Is A Golden Retriever the Right Dog Breed for You?
A healthy, good tempered Golden Retriever makes a wonderful, intelligent companion...
So, you read THE WATCHER a dozen times, you've seen Golden Retrievers working as guide dogs, and now you want to buy a Golden Retriever puppy of your own. However, before you bring one of these cuddly yellow fuzz balls home, you need to be sure a Golden Retriever is really the right dog for you and your family.
The Golden Retriever is a big, muscular dog, weighing in at 55 to 75 pounds and standing 21 ½ to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. This dog breed has a broad skull, which may be why Golden Retrievers are so intelligent. Coat colors range from a deep, honey colored gold to a light gold that is almost white. The palest gold or darkest gold colors are considered to be undesirable, as are any white patches or markings.
Did you know that Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be working dogs? They are members of the Sporting Group. These dogs are high energy animals and need plenty of exercise, especially while they are less than three years of age. This desire to stay busy is one reason that Golden Retrievers make good rescue, Seeing Eye, or drug sniffing dogs. If you do not keep them occupied, they will find ways to amuse themselves, such as eating your entire shoe collection.
If you are an avid gardener, you will need to be sure you have a separate area where you can contain your dog, since most Golden Retrievers love to dig. While they are going through their puppy stage, they are also prone to chewing up shrubs.
Since Golden Retrievers are large dogs, you may want to consider the cost of food before buying your puppy. These dogs eat a lot. Also, since Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, you may want to ask your veterinarian about feeding your puppy food that is especially formulated to help large breeds grow properly.
If you have small children, you may need to consider whether a Golden Retriever puppy will be too boisterous for them. Although adult Goldens are excellent family dogs, puppies can be quite mouthy and rowdy. They may accidentally knock toddlers down while they are playing.
If you do buy a puppy when you have small children, you will need to find time to teach him good manners quickly. You may want to attend obedience classes with him, so that he is used to other dogs and people and learns how to act when he is outside the house. Training your puppy before he is too strong for you to control easily is a good idea.
Golden Retrievers need frequent grooming to keep their coats from tangling. You will need to pay special attention to the area behind your dog's ears, as it is prone to developing large mats. Frequent grooming will also help you alleviate dog hair on furniture, which can be quite heavy when your dog is shedding his coat. In addition, you will need to have enough time to check your dog for ticks after he goes for a romp in the park or other grassy and wooded areas.
If you still feel that this is the breed for you, be sure to look for a good breeder to buy your puppy from. A healthy, good tempered Golden Retriever makes a wonderful, intelligent companion.