Dog Health & More
The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. The breed's friendly, tolerant attitude makes him a fabulous family pet, and his intelligence makes him a highly capable working dog. Golden Retrievers excel at retrieving game for hunters, tracking, sniffing out drugs, and as therapy and assistance dogs. They're also natural athletes, and do well in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience.
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It's no surprise that the Golden Retriever is one of the top ten most popular dogs in the U.S. It's all good with the Golden: he's highly intelligent, sociable, beautiful, and loyal.
He's also lively. The Golden is slow to mature and retains the silly, playful personality of a puppy until three to four years of age, which can be both delightful and annoying. Many keep their puppyish traits into old age.
Originally bred for the physically demanding job of retrieving ducks and other fowl for hunters, the Golden needs daily exercise: a walk or jog, free time in the yard, a run at the beach or lake (Goldens love water), or a game of fetch. And like other intelligent breeds who were bred to work, they need to have a job to do, such as retrieving the paper, waking up family members, or competing in dog sports. A tired Golden is a well-behaved Golden.
As well as giving your Golden Retriever physical and mental exercise, you should also be prepared to include him in your family activities. The Golden Retriever is a family dog, and he needs to be with his "pack." Don't consider getting a Golden unless you're willing to have him in the house with you, underfoot, every day.
There's one other potential drawback to the breed: He's definitely not a watchdog. He might bark when strangers come around, but don't count on it. Most likely, he'll wag his tail and flash that characteristic Golden smile.