Golden Retriever

Canis Lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© Edward / Creative Commons / Original

Trusting, kind and gentle!


Golden Retriever Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis Lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Golden Retriever Conservation Status

Golden Retriever Locations

Golden Retriever Locations

Golden Retriever Facts

Common Name
Golden Retriever
Trusting, kind and gentle!
Gun Dog

Golden Retriever Physical Characteristics

Skin Type
10-12 years

Golden Retriever as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
$500 to $1,000
Dog group
Male weight
65-75 lbs
Female weight
55-65 lbs

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Originating from the serene and picturesque hills of the Scottish Highlands, the golden retriever is the very epitome of loyalty and affection.

History and Origin

The first major breeder was Dudley Marjoribanks, the Baron of Tweedmouth, who created the golden retriever in the 19th century by crossing a yellow retriever with the now-extinct tweed water spaniel, plus a mix of the bloodhound and Irish Setter. He intended for the breed to be a superior hunting dog that could retrieve dead game from all kinds of rugged terrain on land or water. The technical term for this type of retriever or hunter is a gundog.

The result is a hardy dog breed with an impeccable and lustrous double coat of orange, golden, or light-colored fur that can tolerate cold water during hunting months and also deal with felled fowl.

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These beloved pups are great for families with kids and other animals. You will also commonly see them utilized as service animals and search and rescue dogs. There really is no end to their capability! According to the American Kennel Club, it is one of the most popular breeds in the country.

The Different Types of Golden Retrievers and Golden Retriever Mixes

There are quite a few Golden Retriever crossbreeds, including:

  • Beago – The Beago is a blend of a beagle and a golden retriever. They have many of the great characteristics of their parents, including being great swimmers like their retriever parent!
  • Golden Saint – Golden Saints are one of the breeds with the absolute best names! They, as you might have guessed, come from golden retriever and Saint Bernard parents. When they have puppies, the young ones come out with all types of unpredictable, colored, and patterned fur!
  • Golden Doodle – The Golden Doodle is a very popular “designer breed” that combines golden retrievers with poodles. The result is a very smart and family-oriented pup with shaggy hair!
  • Golden Shepherd – The Golden Shepherd breed is a great combination of German shepherds and golden retrievers. Their puppies have the sweetness and gentleness of the retriever but also have the athleticism and work dog mentality of the shepherd.
  • Golden Pyrenees – The Golden Pyrenees is another interesting breed! They come from breeding a golden retriever with a Great Pyrenees. Typically, they carry over the huge size of the Pyrenees and the gentle nature of the retriever. And if you are looking for a different name for these pups, how about “Great Pytreivers”?

Owning a Golden Retriever: 3 Pros and Cons

A sweet breed!
Let’s face it, Golden Retrievers are just generally a sweet breed of dogs! They’re just generally good-natured and worked well with families!
This playful mate needs EXERCISE
Goldens aren’t a breed that’s content to lay around an apartment all day! They require daily exercise, and if you’re lacking, they can get restless and begin causing havoc in small spaces!
Easy to train
Some dogs can be challenging to train. However, the intelligence of Goldens makes them one of the easier breeds to train. The breed can adapt to fairly complex tricks, so don’t be afraid to push the envelope!
Shed, shed, shed
Like many retrievers, Goldens will shed… But they tend to shed, a lot. The biggest shedding seasons come in spring and fall, but be prepared for hair… everywhere!
A playful mate!
Goldens are a playful breed! They need a lot of physical activity and can be especially energetic in their first four (or so) years of life!
Some health concerns
Goldens are very active, especially while young. This comes with some health conditions, especially a propensity for hip dysplasia. In addition, Goldens are prone to many health ailments we’ve listed below.


The pure breed golden retriever, as opposed to a mix, is a medium-to-large-sized dog with a strong and muscular frame. The typical member of this breed stands up to 2 feet high and weighs between 55 and 75 pounds. Males are slightly larger than females, but otherwise, they are similar in appearance. Due to the exact breeding standards, the golden retriever adheres to a very narrow range of sizes. Here are the basic facts:

Height (Male) 23 to 24 inches
Height (Female)21.5 to 22.5 inches
Weight (Male)65 to 75 pounds
Weight (Female)55 to 65 pounds
Adult golden retriever dog standing alert in the woods
Golden Retrievers typically stand up to 2 feet high and weigh between 55 and 75 pounds.

Common Health Issues

Due to various genetic factors, the golden retriever, unfortunately, comes with a number of health problems, the most significant of which is cancer. As perhaps the most cancer-prone dog breed in the world, more than 60% of golden retrievers may eventually die from it.

