A complete guide to the golden retriever

Friendly, faithful and versatile, the golden retriever is a popular and intelligent breed. While these dogs are extensively used by law enforcement agencies in search-and-rescue and drug detection, a golden retriever puppy is an ideal family pet and will provide years of loyal companionship.


Height: A male golden retriever dog usually reaches 22 to 24 inches in height at the withers, and a female is normally about 2 inches shorter.

Weight: Golden retriever puppies usually weigh between 7 and 13 pounds by the age of eight weeks, and healthy adult dogs are height-weight proportionate, usually ranging from 55 to 80 pounds.

Coat: The coat of a golden retriever dog is lustrous and sandy brown, yellow or mahogany in color. Golden retriever puppies and adults both have very soft fur, which grows straight or slightly wavy and hangs tight over the belly.

Ears and Eyes: The ears are short and flop down, hanging close to the cheek. This breed's eyes are alert, deep-set and brown in color.

Tail: The tail of a golden retriever is wide and strong at the base, then tapers and softens towards the end.


A golden retriever dog is an ideal pet for families with young children, unlike dogs with less predictable temperaments like the pitbull. Golden retrievers are gentle, enjoy playing and, like their Labrador retriever cousins, have the patience to tolerate poking and prodding. According to golden retriever breeders, it is not in this breed's nature to display hostility towards other dogs or animals. They make excellent additions to multi-pet households, but are poor guard dogs due to their trusting nature.

AKC Group: Sporting

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Training: As golden retriever breeders have noted, these dogs have a sensitive temperament and must be trained gently. However, they are extremely intelligent, learn quickly and make excellent guide dogs for the blind.

Ideal Environment: Golden retriever breeders recommend these dogs be given plenty of room to exercise. They're best suited to rural environments and homes with yards, though dogs with a less active disposition can be happy in an apartment. With its thick coat, the golden retriever is most comfortable in temperate climates and less comfortable in hot climates.

Health and Care

Feeding: A golden retriever puppy should be fed a limited diet to get it used to eating modest amounts of food. These dogs can easily become overweight or obese in adulthood since they're not particularly active by nature.

Grooming: A golden retriever dog must be groomed weekly since its hair grows quickly and this breed sheds a lot. They also have two annual "blow coat" periods, during which they shed the majority of their fur.

Exercise: The classic image of a golden retriever fetching a stick in the water didn't develop by accident – these dogs love to swim. They're also excellent hunting and hiking companions.

Health Problems: All dogs face breed-specific health concerns, and golden retrievers are prone to canine hip dysplasia (CHD), cataracts and cancer. This breed is also particularly sensitive to dog fleas.

Lifespan: Most golden retriever puppies go on to live for 10 to 12 years.

Finding Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale

Contact reputable local breeders to find healthy golden retriever puppies for sale. Expect to pay about $500 for a regular companion puppy and $1,000 or more for a show-quality dog. Avoid purchasing a pet from a puppy mill – while mills charge less for their animals, they are unethical and don't breed carefully from strong parentage.

Those looking to adopt an adult dog can start by visiting a local golden retriever rescue center, where animal control authorities match abused or stray dogs with loving homes.