Anybody with Golden Retrievers?

We’re thinking about getting another dog. We’ve had Labs and love them, so that would be a definite consideration, but someone we know has Golden Retriever pups, so that’s been a possibility for us too. While I’ve known people that have had Goldens, I personally have no experience there, so I’m asking what Golden Retriever owners have to say about the breed, pros and cons. My husband had one that he said was mean, so he’s got me kind of worried, although all of the ones I have had exposure to were as sweet as they could be.

Alright, so full disclosure: I don’t own one, but my roommate/BF has one, so this is just my $0.02:

First off, BF says they are prone to hip displaysia (sp?) and that is not something that I, personally, would want to deal with in a large dog later in their life. Secondly, in my opinion, his Golden is pretty stupid. I grew up with dogs and have been around dogs and, quite frankly, this one feels like he’s missing a few connections. Also, he is now 3 and I didn’t know BF or the dog when he was a puppy, but I’ve seen what’s left of BF’s furniture. Granted, it isn’t expensive furniture (we are young and haven’t bought much of that yet), but I wouldn’t want a puppy like that around if I [U]did[/U] have nice furniture. Also, they’re expensive. I think BF paid $500+ for the dog.

My parents have some kind of a lab mix (she’s a rescue, but looks a LOT like a lab, only fluffier) and she is waaay more intelligent than BF’s Golden. My cheap advice: stick with what you know.

I had a Lab before, and my brother has a Golden. I’m not a specialist of any breed, but from my experience their personality are very similar. I’ve never encountered a mean Golden Retriever, but that’s something that can happen with any breed. Generally they are the perfect family dog, very good with children. They can be a little hard to manage when they are young, because they have a lot of energy (but that’s probably true for all breeds).

The only problem my brother had with his Golden is that he had separation anxiety, and because of that he chewed a lot of stuff in the house. :doh: But again, this is not something that is breed specific. My brother addressed the problem and he is a lot better now. He is also very smart and listens to my brother very well.

Training is what makes the biggest difference, in my opinion. With Goldens, with good training, they really become good companions.

Definitely be careful with genetic diseases with Goldens. But then again, Labs are very prone to genetic diseases too. It’s better to get your pup from a good breeder, and avoid pet stores.

Mine was extremely nice and extremely smart.
But that was a long time ago when they had flat heads. Seems they have more rounded heads now.
A guy I know has bred super expensive show stock and his were all nice and smart and even have some hunting instinct.

Being mean certainly isn’t a breed trait. Hunting breeds often have to hunt with new people, it wouldn’t be good if they weren’t trusting.

I wouldn’t worry about displaysia, most breeds can have it, including Labs. The breeder can do all the tests and still have it.
All breeds have something to worry about.

My parents have a golden, and she is the sweetest dog, although very high energy and requires her daily walks to calm down. She is 3, and finally starting to mellow out. Mom’s only complaint is that she sheds like crazy in the warm weather.

My BFF had a neighbour growing up, and she had a golden retriever, bought from a breeder. The first one she had, ended up having a seizure in the first year or so, and was paralized from the neck down, she had to put her down.

She went right back to the same breeder and got another puppy, different litter, same parents. Second one to my knowledge is fine.

I personally don’t like full breed dogs. I love mutts. They don’t tend to get the problems that any one breed tends to inherate from the inbreeding…

Last one we had was…anyones guess…but they tell us Staffordshire/german sheppard - you be the judge…(Sarah)

and then this one is part collie, part border collie…but no matter where I go…ppl call her lassie…(Sandee)

I have never owned a Golden( I have a lab) but my next door neighbors have always had Goldens. They even foster for GR rescue. So I have been around quite a few. From talking to them you’ll find many of he same health predispositions you would find in Labs. Some of their dogs have been so so smart and others well… I really think you would find that in any breed. They are great with kids. They have the same extended puppy hood like labs. My lab finally really calmed down at 4.5.My neighbor right now is fostering the sweetest girl who is about 5 and still has crazy puppy moments. But good exercise and training really helps that out. I’m pretty sure when my Bentley is no longer with us I will probably get a Golden.
I think if you are used to labs and can get used to golden hair every where it could be a good match.
Good luck with your new addition and be sure to show us pictures!