The breed is also susceptible to eye disease, skin diseases, ear infections, hypothyroidism (low levels of thyroid hormones), heart disease, and hip and elbow dysplasia (a genetic developmental abnormality in which parts of the joint grow somewhat out of alignment with each other, potentially hobbling the dog). If you intend to purchase a golden retriever, then you should be aware of the common signs of distress or illness. For instance, infections and skin allergies, which can be caused by pollens, food, and fleas, generally appear as red skin and excessive itching. For dysplasia, you may notice a limp.

Health and Entertainment for your Golden Retriever

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To reduce the possibility of long-term health problems, you can request medical records from the breeder, store, or adoption agency from which you purchase the dog. You should also ensure that your dog has an annual checkup to catch health problems as soon as possible. Altogether, you should be aware of the following common issues:

  • Cancer
  • Joint Dysplasia
  • Skin Diseases
  • Heart Disease
Woman's hand giving a golden retriever a pill
You should ensure that your dog has an annual checkup to catch health problems as soon as possible.


Golden retrievers seem to positively radiate a friendly, trusting, affable personality with their warm and cheerful expressions. For this reason, they are sometimes held up as an example of the quintessential dog breed. Their keen intelligence and playful behavior make them very easy for all kinds of people to interact with, as they are always looking for ways to please people and meet new friends.

This has allowed them to thrive as good companions and hunting dogs but perhaps not so much as guard dogs. In modern society, this devoted and exuberant personality makes them well-suited for rescue work, therapy, some law enforcement work, and guides for the blind.

Check out some incredible facts about Golden Retrievers.

golden retriever's face
Golden retrievers seem to positively radiate a friendly, trusting, affable personality with their warm and cheerful expressions.

How to Take Care of Them

Because of their frequent need for exercise and grooming, golden retrievers require a large amount of work and effort to maintain. It is a good idea to ensure that there’s a constant human presence in the house to keep the dog company and take care of its needs. If the dog begins to show early signs of health problems such as dysplasia, then you should take it to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

The average Golden Retriever lifespan is 10 to 12 years, sadly studies show their lifespan has been trending down. The oldest Golden on record was named Augie and lived 20 years and 11 months.

Golden Retriever
It is a good idea to ensure that there’s a constant human presence in the house to keep the dog company and take care of its needs.

The Best Dog Food

Golden retrievers require high-quality food for medium or large dogs to support an active lifestyle. You can also feed the dog treats judiciously from time to time, but don’t overdo it. Because of the tendency to overeat, golden retrievers are sometimes prone to obesity. Hypothyroidism is a particularly worrying accelerator of weight gain. This can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and arthritis.

A general rule is that you should limit adults to no more than 5 cups of food per day. You should feed a puppy no more than 3 cups per day. You should also avoid feeding the dog too many scraps from human food. If you notice that the dog is gaining weight, then you should immediately reduce the amount of food you are giving it. We compiled a complete list of the best foods for your Golden Retriever, here.

Luckily, there’s quality dog food specifically formulated with Golden Retrievers’ skin, hearts, and weight in mind. Royal Canin makes breed-specific dog food for Golden Retrievers.

It has Vitamin B1 and thiamine for the metabolism, Vitamin A and zinc to support skin and coat health with DHA, Taurine, and EPA for a heart that functions like clockwork. The calories and fat is balanced particularly to help Golden Retrievers maintain an optimum weight.

Here’s where to find Royal Canin Golden Retriever Adult Breed Specific Dry Dog Food:

Best Overall
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever
  • Designed to meet the nutritional needs of Golen Retrievers
  • Contain essential nutrients to support his healthy skin and coat
  • Taurine, EPA, and DHA help to promote healthy cardiac function
  • Kibble is larger than usual, helping your dog to eat slower
Check Chewy Check Amazon

Maintenance and Grooming

With its rich fur coat, the golden retriever is notorious for its semi-frequent shedding. You should therefore endeavor to groom the dog at least once per week, maybe more. In addition, when the dog is heavily shedding its double coat about once or twice a year, it may require almost daily brushes to stay clean and healthy.

The best way to groom the golden retriever is to use a specialty or heavy-duty brush.

Best for Dematting
GoPets Dematting Comb with 2 Sided Professional Grooming Rake
  • Features two sides for professional grooming results
  • Designed to remove all sorts of mats and tangles
  • The teeth prevent pulling and rounded edges make this model safer than most
  • Works well as an undercoat rake to thin your cat's coat
  • Features a comfortable, non-slip silicone, gel-filled handle
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The brushing can be preceded by a very rigorous bath to loosen some of the fur, but make sure the dog is dry before attempting to groom it. The nails should be trimmed on a regular basis as well. And if possible, you should regularly clean out the ears to reduce the chances of an infection.

