Golden Retriever Personality and Traits

golden retriever personality

Golden retrievers consistently rank within the top ten most popular dog breeds for a good reason! These dogs have become a hallmark of American families, along with white picket fences and warm apple pies. Goldens have a wide reputation for being affectionate, gentle, and intelligent pets. There are an estimated 750,000 breed-registered golden retrievers in America alone! Are you thinking about adding a golden retriever to your family? Wondering what to expect from the golden retriever personality?

Keep reading to learn more about these beautiful, loyal dogs and their lovable characteristics!

Golden Retriever Personality

What is a golden retriever’s personality like? In general, golden retrievers are very sweet, friendly dogs. These are the common characteristics found in the golden retriever breed, but your dog will be unique!

Golden Temperament

The golden retriever temperament is generally very friendly, relaxed, and even-keeled. Goldens are eager to please and easily entertained. They like to keep up with the family, and you’ll often find them resting by your feet.

Golden retrievers are not an aggressive breed. Although they can be police dogs or personal security dogs, they are not the best breed for providing physical protection. Golden retrievers are very loyal but not strongly defensive.

Goldens are often trained as therapy dogs and support animals because they have sweet, gentle personalities! Many goldens work with first responders to comfort victims of traumatic events. Because they are patient and tolerant, golden retrievers are great dogs to keep around children and people with disabilities.

Minimal Barking

When you own any kind of dog, some barking is inevitable, but barking will vary between breeds. Because golden retrievers are usually kept indoors, it’s especially important to consider their noise level.

Golden retrievers will bark, but they are not a breed prone to incessant barking. Goldens are a relatively quiet breed; they only bark when they’re excited, distressed, or threatened. If you have a golden retriever, your dog will not likely wake you up by barking at night.

High Energy Levels

Golden retrievers are not a lazy breed. Although you’ll often catch them snoozing at your feet, they are vigilant and active dogs with goofball tendencies.

Golden retrievers are incredibly intelligent, so engaging with them mentally and physically every day is essential. You will need to exercise your golden daily by going for walks and playing with toys. Goldens also enjoy playing with mind puzzles and treat games!

If they do not have a healthy outlet for excess energy, golden retrievers can be destructive or annoying to their owners. Unless you can commit to exercising your dog every 3-4 hours, golden retrievers will not make good apartment pets.

Easy Trainability

Put all that high energy to good use! Golden Retrievers can be easy to train. When they are adequately trained, golden retrievers can be incredibly hard-working dogs. They are frequently trained to be service and support dogs.

Because they are one of the most intelligent dog breeds, golden retrievers are relatively easy to train. Like most dogs, golden retrievers will see the best training results if they are trained from a young age. However, it’s not impossible to teach an old dog new tricks.

Your golden may have specific motivations, but this breed is relatively easy to encourage with treats, affection, and playtime. When your dog behaves well, reward him with lots of treats and pets so he’ll repeat the behavior!

Easygoing Family Members

Golden retrievers are a classic family dog for a good reason; they’re remarkably patient with children! Sometimes babies and young children can be stressful for dogs, pulling their hair, grabbing their ears, and shouting their names. Not all dogs are up to the task of babysitting, but golden retrievers make excellent family pets.

Kids and golden retrievers will enjoy playing outside together for hours. Their high energy and intelligence make them the perfect companions for playing fetch and tug-of-war!

Although goldens are generally very sweet and gentle, it’s still important to train your dog. Teach children how to approach a dog with kindness. Any dog can react negatively when they are feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Cooperative Companions

Because of their easygoing and friendly demeanor, golden retrievers are also well-behaved around other family pets. They are not likely to display aggression towards other dogs in the home and are not prone to tormenting housecats.

Golden retrievers may actually benefit from the company of other animals. By nature, these dogs are very friendly and sociable; they don’t like to be alone for hours at a time. Having another dog (or even a cat!) present in the home may ease your golden’s loneliness while you’re away.

Goldens are usually very easy to take into public spaces as well. They are obedient when walking on the leash and quite friendly towards strangers.

Of course, every dog is unique! As a pet owner, you are responsible for your dog’s actions. If your dog displays aggression or unease around other dogs in public, practice safe dog-walking habits and avoid dog parks.

