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The Golden Retriever [2019 Owner’s Manual]

Playful, intelligent, and affectionate, Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular family dogs – and for good reason! Golden Retrievers are famous for being gentle with children, extremely friendly, and very trainable. Golden Retrievers have a long history of being man’s best friend, from their original breeding in the 1800s for hunting, to starring in popular movies over one hundred years later.

Golden Retrievers: The Basics

Golden Retrievers have a distinct set of characteristics that set them apart from any other breed. If you’re new to Golden Retrievers, here are the basics of what sets them apart from other dogs:

Golden Retrievers: Breed Profile

Size – The AKC standard ideal height for male Golden Retrievers is 23 to 24 inches at the withers. The AKC standard height for female Golden Retrievers is 21.5 to 22.5 inches at the withers.

Weight – The AKC standard male Golden Retriever weight is 65 to 75 pounds. The AKC standard female Golden Retriever weight is 55 to 65 pounds.

Coat – Golden Retrievers have a thick double coat, which is water repellant. Their famous golden color can be noticeable on dark fabrics and furniture, so regular brushing is important. They will shed large amounts once every six months to a year (which some owners refer to as “shedding season”). Golden Retrievers benefit greatly from the use of a slicker brush, which does a good job of removing dead hair before it becomes problematic. Golden Retrievers are known for their illustrious gold-colored coat, but the color can range from light gold to an almost copper red.

Lifespan – The average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is 10 to 12 years old.

What is a Golden Retriever’s Temperament Like?

Golden Retrievers are known for their well mannered, playful temperament and are known to be wonderful family pets. If you are looking for the first dog for your family, a Golden Retriever is a perfect choice; they are remarkably good with children. Don’t expect your Golden Retriever to be a good watchdog, however – Goldens are known for their friendly personalities and will likely greet every stranger that comes through your front door with happy enthusiasm.

How Were Golden Retrievers Bred?

Golden Retrievers were first bred in Scotland in the 1800s, by a waterfowl hunter who wanted to breed a dog that would be able to retrieve downed prey over long distances and difficult terrain. Although there are disagreements in the Golden enthusiast community on the origin of Golden Retrievers, many believe they were originally a crossbreed between two (now extinct) breeds; the Tweed Water Spaniel and the Russian Tracker. Golden Retrievers were first recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925, and have remained popular, ranking third in popularity among the AKC recognized breeds.

Why Were Golden Retriever Bred?

Due to the advancements in firearms in the 19th century, waterfowl hunters were in need of a dog who was hardy enough to travel through difficult terrain to retrieve the kill, but gentle enough and trainable enough to retrieve the downed fowl without eating it or destroying it. Thus, Golden Retrievers were bred.

Golden Retrievers: Health and Wellness

Like many purebred dogs, Golden Retrievers are prone to their own set of health problems and require special care to keep them happy and healthy. Regular screenings by your veterinarian will help you identify any potential health concerns.

What Diseases or Conditions are Golden Retrievers Prone To?

Golden Retrievers are more susceptible to certain ailments. Golden Retrievers are known to be prone to the following health conditions:

Hip Dysplasia

Unfortunately common in dogs, especially larger breeds, hip dysplasia is a severe deformation of the hip socket that causes potentially crippling arthritis of the joints and lameness in the legs. Hip dysplasia is the number one cause of arthritis of the hips in Golden Retrievers.

Signs and Symptoms of Hip Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers

  • “Bunny hopping” of the back legs
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Loose joints
  • Limping
  • Pain when performing physical activity
  • Swaying in the hind end when walking
  • Loss of thigh muscle mass
  • Difficulty getting up from a lying position

How is Hip Dysplasia Diagnosed?

If you feel your Golden Retriever may be suffering from hip dysplasia, take them to your vet for a thorough examination. Your veterinarian will check for a reduced range of motion and any grinding of the join by manipulating your Golden Retriever’s hind legs. They may also order a complete blood count (CBC) for indicators of inflammation. For a definitive diagnosis, your veterinarian may order X-Rays to assess whether or not your dog has hip dysplasia, and if so, how severe the case may be.

How is Hip Dysplasia Treated?

There are a variety of options when it comes to treating hip dysplasia in your Golden Retriever, all dependant on the severity of the condition:

Treatments for Less Severe Hip Dysplasia:

Exercise modifications – your veterinarian may recommend less strenuous exercises for your Golden Retriever, such as replacing long hikes with slow walks or activities that are more gentle on the joints, like swimming.
Polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections – studies have shown improvement in dogs with hip dysplasia after polysulfated glycosaminoglycan injections.

