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Disadvantages of owning a Golden Retriever

Thinking of getting a Golden Retriever??

Well the photos are cute, the dogs look adorable, but Golden Retrievers are definitely not for everyone.

Before you decide to adopt or purchase a golden, please consider the following:

  • SIZE: Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs. Male golden retrievers are usually 23-24 inches in height at the withers, while females are usually 21.5-22.5 inches. Male dogs usually weigh 65-75 pounds, while the females are commonly 60-70 pounds. Their tails are also at the perfect height to knock everything off of your coffee table.
  • ATTENTION: Golden Retrievers are family dogs. They live for their family and are therefore poorly suited to live the life a backyard dog, or a dog that is alone all day. When bored or stressed, many dogs can resort to digging and other destructive behaviours.
  • EXERCISE: Golden Retrievers are sporting dogs. They were bred to have the ability to work in the field with the stamina to work all day. As a result, they require daily exercise. Letting your dog out to run to the nearest tree as a potty break and back again is not considered enough exercise.
  • GROOMING/SHEDDING: Golden Retrievers have a full luxurious coat, and they shed at least twice a year, minimum. You WILL have dog hair in your house, on your clothes, and probably even in your food. If you are a fastidious housekeeper, a golden is probably not for you. In order to keep your golden’s coat in good condition, they need to be brushed every couple of days. This prevents matts from forming and helps to cut down on the shedding in the house. As well, regular brushing will help remove the small twigs and grasses that will collect in your golden’s coat!
  • COST: A dog can come at considerable expense to your family. Take into consideration:
    Cost of Puppy: $600-$900 is the going rate in Canada for pet puppy. See Choosing a Breeder from The Golden Retriever Club of Canada for more information on how to choose a responsible breeder.

    Cost of Puppy shots:Your breeder will probably give your puppy its first set of puppy vaccinations. Your puppy will need two more visits for puppy shots at 12 weeks and a 16 weeks, costing about $70-$100 for each visit.

    Cost of Food: approx. $30-$60/month

    Cost of Spay/Neuter: $80-$200 -Varies by location and vet

    Cost of Microchip/Tattoo: For identification purposes, your dog should have a tattoo or a microchip. If your dog has a tattoo it is usually done by the breeder as a form of permanent identification for the dog’s CKC or AKC registration. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice, and is inserted into the back of the dog’s neck, in between the shoulder blades. This microchip contains all of your contact information, and can be read by scanners at a vet clinic or at a shelter. A microchip costs $50-$80

    Cost of Puppy Supplies: Can be $150 before you even get your puppy home (bowls, collars, leashes, brushes, nail clippers, small bag of food, a book or two).

    Cost of a Crate: $100 for an economy crate.

    Cost of a Heartworm Preventative: $70-$150 Check with your vet to see if you live in an area with many cases of heartworm. If so, you will need a yearly blood test to check for heartworms, and either a daily or monthly heartworm preventative pill (which is only given for warmer months in your area).

    Cost of a Yearly Vet Check-up: $75 with vaccinations. Budget extra for ‘little’ things that come up, such as worming medication, flea preventative (shampoo, powder, area spray), medications for viruses, illness, hotspots, thyroid conditions, injuries, etc.

    Obedience Classes:Courses usually are 8 weeks, ranging in price from $50-$100.

    Cost of Boarding at a Kennel:Approx $9-$20/day. It is always a good idea to check out your local kennels should you ever need to kennel your dog in case of a family emergency or otherwise.

  • HEALTH: There are several health issues to be aware of. Every breed seems to have their share of hereditary health problems, and the golden retriever is no exception. The Golden Retriever breed has a known history of hip displasia, eye problems, thyroid conditions, and others. Choosing a responsible breeder is your first step, but the second is to understand the common ailments of a breed and to know the warning signs should your dog ever develop any of them.
  • TRAINING: Every dog and their owner should attend obedience classes. Especially with a dog the size of a golden, they grow fast and can become over eager when greeting guests or passing people on the street. Your golden should at least attend beginner’s obedience class so you can learn how to teach your dog the basics, such as heel, sit, stay, and come.
  • GUARD DOG: Golden Retrievers are not suited to be a guard dog. Although they may bark if someone comes to your door, they are notoriously known as the dogs that will welcome an intruder into your house with licks, wags, and smiles, and will even attempt to help carry his flashlight.
  • CARRYING THINGS: Goldens are retrievers. They LOVE to carry things around in their mouth. Be prepared to pick up your socks and underwear, you never know just what your golden will grab to greet guests at the door !!
  • OTHER HABITS: Golden Retrievers love water, and will go out of their way to get wet and muddy. Male goldens with larger heads will usually have longer lips which means DROOL!! Oh, and did I mention? They SHED!!!!



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