The Ultimate Golden Retriever Breed Guide – All Your Questions Answered

Are you wondering whether you should get a Golden Retriever? If so, you could be making a great choice as this breed is well-known for its gregarious nature and friendly temperament.

While they were originally used by hunters as gun dogs, they’re also well-known for being an excellent family pet, too. In this guide, we’re going to explore some of the most common questions you may have about Golden Retrievers, so let’s begin.

How Much Exercise Do They Need?

Golden Retrievers are a fairly active breed and should ideally receive around 2 hours of activity each day. They tend to have a lot of energy and won’t tire too easily, so they make for an excellent companion if you like to be active and on the move.

2 hours may sound like a lot of time, but this activity can easily be split up into 2 or 3 daily walks, along with extra playtime in the home or yard.

The breed is known for being a good running partner as their impressive endurance means they can handle many miles. A healthy Golden Retriever will have no problem with walking several miles each day.

However, you shouldn’t jump straight into long-distance runs until they’ve had some practice with shorter distances first. Golden Retriever puppies will require less exercise, with around ‘5 minutes per month they’ve been alive’ being a good target to aim for.

Are They Easy To Train?

Golden Retrievers are known for being one of the easiest breeds to train and their fast learning abilities make it a lot of fun. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why they’re a common choice for professional or service roles.

Their intelligence makes them quite easy to house train and they will be able to pick up basic commands without any trouble.

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Are They Good Family Dogs?

The calm and gentle nature of a Golden Retriever means they’re generally safe around kids and their impressive energy levels mean that they can be a good choice for an active family. Furthermore, Goldies are very friendly and tolerant of people in general which are always important traits for any family dog.

Are They Good With Other Dogs?

The calm and even temperament of Golden Retrievers usually means they’ll get along great with most other dogs and pets in the household. However, just like any breed, socialization is key for ensuring your dog is calm and relaxed around other dogs they meet.

How Do They Cope With Being Alone?

Most Golden Retrievers can cope reasonably well with being alone, but their friendly and sociable nature means they can be vulnerable to separation anxiety.

It’s wise to take adequate measures to keep your Goldie calm and happy if they’re going to be alone, such as leaving some interactive dog toys around or ensuring they have some company throughout the day. Ideally, you shouldn’t leave your Golden Retriever alone for more than 4 to 5 hours each day.

Should I Get A Male Or Female?

Most owners agree that females are a bit calmer and less hyper than their male counterparts, but they’re still likely to have plenty of energy and playfulness.

The females are also smaller and they can seem a bit more independent than males, while the males can be more affectionate and like to stay glued to their owners. Both genders are about as easy to train as each other.

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How Much Grooming Do They Need?

Golden Retrievers come with a double coat which they keep throughout the year, and while their coats look wonderful, it takes a bit of work to ensure it’s kept in great condition.

It’s best to brush their coat at least once a week, if not more. They can produce quite a lot of excess hair so it’s useful to groom them outdoors (or indoors, if you’re ready and willing for the clean up afterward).

It’s best to use a slicker brush when grooming your Golden Retriever, as they do the best job of removing the loose hair when your dog’s coat in within the medium-to-long stage. For shorter coats, a bristle brush should be adequate as well.

What Are Their Common Problems?

The most common health condition for a Golden Retriever tends to be hip and elbow dysplasia, which can cause a lot of pain and inflammation, potentially leading to disability if left untreated.

It’s also possible for them to develop various skin conditions, as their double coat can provide a ripe breeding ground for parasites and bacteria. They may also develop congenital heart conditions. Sadly, they also have one of the highest cancer rates of all the dog breeds.

In terms of behavior, Golden Retrievers rarely have any aggression issues. However, they can sometimes become destructive if they’re left alone for too long, and their friendliness and energy means they require plenty of attention and activity to be truly happy.

Good For First Time Dog Owners?

Thanks to their intelligence, friendliness, and even temperament, a Goldie is often a popular choice for first-time owners.

While they do need plenty of exercise, they have the energy and playfulness to make excellent family dogs, and they’re one of the best breeds to have if there are children around. Their ease-of-training can be very beneficial for first-timers.

