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12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get A Golden Retriever

Deciding to bring a dog into your life is a significant commitment, one that requires careful consideration of various factors to ensure a perfect match between your lifestyle and the needs of your new furry companion. Among the many breeds to choose from, the Golden Retriever stands out for its friendly demeanor, intelligence, and undeniable charm.

Renowned for their lush golden coats and gentle eyes, these dogs have captured the hearts of families worldwide, making them one of the most popular breeds.

However, while Golden Retrievers are celebrated for their loving nature and versatility as family pets, assistance animals, and loyal companions, they are not the right fit for everyone.

In this post, we look into the reasons why you shouldn’t get a Golden Retriever. From their high energy levels to their sociable yet mischievous personality traits, we’ll explore the aspects of owning a Golden Retriever that potential dog owners should consider.

Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or considering adding a Golden Retriever to your pack, this guide aims to provide valuable insights into what living with this beautiful breed is like.

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get A Golden Retriever - title picture with pic of Golden retriever puppy laying on floor

Insights from Golden Retriever Owners

Much of this information on why you shouldn’t get a Golden Retriever comes from an assortment of Golden Retriever owners that have chosen to share their experiences with others. But it also comes from my personal experience of living with our Golden Retriever Rescue, Charlie. We adopted Charlie from a rescue when he was about 5 years old. He was a handful but we loved him very much.

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12 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Get A Golden Retriever

1. Golden Retrievers are Large Dogs

Golden Retrievers fall into the upper medium to large size category, with adults typically weighing between 55 to 75 pounds and standing about 20 to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. Our rescue Golden was on the larger size at over 100 pounds, though he should have been closer to 85 to 90 pounds for his frame.

Golden Retrievers require a living space that can comfortably accommodate their size. Small apartments or homes without a yard might feel cramped for a breed that thrives on having room to stretch, run, and play. They may also be underfoot in a smaller home.

Their larger stature means they can accidentally knock over small children or break delicate home furnishings during their enthusiastic moments.

Golden Retriever Puppy sleeping

2. Cost of Ownership

The initial cost of acquiring a Golden Retriever from a reputable breeder is only the beginning. Their large size increases the cost of ownership as compared to a smaller dog. Here are a few examples:

  • Food – They need a larger quantity of high-quality food to support their size and energy levels which can lead to higher food costs.
  • Healthcare costs – Larger dogs often face specific health challenges that may require more frequent visits to the vet, along with higher doses of medication and more expensive treatments compared to smaller breeds.
  • Supplies – Due to their size you may need to purchase larger, more durable toys and beds, which can further increase expenses.

3. High Energy Dogs

Golden Retrievers are known for their high energy levels. They were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like retrieving game for hunters, which means they thrive on exercise and activity. Golden Retrievers also require mental stimulation to prevent boredom.

For individuals or families who prefer a more sedentary lifestyle or don’t have the time to dedicate to daily, vigorous exercise, a Golden Retriever’s energy level can be overwhelming. Without adequate exercise, they may resort to undesirable behaviors out of boredom or excess energy.

White Golden Retriever puppy sitting with blue background and blue bow

4. High Shedding

Golden Retrievers have dense, water-repellent outer coats with thick undercoats. They shed moderately year-round and heavily during the shedding season.

I cannot emphasize enough how much hair they shed when they blow their coat every spring and fall. If you don’t like having hair everywhere, on your clothes, on the furniture or tumble weeds of fur on the floor this is not the dog for you.

Regular brushing (at least twice a week) can help control shedding. But, it can be time-consuming and may not suit everyone, especially those with allergies or a preference for a tidy home.

5. Not Hypoallergenic:

Due to their considerable shedding, Golden Retrievers are not hypoallergenic, making them unsuitable for individuals with allergies.

6. Very Social

Golden Retrievers are known for their exceptionally social temperament. They thrive on interaction with their human families and often do well with other pets.

However, this high level of sociability means they require a lot of attention and companionship. They can suffer from separation anxiety if left alone for long periods, leading to destructive behavior or excessive barking.

For people with demanding jobs, frequent travel schedules, or limited time at home, meeting a Golden Retriever’s need for social interaction and companionship can be challenging.

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get A Golden Retriever - Adult Golden with tongue out.

7. Not a Guard Dog:

Their innate friendliness extends to strangers, making them poor choices for those seeking a dog with protective instincts.

Their tendency to greet all visitors enthusiastically can be at odds with the needs of households wanting a dog for security purposes.

8. Mouthiness

Golden Retrievers are often described as “mouthy,” meaning they tend to use their mouths whether it is to carry things, or to chew on things.

Our Golden once decided that my husband’s work boot was the perfect chew toy. He was over 5 years old, so way past the teething stage.

This behavior is rooted in their breeding as retrievers, where carrying game was part of their job. While this trait can be managed with training and by providing appropriate chew toys, it might be challenging for households with young children, where toys and other small objects could be mistakenly chewed on.

It’s essential to consider whether you have the patience and environment to manage this breed characteristic.

Golden with stick in their mouth at the beach

9. Slow to Mature

Golden Retrievers mature slowly, taking up to 3-4 years to reach adulthood, resulting in extended puppy-like behavior.

This requires ongoing patience, training, and exercise. Such a commitment might be challenging for those seeking a low-maintenance pet.

10. Mischievousness

Their intelligence, combined with their energy and curiosity, can lead Golden Retrievers into mischief, especially if they are bored or under-stimulated. This mischief can manifest in various ways, such as digging in the yard, sneaking food from counters, or unwelcome exploratory chewing.

Our Golden decided one day to steal clothes out of the laundry and parade around the house with it. There was also the day he snuck out of the house to go visit our neighbor down the street that would give him treats when he visited.

There was also the time that he stole and ate a half bag of marshmallows that were double bagged. This is just a few of the mischievous acts he committed in the short time we had him.

While these behaviors can often be mitigated with proper training and mental stimulation, they require a commitment to consistent, ongoing training and engagement.

Reasons Why You Shouldn't Get A Golden Retriever - Golden puppy sleeping with yellow background

11. Training

While Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly nature and trainability, they do require consistent training and socialization from a young age. Neglecting this can lead to behavioral issues, such as jumping, excessive barking, or separation anxiety.

Potential owners need to be willing and able to invest time into their dog’s training and socialization.

12. Health Issues

Golden Retrievers are predisposed to certain health issues. One notable health concern is their high incident of cancers, more so than many other dog breeds.

Studies have shown that cancer is a leading cause of death for Goldens. A significant percentage of the breed is affected by various forms of the disease, including lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors.

This is how we lost our Golden. He also had a few other health issues that cost thousands of dollars in the short time we had him.

Goldens are also prone to other genetic health problems such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye conditions.

Regular health screenings and preventive care can help catch and manage these conditions early, but they do contribute to the overall cost and care responsibilities of owning a Golden Retriever.

Cute Golden  puppy with red check bandana.

Why You Shouldn’t Get A Golden Retriever

To sum it all up, while Golden Retrievers make wonderful pets that can enrich your life in countless ways, it’s important to consider all aspects of their care and well-being before making the decision to bring one into your home.

Their size, energy levels, slow maturity, predisposition to certain health issues, and the associated costs of ownership are significant factors.

These considerations are crucial in ensuring that you can provide a loving, safe, and suitable environment for a Golden Retriever, and equally, that your lifestyle and expectations align with the reality of owning this kind-hearted breed.

Ultimately, informed decision-making will help ensure a happy and fulfilling relationship with your furry friend for years to come.