Are Golden Retrievers Good First Dogs?

Quick Answer

Golden Retrievers are excellent first dogs as long as you’re familiar with the time, energy, and financial requirements that come with owning any type of dog at all.

Golden Retrievers are a popular breed, known for their friendly nature, intelligence, and beautiful golden coat. If you are considering getting your first dog, you might be wondering if a Golden Retriever is a good first dog for you and your family.

In this blog post, we will explore the various aspects of owning a Golden Retriever as a first-time dog owner, including temperament, trainability, health, and the responsibilities associated with caring for this lovable breed.

Golden Retriever Temperament and Behavior for First Time Owners

Are Golden Retrievers Good First Dogs?

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly, gentle, and patient temperament, making them an excellent choice for first-time dog owners. They are affectionate and social, which means they get along well with other dogs, pets, and children.


Golden Retrievers are adaptable dogs, which means they can adjust well to different living situations. They can thrive in both urban and rural environments, as long as they receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. For example, a Golden Retriever living in an apartment will need regular walks and opportunities for off-leash play in a safe area, while one living on a farm can enjoy more freedom to roam and explore.

Energy Level

Golden Retrievers are a high-energy breed, which means they require regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. An adult Golden Retriever will need at least an hour of physical activity per day. This can include walks, runs, or playtime at the park. Keep in mind that puppies will have shorter bursts of energy and will need more frequent breaks.


Socialization is essential for all dogs, but especially for Golden Retrievers. Since they are naturally friendly, exposing them to different people, animals, and environments at a young age will help them grow into well-rounded and confident adult dogs. This can include enrolling them in puppy classes, taking them to dog parks, or arranging playdates with other dogs.


One of the reasons Golden Retrievers make great first dogs is their high level of intelligence and eagerness to please. This makes them highly trainable, even for novice dog owners.

Obedience Training

Golden Retrievers excel at obedience training, and they often enjoy the mental challenge of learning new commands. Positive reinforcement methods, such as praise, treats, and play, are most effective when training this breed. For example, teaching a Golden Retriever to sit can be done by holding a treat above their head and saying “sit,” then rewarding them when they comply.

House Training

House training is typically an easy process with Golden Retrievers, as they are quick learners and eager to please. Establishing a consistent routine and praising your dog for going potty outside will help them understand what is expected of them. If accidents happen, remember to be patient and consistent with your training.

Health and Grooming

Golden Retrievers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health issues. Regular grooming is also necessary to keep their beautiful coat in good condition.

Common Health Issues

Some health issues that Golden Retrievers may be prone to include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and eye problems. Regular veterinary check-ups and maintaining a healthy weight can help prevent or manage these conditions. It’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of these issues so you can address them promptly.


Golden Retrievers have a double coat that requires regular brushing to prevent mats and tangles. They shed seasonally, which means you’ll need to increase brushing frequency during those times. Regular baths will also help keep their coat clean and healthy. Nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing should also be part of your dog’s grooming routine.

Responsibilities and Considerations

Owning a Golden Retriever, like any dog, comes with a set of responsibilities and considerations. Before bringing a Golden Retriever into your home, it’s important to assess whether you can meet their needs and provide them with a loving and supportive environment.

Time Commitment

Golden Retrievers require a significant time commitment, as they need regular exercise, training, and socialization. As a first-time dog owner, it’s essential to ensure you have enough time to dedicate to your dog’s needs. For example, you may need to rearrange your work schedule or enlist the help of a dog walker to ensure your Golden Retriever receives enough exercise during the day.

Financial Commitment

Owning a Golden Retriever comes with various expenses, such as food, grooming supplies, and veterinary care. It’s crucial to consider whether you are financially prepared for the costs associated with owning a dog. In addition, unexpected expenses, like emergency veterinary care, should also be taken into account.

Space Requirements

While Golden Retrievers can adapt to various living situations, they still need enough space to move around comfortably. If you live in an apartment or a home with a small yard, you’ll need to ensure your dog has access to a larger space, like a park or dog-friendly hiking trail, for regular exercise and play.


Golden Retrievers are a shedding breed, which means they may not be the best choice for individuals with allergies. If you or a family member has allergies, it’s important to spend time around Golden Retrievers before bringing one home to ensure the allergies are manageable.


Golden Retrievers are intelligent, friendly, and adaptable dogs, making them an excellent choice for first-time dog owners. Their gentle temperament, trainability, and compatibility with children and other pets make them a popular breed for families. However, it’s important to consider the time commitment, financial responsibilities, and health and grooming needs of a Golden Retriever before making the decision to bring one into your home.

If you can meet these requirements and are prepared for the responsibilities of dog ownership, a Golden Retriever can be a loving and rewarding companion for many years to come.

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roger stanley site owner and primary author
Meet The Author Roger Stanley

Co-owner of 15 years of experience living life with Golden Retrievers and 15 years of experience spending way too much money on them – I believe life’s not worth living without a Golden involved!

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