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Golden Retriever dog breed

Golden Retrievers are known for their intelligence, good-nature and distinct colour. Learn more with this guide. Pet insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc

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Golden Retriever dog breed information and advice

Golden Retrievers are known for their distinctive white, cream and dark golden coats. They’re used as service dogs because of their obedience and intelligence. Golden Retrievers have a gentle temperament and love human interaction. They’re just as good with infants and young children as they are with adults and the elderly. This makes them a perfect pet for all households.

If you want to know more about Golden Retrievers, look no further. This handy dog breed guide will provide you with all you need to know about caring for this breed. Find information on training, grooming, exercising and feeding your dog, as well as possible health issues.

Golden Retriever facts

Golden Retriever
Lifespan 10 - 12 years
How much £1,500 - £3,000
Size 51 - 61 cm
Weight 25 - 34 kg
Colours white golden, cream golden, dark golden
Grooming daily brushing when shedding heavily, weekly brushing when not
Temperament obedient and playful
Exercise a very active breed that needs at least an hour or two of exercise a day 

Golden Retriever insurance

While Golden Retrievers can have a long lifespan, they are prone to health issues, so it’s essential to make sure you have your dog covered for any health care needs. Illnesses can occur at any age, so it’s a good idea to take out Golden Retriever puppy insurance as soon as possible.

Sainsbury’s Bank Pet Insurance

You can take out dog insurance as soon as your pet is eight weeks old, right up until their eighth birthday. And once you have cover in place, we’ll insure your Golden Retriever for their entire life – as long as you renew your policy year after year. Giving you one less thing to think about.

How to care for a Golden Retriever

Like all dog breeds, diet and exercise are the two most important factors. But grooming your Golden Retriever and training also need to be considered. Well-trained dogs are better behaved and easier to care for.

Feeding and nutrition

Golden Retrievers are greedy eaters. They were bred for retrieving gaming birds, so can be scavengers. If allowed, they’ll beg for food, but this can be stopped through training and a regular feeding routine. Feed your dog once or twice a day – they’ll be less likely to beg if they have two meals.

Make sure your Golden Retriever doesn’t become overweight by measuring their food. Try not to go overboard on treats too. You’ll find measurement guidelines on food packaging, or you can ask your vet for advice.


When it comes to grooming, your Golden Retriever will need brushing daily to stop their fur from matting If your dog’s hair mats, you’ll need to cut it out using scissors. This breed sheds a lot and brushing regularly will help reduce the amount of dog hair in your home.

Their fur will only grow to a certain length before it falls out. This means that they don’t need to be trimmed unless you want them to have a shorter cut. But they’ll need to be washed at least once a month. Their long coat and love of the outdoors make them prone to that familiar ‘doggy’ smell. You can bath your dog yourself or take them to a professional groomer.


A Golden Retriever is an energetic dog and will need an hour or more of exercise a day. You can split this into shorter sessions - say 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. A well-exercised dog is less likely to get up to mischief or be destructive.

Remember, exercise doesn’t just mean walking – playing games counts too. Most Golden Retrievers love to play fetch, and this is a great way to burn off energy. Let your dog off the lead so that they can run around and burn off extra energy. But make sure they respond to your call before letting them off the lead in an open space.


Golden Retrievers are smart and obedient dogs, making them easy to train. Golden Retrievers were originally bred in the UK to fetch game birds but are now more commonly trained as service dogs such as guide dogs.

Some puppies will have been toilet trained by the breeder. But if your dog needs house training, you’ll have to be patient with them. Golden Retrievers learn quickly, but all dogs need repetition to learn. Positive, reward-based training is the most effective. They love food and are keen to please. Reward your dog with a treat every time it carries out a command.

Training classes are a great way to socialise your dog and pick up training tips.

Temperament and behaviour

Golden Retrievers are a social dog. They get on well with people and all kinds of animals. They’re the perfect pet for children as they love to play and never lose their puppy-like personalities. They’ll fit into most lifestyles and adapt well to change.

Their temperament means that Golden Retrievers are often used for service and professional dogs. Their obedient and gentle behaviour and personality make them perfect for sociable roles.

Golden Retriever puppies are lively and playful. These characteristics stay with them as they grow. Even elderly Golden Retrievers will still want to play.

Common health problems

As a dog breed, Retrievers are known to suffer from quite a few health issues. Having Golden Retriever insurance can help you when it comes to vet bills. It’s also important to prepare yourself for these conditions, so you can spot them quickly and understand what treatment is available.

