Adding a Golden Retriever to Your Family

The Golden Retriever is the 3rd most popular breed of dog in the U.S., behind the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd, and has been for some time.  Their popularity may be due to their exceptional intelligence or loyal, affectionate nature, but either way, if you’re thinking of joining thousands of Americans by adopting a Golden Retriever, here’s what you need to know.

A Little History

There’s some debate over who bred the first Golden Retriever – some credit Lord Tweedmouth, a mid-19th century Scotsman, while others credit Sir Dudley Majoribanks of Glen Affric, Scotland.  Either way, the Golden is linked to a great 19th century name.   Both men desired a waterfowl Retriever with enhanced hunting skills and durability.  In England, the Golden Retriever was formally recognized as a breed in 1903, and later by the American Kennel Club in 1925.

What are Golden Retrievers Like?

Goldens are extremely intelligent.  Whether it be hunting, competing, offering therapy, or engaging in search and rescue missions, these dogs can do it all.  Their athletic build, powerful gait, and broad heads are some of their most distinguishing characteristics, matched only by their devotion to their owners.  They love to play, perhaps to a fault, sometimes retrieving until your arm gives out! Despite their high-energy demeanor outdoors, Goldens are very calm inside.  They are also great with cats, children, and other dogs, making them a good candidate for almost any family.

A Golden’s coat can be dark golden, golden, or light golden and either smooth or wavy.  Standing at 21 to 24 inches, the Golden is slightly longer than it is tall, and weighs between 55 to 75 pounds.  Litters yield anywhere from 6 to 10 puppies.

Caring for Golden Retrievers

Pet parents should groom Golden Retrievers regularly, brushing their coats at least twice a week (since they do shed).  A weekly bath and nail trim will help to prevent skin conditions and discomfort.  Occasional stripping may be required to maintain their coats.  Ensure your puppy participates in daily exercise, and do not forget to brush their teeth!

Most Golden Retrievers live between 10 and 13 years.  It’s important to visit your vet regularly to monitor for potential health concerns.  The following conditions are prevalent in Golden Retrievers: Lymphoma, Canine Hip Dysplasia (CHD), Hemangiosarcoma, and skin problems1. They are also high risk for weight gain, so it’s important to monitor what they eat.  On average, Goldens consume 2.75 cups of dry food each day, but can consume as many as 3.5 cups.

The Cost

On average, breeders charge $1,500 to adopt a puppy. Pet parents should also be prepared to pay veterinary (vaccines, spay/neuter, exams, etc.) and insurance expenses.  After the adoption fee, initial expenses for a crate, collar, leash, toys, and food are an estimated $500.00, while the average cost to own a Golden Retriever is about $875 each year thereafter.  Regarding medical expenses, they are the 22nd most expensive breed, averaging $961 each year. Since Goldens are at an increased risk for cancer, be aware that the cost of treatment can range from $8,000 to $15,000. Less serious conditions such as CHD can cost pet parents between $1,500 to $6,000.  A 4Paws Pet Insurance policy can help cover these conditions, allowing pet parents to provide the care their pets need without breaking the bank.

Sandy Says
Comments from our Chief Pet Officer

Great for nearly any family, Golden Retrievers are intelligent, affectionate, and loyal companions.  Their unique heritage and lineage has resulted in one of the most capable breeds on record.  Whether you aspire to have a champion, desire a hunting-buddy, or just want a loving companion, the Golden Retriever fits the bill like no other.