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Golden Retriever Pros & Cons: What to Expect Before Getting a New Pup

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Golden retriever dogs lying on floor

Golden Retrievers are the epitome of an ideal companion. When you dream about life with a canine friend, it is usually with an image of you playing fetch or cozying up with a Golden Retriever, right? They are known to steal the hearts of many with their fun-loving nature and zest for life, but nothing is perfect, and owning a Golden Retriever involves minor challenges that will keep you on your toes.

In this article, you will learn about the pros and cons of owning a Golden Retriever, America’s third most popular dog!

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The 6 Pros of Owning a Golden Retriever

1. Golden Retrievers Have an Excellent Temperament

Golden Retrievers are popular for their fun-loving, affectionate, and intelligent personalities. You can enjoy your Retriever’s sweet, affectionate puppy nature for longer than usual as they only lose their puppy temperament at around 2–4 years old, although they can be mischievous and hyperactive in their puppy phase.

Young beautiful woman combing fur golden retriever dog
Image Credit: Photo_mts, Shutterstock

2. They Are Easy to Train

They are enthusiastic about learning new things and have a great ability to pick up on new commands. Paired with loyalty and a high potential to learn, they are easy dogs to train. Make your training sessions fun and rewarding. Golden Retrievers love games, learn well through them, and are highly motivated by rewarding treats. Make it a regular part of the day so that they master their skills and get every family member involved, so their training is consistent.

3. Goldies Make Great Family Dogs

They are great with kids and have a natural ability to calm people and intuit their emotions, making them the perfect pet for a big family with kids. They are patient, caring, and gentle with kids and will love joining in on family adventures.

Happy family stroking Golden Retriever
Image Credit: wavebreakmedia, Shutterstock

4. Golden Retrievers Love to Play

Living up to their name, Retrievers are great at playing fetch and love the time spent with their owner. While you can enjoy the fun-loving and active nature of your Golden Retriever outdoors, they are calm and obedient indoors.

Golden Retrievers love playing water games. In fact, they have slightly webbed feet, which is a genetic trait that helps them swim through marshes and rivers. Paired with their athleticism, they are amazing and very keen swimmers.

5. Golden Retrievers Make Great Therapy Dogs

There is an energy about Golden Retrievers that is calm and comforting. They are loving and empathetic and are commonly used as therapy dogs because of these qualities and their ability to soothe and calm people. Even if these dogs are not “official” therapy dogs, they are excellent to be around when you feel a bit down.

man with golden retriever
Image Credit: Dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

6. They Get Along With Other Pets

Golden Retrievers are highly compatible with other pets and are known to be very social dogs. Even though they were originally bred as hunting dogs, that is no reason to be concerned, as their friendly and lovable nature will override any prey drive that they might have. They will accept cats as part of the family and are said to be one of the best dog companions for cats; however, they may need some training if introducing a cat, so they don’t chase it.

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The 4 Cons of Owning a Golden Retriever

1. Golden Retrievers Can Be Expensive

It is no surprise that golden retriever puppies are in high demand, so with that usually comes a high price tag. There are several factors that will influence the price of a golden retriever, such as color, age, pedigree, certification, and breeder location. Over and above the purchase cost of your pup, you need to consider healthcare and insurance, feeding, training, and grooming costs.

Golden retriever prices range from $700–$2,200. In some cases, you can expect an even bigger figure than this. For instance, pedigree puppies that are raised by American Kennel Club registered breeders with an award-winning bloodline will be priced as high as about $5,000. A puppy with two purebred American Kennel Club registered parents can vary from $1,500 to $2,200, and a puppy with certification or health papers can cost around $900. Golden Retriever puppies also cost more than adult or senior dogs, but this is the case with most dog breeds.

golden retriever puppies eating
Image Credit: Jagdprinzessin, Pixabay

2. Goldies Are Prone to Health Issues

It is common for purebred dogs to encounter some breed-related health problems, and the Golden Retriever has a few worth mentioning.

  • Hip dysplasia: This is when the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, leading to arthritis.
  • Elbow dysplasia: Similar to hip dysplasia, the elbow joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, leading to arthritis.
  • Hypothyroidism: An endocrine disorder in dogs due to an underactive thyroid that can cause bodily functions to slow down.
  • Cancer: Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer.

3. These Dogs Can Gain Weight Easily

Their nutritional needs will vary through every stage of life. Your Golden Retriever puppy food will need 1.5% calcium content, 30% high-quality protein, and 9% fat. A diet that nurtures bone and joint development is crucial for a growing pup of a large breed. As your pup grows, its diet should be transitioned over 7 days to avoid gastrointestinal upset. It is important to watch your dog’s portions and maintain a healthy weight to avoid obesity, as this can lead to arthritis.

pregnant golden retriever dog lying outdoor
Image Credit: PorChonlawit, Shutterstock

4. Goldies Shed…A LOT

The beautiful golden coat of a Retriever does shed a lot and will need to be brushed daily. A de-shedding tool is ideal for catching dirt and debris from the undercoat and can be done every few weeks. Check their ears regularly for cleaning to prevent infection, and give their nails a trim when you hear them tapping on the ground. Every 4 to 6 weeks, your pooch will enjoy a bath. Be sure to use a pet-friendly shampoo and rinse thoroughly to avoid leftover suds that can cause irritation.

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Final Thoughts

It is clear that the pros far outweigh the cons when owning a Golden Retriever. Knowing what to expect will help you in deciding and give you a realistic idea of life with one of these amazing dogs. Be sure and confident in your ability to raise, train, and care for your new family member before making the commitment, and do thorough research on breeders and shelters to adopt and buy responsibly.

They will bring your family many years of companionship, joy, and unconditional love, which are primary factors when deciding to take one on. A Golden Retriever is guaranteed to bring you these elements in abundance while keeping you busy and active.

The pros and cons are subjective to what suits you as a family, but we believe that a Golden Retriever will be a great addition with all the positive qualities and endless love they have to offer.

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Featured Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

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