Hip dysplasia

With this condition, the ball-and-socket hip joint does not fit properly . When moving, it rubs and causes pain and will eventually lead to arthritis. While hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition, the severity can be affected by poor diet and a lack of exercise. Obese or overweight dogs are more likely to suffer due to the added weight on the joint.

Common hip dysplasia symptoms can include leg weakness. Your vet can help with any diagnosis or treatment.

Weight control and a restricted exercise programme will help, as well as pain relief and anti-inflammatories. Hip replacement surgery is sometimes a requirement in severe cases.

Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)

These inherited eye diseases ultimately lead to blindness. Vision loss can happen over months or years.

Poor vision at night and during low lighting are the first signs of the condition. Your dog’s pupils will be larger than normal, and there may be an obvious shine to the eye.

This condition normally affects dogs aged between three and eight years old. It can’t be treated, but blind dogs can still live a long, happy life.


Epilepsy is a series of chronic, recurring fits. The fits are caused by abnormal brain activity. All animals react differently, some can even sense when they’re about to fit. In most cases, a fit occurs when the animal is resting. They will rapidly shake and may lose control of their bladder.

If you think your dog has had a fit, you should visit the vet immediately. Your pet may be given tablets to control and reduce the fits. It's rare for the fits to stop completely, but your dog will still be able to have a good quality of life. With treatment, the lifespan of your dog will not be affected.

Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis

Aortic stenosis is a form of heart disease that can occur in larger dogs. It affects the aortic valve, which is a valve that controls the flow of blood as it leaves the heart. Aortic Stenosis in particular describes a narrowing of this valve which means your dog’s heart has to work harder to get the right amount of blood through. 

Ultimately, this additional stress on your Golden Retriever’s heart can lead to heart failure or other complications.

Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis Dissecans, or OD, is a complication in the cartilage in a joint. Specifically, it describes the situation where inflamed or diseased cartilage breaks away from the underlying bone.

While the cause of OD is unknown, it tends to affect larger dogs and occurs more often in males. 

Golden Retrievers with OD may limp on the affected legs, they may also be lame. They might also yelp if the joint is moved or touched.

How long do Golden Retrievers live?

The life expectancy of a Golden Retriever is between 10 and 12 years. Their lifespan will be affected by their diet and exercise. Overweight dogs will have a short life expectancy as they’re more prone to health problems. Some conditions can’t be avoided, but others can. An active dog is a healthy dog.

Do Golden Retrievers shed?

Golden Retrievers shed a lot, especially during spring and autumn. Brushing daily will help with the shedding and stop the fur from matting. If your dog gets a mat in its fur, you’ll need to cut it out.

No matter how much you brush, you’ll need to get used to Golden Retriever hair being on your clothes and furniture.

How much is a Golden Retriever?

A Golden Retriever costs between £1,500 and £3,000. Adults dogs are generally at the lower end of the scale.

You can usually expect to pay £1,200 for a puppy, although this depends on the breeder and pedigree. The price for a Golden Retriever puppy will vary depending on the breeder and pedigree.

Are Golden Retrievers and Labradors the same dog breed?

Don’t worry, you’re not the only person asking this question. The answer is no; they’re not the same. Both are retrievers and bred for hunting, so they share similar personalities, but they’re not even related.

They’re roughly the same size and build. The main noticeable difference is their coats. Labradors are dogs with short, straight fur, whereas Golden Retrievers are dogs with long, wavy fur.

So, is a Golden Retriever right for you?

Your Golden Retriever will never fail to put a smile on your face. They’re a devoted breed that will stay by your side and always be ready to give you a cuddle when you need it.

Frequently asked questions

Is a Golden Retriever a good family dog?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are well suited to family life. As highly sociable dogs with a friendly temperament, they’re great with family members of all ages. Golden Retrievers are also highly intelligent which makes them easy to train, making them a good pet for both experienced and inexperienced owners.

Is a Golden Retriever a high maintenance dog?

Unfortunately, it’s not a straight-forward answer. While Golden Retrievers are highly adaptable and tolerant, they do have specific needs to keep them happy and healthy. This can include daily brushing and at least an hour of exercise a day. Golden Retrievers are also highly sociable, which means they thrive when allowed to interact with other dogs.

Are Golden Retrievers friendly?

Yes. Golden Retrievers are famously friendly with everyone they meet. They can retain a puppy-like nature well into adulthood and appreciate nothing more than cuddles and attention. If you’re looking for a dog that is friendly above all else, then a Golden Retriever may be for you.

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