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The Golden Retriever is a very well-known and popular breed. They are bursting with love and loyalty to their families and socialize well with people and other animals. Goldens are very intelligent and learn fast.

They make excellent service dogs due to their sweet, affectionate nature, intelligence, and calm temperament. Golden Retrievers bring joy and comfort to their owners, but there are some downsides. It is every potential owner's responsibility to ensure dogs stay healthy, happy, and wanted. Golden Retrievers are a good fit in most families, but sometimes it is best to choose a different breed.

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Size and Diet

Goldens are medium to large sized dogs. They range in size from 21 to 24 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 65 pounds. Most retrievers have long, powerful tails that are constantly moving, especially when the dog is excited. Their tails can clear a table or shelf fast. They are not a good fit in cluttered homes or for people who enjoy collecting and displaying items. Goldens eat an average of two or three cups of food each day. High-quality food and balanced nutrition are important for health and activity.

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Exercise

Golden Retrievers were developed as a sporting breed for hunting. They need regular exercise and activity. This is both a good and bad trait, depending on individual preference. People who enjoy walking, jogging, and outdoor activity will find a Golden Retriever is a great fit. Golden puppies really need a lot of attention and activity in their first two years. They have tons of energy and may channel that energy into destructive habits if they don't get enough exercise. A large fenced-in yard, dog park, or walking trail are good options.

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Activities

Golden Retriever puppies enjoy activities such as swimming, chasing a ball in a safe area, play dates with other safe dogs, and even obedience or field training. Jogging and biking are too hard on a young dog's joint until they are at least a year old. Approval from a veterinarian is recommended before introducing jogging or biking.

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Hip Dysplasia

A veterinarian will examine the dog's joints and may look at a hip X-ray to avoid injuries. Hip dysplasia is a common concern for Golden Retrievers. The sockets in the hip joint of a healthy dog let the rounded ball of the thighbone rotate freely. Hip dysplasia results in a shallow socket that eventually damages the bone and connective tissue around joints. Dogs with Hip dysplasia experience difficulty while walking, running, and sitting. It is essential to monitor movements of Golden Retrievers to catch hip problems early.

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Children

Goldens are known as great family dogs. They are usually very good with children, but problems may arise for those who are unprepared. Golden Retriever puppies need lots of attention and affection. Families with multiple young children may find a Golden puppy is too much for them. It takes time and energy to provide obedience training and raise a puppy with good behavior.

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Coat

Golden Retrievers have a thick double coat. Their beautiful, soft golden or golden-red fur is one of the breed's highlights. They shed to a minor extent throughout the year, while spring and fall are the heaviest shedding periods. Their undercoat grown for the winter months is very thick and can take up to three weeks to completely shed. It may be necessary to clean house weekly or daily, depending on personal tolerance for loose fur in the home.

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Grooming and Hygiene

A Golden Retriever's coat picks up burrs and other plant debris that needs to be brushed out. Many owners brush the dogs weekly and often groom daily during spring and fall. Goldens can be bathed frequently and should be bathed at least once a month. Ear hygiene is essential to avoid infection and several trips to a professional groomer each year are recommended.

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Nail Care

Golden Retrievers have large nails that grow quickly and split easily. A split or broken nail is very painful and uncomfortable, especially while walking. Their long nails unintentionally scratch owners and other people during playtime or an enthusiastic greeting. Regular nail grooming and trimming prevents these issues. Calcium treats or supplements may improve nail strength to reduce or prevent splitting.

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Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand disease is a prevalent genetic illness in Golden Retrievers. It is a blood disorder related to a clotting protein. Dogs with this condition are at risk of severe bleeding after an injury and internal bleeding. Urine containing blood has to be treated as an emergency in this breed. Internal bleeding can happen without any injuries or known cause, and it can be fatal without treatment. Bleeding from the gums is also common in Golden Retrievers with this disorder, so oral hygiene is integral to their care. Breeding a female dog with Von Willebrand disease may be fatal so always check with a veterinarian if breeding is a possibility.

von willebrands Golden Retrievers FatCamera / Getty Images
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Cancer

Golden Retrievers are prone to various cancers, and over half of all Goldens die of cancer. Hemangiosarcoma is prevalent in the breed. It starts in the lining of blood vessels and can be caught early with regular veterinary check-ups. There is a very high risk of expensive veterinary bills at some point in a Golden Retriever's life. This possible expense must be considered and assessed before adopting or buying a dog. Regular medical care and monitoring increase the probability of a long, happy life for a beloved Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever fotostorm / Getty Images

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