Originally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925, the golden retriever is a member of the sporting group. According to AKC breed registration statistics, the golden retriever was the third most popular breed in the United States as of 2013. Depending upon your lifestyle and your goals with a family pet, the golden retriever will either delight you or challenge you.
An Ideal Family Pet
The golden retriever does not typically demonstrate behavior that is aggressive, territorial or manipulative, which makes him an ideal family pet. With his remarkable intelligence and need for a job to do, he can be counted on to wake up family members in the morning, or can be taught to fetch the paper. He loves to carry things in his mouth, so you might find him toting around your shoe or a dirty sock for days on end. A true companion animal, be prepared for your golden retriever to live indoors with you and your family, and most likely remain underfoot at every turn.
A Furry Bundle of Energy
As the saying goes, "a tired golden retriever is a well-behaved golden retriever." Anyone considering adding a golden retriever to the family should understand they need plenty of mental and physical exercise to remain happy, to keep out of trouble, and to ensure you retain your sanity. Easy to entertain, golden retrievers love to fetch just about anything you can toss, swim, join you on your daily run or bike ride, or participate in agility sports. The most important thing to remember is that he needs his exercise, for 40 to 60 minutes, every day.
A Thinking Dog
No matter what hobbies, sports or other entertainment you may enjoy, your golden retriever will joyfully participate with you. An easily trained dog, the golden retriever possesses substantial intelligence. Originally bred to retrieve ducks and other waterfowl for hunters, he can learn tracking, search and rescue, narcotics detection, and advanced obedience, yet he is gentle enough to train as a therapy or companion animal.
A Friendly Face
Golden retrievers love to interact with the family, and are particularly patient and gentle with children. Since they can be a bit exuberant, especially when they're young, care must be taken so they don't accidentally mow over small children in the house by accident. They get along well with other family pets and, with proper introduction, can be trusted with other dogs, cats, rabbits and other animals. Unfortunately, the golden retriever's friendly nature makes him ill suited as a guard dog. He may bark to announce unknown visitors, but will normally greet friends and strangers alike with a wagging tail and his trademark doggie grin.
- Janie Airey/Digital Vision/Getty Images