Top 10 Reasons NOT to get a Golden Retriever
By Cheryl Minnier
YOU ARE LOOKING FOR AN “OUTSIDE ONLY” DOG.
Part of what makes Goldens “Golden” is their affectionate, people
loving nature. This trait makes them VERY unhappy when they don’t have
a high amount of interaction with you. A Golden confined to the
backyard can become destructive and LOUD! Imagine if you left your
children alone most of the time until they reached adolescence. The
wild child you are picturing is similar to what will happen to a
Golden left alone that much. If you aren’t planning on your dog becoming
one of the family – a Golden is not the breed for you!
YOU DON'T LIKE DOG HAIR.
Goldens shed – a little all year round and then a couple of times a
year- look out! If you have a problem with Golden fuzz becoming part
of your dietary fiber or you’re compulsive about always dressing in
black – this is not the breed for you! Goldens also need regular
grooming to keep their skin and coat in good condition. You can easily
learn to do this yourself or have your dog professionally groomed,
but grooming time is something to factor into the amount of time you
will need to spend caring for your dog.
YOU HAVE NO SENSE OF HUMOR.
Goldens are born with a sense of mischief. If you really see nothing
funny about waking up to a cold, slobbery tennis ball in your face or a
puppy that decides that 2:00 a.m. is a great time to play fetch –
perhaps another breed or an older dog might be best.
YOU ARE A CLEAN FREAK.
Muddy paws, nose prints on every window in your house and car, and did I
mention the hair? Enough said… If you can’t relax and enjoy it, you
and your dog will both be miserable.
YOU ARE A COUCH POTATO AND HOPE YOUR DOG WILL BE TOO.
Goldens are sporting dogs, bred to retrieve game all day. They need
regular exercise, especially as puppies, or they can become
destructive and unhappy. If your longest walk in the past month was
from the couch to your bed – perhaps a more sedentary pet would better
suit your needs?
YOU LIKE EVERYTHING TO STAY RIGHT WHERE YOU PUT IT.
Goldens have a last name - “Retriever”, from the Latin meaning “to
put EVERYTHING in your mouth and dance around with it!” The retrieving
instinct SHOULD be a part of every Golden so if you object strongly to
your dog happily strutting out to greet company with your underwear
in his mouth – perhaps you should continue your search for the perfect
YOU ARE APPROACHING GETTING A DOG AS A TEMPORARY CONDITION.
Not only are Goldens addictive – but they will also hopefully
live a long time. Dog ownership is a commitment for the life of a dog.
If you figure your dog will head for the pound once the kids are in
school – please reconsider getting a pet! Golden rescue is full of
dogs that have lost their homes as a result of changes in life
circumstances. Some are not preventable and the dedicated volunteers who
care for these dogs are ready and willing to help – but the changes
that ARE predictable should be taken into consideration BEFORE making a
commitment to a dog!
YOU DON’T LIKE MEETING NEW PEOPLE.
Your new family member will need obedience classes to help him become
a well-behaved canine citizen. This is a dangerously easy place to
make friends. It is also impossible to walk down the street with a
beautiful Golden dog and NOT be stopped by strangers. Goldens are
people magnets. Got a problem with this? Maybe something in the
guard dog family would serve you better?
YOU WANT TO MAKE A QUICK BUCK BREEDING DOGS.
Last year Golden Retriever Rescue spent hundreds of thousands of
dollars working to save hundreds of dogs. Most of these dogs wound up
in rescue because their owners had little idea of the time, commitment
and effort it takes to own a dog, and their breeders had little idea
of the proper techniques for placing puppies in the RIGHT homes. These
rescue dogs are a testament to the fact that there are too many
carelessly bred Goldens. If Golden breeding is done right it is RARELY
a profitable adventure. Health clearances, veterinary care, and puppy
supplies are just a few of the many expenses that occur as a result
of an “uncomplicated” litter. If you consider the possible problems
you may encounter, it is easy to see why breeding is NOT a money
YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A GUARD DOG.
Did I mention the part about Goldens loving everyone? They will be
eager to assist the thieves that are breaking into your home; probably
even helping them carry out the silver. If you are looking for
protection this probably isn’t an endearing quality… maybe that guard
dog is looking better.
YOU LOOK AT THAT LITTLE 10-POUND BALL OF FUR AND OFFER UP A SILENT PRAYER THAT HE’LL STAY THAT SIZE.
Goldens should range from 21 inches at the shoulder to around 24 and
weigh anywhere from 50 to 80 lbs. This is a lot of dog. If you
don’t plan on heeding my advice about obedience classes, you may find
yourself with an out of control, furry, wiggly, monster with a tail
that can clear a coffee table in one great swoop! As an alternative,
there are several wonderful smaller breeds (many without tails!) to
YOU THINK DOGS MAKE GREAT NANNIES FOR SMALL CHILDREN AND A WONDERFUL LESSON IN RESPONSIBILITY FOR OLDER KIDS. You
are partly right. A Golden retriever and a child often form a loving,
inseparable bond. However, the ultimate responsibility for any
living, breathing creature must always fall to an adult. Children can be
wonderful dog groomers, trainers and best friends, but they need
adult guidance. You should also remember that Goldens are big enough -
even as puppies - to knock down a small child. Small children and
dogs should ALWAYS be supervised when together, for both their sakes!
AND THE NUMBER ONE REASON “NOT” TO GET A GOLDEN RETRIEVER….
YOU THINK AN IDEAL PLACE TO GET ONE IS THE PET STORE IN YOUR MALL!
Golden Retrievers can have several potential health problems. Chief
among these are Canine Hip Dysplasia - a sometimes crippling joint
disease; sub-aortic stenosis - a usually fatal heart defect; several
inherited eye diseases that can blind or disable a dog; epilepsy, early
onset cancer and temperament problems ranging from hyperactivity to
aggression. It is essential that you seek out a responsible breeder if
you are looking for a puppy or an established rescue group if an
adult dog would fit your needs better. For information on how to find a
responsible breeder visit the Golden Retriever Club of America’s home
page: www.grca.org/ For help finding a rescue Golden, visit the list of Golden Rescues across the country: http://www.grca-nrc.org/Localrescues.htm .