Weight loss – taking off extra weight can help reduce the pressure on your dog’s hips.

Anti-inflammatory medication – Your vet may prescribe NSAIDS, aspirin or corticosteroids, depending on your dog’s overall health.

Supplements – your veterinarian may recommend supplements that promote joint health, like glucosamine.

If your Golden Retriever is suffering a more severe form of hip dysplasia, they may be a candidate for surgical intervention.

Surgical Treatments for Severe Hip Dysplasia:

(DPO/TPO) Double Pelvic Osteotomy/Triple Pelvic Osteotomy – usually performed in puppies younger than 10 months, a DPO/TPO involves cutting the pelvic bone and rotating the segments in order to improve function in the ball and socket joints.

(FHO) Femoral Head Ostectomy – your veterinarian may perform FHO surgery, which entails removing the femoral head of the hip joint, which creates a “false joint,” overall reducing the hip dysplasia associated pain and discomfort. This does not restore hip function but is sometimes suggested for pain management.

(THR) Total Hip Replacement – during a THR, your veterinary surgeon will replace the entire hip joint with an implant which effectively restores hip function close to a normal range and relieves the majority of the hip dysplasia-related pain.

Is Hip Dysplasia Preventable?

Some cases of hip dysplasia are not preventable. Before you breed your Golden Retriever, have your dog examined for hip dysplasia; it is a known genetic condition. You can reduce your dog’s likelihood of developing hip dysplasia through proper care of his skeletal system. A healthy, nutrient-rich diet with age-appropriate food, along with glucosamine supplements and weight management can help you prevent hip dysplasia in your dog (or at least reduce the harm it may cause).

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia is a malformation of the elbow-joint that can lead to osteoarthritis and lameness. Signs of elbow dysplasia can surface as early as four months of age, although many dogs will not show signs until later on into adulthood. Typically, but not always, both elbows are affected. It is estimated that 11.4% of all Golden Retrievers are afflicted with elbow dysplasia.

Signs and Symptoms of Elbow Dysplasia in Golden Retrievers

  • Front limb lameness (limping in the front legs)
  • Trouble climbing stairs or standing
  • Thickening of the elbow (a sign, typically, that arthritis is developing)
  • Excessive licking of the front legs

How is Elbow Dysplasia Diagnosed?

Most often, elbow dysplasia is diagnosed through X-rays confirming changes of the elbow joint. Your veterinarian will take into consideration any history of your Golden Retriever’s lameness in the front legs. Other methods of diagnosis are CT scans or arthroscopy, which is exploratory surgery.

How is Elbow Dysplasia Treated?

Treatment for elbow dysplasia depends on the severity of the condition. If your Golden Retriever has been diagnosed with elbow dysplasia, your veterinarian will take into consideration whether or not your dog is a good candidate for surgery before deciding on a treatment plan.

Treatments for Golden Retrievers with Early Stage Elbow Dysplasia

Cartilage removal – one surgical option for the treatment of elbow dysplasia is to remove the loose flaps of cartilage and smooth out the cartilage within the joint. This is best done as soon as the elbow dysplasia is detected.
Arthroscopy – arthroscopic surgery is often considered the best route to take in treating elbow dysplasia in Golden Retrievers and other breeds. Arthroscopic surgery involves very small incisions and the use of a camera. Because the surgery is minimally invasive, recovery times can be very quick.

Open-joint surgery – if necessary, your veterinary surgeon may perform open-joint surgery on your dog to repair the damaged joint and cartilage, although this method of treatment is less common.

Elbow Dysplasia Treatments for Golden Retrievers who are not Candidates for Surgery

Anti-inflammatory drugs – commonly prescribed drugs like meloxicam may help relieve some of the pain and inflammation attributed to elbow dysplasia. Only administer medications to your dog that your veterinarian has prescribed, as many human pain relievers (like ibuprofen) can be toxic to dogs.

Opiates – for more advanced cases where anti-inflammatory drugs do not offer substantial relief, your veterinarian may prescribe an opioid-like tramadol to treat the symptoms of elbow dysplasia.
Supplements – nutraceuticals such as glucosamine may help relieve some of your dog’s elbow dysplasia-related pain and inflammation.

