Golden Retriever FAQ

This article collects the most frequently asked questions about the Golden Retriever into one easy to search and use article.

The aim is not to give extensive, detail rich and comprehensive answers. It’s to give ‘quick and dirty answers’ to the most common questions a person may ask when researching the breed.


How Long on Average Does a Golden Retriever Live?
The average life span of your typical Golden Retriever is between 10 and 12 years, though a good number do survive until 14 and the oldest recorded Golden Retriever I could find was 19 1/2 years old!
Is food really that important? Can't I just find the biggest cheapest bag?

The food you feed your golden, most especially the first two years, is imperative. Goldens grow very quickly and if they are fed food with a lot of empty fillers, it can contribute to hip dysplasia and other joint problems. Grain Free Foods have been linked to many health issues and we avoid grain free foods. Below are my top 4 picks for puppy food. Getting a large breed puppy food is extremely important as well. Large breeds have different needs than toy and small breeds. The links below vary in price, you may need to try different foods to find the right fit for your puppy.

You don’t have to buy the puppy food from amazon – shop around. I have found amazon to be the most economical where I live and the convenience of always having it on hand is great!  Our puppy’s have been eating Fromm Gold Large Breed Puppy.

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Children?

They are very good with children. Gentle, kind and very patient while loving the high energy and play that children can offer them.

You should be careful with a Golden Retriever puppy or adolescent though as they are a very large breed and at these stages in life they can be very boisterous and knock small children over with ease.

How Big do Golden Retrievers Get and How Much Can They Weigh?

Male dogs are 56-61cms (22-24 ins) and bitches 51-56cms (20-22 ins) at the withers.

A healthy Golden weighs between 60 and 75 pounds, with some of the very smallest and largest ‘outliers’ ranging as low as 55 pounds right up to 90 pounds (not including overweight and obese dogs.)

How Much Exercise Does a Golden Retriever Need?

The Golden Retriever is a sporting breed and as such they need a lot of exercise to keep them healthy and mentally stimulated. They benefit from lots of regular high intensity exercise when fully grown.

Caution should be taken with Golden Retriever puppies though and you shouldn’t force high intensity exercise on them until they’re 18 months old or you can damage their growing joints.

Is it True That Golden Retrievers Love to Swim?

It’s certainly true that as a breed overall, Goldens love to swim and the majority will seek out even the smallest puddles to get a little wet when possible. But it’s not true of each one because they are individual with their own unique likes and dislikes.

If a golden has a bad experience with water as a puppy or isn’t socialized to it they may grow up to dislike it.

Swimming is a great exercise for Goldens, particularly in very hot weather or for elderly dogs, so it’s worth getting them used to it when young and letting them enjoy the pursuit of swimming.

Do Golden Retrievers Need a Lot of Grooming?

As a long-haired breed Goldens do need a fair amount of grooming, otherwise their coats can become matted and tangled.

You need to regularly groom their whole bodies including their ears, armpits, legs and tail…everywhere. You can brush the main part of their coat but use a comb in the more sensitive areas.

You should brush them thoroughly at minimum at least once per week, though twice per week is far better. Most owners will brush their Golden every day when possible and there’s no such thing as over brushing so you can do so if you wish.

You will certainly need to give them a brush every day during shedding season, the first 3 weeks of spring and the first 3 weeks of autumn / fall.

Do Golden Retrievers Shed a Lot of Hair?
I’m afraid they do. They shed hair all year round in small quantities but twice per year at the start of spring and autumn they shed in what can only be described as ‘massive amounts’ when their undercoats change over for the changing seasons
Is it OK to Have a Golden Retriever in a Hot Climate?

It certainly is. They just need constant access to a shaded and aerated area, lots of water and they will do just fine.

The one thing to be conscious of is to not over exercise them in the heat. You will want to do all high intensity exercise during the mornings and late evenings before the sun gets high and it gets really hot.

Is it OK to Shave a Golden Retriever?

You absolutely should not shave a Golden Retriever!

They are a double-coated breed with a top-coat and under-coat that work together to keep them warm in winter and cool in summer. Shaving them upsets the balance that mother nature created for the function of their double coat.

In winter the undercoat grows thick as insulation and in spring they begin to shed this coat and you should regularly rake out the dead hair to remove it.

A little trim here and there when being groomed is OK but you should never shave your Golden.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?
Generally speaking they don’t bark much at all but they can develop problem barking behaviors, particularly if they aren’t mentally stimulated and get bored.
Do Golden Retrievers Make Good Guard Dogs?

I’m afraid not. Actually, strike that, I mean I can happily say they don’t.

Goldens are a truly loving and gentle breed and that’s a big part of what people adore so much about them. Some might bark if a stranger approaches the door, but if they get in a Golden will lick them to death then show them your jewellery box.

What Age Can I Bring a Golden Retriever Puppy Home?

The earliest you should take a puppy from their mother and siblings is 8 weeks old.

Up until this time they are getting important socialization and learning important skills and social etiquette from their mother and siblings that it’s very hard for humans to replace if they are taken any younger.

What Are the Main Differences Between Males and Females?

Leaving out the obvious, there are differences in size and some supposed small differences in personality that have led to generalizations, but really there isn’t much difference at all.

Males are a little taller and a little heavier, this is easy to see.

But neither are aggressive, both are intelligent, keen to please, eager to work and good with children.

It’s often said that males are more affectionate than females, and females need more attention, but this could swing either way depending on individual personality and isn’t something you should rely on.

Should Golden Retrievers Live Inside? Are They OK to be ‘Outside’ Dogs?

Golden Retrievers are a very social breed that long for and love to be near their family so if you’re inside they will want to be in there with you.

Also, without sufficient social interaction they will easily become bored and likely develop behavior problems and destructive habits (barking, digging) due to the stress of being under stimulated and unsatisfied.