Cryket–your dogs are soooo cute!!!:heart:

Goldens are wonderful dogs but have been bred so much and so indiscriminately that they (like a lot of other “popular” breeds) can have all sorts of medical or temperament problems.

A canine oncologist at my dog’s clinic told me that cancer has become a huge problem with Goldens. Not to mentiion the joint issues any large poorly bred dog is prone to.

That is not to say you shouldn’t get a pup. But unless it comes from a Code of Ethics breeder or a reputable rescue organization do NOT pay a penny for the pup.

A code of ethics breeder will: Have OFA/heart/health clearances for dam and sire. The dam and sire will have been proven in a show, obedience or agility ring. A code of ethics breeder will guarantee your pup for life. In other words, if you decide 2-3 years down the line you can’t keep the dog, a COE breeder will take it back. Most COE breeders are found at dog shows and events. A code of ethics breeder will interview you, your family and ensure you own your house or have landlord approval.

When we pay money to a BYB or to a pet store we are financing them and encouraging them to continue, consequently keeping the shelters full.

OK, off the soapbox!

IMHO Goldens are beautiful water loving dogs that in general are intelligent and friendly. Any breed can be dumb or mean - that is a dog/owner thing, not so much a breed. Pit bulls are actually very sweet dogs unless owners train them to fight. Rotties can be great family pets. My shephard/dobbie is a chicken.
As others have said b/c of breeding they are prone to the same things that labs and other heavily bred large dogs are. In addition though it seems goldens are prone to epilepsy and cancer. We lost our golden lab when she was 6 to an aneuryism, a pure golden I house sat all the time was put down b/c of severe epilepsy at about 8-9yrs old, my best friend has had 2 goldens with epilepsy and lost both to cancer.

The Golden breeder I know that bred the high priced show stock paid something like $1000 for semen from a completely tested “best in show” winner. His dog was completely tested.
He still got some dogs back for hip problems. Problems that were so bad they showed up very quickly.

Are you really going to turn a dog over that you’ve had for 5-8 years, or even 2-3 years???

IMO it’s the types of breeders you recommend that have caused the problems. They’re the ones who’ve overbred trying to create that perfect show dog without a care for sticking to what the breeds are supposed to be. The show breeders have ruined countless breeds, so much that certain breeds have a show line and a working line that barely resemble each other.
They bash the BYB in order to line their own pockets when a BYB creating one litter in the life of a dog is not the one flooding the gene pool with a certain set of genes like the professional breeders are.

For a hunting breed I would stay far away from the show ring breeders. That is where you’re more likely to end up with the temperament issues

This is true for BF’s Golden, also. If BF leaves the house and I stay home, his dog barks for a while after he leaves and then spends the whole time he is gone next to the front window so he knows the exact second that BF is home (he can see BF’s parking space outside from this vantage point). Also, I [I]swear [/I]that the dog gives ME dirty looks when BF is gone… like it is [I]my [/I]fault that he’s not home. He’s past the chewing stage, though, so at least nothing gets destroyed.

ETA: The shedding is out of control because of the dog, too. We have hardwood floors on our main level and we seriously have big fur “tumbleweeds” floating around most of the time, even after cleaning the house the day before. This might just be me, but living with BF has put me off ever wanting to have a Golden. Since I doubt BF and I will be together forever (different story), I’m not too concerned about this being a problem.

I agree that certain show ring breeders have ruined breeds. I am not talking about show breeders, I am talking Code of Ethics.

Dogs “proven” in show,obedience or agility have a proven temperament.

Also, as stated in my post, a COE breeder has clearances on hips/elbows, heart and eyes on both sire and dam. Of course a bad hip or entropian may pop up in a litter but the odds go way down if all health clearances are done.

Again, you are right, most folks will not part with a dog after 2 or 3 years but if they MUST, say a major life change or disaster makes it impossible for a person to keep their dog, a COE breeder will take the dog back.