Is Elbow Dysplasia Preventable?

As elbow dysplasia is primarily a genetic condition, the best prevention is responsible breeding. Before breeding your Golden Retriever, have your pet examined for possible elbow dysplasia.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a group of degenerative eye conditions that over time, lead to blindness. There are two main types of PRA – an early onset genetic type called retinal atrophy, and a later onset type that occurs in adult dogs. While this condition is not painful, it can be stressful for both dogs and owners alike, although the owners tend to be a lot more distressed. Vision-impaired dogs will begin to rely heavily on their other senses to maneuver around, and will usually adapt quickly to vision loss.

Signs and Symptoms of Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Golden Retrievers

  • Night blindness
  • Clumsiness
  • Increased reflectivity of the eye (most owners will notice this in photos or with a flashlight)
  • Dilated pupils

How is Progressive Retinal Atrophy Diagnosed?

If you suspect your dog may be afflicted with PRA, make an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out any other possible conditions. Usually, your vet will perform a general ophthalmic examination to assess pupillary light response. Your veterinarian may also examine a portion of the back of the eye called the ‘tapetum lucidum,’ which causes the increased reflectivity in the retina. For further confirmation, you may be referred to a specialist who will assess changes in the optic nerve and retinal blood vessels. An electroretinogram (ERG) may be ordered, as the test is able to diagnose PRA in its earlier stages.

How is Progressive Retinal Atrophy Treated?

There is currently no cure or treatment available for progressive retinal atrophy. However, as your Golden Retriever is losing their vision, there are several steps you can take to ensure their safety as well as their happiness.

How to Help Your Vision Impaired Golden Retriever

Keep the furniture in the same space – Your dog will rely on his other senses to navigate around furniture. They will be able to maneuver their way around the house even if they lose their vision entirely, however it will be a much easier transition if the furniture is in the same place it was before they suffered from vision loss.

Use verbal cues – Talking to your dog frequently will help assure your dog that they are safe and that you are there. Learning cues such as ‘back,’ ‘stop,’ ‘left,’ and ‘right,’ are also invaluable. This is highly important, especially in the beginning stages of blindness. Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent dogs, and will quickly learn and adapt to your verbal cues.

Dog-proof your home – like when your dog was a puppy, go through your home at dog-level and ensure that anything that could harm your dog is out of the way. A blind dog, especially, will begin to use his sense of smell more keenly. If there’s anything at your dog’s level they may smell and get into, move it to a safer location.

Use scents – Filling a treat ball for your dog will provide hours of entertainment, as they can use their sense of smell to get the treats out of the toy. Additionally, in the beginning stages of blindness while your dog is still adjusting, make sure a comfortable bed or blanket to lay on is accessible, and keep something that smells like you near them for comfort.

Is Progressive Retinal Atrophy Preventable?

PRA is an inherited disease and is not preventable. The best manner of prevention for future generations is to remove your dog from the gene pool if you know your dog is afflicted with Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis

Subvalvular aortic stenosis is a condition occurring most commonly in large breed dogs, including Golden Retrievers. Subvalvular aortic stenosis is the narrowing of the area underneath the aortic valve, causing a blockage or obstruction of blood flow through the heart. Subvalvular aortic stenosis is thought to be a genetic condition, with moderate to severe cases being present at birth and milder cases showing signs within the first year. Subvalvular aortic stenosis causes the heart to work harder, which can cause damage to the heart, and sometimes sudden death.

Signs and Symptoms of Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis in Golden Retrievers

  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Sluggishness when exercising
  • Fainting
  • Lack of stamina when exercising

Note: in mild cases, it is common that your dog will not show any signs of subvalvular aortic stenosis.

How is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis Diagnosed?

Your veterinarian will first begin an examination for subvalvular aortic stenosis by listening to your dog’s heart with a stethoscope for any signs of an irregular heartbeat or heart murmur. Your veterinarian will take into consideration your dog’s physical history or signs and symptoms. If your veterinarian believes that further testing needs performed they may order the following:

An electrocardiogram (ECG) – your veterinarian may order an ECG for your Golden Retriever to detect any irregularities in the heart’s electrical activity.

An echocardiogram – an echocardiogram is an ultrasound for the heart, and is the most definitive test for subvalvular aortic stenosis. During an echocardiogram, an image of your dog’s heart is displayed on a monitor. Your veterinarian will check for any signs of aortic narrowing, irregular blood flow, or blockage.

