The golden retriever is a gorgeous, stocky built dog with a great personality. One of the most common family pets in the United States, they are known for their beautiful water resisting coat, which can range from a very light beige to dark gold. Originating from Scotland, this sporting breed was used there for hunting purposes. These days though, they are more often a family companion, and are one of the most popular dog breeds.
Goldens are energetic dogs, in need of daily vigorous exercise to keep them happy. They are gentle by nature and are perhaps the best dog for small children, with their endless patience and tolerance. They can get a little rambunctious while playing though, and like to roughhouse with older kids. Always ready to play, they are perfect for athletic, active families. Goldens especially love to play ball, and are always ready for a game of catch. With their heavy coats, they also love to play in the snow, and are very fond of swimming as well. Easy to train and housebreak, golden retrievers are anxious to please and cooperative, and will learn tricks and commands quickly. If looking for a guard dog, though, look elsewhere. These dogs love everyone and are not reliable for protection. In fact, they are more interested in making friends with everyone than protecting their owners. Fairly quiet, they will usually only bark if a strange animal or person enters their territory.
Every dog has it’s faults, and golden retrievers are no exception. On the downside, they love to chew and carry things around. This is a habit that needs to be broken while they are puppies, as even adults love to chew up just about anything if allowed the opportunity. The only other negative aspect of owning a golden retriever is that they are nearly continuous shedders. They will often shed even in the coldest winter. Frequent brushing is the best way to keep the shedding to a minimum, and they usually enjoy it tremendously. These people lovers also do not like to be alone, and can get into mischief when left inside by themselves. Households where someone is home frequently during the day are best for them, as they will thrive on attention.
As these dogs age, there are a few health problems that golden retriever owners should be aware of. Cataracts can develop, as well as hip and elbow dysplasia. Cancer is on the rise in recent years, with lymphosarcoma being one of the most common types being seen. It is important to feed golden retrievers a healthy diet and give them frequent exercise, as they tend to become overweight in old age. An active, healthy lifestyle will also help to prevent medical problems as they grow older.