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Is the Golden Retriever the Right Breed For You?

Deciding that a Golden Retriever will share your life and be a part of your family is a serious commitment. Your Golden Retriever will be a part of your life for ten to fifteen years, so this is a long term decision.

The Golden Retriever is a large and strong dog. Males can be up to 61 cm at the shoulder. Like all dogs they require training and education about how to behave. You must make the time to train your puppy, educate and exercise them. Puppies especially need a lot of attention and education. Puppy training is also an important bonding opportunity between you and your puppy. Adults need regular exercise – rain or shine! In fact, as far as most Golden Retrievers are concerned……the wetter the better! Golden Retrievers love muddy puddles and will unerringly find one – no matter where. They delight in being wet and dirty and sharing with their family. Golden Retrievers do not make good outside dogs. If you are looking for a dog to live in the backyard – don’t get a Golden Retriever. A Golden Retriever who is separated from their family (including being made to sleep outside) will inevitably develop behavioural issues. They are most content doing what they have been bred for: being part of your family in every sense. They were bred as companions and they need attention and companionship.

Goldens love to work. They are intelligent dogs who thrive on doing what you ask of them. There are many sporting activities that Goldens participate successfully in (tracking, obedience, agility for example). As a minimum you should be prepared to enrol your puppy in socialisation puppy classes and then basic obedience at a dog obedience club near you. Even if you don’t have any interest in sporting activities, attending these basic classes will set you and your Golden up for a worry free lifetime of good manners and appropriate behaviour.

Goldens are not for neat freaks. They shed hair all year round and have a major molt once a year. If you expect your home to be immaculate and hair free all the time you should reconsider whether a Golden Retriever is the right dog for you. The Golden Retriever coat requires regular brushing and grooming to keep them clean and healthy. In addition to regular brushing, they also require trimming of their feet, tail, ears and “bloomers”, along with toenail trimming.

Unsurprisingly, Golden Retrievers love to retrieve – be prepared to be presented with all manner of things – socks, underwear, shoes and other household items. It will pay to keep your house tidy. And outside he will find all kinds of revolting things to bring you. Golden Retrievers also love to garden. They delight in landscaping and rearranging the planting beds just to their liking.

If you were looking for a guard dog, forget it – although they are a large dog with an imposing bark, they are everybody’s friend – including your burglar!

Owning a dog is expensive. The initial purchase price is only a small part of the cost of owning a dog. You must provide shelter, food and veterinary care for the next ten to fifteen years.