How is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis Treated?

The level of severity will dictate treatment. If your Golden Retriever is only mildly afflicted with subvalvular aortic stenosis, treatment will likely not be necessary. However, if your dog is still a puppy, you will need to make regular visits to your veterinarian to ensure that the condition does not worsen as your dog reaches adulthood.

Treatments for Golden Retrievers with Moderate to Severe Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis

Beta blockers – your veterinarian may prescribe your dog a beta blocker, which can help control abnormal heart rhythm and prevent a rapid heartbeat.

Lifestyle changes – it is important to control your dog’s activity level if they suffer from subvalvular aortic stenosis. Too much exertion may cause the heart to work too hard, causing fainting, collapse, and even death.
Surgery – Although less common, surgical intervention may be suggested. Minimally invasive procedures such as balloon catheterization may help reduce any obstructions.

Is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis Preventable?

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis is a genetic condition. Golden Retrievers who suffer Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis should not be bred so that the disease will not be present in future generations.

Pigmentary Uveitis

Pigmentary uveitis happens when the uveal tract is inflamed. Uveitis has a wide variety of causes, including infections, cancer, and autoimmune disease, but the owners of Golden Retrievers are most familiar with an inherited form of breed specific pigmentary uveitis. Golden Retriever uveitis can result in loss of vision, blindness, and even require surgery to remove the eyes.

Signs and Symptoms of Progressive Pigmentary Uveitis in Golden Retrievers

  • Iris that changes color
  • Squinting
  • Pupil abnormality
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye redness
  • Cloudiness of the eye
  • Development of glaucoma
  • Development of cataracts

How is Pigmentary Uveitis Diagnosed?

Golden Retriever pigmentary uveitis is diagnosed by a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist who is able to differentiate between common misdiagnoses, such as allergies, and the hallmark red eyes that occur at the onset of the disease.

How is Pigmentary Uveitis Treated?

Golden Retriever pigmentary uveitis (GPRU) does not have a standard treatment option, due to the lack of research on the disease. GPRU treatment is dependant on the progression of the disease; the earlier a dog is diagnosed the better the prognosis will be. Some anecdotal reports suggest canine antioxidants may be beneficial, and anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids are often prescribed. Owners of dogs with GRPU should plan on taking their dogs to veterinary ophthalmologists every six months to monitor the progression of the disease. Dogs with late-stage GRPU may have glaucoma which can be painful (resulting in severe headaches), and may result in the surgical removal of both eyes.

Is Pigmentary Uveitis Preventable?

Golden Retriever pigmentary uveitis is only preventable through responsible breeding. Although the effects of GRPU can be delayed with early detection and treatment, many dogs will not be diagnosed until they reach the late stages of the disease.

Why is Pigmentary Uveitis Spreading so Rapidly?

Golden Retriever pigmentary uveitis (GRPU) is spreading primarily because dogs are usually not diagnosed until well after they are finished breeding (usually around eight years old). In addition, artificial insemination is becoming commonplace among breeders, so a handsome male show dog afflicted with the condition may spread the gene across multiple states. All Golden Retrievers two years of age and older should be screened for GRPU, especially if they are going to be bred.

What to Feed Your Golden Retriever for Optimal Health

Keeping your Golden Retriever healthy is of utmost importance. Food formulated for their specific needs is the best option. Whether they are puppies, adults, seniors, or even overweight, find dog food without unhealthy fillers and byproducts, formulated for the age of your dog. Grain-free dog food has become popular in recent years, however, grain is not inherently bad; some dogs may just have an intolerance. If you notice your dog has chronic itching, gas and bloating with no apparent cause, talk to your veterinarian about a grain-free diet – your dog may have an intolerance or allergy. Otherwise, look for high-quality food, with or without grain.

How Much Exercise Does Your Golden Retriever Need?

Golden Retrievers are a sporting breed, bred to run, and as their name suggests, they love to retrieve and play fetch. Golden Retrievers need daily exercise and are ideal dogs for active people, such as runners and cyclists. Because they love to obey and please their owners, Golden Retrievers also excel at sports such as agility, tracking, and of course, hunting (it is what they were bred for, after all). Always consult with your veterinarian before you take your dog on any strenuous activities.

