Disadvantages of Owning a Golden Retriever

Though initially Goldens may seem to be the ideal pet, there are DISADVANTAGES to owning an animal of this type. Below are many areas that need thought and consideration before you buy. A Golden Retriever is NOT the perfect pet for everyone!!!

  1. SIZE – Goldens are medium-sized animals. Males range from 23-24 inches at the shoulder and weigh proportionally from 65-75 pounds. Females stand 21 ½-22 ½ inches and weigh 55-65 pounds They normally possess extremely active tails making clean sweeps of coffee and end tables. Quite simply, they need room. Uncluttered houses and a fenced yard are MUSTS!
  2.  EXERCISE – Goldens were developed as a sporting breed able to handle a day’s hunting routinely. They need to have hard consistent exercise daily (20-30 minutes twice a day is usually sufficient) or they may have difficulty adjusting to the “calm house pet” role expected by most owners. 
  3. SHEDDING – They are a long-coated breed and shed a minimum of twice a year. Because of the coat, grooming every other day is to your advantage. If you require a fastidiously kept house – DON’T GET A GOLDEN. You will always have dog hair around, especially in rugs, on furniture, and, OH, YES, occasionally even in your food.
  4. HEALTH & CARE – Goldens are known to be prone to skin problems – allergies as well as dry and brittle coats. Additionally, they have varying degrees of problems with hip dysplasia and eye defects. Feeding one medium-sized dog for a year will run you between $200-$400 dependent upon what type of food and additional supplementation. Veterinary expenses for the first year run between $400-$600* depending on veterinarian and locale. Though many of these expenses get hidden in the grocery bill (food dishes, leashes and collars, brushes, shampoos, tick/flea collars, chew toys) – THEY ARE THERE.
  5. TRAINING – Many wish to make their Goldens into good canine citizens. A good beginner’s obedience class costs between $75-$110*. Formalized/professional field training is even higher. And let’s not forget the cost of training equipment – leashes, collars, training dummies, whistles, and the gas to and from training sessions. Moreover, Goldens tend to be sensitive or soft in many training situations. They must be handled carefully with a loving, firm, but nonetheless GENTLE hand.
  6. GUARD DOGS – As protective guard dogs, Goldens are LOUSY!!! Though they may bark and growl defensively, when it comes down to brass tacks – they’d as soon kiss the intruder and show him to the furs and jewels as corner him with an “I’ll rip you to shreds” snarl.
  7. ADDICTIVE – Very few people own only one Golden; we simply find them habit forming. Contrary to popular opinion, they are not cheaper by the dozen.

Copyright GRCA/1980
Compiled by Liz Watford

*Updated by GTCGRC 2006