Golden Retriever: A Complete Guide

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If you are looking for a big, natural athletic-looking dog with an adorable fluffy coat, and with a tail-wagging and overall happy attitude that is ideal for families, the Golden Retriever is most likely your best choice.

This peaceful and steady-tempered breed will go along with everyone, and will gladly lay with kids and other animals.

Also, since it is remarkably intelligent, the Golden Retriever will be easy to train and you will be surprised how well he responds and absorbs the knowledge you offer him.

He will be pleased to fetch your newspapers every morning, and even carry his leash with his teeth so that your walks are a pleasure to you.

However, since this is the most popular family breed nowadays, finding a Golden Retriever puppy that is in good shape both physically and mentally, and without any hidden medical problems that can be passed on from his parents genetically, can be a daunting task.

To make it easier for you, as well as to help you out in determining if this breed is the perfect fit for your lifestyle, we present to you our Golden Retriever in-depth guide.

You will get to know this breed much better, and you will also gain knowledge that will help you choose the right breeder and ask the right questions.

Let’s start off with the things you need to know before you buy a puppy.

Golden Retriever Puppies – Before You Buy…

A Golden Retriever being stroked by two children
Golden Retrievers are kind and loving pets.

As promised, in this section, you will learn how to check if the Golden Retriever puppy is the pup you want to welcome to your home.

Also, you will find out how to find a reputable breeder, so that you make sure you are walking away with a healthy pup and with good genes.

First, let’s see if the Golden Retriever pups fit your budget.

What price are the Golden Retriever puppies?

If you want to go cheap, you can find backyard breeders or puppy mills that sell pups for as low as $400 to $500.

But, in this case, there’s no guarantee that the puppy is healthy, nor that it comes from parents that didn’t have any genetically heritable diseases that will appear later on in your dog’s life.

On the other hand, if you want a healthy Golden Retriever pup that is bound to grow up into a healthy dog with no hidden health issues, you will have to find a reputable breeder.

But, their puppy price range goes from $1200 to $4000, depending on how good the pup’s genes are in terms of showcase or pet material

How to find reputable Golden Retriever breeders?

A Golden Retriever posing with a book
Golden Retriever breed is known for having happy and healthy specimens.

Once you are sure the price range fits your set puppy budget, it’s time to deal with the most important question of them all – How to find a reputable breeder?

What you must keep in mind is that when buying a pup from a reputable breeder, you get what you pay.

A breeder that cares about the breed and his dogs will provide them the best living conditions, as well as all the necessary health test clearances.

Also, he will offer you his knowledge of the breed and pointers on how to take care of them, how to train them, and even how to feed them and which schedule and type of food to practice.

If a breeder you are talking to doesn’t show interest in the breed nor the dogs and the pups, and if he seems like he is in a hurry to just get over with the sell, he is most likely in the business just for the money and not for the love towards the Golden Retrievers.

You should, by all means, avoid buying pups from such breeders or from puppy mills that usually supply pet shops.

3 Little-known facts about the Golden Retriever puppies

Now you already have a slight insight into the breed and know what to keep an eye on when buying a puppy, it’s time to see if the Golden Retriever puppies are actually “your cup of tea” or if you should consider another breed.

  • High energy levels 

Golden Retriever puppies are known for getting easily excited and for jumping and romping.

Of course, they don’t mean any harm by it, but it can easily happen that your toddler gets knocked down when the pup gets over-excited.

While they are young, their energy levels are higher and you should always be close if you let small kids play with the pup.

It is not a well-known fact that Golden Retrievers come in three shades of gold.

This is because there are three subcategories of Golden Retrievers – Canadian Golden Retrievers, American Golden Retrievers, and British Golden Retrievers.

So, don’t be surprised if, while researching on the internet, you find images of a Golden Retriever puppy that has a gold shade, and when you visit the breeder, discover that the litter is filled with puppies that are with a blond or a yellow shade.

  • They grow up so fast!

You’ll need to take special care if you’re raising a Golden puppy. These dogs grow very rapidly between the age of four and seven months, making them susceptible to bone disorders. They do well on a high-quality, low-calorie diet that keeps them from growing too fast.

Did you know there are 6 different types of retrievers? Click here to read all about them!

Physical Traits of the Golden Retriever

the Golden Retriever sitting by a lake
Golden Retrievers are remarkably intelligent.

Time to get “physical”. In this section, you will learn how big your Retriever will get when he grows up, as well as how long can you expect him to be a part of your family.

How big is a full-grown Golden Retriever?

The Golden Retrievers are a medium/big size breed. They are not as huge as, for example, the Mastiff breed, yet they are bigger than a Pug or an Australian Shepherd.

A full-grown Golden Retriever can go from 21.5 to 24 inches in height, and from 55 to 75 pounds in weight.

What is the life expectancy of the Golden Retriever?

