How do you know if a Golden is the right breed for you? There are several things you have to look at and then decide.
Size - is size a problem? Puppies grow into big dogs! A female Golden is between 21 1/2" -22 1/2" at the withers and the males are 23" - 24". Weights vary according to bone structure but the average weight for males is 65-75lbs and females 60 -70lbs.
Depending on what the breeder is looking for you can have much larger or smaller males and females.
I personally have smaller girls usually under 60 lbs.
Do we have the space? Although they are a big dog they are quite happy to settle where you are inside. As they mature they calm down and are quite content to lie around inside. They do need plenty of time outside to run and play. A fenced yard is the best thing to have. If you don't have one you will have to take them for good walks every day. They do need their exercise.
Coat and Grooming - a Golden will shed! Some have a really heavy coat and others a much lighter coat. Some are wavy and others straight. Although they shed it is much easier to mop up the longer hair than it is the shorter hair which sticks into things! They don't need to be bathed very often unless they roll in some "good smell"!! If they get wet and muddy the dirt falls off as they dry. They do need to be brushed regularly as the fur will matt if they aren't. They don't need a lot of trimming. Keeping the fur on the bottoms of their feet trimmed helps in snow and mud.
Their colour is from a cream to a rich gold. There are extremes where they are almost white and a dark rusty red.
Their nails do have to be kept short. Goldens can be prone to Hot Spots. These are sores caused by various things - a matt, thick wet fur, an insect bite. Regular brushing will spot them early. They become moist and irritated and may be itchy so the dog scratches and makes it worse. Trimming in the ear helps with air flow and helps prevent ear infections.
Am I prepared to have fur around? If you keep them brushed it will help with the shedding. But you will have dust bunnies!! It does vacuum up easily.
Temperament - a Golden is a very people dog. They love company! They are a sporting dog so do need regular exercise. They love to run and swim. They are usually great retrievers. They are anxious to please and learn fast. They are a smart dog. Goldens are very gentle and love children. They are a great family dog. Some never bark! They are usually so pleased to see anyone! They are very trustworthy and shouldn't show any aggression to people or other dogs.
Children? If you have children or are an active family a Golden would be a good match.
Health Problems - Goldens are prone to some health risks. Some we can test for and make sure our breeding males and females are clear. Unfortunately some we can't test for.
When looking for a breeder ask about clearances and ask to see them.
Things we can test for -
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia - This is done after the dog is 18 mths. They will have a certificate to say they are clear of both. They don't have to be tested again.
Heart Clearance - After the age of 1 yr they are tested for SAS. They will get a certificate to say they are clear and won't have to be re-tested.
Eye Clearance - This has to be done very year until they are not being bred. You need to check that the certificate is within the last year.
Cancer is becoming widespread in Goldens as in many other breeds, cats and people. Unfortunately there is no test.
Yearly costs - I am often asked how much it will cost each year to have a dog. It is a very hard question to answer as there are many things that could happen.
There are basic cost which will happen every year.
Food - depending on the Brand you will usually go through an adult bag every 6 weeks.
Shots - the puppy usually has had it's first set of shots at 8 wks. It will need a booster at 12 wks and 16 wks. Then a year from that date it will need another booster. After that every 3 yrs or you do a titer to see if it needs it. I only give what is really needed. The rabies is given at 6 mths and a booster a year from that date. After that every 3 yrs.
I don't believe in over vaccinating so only give what it really necessary. You can go to my Heath page for more info.
You have to be prepared for emergency illness or accidents.
Yes a Golden is for you!! They are a great breed and you will have many happy times and adventures with one. Children will have a great companion.
How do I go about getting one? - You need to find a reputable breeder who does all the health clearances. Your local Golden Retriever Club will have a list of breeders in your area. www.canadasguidetodogs.com has a list of breeders all over the country.
When contacting a breeder have a list of questions to ask. They in return will ask you questions. You should arrange a visit several breeders so you can see where the puppies are born and brought up and meet the breeder. Visit with the dogs so you can see the temperaments of them. Choose a breeder you are comfortable with and feel has answered your all questions honestly. You are making a long term commitment in bringing a puppy into your family so you want to be certain it is coming from the right place.
If you know someone who has already got a Golden ask them where they got it and are they happy with the breeder. Going on a recommendation is a good way to start.
Good Luck in your choice and have many Golden years with your new family member.
Some pics of typical Goldens!!
As you can see they love everyone human and animal! They love love to be with you whatever you are doing! They love water. They like their comforts! They are very patient and allow you to make a fool of them!!