Is a golden retriever the right dog for you?

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A guide for the person considering having a Golden Retriever dog as a pet. Includes the most common characteristics of the breed.

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds of dog,

but is the breed a good suit for you, your lifestyle, and your home? The retriever is typically known for its friendly demeanor, loyalty, and love for activity, most notably retrieving and swimming.

Like most dogs, the retriever is a pack-oriented dog. These dogs require socialization with their own breeds to feel comfortable. The Golden Retriever has been bred through the years to make an excellent companion for people, which is evidenced by the breed's rising popularity over the years. Unlike many other breeds of dog, the Golden Retriever loves to interact with people. For him it is a craving.  Because of this, the owner must socialize the dog at an early age. The Golden Retrievers are also well-known for their obedience skills. These dogs are very easy to train and thus make great companions. People can bring their Goldens just about anywhere without having to worry. They do not stray away and are great with other people and animals, as a general rule.

A Golden Retriever is happiest when he is with his owner and family. Although this may seem that the dogs really require a lot of attention, it is really not so. The Golden simply craves to be near his owner, and perhaps a rub behind the ears occasionally. It is important for a family to include the dog in family activities. Because of the dog's temperament, this is usually not a problem.

The Golden Retriever breed is generally slow to mature both mentally and physically. After one full year, the puppy is usually grown to full size, but mentally, he is still a puppy. It is important for a new owner to be patient with the dog and not expect him to be fully mature after one year. It may take three years, in fact, for the Golden to lose his puppy mind-set. It is also not uncommon for Goldens to remain puppies at heart for much of their grown lives, retaining their playful personalities and active lifestyles. Once the Golden is full grown and mature, they are energetic dogs who enjoy activities like walking, jogging, hunting, and swimming.

Because Golden Retrievers have become such popular dogs, it is important to carefully select a breeder. There are many people out there who try to cash in on the Golden's popularity, so ask a lot of questions, do your homework, and compare breeders before purchasing. This selection becomes even more imperative because Goldens are susceptible to hip dysplasia, which can causes serious problem for many breeds. When selecting a Golden, make sure the breeder has certified the dog against hip dysplasia. This disease is genetic and can be detected at an early age through an x-ray. You should be provided with a certification called The Orthopedic Certification for Animals [OFA]. Goldens are also susceptible to eye disease. Your breeder should be able to provide you with a certification against eye disease in your puppy. The disease is genetic and can be detected through x-rays.

The Golden Retriever is a high maintenance pet when it comes to grooming. The breed has a long and thick coat, and thus, must be groomed on a regular basis. Regular grooming will also decrease the amount of overall shedding and prevent the dog's hair from matting. The grooming consists of brushing the dog, checking for fleas and ticks, cleaning the ears, clipping the nails, and a nice bath. On average, goldens shed a lot and often. If you or anyone if your house is allergic to pets, a Golden Retriever may not be the right dog for you.

One of the Golden Retrievers most revered qualities is their patience, especially with children. Goldens are generally great with children. However, problems can arise due to the size of the dog. Being a rather large dog, Goldens can easily knock children over, especially if they become too excited.

If you are considering getting a Golden Retriever, you need to be willing to exercise with him regularly. The breed requires plenty of exercise, especially high intensity jaunts through the woods, or swims. It must be noted, however, that puppies cannot sustain a high level of exercise. Doing so can damage their joints. Swimming is another favorite pastime of the Golden. Puppies will often be afraid of the water, but they will come around. Never force the dog in the water, this breed is naturally inclined to swimming, he will eventually figure it out.
If you are deciding whether to get a male or female Golden, the golden rule seems to be that the males are the more needy, cuddly of the sexes. Neither males or females display aggression. However, females are generally smaller in size.