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The Golden Retriever is one of America’s favorite family dogs, which is evident by their number three spot in the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) popularity ranking. The dog, touched by Midas himself, originated in Scotland and, as their name implies, was meant to retrieve the bounty of their pet parent’s hunt! Golden Retrievers are well-known for their good nature and playfulness. They’re not only extremely people friendly, but also friendly to their fellow canines. In the eyes of many, they’re simply flawless.

When it comes to grooming, Goldens aren’t divas but they do need their hair done periodically due to their double coat and tendency to shed. Occasional brushing should take care of their gorgeous coat just fine though. Luckily, Goldens don’t need very frequent baths, although they do enjoy the water anyway. Nail trimmings should be regular, as with any canine companion, about every month or two.

Because Golden Retrievers were bred to be hunters’ companions, they are quite energetic and will require intensive, daily exercise. They enjoy swimming, hiking, or running with their pet parents but will also romp and play with other dogs, for instance, in Doggie Day Camp! Don’t neglect the Golden’s mind, either. This breed has a high intelligence level and will adore puzzles and learning tricks. If a Golden Retriever doesn’t enjoy enough stimulation you may see problem behaviors, such as inappropriate chewing or they may seem neurotic. Keep your Golden occupied and that will keep them happy.

Health conditions you need to be watchful for in Golden Retrievers include hip dysplasia. Be sure that your Golden Retriever’s joints are not being strained to much during regular exercise. Be sure to check with your veterinarian so they can alert you to any health issues early on. Also, if your pup goes swimming often then you should be on the lookout for ear infections or any type of irritation. Here are a multitude of tips for swimming safety for when you go on outings together.

Versatility is another hallmark of the Golden Retriever. These dogs are frequently seen in service vests, therapy offices, and even films! The ease with which they are trained and their desire to please their human companions allow them diverse doggie careers too. Whether or not your Golden will be a working dog, keeping them busy is of the utmost importance and can even help you two bond.

While Golden Retrievers are immensely appealing and may seem perfect for you, you’ve got to make sure that you’re a good fit for them too. These dogs are very social and energetic, so it’s important that they be given plenty of opportunity for engagement and play. Among their ideal humans, Dogster lists, “sportsmen and hunters, suburban families, outdoorsy types, “fetch” fanatics” and we would add to the list camping enthusiasts as well! Families with children are fantastic for Goldens because they’re so gentle and they can keep each other occupied. That being said, be aware that a Golden may accidently knock a small child down during play so always supervise young children with animals. Golden Retrievers aren’t well-suited for households in which they’ll be by themselves for long periods of time or have too little space. If you determine that you and a Golden are made for each other then you can find one from a breed specific rescue or a reputable breeder in your region. If for any reason getting a Golden isn’t practical, you can just watch Air Bud on repeat.