26 Pros And Cons Of Owning A Golden Retriever (FAQ Included)

Let’s just start by saying, if you’re not sure what dog to get, golden retrievers are a fantastic choice for almost any person. As far as dogs go you’ll be hard pressed to find a better breed! However, even with all this in mind, they may not be for everybody. In this article you’ll find out 26 pros and cons of owning a golden retriever!

Keep reading to find out!

Golden Retriever – Pros And Cons (For Those Short On Time)

There are so many pros and cons of owning golden retrievers, it can be hard to know where to get started. However, I would start by saying, no matter what the cons are, the benefits of owning a golden retriever far outweigh them!

The only thing you should be asking yourself isn’t whether a golden retriever can make you happy, but rather will your lifestyle keep your golden retriever happy!

Here are all the pros and cons of owning a golden retriever for those short on time.


  • They’re good-natured.
  • Golden retrievers are also intuitive.
  • They are easy to train and highly trainable.
  • They’ll make great show dogs.
  • They’re also amazing family dogs.
  • They get on well with any other animal in the house.
  • Golden retrievers make good therapy dogs.
  • They’re extremely loyal.
  • They love to play.
  • They’ll be one of the best friends you have.
  • Retrievers aren’t aggressive dogs.
  • When trained they make great watch dogs.
  • They’ll help you meet new people.


  • They’ll need lots of exercise.
  • They’re big dogs (And big eaters)
  • Retrievers don’t like to be left alone.
  • They need lots of space.
  • They’ll chew things up.
  • Retrievers don’t have the longest lifespan when compared to other dogs.
  • They’re boisterous and excitable.
  • They’ll roll in anything and love to get wet.
  • Golden retrievers shed a lot.
  • They won’t make good guard dogs.
  • Retrievers like to steal things.
  • They’re prone to certain health diseases.

Benefits Of Owning A Golden Retriever

Here are some of the best things about owning a golden retriever.

They’re Good Natured

One of the best things about owning a golden retriever is how good natured they are. They’re the sweetest little dogs and they really don’t have a bad bone in their body. You’ll be hard-pressed to find an aggressive golden retriever. All they want to do is love you and your family.

They’re Intuitive

Not only this, the more time your golden retriever spends around you, the more intuitive they’ll become. They’ll begin to know when something isn’t right and you’ll notice they’ll also spend a lot more time around you. Trying to cheer you up and comfort you.

If you’re ever sad when a golden retriever is around, they’ll be there by your side until you feel better, no matter how long it takes.

They’re Highly Trainable

Golden retrievers are also some of the most trainable dogs around thanks to their high intelligence, eagerness to please and their willingness to learn. Unlike some other dogs, golden retrievers love learning new tricks, and have a lot more patience and focus.

In fact, it’s often said that golden retrievers are one of the top 5 smartest dogs. Their intelligence is equivalent to a 2-2.5 year old human and they can learn over 165 words! Which is amazing!

They’re Great Show Dogs

Because they’re highly trainable and eager to please, they also make great show dogs. If you were interested in entering a dog into agility courses, or obedience competitions then they’re the perfect breed for it.

Both you and your retriever are going to have tons of fun.

(Check out the pros and cons of owning a Rottweiler.)

Interested In Training Your Golden Retriever The Right Way?

If you haven’t trained your retriever properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your golden retriever completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT. 

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

Golden Retrievers Are Amazing Family Dogs

Golden retrievers are extremely social, and want attention and affection from all of your family. They’re even patient with kids and babies. It’s very rare that a golden retriever will snap, no matter how much they’re getting pulled around.

Just remember though, just because your golden retriever won’t snap, it doesn’t mean you should let children be rough with them. Not only because you’ll never know how your pup is going to react, but also because it’s just not going to be a nice experience for them at all.

They’ll Also Be Best Friends With Other Animals

Generally speaking, golden retrievers have a low prey drive (when compared to other dogs). Because of this, they’re generally safe around any other pets you have, including other dogs, cats, rabbits and even smaller animals.

Just make sure you introduce them to each other first, to let them know that they’re part of the pack. Once you’ve done this, they’ll look out for the other pets you have (even if the other pets aren’t sure about your golden).

(In fact, find out more about whether you can keep golden retrievers and cats together.)

They’re Good Therapy Dogs

Golden retrievers also make fantastic therapy dogs thanks to their kind hearts, and good nature. While yours may never become a therapy dog, they still have the behavior needed for it ingrained into them.

If you have an older relative or someone that needs to be calmed down, they can be the most attentive companions for the job.

They’re Extremely Loyal

Golden retrievers are also EXTREMELY loyal. They were bred to return hunted game back to their owners, and this instinct will keep them loyal to their family even now.