What’s Their Personality Like?

While every dog will have their own unique character, it’s safe to say that Goldie’s are well known for their affectionate, friendly, and playful nature.

They’re a confident breed that’s prized for their trustworthiness (especially with kids) and their reliability makes them a popular choice for professional service roles as well as being therapy dogs.

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  • They’re friendly and amiable.
  • They’re very easy to train.
  • They’re playful and active.
  • They’re affectionate.
  • They’re great with kids.


  • They need a lot of exercise.
  • They shed.
  • They need lots of company.
  • Prone to certain health conditions.

What’s The Best Food For Golden Retrievers?

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The Wellness Complete Health Large Breed formula is best suited for bigger dogs who are over one years old, and it comes with a selection of premium-grade ingredients that feature deboned chicken, whitefish, and chicken meal to ensure your dog has an adequate intake of quality protein.

The formula comes with added glucosamine and chondroitin which are important for maintaining good joint health in larger breeds like Golden Retrievers. There’s also no use of wheat, meat by-products, or artificial preservatives which could detract from the quality of the product.

Overall, it’s a reliable formula that many owners of bigger dogs praise frequently.

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Another option for Golden Retrievers is this large breed formula made by Eagle Pack. It’s slightly more affordable than many other brands but manages to give your dog a good blend of real ingredients such as chicken meal and pork meal to ensure healthy muscle development.

It also comes with added supplementation in the form of glucosamine, which is essential for keeping your dog’s joints healthy (which can be a particularly vulnerable aspect for a Golden Retriever).

It also offers antioxidant support with a blend of key vitamins and minerals which should support your dog’s immune system.

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Here’s a lesser-known brand that nonetheless receives top reviews from many pet owners, and it focuses on providing your dog with a balanced blend of quality proteins to support an active dog, along with omega oils for a healthy coat and skin.

There’s no use of low-grade additives and preservatives, nor is there any wheat or grain used in the formula. As such, it’s often praised for dogs with allergies, and it generally scores excellent feedback from both dog owners and professional reviewers alike.

Interestingly, the kibble is on the larger size as well, which is beneficial for bigger dogs like Golden Retrievers.

What’s The Best Food For Golden Retriever Puppies?

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Here’s a popular large breed puppy formula from Blue Buffalo that’s a good fit for most Golden Retriever pups.

It comes with real chicken as the primary ingredient to ensure it has adequate high-quality protein, and it comes with a blend of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, in the form of LifeSource Bits which are added to the blend.

There’s also plenty of DHA and ARA, which are fatty acids usually found in mother’s milk, and these help to support healthy cognitive development and healthy eyes. Finally, there are no low-grade fillers or additives used in the blend.

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This blend from Instinct comes with added freeze-dried raw pieces that make the food tasty and enticing for your dog, and the large breed formulation comes with the extra DHA that’s required for health eye and brain development.

There’s no grain, wheat, or by-product meals used in the formula, so you can rest assured that the quality here is very high indeed. It’s a great blend of kibble and raw pieces that give your growing pup plenty of reliable nutrition, and the food scores great feedback from most dog owners and reviewers.

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This affordable large breed puppy blend from Diamond Naturals is made with real pasture-raised lamb for a tasty, high-protein first ingredient, and it also comes with glucosamine and chondroitin to support healthy growth and development for your Goldie pup.

It uses a smaller kibble size that makes it easier for a puppy to eat, and it features additional probiotics to further enhance and support your dog’s digestion system. Overall, it’s another great blend that should be ideal for a Golden Retriever puppy.

What Are The Best Toys For Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers will greatly benefit from having some fun and entertaining toys to give them some much-needed mental stimulation.

Furthermore, they can be quite effective chewers, so it’s wise to buy toys that can stand up to their powerful chewing. Here are a few of the best toys for your Goldie to try.

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Keeping your Golden Retriever busy and active is often important, as they’re a breed with lots of energy and will enjoy the stimulation. As such, this interactive ball launcher is a great way to entertain your dog, particularly when you’re not feeling up to another game of fetch!