Golden Retriever Breed History

The history and breeding of golden retrievers play a lot into their modern-day personalities.

Golden retrievers originated in Scotland in the mid to late 19th century, making them a relatively new breed! The natural landscape of Scotland is wet in many places, and hunters had trouble retrieving wildfowl from dense marshy areas. Standard hunting dogs at the time were not very well equipped for finding and returning wild game.

Thus, the hunting dogs were bred with tweed water spaniels to make them more adept in marshlands. Although water spaniels have wavy black coats, some of the puppies were born with distinct yellow coats. These dogs became known as golden retrievers!

Although they gained popularity in America in the late 1800s, golden retrievers didn’t become an official breed of the American Kennel Club until 1925. Today, their lovable personalities have made them one of the most adored dog breeds in America.

Physical Characteristics

Golden retriever characteristics are easily recognizable. Goldens are medium-to-large-sized dogs with distinct wavy coats and floppy, triangular ears. Golden retrievers can be cream-colored, light golden, or dark golden.

Did you know that physical golden retriever traits influence the breed’s personality and interests?

Sloppy Kisses

Although they don’t salivate as much as some other breeds, golden retrievers can be very messy kissers! Golden retrievers have naturally “soft mouths,” meaning they can easily hold objects (like wild game!) between their jaws without damaging them.

Because their lips are quite relaxed, they can have some tendency to drool. Additionally, golden retrievers are some of the “lickiest” dogs. They love to show affection with big, sloppy kisses!

Strong Sense of Smell

Golden retrievers have incredibly keen senses of smell. Historically, they would use their strong noses to locate game in the marshy hunting grounds of Scotland. Today, they are sometimes trained as drug-detection and travel security dogs.

Engaging your golden’s sense of smell is essential for engaging their mind! Golden retrievers love to play games of hide-and-seek with treats.

Active Swimmers

Golden retrievers’ love for water stems from their roots as marshland hunting dogs. These dogs have slick, water-shedding coats inherited from their water spaniel ancestors. Their double-layered fur keeps water from penetrating down to bare skin!

If you’re looking for a summertime swimming buddy, look no further than the golden retriever. If there’s a lake, pool, or puddle, you can guarantee your golden will be in it.

Golden Retriever Care Tips

Golden retrievers are a friendly, easygoing breed, but they do require some special treatment from their owners. Many people know that these dogs eat ravenously, drink a lot of water, and require special coat care, but their unique personalities deserve attention too.

Here are a few essential takeaways for taking care of your golden pal.

1. Exercise Your Dog Often

Golden retrievers are an active, extroverted breed. They do not deal well with feeling cooped indoors for hours at a time. If you have a golden retriever, you’ll need to make an effort to take him outside at least every 3-4 hours.

2. Invest in Early Training

Golden retrievers are an intelligent breed, but their energy can be misdirected if untrained. Consistent, early training will keep your dog from destroying your house and annoying your family. Keep treats nearby to reward your dog for obedient behavior!

3. Engage Your Dog’s Mind

Although they can definitely be goofballs, golden retrievers are not satisfied with simple physical play. They love to travel, explore, and learn new things. Indulge your dog’s instincts by visiting a lake or beach often, or keep him guessing with fun puzzle games.

4. Lend a Helping Paw

The golden retriever’s reputation as a great family dog is well-founded. However, it’s not fair to expect your dog to babysit all day without complaint. Make sure your dog can find space when needed, and teach children how to interact appropriately with pets.

Golden Opportunity

The golden retriever personality is legendary for a reason. This breed is affectionate, loyal, intelligent, and endlessly friendly. If you’re ready to add a dog to the family, choosing to get a golden retriever is one of the best decisions you will ever make!

Are you determined to adopt after reading this golden retriever guide? If their personality traits haven’t convinced you, their adorable puppy faces will!

My Golden Retriever Puppies features high-quality puppies that meet and exceed the “golden standard” for their breed. All of our puppies have certified genetics and are sourced from local, loving breeders.

Ready to meet your new best friend? Check out our available puppies!

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.