COE breeders charge more becuase it costs money to ensure the health of the sire and dam. It costs a lot to whelp a litter properly.

A BYB will breed 2 purebreds and that is where it ends. They will sell to anyone with $$$ without a care as to what the living conditions are (ie, does the landlord know? does the rest of the family know or even want a dog? Will homeowners insurance premiums go up or even be canceled?)

My dog is a rescue. A very poorly bred Rottweiler who has hip and elbow displaysia, entopian (he had surgery for it), and a long coat.
He was originally sold to a naive single mom by a BYB who told her she could “make a fortune in stud fees” because he was a “rare long haired Rottweiler”. $$$$$$$$$$ was the root of evil on the part of the BYB AND the buyer.

Personally I think rescue is the way to go, but I understand how anyone can fall in love with a breed. But if you love a breed I feel you should be vigilant on preserving the breed standard for the sake of the breed and not for the $$$

I’ve had Goldens for years, and have been extremely happy with the breed. Mine have all had excellent temperments (and they came from different breeders, so it wasn’t just because of the dogs who were bred), are extremely smart (not to be confused with “goofy”, which they also tend to be, and hang on to their puppyhood for a LONG time), and very people oriented.

We had one who had a severe hip dysplasia problem, but we had surgery done on her and had her for 13 years (her hips were so bad they showed up when she was 10 months old - after the first time she’d jumped into a pond for a swim). I have a 9 year old now, who alternates between calm and total goofiness. She loves kids (even though I don’t have any, the people I work with do, and she adores them!), and people in general.

Yeah, they shed like crazy, but I think anyone with a pet (unless it’s one of the hairless breeds) has that problem. To me, the returns you get from having the pet far outweigh the shedding thing.

Do your research, talk to people locally who have Goldens and look into the reputations of breeders they recommend, check out Golden rescue groups…I couldn’t recommend a breed more highly, myself. Just remember that each dog, like each person, has their own personality. You can generalize characteristics, but they are all unique.

I don’t have one either, but the ones I’ve known have been loving, playful and friendly dogs. I’ve always wanted one myself and in my research both Labs and Goldens both have some issues with hip dysplasia.

Some humans are mean and dumb and animals are no different. If you treat both well with love and training they both turn out just fine most of the time. :thumbsup:

Here’s a few websites that are fun to look at and might provide a little insight, too.

I used to have a golden. He was very smart and sweet but suffered from a terrible case of separation anxiety (due to me babying him when he was a puppy, and letting him sleep with us in the bedroom). Goldens are very social and high energy. They need a long brisk walk daily. They’re smart, eager to learn and love to play fetch.

Just a note, any dog can have anxieties, mean temperaments, destructive behavior and disobedience regardless of the breed. All dogs need structure and training if you want them to be well behaved. No dog is well behaved by breeding alone.

You’ve had a Lab so you really have a good idea. Basically similar temperament. Any breed can have a mean streak which I think is what your husband experienced. They need lots of exercise and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE people!!

We are on our second retriever. Wouldn’t have any other kind of dog!! Most lovable and friendly dogs I’ve had (had 2 Shelties before that, talk about hyperactive and yappy!!).

Only real drawback versus a Lab is Retrievers shed and I do mean SHED!! So, if you don’t want little piles of tumble weed looking hair floating around, better rethink. Your vaccuum has to be out daily. Only complaint I have.


We bought a purebread golden retriever on Mother’s Day, he was 8 weeks old. He was so nice and snuggly with the kids. But, after a little while, he got pretty hyper. I think he would’ve been a good dog, but he passed away 7/31/08 after being neutered. They don’t know what happened. 5 days later we end up with another golden and he’s wonderful! He’s about 10 months old. He was a stray dog that came into our lives. He lets my son crawl all over him and doesn’t even budge. I will never consider getting another breed. I think they’re the most beautiful dogs. They do shed a lot though, as you’re probably used to from labs. Good Luck with whatever you decide!