Golden Retriever puppies are WAY popular – in fact so much so that there have been several movies made with one in the starring role! Most recently the breed itself has jumped from #35 to #6 in a list of the UK’s most popular, while it is even higher at # 3 in the USA.
Whether you already own a retriever puppy, are thinking of getting one or just think that they are the cutest, our aim here to give you the full lowdown on rearing one of the most adaptable family dogs.
Known for their intelligence and affection, Golden Retrievers are as good with children as they are reliable for working roles. Loyal and devoted, they are often guide or therapy dogs – partly because they respond well to obedience training. However, it is their all-round friendliness and good nature that endears them to families everywhere.
History and types
The Golden Retriever’s origins go back to the mid 19th Century, at a time when hunting was popular with aristocratic society. There was a need for a dog that could retrieve game from both land and water, and a breeding programme eventually led to our lovable breed.
Until the 1930s Golden Retrievers looked mostly the same.
There are 3 main types: English, Canadian & American.
How can I tell the difference between them?
All three types share a friendly nature, love being with their families, and a liking for fetching things.
The English Golden Retriever – the name given to any non-North American retriever, is shorter and of thicker build than the American. The US counterpart is leaner and generally more mid-golden colour, than the lighter English retriever.
The Canadian is also tall and thin. It ranges in tone from light to dark-golden shades. It has a thinner coat.
Essential Retriever puppy information
Retrievers love to be part of the family, and as such it may be tempting to feed yours scraps from the dinner table. They love the food – a bit too much, and it is best not to encourage this kind of habit early on. Later in adulthood they can stack on the weight, and even become obese.
While they have great temperaments for being around children, retriever puppies can get a bit ‘mouthy’, (play-bite), particularly when they are teething. It is worth doing some positive-training techniques so your puppy will learn that biting can hurt.
Retriever puppies have a lot of energy and need daily walk or jog – 40 to 60 minutes of non-stop exercise. They also like having a job to do, so get that frisbee, and prepare for some throwing in an open space.
Golden retrievers are also great swimmers and love water, so you can gently introduce your puppy to the joys of bath-time!
Not guard dogs
We also need to mention that your Golden Retriever will not make a great guide dog, but not the best guard dog. It might even greet strangers as a potential new best friend! With a relatively low prey drive, he also would not make the most suitable dog for killing unwanted small animals and vermin.
More things you should know about Golden Retriever puppies
|Needs||They are energetic, which means that you need to have time to spare. |
Retrievers are not keen on being left alone, and puppies can get stressed and anxious.
Keep an eye on your puppy. As he gets older, you will be able to leave him to his devices for four or five hours
Shed heavily and require a lot of grooming
|Feeding frequency Feeding size||A retriever puppy will need:|
3 meals a day (until 6 months)
2 meals a day (after 6 months)
3 to 4 cups of food/day (to 6 months)
2 bowls/day (after 6 months), morning and night
|Health|| Are prone to:|
– Hip and elbow dyplasia (sockets not fitting properly)
– Progressive eye problems
|Growth||– Before 12 weeks they look fluffy and most puppy-like.|
– From 12 weeks onwards they start to look more like their adult selves.
– 3 months onwards – expect rapid growth and change!
– 4 months – reaches adult height.
– 6 months onwards – the growth starts to slow. 18 months (approx.) – reach adult weight.
|8 weeks – 10 pounds |
3 months – 22 pounds
4 months – 40 pounds
9 months – 55 pounds
1 year – 68 pounds
|Lifespan||10 to 13 years|
Is there anything I shouldn’t feed my Retriever puppy?
Golden Retrievers are known to want to eat anything in sight (and smell), so it is best to hide things away and not let him overeat. You should not feed him avocado, bread, salty things, or hops.
I want one. How much do they cost?
Golden retriever puppies can be quite expensive – partly because there is a current shortage. One quick glance at Pets4homes shows that they are going for between £2,000 – £4,000 – a lot higher than a year and a half ago.
Who should I get a retriever puppy from?
If you are buying from a breeder in the UK, then check to make sure it is licensed (a requirement for more than five litters a year in the UK), and that it is sold where his mother also resides.
Do your research, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. For more information about breeding laws in UK click here.
A more wallet-friendly option could be to adopt a retriever puppy from an animal rescue shelter. This would have the extra benefit of offering a pet a home that needs one! You will also have your dog ready-vaccinated, which otherwise is an important early action. Jerry Green Dog Rescue, All Dogs Matter, and Wild at Heart are three charities dedicated to finding homes for rescue.
How should I train my Golden Retriever puppy?
Retriever puppies are great to train. A lot of experts recommend ‘free shaping behaviour’ – in which pets are trained gradually using a marker, and rewards.
You could either use your puppy’s meal contents for rewards, or treats such as you can find in WufWuf customised puppy boxes. Instead of relying on verbal commands, the trainer starts in an indoor place and gives either positive or negative attention and reward with food / treat.
A ‘good’ command can be used to as positive affirmation, and the trainer can use another word to signal that the puppy is free to go. Training goes gradually from indoor environment to an outside one with progressively more distractions and less treats. You can see a Golden Retriever puppy being trained in this way here
Golden retriever puppies – there is more
Here are 5 more things you might not know:
- They have ‘soft mouths’ which means they can put delicate things like hard-boiled eggs in their mouths without breaking them.
- They have very powerful scents and are often used as sniffer dogs.
- Their coats are usually lighter in tone than they will be when they grow up
- Charlie from Australia holds the Guinness world record for the loudest bark – 113.3 decibels. Wow, that’s almost loud enough to be heard in New Zealand!
- They have 2 layers of fur. The outer layer is waterproof.
Retrievers have been owned by many famous people and celebrities. One named Liberty was the pet of President Gerald Ford, who first came to the US head as an 8 month old puppy – a gift from his daughter Susan. Liberty autographed photos of her with a paw print. Ford discussed his dog in a speech – 1974
This puppy has really taken over the White House. In fact, you may have seen some of us laughing up here during dinner. As I reached in my pocket to get a match to light my pipe, look what I pulled out of the pocket — some dog biscuits! [Laughter]
Cover photo by adventures_of_tone_and_togo from Instagram