The device can be loaded with standard-size tennis balls and with a little training, your Golden Retriever will soon learn how it works. By dropping the balls into the hopper the fun and games only stop when your dog is tired – so it’s a great way to burn off some of your dog’s extra energy.

It’ll throw the balls either 10, 25, or 40 feet depending on how you set it up, so it can be used either indoors or outside without any trouble.

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Interactive treat-dispensing toys are always a great choice for a Golden Retriever, as they’re an intelligent breed who will love the mental stimulation, and the treats help to keep them engaged for much longer.

This Bob-A-Lot toy from StarMark can be loaded with 3 cups of kibble or other treats, and you can adjust the difficulty by moving the openings at the bottom.

The toy features an anti-slip base to keep it roughly in place, but the weighting also makes it wobble and move around erratically, which is sure to keep your dog happily entertained for a long time.

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Having a tough chew toy around is always a good thing to have when you own a Golden retriever, and you can rest assured that this ring toy from Goughnuts will be able to take all the punishment your Goldie can dish out.

It’s made from a tough natural rubber material that’s safe and non-toxic for your dog to chew, and it’s strong enough to accommodate even the most extreme chewer, so it should last for a long time. There are a few variations of the toy available, but you generally can’t go wrong with the ring option.

What’s The Best Brush For Golden Retrievers?

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Using a slicker brush is ideal for removing loose hair from your Goldie’s coat, and grooming them once or twice a week should go a long way toward maintaining their coat’s health.

This slicker brush from Hertzko is one of the best on the market, and it’ll do a good job of removing loose hair as well as dealing with any tangles or knots that form in your dog’s coat.

It’s also quick and easy to clean the brush, as you can simply press the button on top to make the bristles retract, leaving all the hair for you to pick up at your convenience. The anti-slip handle is also comfortable to hold and won’t give you any hand or wrist strain.

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If you have a short-coated Golden Retriever, then you can also use a bristle brush without any trouble.

This bristle brush from Hertzko gives you a sturdy and comfortable handle, along with gentle bristles that are densely packed to ensure your dog’s skin doesn’t become agitated and sore – especially if they’re on the sensitive side.

It’s a durable and well-made brush that’s easy to use, and it should work great for removes tangles and loose hair, as well as disposing of any dust and dander that gets trapped in the topcoat of your Goldie.

What’s The Best Bed For Golden Retrievers?

Because Golden Retrievers are a larger breed it can be handy to get them a bigger bed that offers plenty of support for their joints. They can be susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia, so a supportive orthopedic memory foam bed can be a wise investment for their long term health and comfort.

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Here’s a luxurious memory foam bed from Big Baker that any Goldie is sure to love.

It features 7 inches of high-quality foam and comes with a generous 10-year warranty which promises the bed will retain at least 90% of its original shape or you can have your money back. Of course, this should give you a lot of confidence that it’s a well-constructed bed that’s been built to last.

The foam gives excellent support to your dog, and it’s particularly good for any Golden Retriever who has joint issues, as the support provided by the memory foam can make a big difference to their overall comfort.

Furthermore, the bed is easy to clean thanks to the machine washable cover. It’s made from 100% microfiber that’s soft to touch, and your dog will certainly enjoy snuggling and relaxing on it.

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Here’s another great memory foam dog bed that gives your Golden Retriever plenty of support, and it features 4 inches of memory foam that should ease joint pain. It comes with added side bolsters that give your dog a comfortable place to rest their head, and these are filled with recycled polyfill.

The bed also uses a removable cover which is made from blended polyester and cotton that makes it easy to clean and maintain, and it’s machine washable.

It’s straightforward to spot clean the cover whenever necessary, as it’s water-resistant enough to slow the absorption of any liquids. However, the memory foam is safely protected by a waterproof inner liner.

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Here’s a budget-friendly dog bed from FurHaven that comes in a range of pleasing colors and features a memory foam construction that helps to give your Golden Retriever more support than the average dog bed.

The slight curve of the bed gives it a cradling effect that can help to comfort your dog, and it should help to ease some of the strain on joints and muscles, giving your dog a relaxing and enjoyable place to lie down. It’s also easy to clean thanks to the removable cover.