When it comes to getting a dog, deciding on a golden retriever is easy. But should you choose a golden puppy? A female? A golden retriever rescue dog? Here are some tips.

Not only are golden retrievers intelligent, beautiful, and obedient, they’re a favorite family pet and the third most popular breed according to the American Kennel Club’s 2017 dog registration statistics. So when people decide to get a dog, it’s no wonder that many of them choose the golden retriever. But dog breed selection is one thing; picking out the perfect golden is another. Should the dog come from a golden breeder or a golden rescue group? Would a puppy or an adult be the right choice? Here are some tips to help work through the golden retriever selection process.

Golden Breeder Versus a Golden Rescue Group

One of the first things to consider after deciding on a golden is where to look for a dog. Many people begin their search by contacting different golden retriever breeders. The Golden Retriever Club of America suggests that the best breeders are those who are serious hobby breeders, have built up a solid reputation, and stand behind every dog they breed.

Backyard breeders, on the other hand, may not have the same experience with breeding, which could affect the dog’s health. Likewise, pet store goldens are many times acquired from puppy mills, large-scale breeding operations that produce puppies for profit often under poor conditions. Still, these dogs need good homes, too.

But golden breeders aren’t the only place to look for a golden retriever. Another option is to contact a golden retriever rescue group. There are many local and regional rescue organizations that have golden retrievers of all ages to adopt. Some of these dogs have had a sad life and are waiting for a loving forever home. Others have been left behind by their owners who have moved or passed away or simply can’t afford to take care of their dog anymore.

Golden rescue dogs, even senior dogs, can be extremely rewarding to own and every bit as enjoyable as golden retrievers acquired through a private breeder. One thing to keep in mind, though, is rescue goldens often need extra patience, dedication, and attention, depending on their background and history.

Golden Breeder Versus a Golden Rescue Group

Golden Breeder Versus a Golden Rescue Group

Golden Retriever Sizes and Colors

Not all golden retrievers look alike, and that’s partly because breeders, over the years, have bred goldens for different qualities. Some golden retrievers are bred to be show dogs. Typically, these goldens have light gold coloration, large bone structures, and long, full coats—qualities that make them more pleasing in the show ring.

Other golden retrievers are bred for sport or field work, like agility and hunting. Field Goldens are often smaller than show goldens, longer legged, and more reddish gold in color. They may also have more active, high energy temperaments. Of course, a show-bred golden retriever can still be a field worker and vice-versa. And all golden retrievers, regardless of their sizes and colors, can make wonderful pets.

Male or Female Golden

Many people wonder whether they should get a male or female golden. In general, male and female golden retrievers are very similar in personality and temperament. Sometimes, mounting and marking can be an issue for male goldens, as it is with any male dog, but neutering will help solve these problems quickly. If two dogs are coming into a home, a male and a female make the best pairing for compatibility.

Male or Female Golden

Male or Female Golden

Golden Retriever Puppy or Adult Dog

The nice thing about golden retriever puppies is that they’re relatively easy to train. Most goldens love to learn and respond well to rewards like praise and treats. However, golden retriever puppies are like other puppies when it comes to chewing, jumping, digging, and other typical puppy behaviors. If a puppy is desired, remember that the dog will require a lot of time and expense early on. On the other hand, acquiring a golden retriever puppy can be a great bonding experience for a dog owner.

Adult dogs are a good choice for those who can’t put in the time and effort for a puppy. Many adults goldens can be adopted or purchased already trained. They make wonderful companions, and owners find they can do many fun things with their new dogs right from the start. People with very young children might consider acquiring an adult golden retriever that is more mature and docile than a puppy would be.

Taking the time to consider the above factors when choosing a golden retriever will benefit both dog owners and their new pets. While most people won’t go wrong deciding on this smart, affectionate breed, finding the right dog can make life even more golden!

Dogs 101 – Golden Retriever