’re great adventurers that will stick by a kid’s side as they explore the backyard or the woods around a lake on a family vacation. While Golden Retrievers as a breed are prone to gentle, sweet behavior, they still require training to ensure they remain under control. However, Golden Retrievers are some of the least likely dogs to bite other animals or humans randomly.

american golden retriever sittingh on patio
Photo Credit: rustyc, Pixabay

Do Golden Retrievers Have a Lot of Energy?

Yes! Golden Retriever energy is legendary for a reason. They tend to mellow around the age of 3 or 4. Yet, even younger Golden Retrievers will seldom resort to aggressive or destructive behavior in attempts to release excess energy.

As an intelligent and active breed, Golden Retrievers typically respond extremely well to training as it engages both their bodies and minds. They are naturally athletic and need quite a bit of physical activity. Don’t be surprised if your Golden Retriever makes a detour and goes for a romp in the nearest lake during your weekend walk in the park; the dogs love swimming and playing in the water.

What Are The Downsides to the Golden Retriever Personality?

Golden Retrievers tend to suffer from separation anxiety and depression. While they might not destroy sofas and shoes out of sheer aggression, they may do so out of anxiety. In some dogs, the anxiety can turn into a tendency to become aggressive out of sheer fear; separation anxiety is essentially the canine equivalent of a panic attack that occurs whenever you leave the house. It’s a horrifying experience for your dog.

Dogs with severe cases of separation anxiety cannot be left safely alone since they’ll often injure themselves trying to escape, chew shoes, and destroy furniture. Anxiety sufferers often whine and bark to the point where they become a nuisance to neighbors. Some dogs will also urinate and defecate throughout the house once you leave.

While it’s possible to take steps to alleviate separation anxiety once it starts, prevention is often the best option. Adequate training, tons of mental stimulation, lots of exercises and teaching your dog to be alone are critical when putting a stop to separation anxiety before it gets started. Once canine panic attacks set in, you’ll most likely need to work with a behavioral specialist and a veterinarian to devise a specific attack plan to address your dog’s particular needs.

golden retriever dog lying on couch with tv remote
Photo Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Do Golden Retrievers Have Any Major Health Issues?

Golden Retrievers have a few physical issues that sometimes pop up. As a relatively large breed, they’re prone to hip and elbow dysplasia which sometimes requires medical intervention and surgical treatment. It’s common among bigger dogs and is often caused by inappropriately fast growth. If you decide to adopt one of the beautiful dogs, speak with your veterinarian about how to decrease your pup’s chances of developing joint problems through growth and weight management.

Retrievers tend to develop heart issues; aortic stenosis is particularly common in the breed. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, coughing, lethargy, and general weakness. Early diagnosis is the key to managing the illness. If caught early enough, medication can usually keep aortic stenosis and other heart problems in check.

Golden Retrievers are notorious for developing skin problems since they have thick coats and undercoats that can be difficult to keep clean. Seborrhea and sebaceous cysts are two skin conditions commonly seen in Golden Retrievers. Almost 50% of Golden Retrievers¹ experience some type of skin problem throughout their lifetime.

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Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are great with kids, easily trainable, intelligent, and easy-going. There’s a reason they’re often used as therapy and service dogs! If you decide to bring one of the happy-go-lucky creatures into your family, be prepared to provide plenty of activity and love to meet your companion’s mental and physical needs.

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Featured Image Credit: Olena Brodetska, Shutterstock

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