When you let your golden retriever off the leash, you may notice them running ahead or disappearing at times. But unless they get lost, they’re always going to return to you again.

(Have you ever wondered whether their loyalty is going to make golden retrievers a good guard dog.)

They Love To Play

If you’ve got kids, or you’re a big kid yourself then you’re going to love having a golden retriever. They love to play with everyone. In fact, they still have a puppy mentality long after they’re fully grown. This doesn’t mean they’re going to be naughty, it just means they’ll love to play with you.

While most dogs lose this behavior by about age 2, golden retrievers keep it until they’re 3-4. Even after this, anytime you want to play, they’ll immediately grab a toy and join in.

(Check out the pros and cons of owning a german shepherd.)

You Won’t Find A Better Friend

Give it time, and after a while you and your golden retriever will become best friends. While it’s easy to say this about any dog, it’s especially true with golden retrievers.

They’ll follow you around, anytime you want to go to the beach or for a walk, they’ll always be happy to join you! And when it’s time for a rest, they’ll want to rest near you as well.

They’re Not Aggressive

I’ve preached a lot about how good natured golden retrievers are, but there really isn’t a bad bone in their body. It’s VERY rare for a golden retriever to lash out somebody, and if they do, it’s normally taken a lot of provocation for them to do so.

As well as this, golden retrievers also give you a lot of warning when they’re patience is running out. They’ll normally try to change rooms and be by themselves.

(Want to know whether you should keep a golden retriever in your apartment?)

They Can Make Great Watch Dogs (With Adequate Training)

While it’s not in their nature to be barkers, golden retrievers do have an exceptionally loud bark. If you wanted, you could train them to be a watchdog. While they probably wouldn’t ever attack a robber entering your home (they’d rather befriend them, they can definitely alert you to their presence.

They Can Help You Meet New People

Golden retrievers are very beautiful and handsome dogs. When you’re taking them for a walk, people are going to want to stop and stroke them. This can be a great way to meet fellow dog walkers and new friends!

(Find out the pros and cons of owning a beagle!)

What Are The Problems With A Golden Retriever?

However, while there are a lot of great reasons to own a golden retriever. There are definitely some things you need to be aware of before purchasing a golden retriever. If you don’t weigh up the downsides, then it may be an unhappy fit for you and your pup!

They Need Lots Of Exercise

One thing you’ll need to know before getting a golden retriever is that they need exercise. They’ll need about an hour a day to be happy. And ideally, this isn’t just going to be a walk, but instead being let off the leash to run, or going for a swim.

When you don’t give your golden retriever enough exercise they’re going to become a lot more restless. This often ends up with things being broke in the house as they’ll be a lot more boisterous, or they may end up chewing things.

And of course, if you’re not exercising them enough, they may also end up becoming overweight as well.

(Check out the 15 pros and cons of owning a husky.)

They’re Big Eaters

Golden retrievers are also big eaters. First of all, they’re quite big dogs, but even with their size, they still LOVE to eat. Given the chance they’ll just keep eating and eating.

So you should be very aware how much you need to feed them, and make sure you don’t overfeed them. If you do they’re going to become overweight very quickly.

Consider the costs of food before you decide to buy a golden retriever.

(Find out the pros and cons of owning a corgi.)

They Don’t Like To Be Left Alone

One of the biggest cons of looking after a golden retriever is that they don’t like to be left alone. If you’re going to buy a golden retriever, you’ll need to make sure they’re not being left for more than 6 hours at a time. And ideally, it shouldn’t even be that long.

One of the best things you can do for your golden retriever, is live in a house where someone is always about, or give them another dog to play with.

If you do leave your golden retriever alone for too long, they may end up suffering from separation anxiety and other abandonment issues as well as engaging in destructive behaviors like chewing.

(When you do need to leave your golden retriever alone for extended periods of time, it’s often a good idea to take them to doggy day care.)

They’ll Need A Lot Of Space

You should also think twice about owning a golden retriever if you live in a small apartment, or you don’t have access to a garden. Golden retrievers are boisterous and full of energy, so you need to make sure that your house can accommodate this.

Being cooped up and cramped inside all day is not going to be good for your golden retriever. They need space to move around and play.

If where you live isn’t big enough, then it may be better to consider purchasing a smaller dog.

They Can Be Chewers

With the name retriever, it’s not very surprising that they can often be chewers. They’re so used to picking things up with their mouths, that the next step is chewing. However, if you do get a golden retriever it doesn’t mean they’re going to chew.

