Golden Retrievers: The Family-Friendly Breed of Dog

A family friendly breed with a reputation for being great with children, the Golden Retriever is popular the world over.

With their handsome appearance and soft, golden fur, they are the ‘picture perfect’ dog commonly depicted in children’s movies and books.

A Scottish breed that was traditionally kept for retrieving game on a hunt, it was always important that they were highly trainable. Only those who listened well to commands and obeyed their owners were kept as breeding stock. This has resulted in a biddable dog that is very keen to please their master.

Golden Retriever on a beautiful walk in Scotland. All about the Golden Retriever dog breed.

Requiring at least two solid hours of exercise per day, this is not a dog who will be content with a short lead walk around the block a couple of times a day. Golden Retrievers relish their time spent outdoors and love to rustle in the leaves, explore woodlands and go for a brisk swim.

Measuring from 51cm to 61cm and weighing 25kg to 34kg, Golden Retrievers are relatively large dogs. Due to this, they are not necessarily suitable for those who live in small apartments without garden access.

Health Issues in Golden Retrievers

A dog who is generally thought to be healthy and who lives to around 10-12 years of age, the Golden Retriever does suffer from a range of health issues such as:

  • Hypothyroidism. An underactive thyroid is a hormonal disorder that can cause symptoms including weight gain, a dull coat and lethargy. Middle aged to older dogs tend to be affected. A blood test can confirm the diagnosis. While not something we can cure, dogs tend to have an excellent prognosis once prescribed daily medicine.
  • Ear Infections. Due to their floppy, furry ears, Golden Retrievers are prone to recurrent and chronic ear infections. You may notice your dog is shaking their head and scratching their ears. Other signs can include a foul smell, excessive wax build up and bright red ear canals. Early treatment with local antibiotic drops and an ear cleaner are important. However, severe infections may require cleaning and treatment under anaesthetic.
  • Cancers. Sadly, the Golden Retriever is prone to a large range of cancers including haemangiosarcomas, osteosarcomas and lymphoma. It can help to have your dog seen regularly by their vet, to prevent obesity and to ensure they’re being fed on a high quality diet. The treatment of cancer depends on which cancer it is and at which stage it has developed to when diagnosed. Some dogs will require chemotherapy, radiotherapy and/or surgery. This is a specialised treatment which can cost several thousand of pounds.
  • Atopic Dermatitis. An itchy Golden Retriever may lick their paws excessively, rub their face on the floor and scratch constantly at their skin. Atopic dogs can be reacting to a range of things including foods, fleas, house dust mites, pollen and mould. Frustratingly, this is not a condition we can cure so dogs generally require ongoing vet checks, courses of antibiotics, medicated washes and anti-itch medicine. While costly, it can be useful to perform allergy testing to pinpoint the cause of itching. This can enable us to avoid the allergens or to start immunotherapy, in an attempt to reduce or inhibit the allergic reaction.
  • Elbow and Hip Dysplasia. It is well known that the Golden Retriever is prone to orthopaedic issues from a young age. Those affected with elbow or hip dysplasia can suffer with ongoing mobility issues and chronic pain. When possible, breeders need to ensure they are only mating healthy stock who have been screened negative for these conditions.

Though originally kept as a working dog, the Golden Retriever has well and truly established itself as a versatile family dog.

Good with children, sociable, easy-going and always up for a game, this breed is a favourite of many.

As this dog suffers from a range of health conditions, it is best to always purchase one from a reputable breeder who health screens their breeding stock.

Are you looking for Golden Retriever insurance?

As with any pedigree or cross-breed, it’s always a good idea to have a dog insurance policy in place to help with unexpected vet fees.

If you’re introducing a Golden Retriever puppy to your home, why not take a look at our four weeks’ free WalkawayCover* created especially for new pups aged 8 weeks to one year?

*Puppy must be between 8 weeks and 1 year old and is subject to a CVS health check. WalkawayCover covers illness and accidents instantly. Not all breeds of dog are eligible.

More pets = more fun!

Get your paws on a
5% multipet discount