Veterinary Care for Your Golden Retriever

To help keep your Golden Retriever in good health, it is important to seek regular veterinary care. From your Golden’s first puppy shots to yearly checkups and blood work, regular visits to your veterinarian will ensure your Golden Retriever lives a long, healthy, happy life. Basic veterinary care for your Golden Retriever includes:

Puppy shots – vaccinations should be started at six weeks, when most veterinarians give a 5-in-one shot that includes vaccinations against hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza, bordetella (kennel cough), and distemper. As they get older they will continue to receive several sets of booster and rabies shots until they are considered fully vaccinated.

Annual boosters and blood work – Annually, you will need to update your Golden Retriever’s DHPP vaccine, and every one to three years, you will need to give them a rabies shot (which is required by law). You may also choose to get their blood work done to check for diseases and parasites.
Heartworm preventative – Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes and can be fatal. Heartworms have been found in every state, and heartworm medication can only be prescribed by a veterinarian. You should ask for a heartworm test and preventative medication at your Golden Retriever’s annual checkup.

Flea and tick preventative – If you see one flea, there are probably many more nearby. Besides being a nuisance, fleas are the most common way dogs get tapeworm. Golden Retrievers may also have an allergic reaction to flea bites, causing not only itching, but also hair loss, redness, and localized swelling. It’s best to take preventative measures by treating your Golden with a flea and tick treatment every month. Golden Retrievers love being outside, which makes them more susceptible to getting bit by fleas and ticks.

Famous Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have been popular throughout history, and their demand isn’t limited to family pets. Many Golden Retrievers have reached the height of fame and became household names.

Golden Retrievers in History

Golden Retrievers in the White House – Gerald R. Ford, America’s 38th president, helped to make Golden Retrievers wildly popular in the United States when he brought his Golden, named Liberty, to the White House. Liberty was given to President Ford by his daughter, Susan, and was often photographed by his side in the Oval Office, swimming with him in the pool at Camp David, or playing on the south lawn of the White House. Liberty was so popular that her photographs were signed with a rubber stamp of her paw print!

Golden Retrievers as service dogs – Due to their trainability and need to please, Golden Retrievers have become the “gold standard” for service dogs, helping those with disabilities live independently.

Bomb-sniffing Golden Retrievers – Golden Retrievers have been utilized in the United States and in war zones as life-saving bomb-sniffing dogs.

Golden Retrievers as rescue dogs – Golden Retrievers have been trained in a variety of ways to help with search and rescue, and are often called in when natural disasters occur.

Golden Retrievers in Pop Culture

Duke – The spokesman for Bush’s Baked Beans

Comet – The charismatic family pet everyone loved on the TV show Full House

Buddy – The Golden Retriever who created an entire franchise, starting with Air Bud

Shadow – The wise, older Golden Retriever on Homeward Bound, a film that defined many childhoods

Other Golden Retrievers in Film – Golden Retrievers are featured in many more commercials, TV shows, and movies, including Napoleon, The Incredible Journey, The Drew Carey Show, Cats and Dogs, and Up, among others.

Training Your Golden Retriever

When training your Golden Retriever, keep in mind his strengths and do your best to play to them. Golden Retrievers were bred for retrieving, so games of fetch can be both a reward and a training mechanism. When training your Golden, there are a few things you will need to focus on in order to achieve the best results:

Tips for Training Your Golden Retriever

Start Early – Training your Golden Retriever should begin the moment you bring them home, especially with puppies. The earlier you show your Golden what you want from them, the better. This will not only establish you as the pack leader in your home but make training a lot easier for both of you.

Be Consistent – Decide what the rules in your home are before bringing home your new dog, and stick to those. For example, if you don’t want your dog jumping up on you, make them calmly sit each time they ask for attention. Don’t waver – your Golden Retriever will get confused if your signals are mixed, and training will become difficult.

Reward Good Behavior – Golden Retrievers definitely want to make their human counterparts happy. When your Golden Retriever is displaying good, calm behavior when not in a ‘training session,’ reward them with lots of love and praise.

Remember that Goldens are Working Dogs – Goldens are known for both their playful energy and work ethic. By combining work and play, you will both build trust and a stronger bond with your dog. Teach your Golden Retriever to fetch – this way they will feel like they have a job to do, while having fun at the same time!

Bringing Home a Golden Retriever

Adding a Golden Retriever into your home can be a wonderful experience. With their friendly nature, their gentle temperament, and high trainability, a Golden Retriever is a great pet for everyone from single owners to large families. Whether you buy a Golden Retriever puppy from a breeder or adopt one from a Golden rescue, knowing what to look for when selecting your new dog is extremely important.

