Thinking about a Golden Retriever as a pet?
Top 10 Reason NOT to get a Golden Retriever
(with apologies to Mr. Letterman)
Printed with Permission – Cheryl Minnier
- YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN “OUTSIDE ONLY” DOG. Part of what makes Goldens “Golden” is their affectionate, people loving nature. This trait makes them VERY unhappy when they don’t have a high amount of interaction with you. A Golden confined to the backyard can become destructive and LOUD! Imagine if you left your children alone most of the time until they reached adolescence. The wild child you are picturing is similar to what will happen to a Golden left alone that much. If you aren’t planning on your dog becoming one of the family – a Golden is not the breed for you!
- YOU DON”T LIKE DOG HAIR. Goldens shed – a little all year round and then a couple of times a year- look out! If you have a problem with Golden fuzz becoming part of your dietary fiber or you’re compulsive about always dressing in black – this is not the breed for you! Goldens also need regular grooming to keep their skin and coat in good condition. You can easily learn to do this yourself or have your dog professionally groomed, but grooming time is something to factor into the amount of time you will need to spend caring for your dog.
- YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR. Goldens are born with a sense of mischief. If you really see nothing funny about waking up to a cold, slobbery tennis ball in your face or a puppy that decides that 2:00 a.m. is a great time to play fetch – perhaps another breed or an older dog might be best.
- YOU ARE A CLEAN FREAK. Muddy paws, nose prints on every window in your house and car, and did I mention the hair? Enough said… If you can’t relax and enjoy it, you and your dog will both be miserable.
- YOU ARE A COUCH POTATO AND HOPE YOUR DOG WILL BE TOO. Goldens are sporting dogs, bred to retrieve game all day. They need regular exercise, especially as puppies, or they can become destructive and unhappy. If your longest walk in the past month was from the couch to your bed – perhaps a more sedentary pet would better suit your needs?
- YOU LIKE EVERYTHING TO STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU PUT IT. Goldens have a last name – “Retriever”, from the Latin meaning “to put EVERYTHING in your mouth and dance around with it!” The retrieving instinct SHOULD be a part of every Golden so if you object strongly to your dog happily strutting out to greet company with your underwear in his mouth – perhaps you should continue your search for the perfect breed.
- YOU ARE APPROACHING GETTING A DOG AS A TEMPORARY CONDITION. Not only are Goldens addictive – but also they will also hopefully live a long time. Dog ownership is a commitment for the life of a dog. If you figure your dog will head for the pound once the kids are in school – please reconsider getting a pet! Golden rescue is full of dogs that have lost their homes as a result of changes in life circumstances. Some are not preventable and the dedicated volunteers who care for these dogs are ready and willing to help – but the changes that ARE predictable should be taken into consideration BEFORE making a commitment to a dog!
- YOU DON’T LIKE MEETING NEW PEOPLE. Your new family member will need obedience classes to help him become a well-behaved canine citizen. This is a dangerously easy place to make friends. It is also impossible to walk down the street with a beautiful Golden dog and NOT be stopped by strangers. Goldens are people magnets. Got a problem with this? Maybe a something in the guard dog family would serve you better?
- YOU WANT TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK BREEDING DOGS. Last year Golden Retriever Rescue spent hundreds of thousands of dollars working to save hundreds of dogs. Most of these dogs wound up in rescue because their owners had little idea of the time, commitment and effort it takes to own a dog. And their breeders had little idea of the proper techniques for placing puppies in the RIGHT homes. These rescue dogs are a testament to the fact that there are too many carelessly bred Goldens. If Golden breeding is done right it is RARELY a profitable adventure. Health clearances, veterinary care, and puppy supplies are just a few of the many expenses that occur as a result of an “uncomplicated” litter. If you consider the possible problems you may encounter, it is easy to see why breeding is NOT a money making venture!
- YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A GUARD DOG. Did I mention the part about Goldens loving everyone? They will be eager to assist the thieves that are breaking into your home; probably even helping them carry out the silver. If you are looking for protection this probably isn’t an endearing quality… maybe that guard dog is looking better.
- YOU LOOK AT THAT LITTLE 10-POUND BALL OF FUR AND OFFER UP A SILENT PRAYER THAT HE’LL STAY THAT SIZE. Goldens should range from 21 inches at the shoulder to around 24 and weigh in anywhere from 50 to 80 lbs. This is a lot of dog. If you don’t plan on heeding my advice about obedience classes, you may find yourself with an out of control, furry, wiggly, monster with a tail that can clear a coffee table in one great swoop! As an alternative, there are several wonderful smaller breeds (many without tails!) to choose from.
- YOU THINK DOGS MAKE GREAT NANNIES FOR SMALL CHILDREN AND A WONDERFUL LESSON IN RESPONSIBILITY FOR OLDER KIDS. You are partly right. A Golden retriever and a child often form a loving, inseparable bond. However, the ultimate responsibility for any living, breathing creature must always fall to an adult. Children can be wonderful dog groomers, trainers and best friends, but they need adult guidance. You should also remember that Goldens are big enough – even as puppies – to knock down a small child. Small children and dogs should ALWAYS be supervised when together, for both their sakes!
- AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON “NOT” TO GET A GOLDEN RETRIEVER….YOU THINK AN IDEAL PLACE TO GET ONE IS THE PET STORE IN YOUR MALL! Golden Retrievers can have several potential health problems. Chief among these are Canine Hip Dysplasia – a sometimes crippling joint disease; sub-aortic stenosis – a usually fatal heart defect; several inherited eye diseases that can blind or disable a dog; epilepsy, early onset cancer and temperament problems ranging from hyperactivity to aggression. It is essential that you seek out a responsible breeder if you are looking for a puppy or an established rescue group if an adult dog would fit your needs better. For information on how to find a responsible breeder visit the Golden Retriever Club of America’s home page: For help finding a rescue Golden, visit the list of Golden Rescues across the country.
If you’ve run out of excuses NOT to “GO GOLDEN” – Congratulations! – you’re ready to be owned by a Golden Retriever!
… and yes, for the obsessive-compulsive types there ARE 13 reasons – not ten – but “the top 13 reasons” just sounded silly
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