The Golden Retriever is a large breed retriever-type dog, historically bred and trained to work with hunters retrieving game birds and bringing them back to their handlers unharmed. The Golden Retriever or “Goldie” is equally at home on land or in the water, and these loyal, active and intelligent dogs are also equally happy kept for working purposes or as family pets.
If you are looking for a good all rounder that is excellent with children, sociable with other dogs and generally good-natured, the Golden Retriever might be the perfect choice of dog for you. However, they are also incredibly intelligent and very active dogs, and so need plenty of attention, time spent outside and allowances made for their need for mental stimulation.
In this article, we will introduce you to the basics of the Golden Retriever’s temperament, personality and training requirements.
Historically, the Golden Retriever spent plenty of time outdoors, working with shooting parties and bringing birds back to their handlers. While the breed is still used for gun sport today, their working roles have changed over history, and they are generally found doing rather different jobs now!
They are sometimes used as sniffer dogs for detection purposes, and they are also one of the two most commonly utilised breeds to work as assistance dogs for people with disabilities, such as being guide dogs for blind people.
The temperament of the Golden Retriever is one of its strongest defining traits, and it would be hard to think of a dog with a better temperament than the Golden Retriever, or that is overall more cheerful, friendly and kindly natured! They are loyal and loving with their families, but they are also generally open and welcoming with strangers, and are great ambassadors for the canine world as a whole!
They very much enjoy playing and getting involved in sports and games, and will not hesitate to make their own entertainment if they do not receive enough stimulation! They are also rather mucky pups, not being afraid of getting their paws wet or going out in the rain, and muddy puddles, streams and ponds will all generally delight them greatly, and provide them with plenty of chances to get in a mess!
Golden Retrievers really love people, even more than most other dogs. They are loving and enjoy living within a family situation, and will bond closely with even the youngest members of the family, and very much enjoy playing games with children. They are also good with nervous people and people who are afraid of dogs, although they can have a tendency to be rather over exuberant on occasion!
Due to their intelligence, loyalty and keenness to please, they make excellent assistance dogs and dogs to help people with disabilities to lead independent lives.
Like any other breed, Golden Retrievers need to be properly socialised with other dogs from a young age in order to learn about appropriate play and behaviour around others, but assuming that this is done, they are generally excellent with other dogs in all situations.
They are usually keen to meet new canine companions, and enjoy play and games with other dogs in the dog park or out on walks. They are kind with puppies and gentle with smaller or more delicate dogs, but not afraid to get involved in rough and tumble play with the rest of the pack!
While introducing another dog into the home should always be handled carefully, whether it be a visitor or a new resident, the Golden Retriever is usually accepting of other dogs within their home space too, and correctly introduced, can usually live side by side happily with smaller pets such as cats as well.
The Golden Retriever is one of the most intelligent dog breeds, and this provides a wide range of opportunities for higher-level training, and getting involved in activities such as canine sports, if you wish.
They are quick to pick up new skills and commands, and can often follow complex chains of commands as well. They are keen to please their handlers, which can make training easier than with many other breeds, but they are also very active, exuberant dogs that will soon get bored with too much repetition, or if their days are all work and no play!
Positive reinforcement training works well with the Golden Retriever, and they tend to pick up methods such as clicker training with ease as well. The Golden Retriever is one breed that really loves to eat too, and will always be on the lookout for a treat, so using treats as part of training can give your dog the added focus they need to learn quickly!
Remember that the Golden Retriever is a dog that needs lots of exercise, and should spend at least a couple of hours each day outside walking or running around, in order to be happy, healthy and well behaved.