Overall Best
Organic Oatmeal Dog Shampoo
  • Soap and detergent-free formula
  • Made with natural ingredients
  • Environmentally friendly product
  • Scented without fragrance
Check Amazon


One of the breed’s most appealing traits is the ease with which these dogs can be trained to perform tricks or tasks. Golden retrievers will want to do what they’re told, but the dog also needs a focused training regime or it could become distracted easily. If socialized and trained from an early age, meaning up to around four months, then they can be seamlessly integrated into the family with much less of a tendency to nibble or bark. But even adult dogs are trusting and friendly toward almost anyone it encounters and therefore might take easily to training. Since this breed is so loyal and eager to place, training often comes naturally and effortlessly.

The golden retriever is a good athlete and working dog, so it excels when given an objective to complete. The breed is especially proficient at sports and agility competitions.

why can't dogs talk

Since this breed is so loyal and eager to place, training often comes naturally and effortlessly.

© Blanco


The golden retriever is an active breed of dog that requires an outlet for all of that pent-up energy. It is therefore a good idea to give your dog as much as 45 minutes of exercise throughout the day, plus additional mental and physical stimulation.

You should also try to keep the dog frequently entertained with toys and chewing items. If it does not receive an adequate level of activity, then it might engage in destructive behavior around the home. Before buying this breed, make sure you have plenty of indoor and outdoor space for activity. You can also take this breed with you on your walk, run, or bicycling.

If you have access to a space for the dog to play fetch A-Z Animals recommends the following toy for golden retriever exercise.

Best Outdoor Ball Launcher
Chuckit! Sport 14S Launcher Tennis Ball Bundle Dog Toy, Small
  • Comes with an ergonomic handle
  • Can throw ball 3 times further
  • Comes with a brightly colored ball
  • Can also use in the pool on warm days
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A golden retriever puppy is very eager to work and play but lacks a lot of discipline. If you obtain the dog from its time as a puppy, then you should immediately put it through training to form a strong bond with your dog and teach it the basics. Exposing the dog to many different people and situations early may make it better adjusted as an adult. It is also a good idea to take the dog to a vet and have it examined for possible joint problems, which can develop early in life.

You can check out the Golden Retriever gestation period.

Golden Retriever (Canis familiaris) - golden retriever puppies


With Children

Because of its friendly and kind personality, the golden retriever is one of the most popular breeds to keep around children. It will tolerate a lot of rough and playful behavior with immense patience and its good, loyal personality even around toddlers and adolescents.

This also provides a constant source of companionship and teaches kids a sense of responsibility. The American Kennel Club lists the golden retriever as one of the best dog breeds for kids.

Dog, Family, Summer, Swimming, Underwater

Because of its friendly and kind personality, the golden retriever is one of the most popular breeds to keep around children.


Similar Dogs

The golden retriever is just one of many breeds that qualifies as a retriever. Besides some mix breeds like the goldendoodle and golden Aussie, here are some of the most similar dog breeds:

  • Labrador Retriever – Originating from Newfoundland in the 1600s, this breed is similar in most respects to the golden retriever, including its friendly and easy-going nature, its trainability, and its dedication to tasks. Like its golden variant, the Labrador retriever is incredibly popular both in the home and for work purposes.
  • Flat Coat Retriever – This breed is similar to the Labrador retriever, but as the name suggests, it has a flatter coat of fur with a long head and a leaner appearance. This coat is well-adapted to harsher weather conditions.
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever – Originating from the Maryland area in the 1800s, this breed is characterized by its wavy tan or brown hair, which is similar to the flat coat retriever. It is generally larger than the golden retriever with some individuals weighing up to 100 pounds.

Some of the most popular names for a golden retriever include:

  • Cooper
  • Charlie
  • Bailey
  • Bella
  • Buddy
  • Lucy
  • Max
Golden Retriever Dog
Most classic dog names (or nontypical names) would be great to name your golden retrievers!

Famous Golden Retrievers

  • Air Bud: How could any list of “famous” Golden Retrievers not begin with Air Bud? The franchise began in 1997 with a movie about ‘Buddy’ the basketball-dunking dog and has continued forward. As of this writing, the most recent entry in the series was Air Bud: Spikes Back, which featured Buddy as a volleyball player.
  • Duke: The Golden Retriever in ‘Bush’s Baked Beans’ commercials became a celebrity. He passed away in 2018.
  • Gracie: One of Oprah Winfrey’s dogs. Unfortunately, Grace died at a young age after choking on a plastic ball.