When it comes to Golden Retrievers, their life expectancy is from 10 to 12 years. Of course, this depends on how well the dog is taken care of during his life and what is written in his genes.

But, if you provide proper exercise to your dog, as well as if you feed him with high-quality food, you can expect a decade of fun times and beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Golden Retriever

If you are wondering how intelligent Golden Retrievers are, we will just tell you that they are in fourth place on the list of the most intelligent dogs in the world!

The breeds that are more intelligent than them, are Border Collies, the Poodles, and the German Shepherds.

This is one of the traits that makes Goldies so popular in the world and why many families decide to take them as pets.

This breed is extremely easy to train, they quickly learn commands, and come with a keen instinct. All of this makes them highly trustworthy pets, as well as work dogs.

Now, before you decide to get a Golden Retriever, you should know that they simply adore the water and they are crazy about swimming. Without thinking, your Golden Retriever will jump into the pool or a lake, or even a pond.

But, this also means that you have to keep an eye on them because even though they are excellent swimmers, they tend to jump first and think later, which can get them in trouble.

As for their trademark kindness, you will discover that even though they have hunting genes, they are unbelievably kind beings.

For example, if your pup grows up with a cat, they will be BFFs and the whole “they love each other like cats and dogs” thing doesn’t imply in this case.

They are also very loyal to their family (humans and other pets included), but they need attention and love so that they remain happy and healthy.

They are also very sensitive, which might be a problem if they are left completely alone for more than some 8 hours. So, if you work long hours, make sure your Golden Retriever has a friend to play with until you get back home.

When it comes to Golden Retrievers being good watchdogs, they are.

Know that they are not aggressive and that they will alert you if someone is coming, but will not engage him unless the situation becomes extreme (like if someone attacks you).

Once a Golden Retriever realizes that the person who entered your yard is a friend, he will do all in his power to get his attention and get some playtime with his new friend.

All in all, when it comes to Golden Retrievers, you will hardly find a breed that is this kind and caring. They are excellent if not the best family breed, and the most popular choice of many.

The Golden Retriever Diet

To keep your Golden Retriever properly fed, and with a healthy coat, he will need a high-quality diet. This includes a well-balanced nutrient-rich food.

Considering this breed’s average weight, their daily meal amount should have between 990 and 1,300 calories for dogs that are not that active, and from 1,400 and 1,800 calories for active dogs.

For clean teeth, your dog should eat dry kibble, while canned food should be added to the mix for some moisture in the meal.

But, make sure you calculate the calories so that your dog gets its recommended daily intake and avoids becoming overweight.

How much Exercise does a Golden Retriever need?

When it comes to proper exercise levels for your Golden Retriever, you should follow the “Rule of 5 minutes”.

This means that a puppy shouldn’t exercise more than 5 minutes for each month of its life.

For example, a 2-month-old puppy should exercise no more than 10 minutes daily. A 6-month-old pup, on the other hand, shouldn’t exercise more than half an hour daily.

By exercising, we mean a walk and playing fetch. The general play is not included as an exercise, but you should be careful and see that it doesn’t play too much or it might stress him out too much.

When it comes to adult Golden Retrievers, they need an hour of exercise each day to burn off that extra energy and stay fit and healthy.

For them, exercise can include jogging with you or running by your side while you ride a bicycle.

Golden Retriever Health and Conditions

In general, the Golden Retriever breed is known for having happy and healthy specimens that live a productive and generally a long life.

But, as with any other breed, certain health issues are characteristic of Golden Retrievers.

Therefore, when talking to the breeder, make sure you ask for health test clearances for hip dysplasia and any other health issues that might be passed on from its parents through genes.

Also, like every other dog, Goldies are susceptible to mites, ticks, and fleas, so regular vet checkups are never a bad idea.

My final thoughts on the Golden RetrieverA side view of a Golden Retriever's face

Okay, we have reached the end of our Golden Retriever guide.

By now, we are pretty sure that you are much more familiar with the Golden Retriever breed and that you have a pretty good idea if this is the right dog for you and your family.

What’s more important, you now know how to find a breeder that will offer you a high-quality, healthy puppy, and you know which questions to ask to avoid backyard and puppy mill breeders.

Again, avoid them no matter the cost because there’s a high chance you will walk away with a puppy that is not only temporarily in a bad shape, but also carries who know what genetically heritable diseases that will show up later in your dog’s life.

All in all, Golden Retrievers are a kind, loving dog that loves to please his human family.

Though, you should keep in mind that they are sensitive and that they need to be loved back equally.

But, once your pup gets used to you and your family, as well as to the new home, fun times begin and a decade or even more of nothing but happy memories await you.

Thank you for reading and if you have more questions about this remarkable breed, don’t be shy and visit our comments section.

Also, if you think that some of your friends will fall in love with Golden Retrievers after reading this guide, don’t hesitate to share it on social media.

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