Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?

The short answer here is yes – Golden Retrievers make good family dogs. Their friendly, loyal, and loving personalities make them a great fit for a family dynamic. 

Golden Retrievers are currently the third most common breed of dog and are the fourth smartest breed of dog. I’d bet that they’re one of the friendliest breeds too! They have so many qualities that make them family-friendly pets. 

They’re good with kids, cats, other pets, and pretty much every family combination – as long as they’re well-trained and properly introduced. 

Read on to find out exactly why Golden Retrievers make good family dogs, a few reasons why Goldies might not be for you, and more!

Golden Retriever’s Family-Friendly Personalities and Qualities 

Though Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be working dogs in the Highlands of Scotland, they have the perfect personalities to be family pets. They’re as comfortable in a family setting as they were retrieving game in the Highlands.

Golden Retrievers are:

  • Patient: Golden Retrievers are tolerant and patient dogs. You’ll see this in action if they’re playing with young children who are too rough and they don’t react where other breeds would become aggressive. But regardless, you should always supervise your dog with your children as intense fear or pain can cause any animal to lash out.
  • Loyal: Once a Golden Retriever has bonded, they’re bonded for life. It’s their instinct to be loyal to their owners, and they’ll do just about anything for them! You truly have a best friend in your Goldie.
  • Protective: Golden Retrievers are a combination of fiercely loyal, protective pets but they don’t have an aggressive bone in their body. If you’re looking for a guard dog, you’ll have to train your Golden specifically for the job. But they’ll defend you forever.
  • Smart: As the fourth smartest dog breed, Golden Retrievers have proved to be quick to learn new tricks and commands, and they need barely any repetitions before they know it. This means they will understand and obey your instructions, and you can trust that they’ll be ready and listening.
  • High energy: Golden Retrievers need around two hours worth of exercise per day. This can be running, swimming, playing, or any activity that lets them exercise. This can be great for families as the Goldens will play with your kids all day long. Just make sure that they have an outlet for all that energy though, otherwise, they can start being destructive.
  • Water-babies: If you’re an outdoorsy family, your Golden Retriever will fit right in. Whether it’s a pool, lake, or the sea, these water babies will be raring to jump in. It allows them to exercise, have fun, and join in all at the same time.
  • Quiet: Golden Retrievers aren’t usually big barkers. They are usually quite chilled out and can be trained to what you want (e.g. to only bark when someone comes to the door). This is ideal during nap times and if you have neighbours.
  • Easy to train: Following on from how smart they are, Golden Retrievers are particularly easy to train. They love to please you, so with some positive reinforcement and repetition, these smart cookies can be trained in so many ways. Whether they’re not allowed upstairs, if they have a specific corner to use the toilet in, or simply to sit down on command, the list goes on!
  • Easy going: As a breed, Golden Retrievers are usually pretty easy going. Want to take a spontaneous car ride? They’re in. Changing their food brand? No worries. These gorgeous Goldens are just happy to be included and with you.
  • Friendly: With their huge smiling faces and excitement every time they see you, Golden Retrievers are delightful pets to have around. Their swishy tails are always wagging and they’re delighted to be spending time with you.

These ten qualities are just an example of the traits that Golden Retrievers have that make them brilliant family pets. They have plenty more, and of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but generally, Goldies make the best family dogs.

If you’re interested in learning more about the origins of Golden Retrievers, check out this article.

Drawbacks of Having a Golden Retriever as a Family Pet

As with anything, there are drawbacks to having a dog like a Golden Retriever. Some of these might not bother you at all – in which case, go get your Golden! But if you’re unsure, consider these points before going ahead.

Golden Retrievers need:

  • Lots of grooming: Golden Retrievers are hairy. Even if you brush them daily, you’ll be constantly vacuuming and de-shedding your clothes. Consider if you have allergies and could be allergic to their dander. You’ll need equipment and time to regularly groom them – or to make appointments at the groomers.
  • Lots of exercise: As a working, sporting breed, Golden Retrievers have a lot of energy. To make sure that they get enough exercise to be happy and healthy, they need at least two hours worth of exercise per day. This adds up, so make sure that your schedule allows for this.
  • Attention: As a highly social breed, Golden Retrievers thrive on spending time with you. They won’t do so good if they’re home alone all day. There are ways around this, but they can be costly and require other people.
  • Time: From day one, you’ll need to be training your new puppy. You’ll need to walk them, groom them, play with them, and give them lots of love and attention. It can be time-consuming to look after a pet, and if you don’t have a lot of time to give, it might be the wrong time to get a new family pet.
  • Money spent on them: To be fair, this goes for any dog. But vet fees, insurance, food, and toys are just a few examples of ongoing costs you’ll get with a dog. Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are prone to certain health issues that might be costly further down the line.
  • Space: Golden Retrievers are big dogs – over 20 inches in height when they’re fully grown. Even though they start off as adorable little pups, they grow up fast! You’ll need enough space for them to move around without bumping into anything. They’ll also appreciate the space to run and play.
  • Responsibility: Don’t forget that you’ll have to feed, water, and walk your dog multiple times per day. There’ll be poop to pick up, accidents in the house, and trips to the vet. It’s a lot of work, especially for a busy family. Ideally, everyone can pitch in and share the responsibility – it’s a great way to teach the kids.

Introducing Your New Golden Retriever to Your Family

When you get a new Golden Retriever, you’ll need to make sure that the introductions to the family are done properly, to set up a solid foundation for a bond to develop. 

How you introduce them will vary depending on who it is. For example, it’ll be a different introduction between your children, your spouse, and other pets in the house.

Remember to be patient, make sure that they have their own safe space they can retreat to, and always use positive reinforcement (never physically punish your dog for bad behaviour).

Related Questions

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Cats?

Golden Retrievers are usually easy-going and can get along with other animals such as cats. This does depend on how they’re introduced and if they’ve been properly trained and socialised. 

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Other Dogs?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are good with other dogs. Though there can be exceptions to every rule, most Goldens love spending time with other dogs. Having more than one dog is beneficial for your Golden to have company, play, and learn from other dogs. 

Are Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are usually good with kids. Their energy, intelligence, and patience are just a few of the qualities that make them so good around children.

It’s important to make sure that your Golden Retriever has been socialised, trained, and is getting enough physical and mental stimulation to make sure that they’re on their best behaviour.

Leave a comment