The Golden Retriever. With their thick golden coat, eager to please attitude and friendly demeanour, is it any wonder they are the 3rd most popular breed in the U.S out of 194 breeds? Although they are a popular choice amongst families, these beauties can come with some serious health issues that most people are not aware of. Let’s take a closer look at this breed’s traits and determine whether or not the Golden Retriever is the right fit for your family.
Characteristics and Maintenance:
These golden beauties are loving, loyal, happy and eager to learn. These qualities make for an excellent candidate for an addition to families everywhere, however, you need to keep in mind that they also have an excess amount of energy. The Golden Retriever is just that, a retriever. This means that they expect a certain amount of work and exercise. If they are not challenged and given things to keep them occupied, they can get into some trouble. Goldens can thrive in doggie sports because of their abundance of energy and eagerness to work. Doggie sports can be quite expensive, especially if they are done long-term, so if you do not have the budget for this, swimming, jogging and hiking are other activities that a Golden could really enjoy.
We already know how friendly the Golden is, but what is less known is how unfriendly a Golden can be, especially when they have not been properly socialized. Even though Goldens have a tendency to be happier and friendlier by their very nature, they still need to be well socialized, which means puppy classes and basic training are a must.
This breed tends to have a very thick coat with longer fur. This can lead to a knotted mess if their coat is not kept in good condition. With this in mind, they need to be brushed often. Taking them to be professionally groomed every so often is also a very good idea to keep them looking and feeling their best!
Is this dog right for me?
As previously mentioned, the Golden can be a very friendly and happy dog, however if left unsocialized, they can become aggressive and possessive. It is important that this breed, like any breed, get proper training and socialization with other people and dogs. No dog becomes the perfect pet magically, or has the perfect behaviour. Although the Golden is considered friendlier than some other breeds by nature, this does not mean they can be isolated and left without any basic training. To get the behaviour you want takes work, no matter what the breed.
As we discussed, the Golden requires lots of grooming, so we must not forget about their ears. These fur babies can have some issues with their ears and are known for chronic ear infections. They need to be cleaned often to decrease their chances of developing any sort of infection. They will not just let you clean their ears, so getting them used to it while they are young is important in how successful you are at cleaning the ears. If you are not up to taking the time to do this, then a Golden may not be right for you.
Do you measure the quantity of food you give Fido? Goldens are prone to becoming obese and therefore a proper diet that is also properly measured is essential at keeping these beauties healthy. A proper diet that is tailored to large breed dogs is the most important to protect their joints, since they are also prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. These diets can be costly since they are placed through feeding trials to ensure that they will do what they claim to do, so this should be budgeted accordingly.
Goldens can be susceptible to eye issues as well as heart issues. They are known for potentially developing one of these three eye diseases; juvenile cataracts, pigmentary uveitis and progressive retinal atrophy. All three of these diseases can cause blindness, and therefore regular yearly check-ups are necessary in order to monitor the health of Fido’s eyes. They can also develop a condition known as subvalvular aortic stenosis which essentially impairs the blood flow throughout of the body and cause some serious issues. All of these mentioned diseases are often genetic, and therefore when getting a Golden, pet insurance is highly recommended in case treatment becomes necessary.
With the right amount of socialization and training, the Golden can be an ideal addition to your family. Keep in mind that although they can be fantastic dogs, they have the potential of having social issues just as any other dog, and therefore basic training is still essential.
They are a bigger breed of dog and are prone to some serious health issues, therefore any treatment and care will add up quickly financially. If this is not in your budget, then maybe the Golden is not the right pick for you at this time. One thing that can really help any family is having a good pet insurance to back you up.
Before making the decision to add the Golden Retriever to your family, please speak with your veterinary team to help determine if this breed is the right fit for you.
Chelsey Lough. CAHT