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The essentials

  • Golden retrievers are a medium-sized dog breed — Typically, they’re between 55 and 75 pounds and 22–24 inches tall. 
  • Their puppy stage lasts a long time — It typically takes a golden retriever three to four years to reach adulthood.
  • Goldens aren’t hypoallergenic — Allergies are caused by dander and saliva, and golden retrievers tend to drool a lot and shed throughout the year.

When you think of a dog breed that’s lovable and loyal, golden retrievers are likely high on your list. And rightfully so. Their playful attitude, beauty, and attentiveness make them one of the most popular breeds.

But before adopting one of these sweethearts, it’s important to know if the golden retriever temperament would be a good match for you. And as a responsible pet parent, you want to be sure that you can provide your pet with a happy environment, too.

Searching for your newest (or even first) pet family member isn’t an easy task. To help you navigate through your options, we’ve put together a comprehensive resource to answer your questions about golden retrievers, including:

  • Basic breed information
  • Temperament
  • Care requirements
  • Health concerns

Golden retrievers are balls of fun, so let’s determine if this breed is right for you!

Golden retriever temperament

When determining the perfect addition for your household, it’s important to look at both the breed’s temperament and the specific dog’s personality. 

Temperament, the innate traits of a breed, influence a dog’s personality, but so do their relational environment and experiences. In fact, studies have shown that a breed’s temperament alone has little bearing on an individual dog’s behavior, as there are simply too many other factors at play.

That being said, let’s take a closer look at the general golden retriever temperament.

Outgoing and gentle

A golden retriever is all about love. They love their human family, their animal family — and pretty much everything else. Your golden retriever will see everyone that enters their world as a new friend. In other words, if you’re looking for a guard dog for your home, you’ll want to look for a different breed. 

Because of this affectionate nature, golden retrievers crave companionship. Leaving a golden alone for hours on end every day might not be the happiest environment for them. This could lead to separation anxiety or destructive behavior due to stress. Goldens want to be active and social — a result of their working breed nature. 

When it comes to gentleness, golden retrievers have it in abundance. They’re great with children of all ages and other pets in the house, including cats. However, they’ll need to be trained not to jump up on people, as their enthusiasm for playing and cuddling can lead to outbursts of energy that could easily knock someone over.

golden and cat


Don’t underestimate this fun-loving breed! Golden retrievers are considered the fourth most intelligent out of 138 breeds. They rank high on both obedience and working intelligence. 

Golden retrievers are fast learners, and they enjoy working with their owners. They’re able to complete tasks with fewer reminders than the average dog, and this ability helps tremendously with their training. Don’t let that information make your training lax — it’s still important to train your golden early, just like any other breed. 

Early obedience training and socialization will teach your golden retriever basic manners, like not jumping, walking politely on a leash, and not chewing on furniture, shoes, and other off-limits items.

One thing to keep in mind during your dog’s training is that golden retrievers are incredibly curious, and this curiosity tends to distract them from what they should be doing. So, yes, goldens are very willing to learn — but you may also need a little patience to keep them on track.

Reliable and loyal

A golden retriever’s reliability stems from their trusting temperament. They’re sure that their owners only want the best for them and will never lead them astray. 

This innate faith and loyalty are two of the many reasons golden retrievers are often used as service dogs and search-and-rescue dogs.  

You’ll feel this sense of loyalty in their desire to be by your side. Goldens aren’t afraid to work (in fact, they enjoy working) and will use that working tendency to please their owners whenever possible. 

Whether it’s fetching your favorite slippers or comforting you when you’re sad, golden retrievers will do just about anything for their people.

Golden retriever care needs

Exercise & diet

Golden retrievers are highly active dogs. Whether it’s running, hiking, swimming, or simply playing fetch, this breed is on the move. 

Typically, goldens need at least an hour — if not more — of daily exercise, including mental stimulation. A golden retriever that doesn’t get enough activity can become destructive and/or depressed.

Having a large, fenced in backyard is great for a golden retriever to play and romp around in during the day. 

That being said, this level of exercise requirement doesn’t mean that golden retrievers can’t be apartment dogs. They can — as long as you’re willing to put in the time and effort of finding ways to keep them physically and mentally stimulated (e.g. playing retrieval games for mental stimulation and going for long, daily walks). 


Your golden retriever will shed all year long, but since they are a double-coated breed, they will need to get rid of and regrow their undercoat to meet the environment and temperatures they’re in during the spring and fall seasons (this is called “blowing” their coat). Time to invest in a good vacuum!

You can help your golden with their coat-blowing — and reduce the amount of fur in your home in the process — by brushing daily during the spring and fall. A slicker brush or bristle brush combined with an undercoat rake will help you do this.

Is the golden retriever temperament a good fit for you?

There’s no question why goldens are such a popular choice for many people, including families. From their loving and loyal nature to their intelligence and playfulness, golden retrievers have earned their spot as one of the most popular breeds.

But if you’re a new owner, there’s more to pet ownership than you might think.

You’ll want to consider your living space and whether you’d be able to provide your golden retriever with the exercise and play this high-energy breed needs. And there’s also your ability to manage grooming (which involves a lot of shedding) that comes with keeping your golden retriever healthy.

If your lifestyle matches what a golden needs, then this lovable and playful breed may be the perfect match for you.