Tips for Finding a Reputable Breeder

The research prior to buying a Golden Retriever puppy is indispensable. After all, the lifespan of a Golden Retriever is between ten and twelve years, and adoption is a commitment for the life of the dog. Ensuring that a breeder is reputable and that their dogs produce healthy puppies is of utmost importance. Poor breeding results in not only genetic disorders but temperament issues and cognitive conditions as well. A good breeder cares for the health of the puppies as well as the sire and dam, and each dog is living in a safe, nurturing, and appropriate conditions.

What to look for when visiting a Golden Retriever Breeder

All puppies are adorable, which can skew your judgment when meeting a Golden Retriever breeder and selecting a dog. You should have a few expectations and questions for any breeder you are considering, including:

Do they have contracts? – Any reputable Golden Retriever breeder will have you sign a contract, usually stating that the dog is not to be used for breeding purposes, and outlining the responsibilities of both parties. You should not sign a contract you do not intend on following.

Have they been cleared by a veterinarian? – Both sire and dam should have papers signed by a veterinarian stating that they have been cleared of common genetic issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia, or eye issues.

Are they AKC registered? – Golden Retrievers bred to be companion dogs should have an AKC Limited Registration, which means if they are bred their puppies will not be able to be registered with the AKC.

Where are the dogs kept? – Reputable Golden Retriever breeders will welcome buyers into their home or other facilities. Puppy mills will try to keep you at bay. It is impossible to discern what type of operation someone is running strictly from a website. Always ask to see where the dogs are kept. If a breeder doesn’t want you to see where the dogs are kept, move on.

Beware of guarantees – Many unethical Golden Retriever breeders will add in a “guarantee,” stating if there is a problem, you will have to return your dog before you are compensated. They do this because they know most people will not give up a dog they have bonded with. If you see this type of “guarantee” or clause in a contract, choose a different breeder.

How Much is a Purebred Golden Retriever Puppy?

The cost of a purebred Golden Retriever puppy can vary greatly. Depending on the history of the bloodlines, purebred Golden Retriever puppies can cost anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of dollars.

What to Look For When Searching for a Golden Retriever at a Rescue

Golden Retrievers make excellent rescue dogs because of their friendly temperaments. You rarely have to worry about many of the aggressive behaviors that other breeds exhibit after being subjected to abuse and neglect, and they will love you even more for being their hero! Some tips when searching for a rescue Golden Retriever:

Ask if you can foster – Fostering a Golden Retriever is a great way to see if they’re a good fit for your home and lets you see their temperament in a relaxed environment. If you have any other pets or family members living with you, fostering a Golden Retriever allows a trial period to see how well everyone gets along. It’s also a great way to allow time for a veterinary screening to see if there are any warning signs of genetic issues.
Test their temperament – See how the Golden Retriever reacts to sounds, quick movements, touch, play, and other animals.

Don’t limit yourself to puppies – While Golden Retriever puppies are adorable, they are messy and untrained. If you are considering a rescue puppy, take a look at the older dogs as well. You will be able to see what size they are, if there are any genetic issues that don’t present until an older age, and be able to judge their temperament better.

Adopting a Golden Retriever From a Rescue

If you are adopting a Golden Retriever from a rescue, it may be older than the puppies you were considering from breeders. Adopting an adult Golden Retriever is very much the same as adopting a puppy, and at the same time, very different. You will want to introduce your newly adopted adult dog into your home the same way you would a puppy; dog-proofing the house, introducing rules, training early, and setting routines. However, adult dogs may not require the same level of training as a new puppy does. Adult dogs are often already housebroken and may know basic commands. When adopting an adult Golden Retriever, chances are you can easily tell what you are going to get when it comes to their personality and temperament. However, when you adopt an adult dog, you may not know their full history. Health problems, behavior problems or other issues may arise after you bring your new dog home. Don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional dog trainer when bringing an adult dog into your home.

Golden Retrievers are the perfect family dog, hunting companion, and service animal. They have stolen our hearts in our homes and on film, fitting in perfectly at the White House or in our own backyards. If you are considering a Golden Retriever and can make sure they get the proper exercise and veterinary care, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s easy to see why Golden Retrievers are one of America’s most popular breeds.

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