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Heather Ross is a secondary English teacher and mother of 2 humans, 2 tuxedo cats, and a golden doodle. In between taking the kids to soccer practice and grading papers, she enjoys reading and writing about all the animals!

Golden Retriever FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is bad about golden retrievers?

Besides some health problems and a bit of rambunctiousness, golden retrievers don’t necessarily have bad qualities, but they do require quite a lot of care and maintenance, as well as open space and attention. If you foresee a problem with meeting this dog’s needs, then you might want to consider another breed with less daily effort.

Are golden retrievers good family dogs?

Golden retrievers are born to be excellent family dogs. Because of the amount of attention they need, it is a good idea to have a family member around to look after them and care for them at most times of the day. If you’re the only member of a household, then you should think carefully about whether you have the time and inclination to take care of the dog.

How do you groom a golden retriever?

For most of the year, you will only need to brush the dog once or twice a week. During times of heavy shedding, however, you should brush more often, preferably once a day. Consider giving the dog a bath beforehand to loosen up some of the fur. A-Z-Animals recommends the GoPets two sided dematting brush, as well as this organic oatmeal based shampoo.

How much do golden retrievers cost?

The golden retriever is quite popular and in demand, but you can still obtain a dog at a good cost. At the lower end of the price spectrum, it may be possible to adopt one for $500 or less. From a specialty breeder, the cost can range from $500 to $1,000. For a dog with a good pedigree, it can easily exceed $1,000 or even $2,000. Due to the number of potential health issues, however, the golden retriever may be more expensive to maintain and care for than the typical breed, so you should factor that into your potential budget.

How long does the golden retriever live?

The typical golden retriever has a lifespan of around 10 to 12 years. With a bit of luck and a genetic propensity for good health, some dogs may live a few years longer.

The temperament of the Golden Retriever is a hallmark of the breed and is described in the standard as kindly, friendly and confident. They are not one man dogs and are generally equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them. Their trusting, gentle disposition therefore makes them a poor guard dog.

Any form of unprovoked aggression or hostility towards either people, dogs or other animals, whether in the show ring or community, is completely unacceptable in a Golden Retriever and is not in keeping with the character of the breed and as such is considered a serious fault. Nor should a Golden Retriever be unduly timid or nervous.

The typical Golden Retriever is calm, naturally intelligent and biddable, with an exceptional eagerness to please. They love pleasing their owners as well as getting along with strangers.

Are Golden Retrievers herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Golden Retrievers are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the family Canidae.

What order do Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the order Carnivora.

What type of covering do Golden Retrievers have?

Golden Retrievers are covered in Hair.

What genus do Golden Retrievers belong to?

Golden Retrievers belong to the genus Canis.

What is an interesting fact about Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers are trusting, kind, and gentle!

What is the scientific name for the Golden Retriever?

The scientific name for the Golden Retriever is Canis Lupus.

What is the difference between the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever?

There are many differences between the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever. First, aside from sharing a double coat, they have entirely different coats. The Golden Retriever has a cool or warm golden coat with a thin topcoat. The Great Pyrenees has a thick, fluffy white coat that may have different color markings. They’re also double the size of even the largest Golden Retrievers. Their personalities are different too, with the Golden Retriever being more playful and aloof than the serious guard dog that is the Great Pyrenees.

What's the difference between golden retrievers and German Shepherds?

German Shepherds grow larger than golden retrievers, and they were bred for different purposes. Golden retrievers also have floppy ears, while German Shepherds have pointed ears.

What's the difference between golden retrievers and Irish Setters?

Golden retrievers live shorter lives than Irish Setters. The Irish Setter has longer ears than the average golden retriever, and golden retrievers are considered more laid-back than the excitable Irish Setter.

What is the difference between American golden retrievers and English golden retrievers?

American golden retrievers are recognized as a purebred dog breed by the AKC, while English golden retrievers are not. Read all about their differences here!

What are the differences between Siberian Husky and Golden Retriever?

The key differences between the Siberian Husky and the Golden Retriever are their size, appearance, lifespan, energy level, watchdog instincts, trainability, and tendency to bark.

What are the key differences between Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers?

The key differences between Australian Shepherds and Golden Retrievers are size, fur color, lifespan, temperament, energy level, barking tendencies, and shedding level.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.


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