Are Golden Retrievers Good City Dogs
Golden Retrievers are the second most popular breed of dog in New York City and the fourth most popular in the United States according to the American Kennel Club. The NYC Department of Licensing says there are currently 7,325 Goldens registered with the city. They are the most popular breed in Murray Hill.
According to all the sources I’ve consulted with, you probably can’t find a better large-breed apartment or family dog! My friend Ari, owner of Golden Retriever Mac, says Mac’s the perfect dog for city living. Mac lives in apartments in both New York City and Fort Lauderdale (and a house on Fire Island. Nice life Mac!) Ari says he’s never had any problems with him in either city.
Golden Retrievers are medium-large dogs with an innate love of water, bred to fetch waterfowl and other game birds. Goldens are famous for having a “soft mouth,” which allows them to retrieve game without causing damage. They weigh about 70 pounds and stand about 23 inches high at the withers. They have one beautiful golden coats of fur with a thick undercoat. This thick undercoat that keeps them warm and their signature fluffy out coat that repels water.
They were probably first bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century. (The video below shows 361 Golden Retrievers celebrating the 150th anniversary of the the breed.) There are basically three types of Golden Retriever: British, American, and Canadian. British are a bit more muscular and lighter-colored than their New World counterparts. American Golden Retrievers often have a more lustrous golden-colored fur and they are lankier than their British cousins. Canadian Golden Retrievers are thinner, taller, and a bit darker than in Britain or the United States.
Do Golden Retrievers Make Good City Dogs?
Golden Retrievers’ temperament is probably what makes them so popular. They are described as “kindly, friendly and confident.”
Both DogTime and VetStreet give Goldens two stars (out of five, five being the best) when it comes to suitability for apartment living.
Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?
Golden Retrievers are not known as nuisance barkers.
UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart devised a system of ranking breeds along a line of thirteen different attributes. A score of one means that the dog in question was unlikely to exhibit a particular trait, a ten means that the dog had a high probability of demonstrating that quality.
In terms of barking at inappropriate times, the Harts give Golden Retrievers get a one rating. That means they probably won’t bark when you don’t want them to. The Harts also score them low on watchdog barking. They write: “One drawback of the Golden for many people is its low ranking on territorial defense…” Ari agrees, he says Mac is too mellow and loves other people too much to be a good guard dog.
VetStreet and Dog Time rank them in the middle of dog breeds for barking.
Click here for more on Urban Dog’s take on barking.
Are Golden Retrievers Easily Trained?
It is super important for your Urban Dog to be well-behaved. You want your Golden Retriever to have good manners in your building’s common areas. You don’t want your dog pestering people in elevators, hallways, and lobbies.
Luckily, Goldens are among the brightest dogs when it comes to training. They obey first commands about 95% of the time according to Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia who studies dog behavior. That means it takes only about five repetitions for them to learn new commands. Golden Retrievers rank number four on Coren’s list of smartest dogs! If you tell them not to bother that little old lady in the elevator, they will listen.
The Harts agree, saying Golden Retrievers are easily trained and easily house-trained.
Because they are so easily trained and have such good temperaments they are often used as guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
How are Golden Retrievers with Strangers, Children, and other Animals?
Golden Retrievers are great with kids. The Harts give them a score of one when it comes to snapping at children, the best score they could get. They are also very playful and not very destructive, which makes them very good playmates for youngsters. Goldens are not “velcro dogs,” which means they don’t bond with just one person in the family. They generally get along well with other dogs and animals (though I must confess Bodhi and I encountered a few aggressive Goldens on our walks.)
Do Golden Retrievers Require a lot of Exercise?
Goldens are pretty energetic dogs. They need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They can be pretty rambunctious when they are young. If you are seriously considering getting a one as your Urban Dog, keep this in mind. An under-exercised and under-stimulated dog is never a good thing.
Taking Care of Your Golden Retriever
Goldens require a fair amount of grooming. That beautiful coat does shed, especially during the change of seasons.
Like many pure-breed dogs, there are lots of warnings against conditions and diseases. You can get a comprehensive list here at the Prestige Animal Hospital website. One things to watch for is obesity. These dogs do tend to get chunky if you don’t monitor their food intake.
The Bottom Line
So, are Golden Retrievers good apartment dogs? Yes, absolutely! It’s Urban Dog’s position that most dogs can be good apartment dogs if the owner has the resources to care for the dog’s needs. Golden Retrievers, like most large hunting dogs, need mental stimulation and exercise. They also thrive when in their owner’s company. If you can’t fill those needs you might want to consider another type of dog. It’s Urban Dog’s position that most dogs can be good apartment dogs if the owner has the resources to care for the dog’s needs. As we’ve said over and over in this article, Golden Retrievers need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise. They also thrive when in their owner’s company. If you can’t fill those needs you might want to consider another type of dog.
For tips on how to find a pet-friendly apartment in New York and other cities read Urban Dog’s guide. Bigger dogs pose a particular challenge, but don’t worry, you can find places that accept large breed dogs.