Do Golden Retrievers Make Good City Dogs?
Golden Retrievers are the third most popular breed of dog in New York City according to the American Kennel Club.
I can attest to that. Whenever I go to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, they are one of the most popular dogs competing. The breed competition is always crowded with contestants!
Golden Retrievers are medium-large dogs who were bred to fetch waterfowl and other game birds. They are famous for having a “soft mouth” which allows them to retrieve game without causing damage. They have an innate love of water and are easily-trained.
Goldens are a long-coated breed, with a thick undercoat that keeps them warm and their signature fluffy out coat that repels water. There are basically three types: 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. They are lankier than the British version. Canadian Golden Retrievers are thinner, taller, and a bit darker than in Britain or the United States.
Their temperament is probably what makes them so popular. They are described as “kindly, friendly and confident.”
They were probably first bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century. The video below shows the celebration of the sesquicentennial of the breed.
Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?
Golden Retrievers are not known as nuisance barkers.
Check out this Urban Dog article on dogs and barking. The closest I could get to a scientific approach to which dogs bark the most was a list compiled by UC Davis researchers Benjamin and Lynette Hart. They devised a chart that ranks dogs by the likelihood of barking at appropriate or inappropriate times. For example, a guard dog should bark when danger’s afoot, but shouldn’t bark at its own shadow. One is appropriate barking, the other is nuisance 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.
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. They are also 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 have encountered a few aggressive Goldens on our walks.)
Do Golden Retrievers Require a lot of Exercize?
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.
And to close, what better way to end this article than with an attack of Golden Retriever puppies!