When trained early enough, you can stop your golden retriever chewing. However, it’s important to note that for a small portion of time they may be chewers. And NOTHING is off-limits to them. If they want to chew something, no matter how out of reach you put it, they’ll find a way to get to it.

They Don’t Live As Long As Other Dogs

This is definitely the worst thing about golden retrievers. Sadly, because they’re larger dogs, they don’t live as long as small dogs. Golden retrievers typically only live between 10-12 years. And saying goodbye to them is extremely painful.

However, even though they may not have the longest lifespan, they will fill your life with years of joy.

They Can Be Too Boisterous

If you’re looking for a calm couch potato dog, then golden retrievers may not be the right dog for you. While they will calm down as they get older, in their younger years, they’re going to be extremely energetic and playful.

A lot of things in your house may break when you have a golden retriever, as they’ll wildly swing their toys and tails around.

You’ll also need to be careful about letting your golden retriever around small children, especially when they’re young. They won’t mean to, but they often forget their size, and if you’re not careful they may knock a small child over.

They’ll Roll In Anything And Get Wet

As they’ve been bred to retrieve ducks and other game, as you can imagine, golden retrievers absolutely love playing in water and getting wet. However, it doesn’t just end here. Your golden retriever is going to want to roll in as many things as they can.

Unfortunately, this includes mud, cow pat, fox poop, and anything else disgusting. So if you plan on taking them to the forest or fields, you’ll need to have some doggy deodorant and a shower ready for when they get home.

(Find out the pros and cons of owning a boxer.)

They Shed A Lot

Golden Retrievers shed A LOT. If you decide to own one, this is something you’ll definitely need to take into consideration. While they shed all year round, during fall and spring, they’ll shed their old coats, ready for new coats better suited for the temperature.

During these times, you’re going to notice a lot more fur coming off them and you’ll have to brush them frequently. Oftentimes you’ll need to brush them every day.

However, if you do take them outside and brush them, you can reduce the amount of fur that stays in your house. (And as a rule of thumb, you’re definitely not going to want to wear black, as you’ll probably end up more golden).

They Make Terrible Guard Dogs

The perk of golden retrievers is how friendly and loving they are. However, if you’re looking for a guard dog, this is also their biggest flaw. Golden retrievers aren’t really wary of strangers, and they’re ready to make friends with anyone.

Of course, this outgoing nature is perfect in a lot of other roles (and it’s the reason they make such good guide dogs and therapy dogs), however, it’s not great for a guard dog.

If you wanted a dog that’s going to protect your home, then golden retrievers aren’t the best choice at all.

They Like To Move Things

To put it less delicately, golden retrievers can be little thieves, especially when they’re younger. Until they’re about 4 years old, you’ll probably notice all manner of things you’ve left lying around your house in their bed or another hiding place.

So if you have a lot of valuable things lying around, you’ll definitely want to puppy proof them before they go missing.

They Love To Dig

Golden retrievers also LOVE to dig. If you’ve put a lot of work and care into your garden, then you’ll need to keep a constant eye on your golden retriever to make sure they don’t ruin it.

If left alone even for a couple of minutes, they may have dug a big hole in your flower bed.

They’re Prone To Certain Diseases

And lastly, golden retrievers are also prone to certain diseases and health conditions that can affect the quality of their life. Hip dysplasia and other joint problems are the most common, but its not just them.

Cataracts, hypothyroidism, and certain forms of cancer are also common ailments. So at the very least, make sure you’ve got health insurance for your retriever.

Who Are Golden Retrievers Good For?

If you’ve read all this, you should have a pretty good idea about whether a golden retriever will fit with you and your family or not. With that being said, here’s what the ideal golden retriever owner should look like.

People Who Love To Be Outdoors

Golden retrievers are the perfect companion for anybody who loves to be outdoors. if you and your family enjoy hikes, going to the beach and other activities, then a golden retriever will make a great fit.

People With Kids Or A Family

Another great thing about golden retrievers is that they love children, pets and the rest of your family. In fact, if you’re looking for a dog that’s going to fit well with a young family, then golden retrievers are a great choice.

Just make sure you’re teaching your golden retriever to be less boisterous around small children. And also teaching small children to leave your dog alone when they want time to themselves.

Someone With Lots Of Time

If you’ve got a lot of time, you’re going to be a great owner for your golden retriever. Remember, golden retrievers don’t like being left alone too long, so if you always have time for them, they’re going to be happy pups!


Now you know all the pros and cons of owning a golden retriever! If you feel like you’ll be a good owner to them, there really isn’t a better dog to keep as a companion.

And while the problems may seem big, they pale in comparison to the years of happiness and love your golden retriever will give you.

If you like this article make sure you check out the rest of the website. Otherwise have a great day!