Is the Golden Retriever the Dog for You?

Is the Golden Retriever the Dog for You?

A soft golden coat, liquid brown eyes and a merry tail are the attributes of the Golden Retriever. From search and rescue and guide dog work to household pet and hunting partner, the Golden Retriever does it all, well. It’s shouldn’t be a surprise they are among the top ten most popular breeds in Australia, with many making this loveable beauty part of their family. But is the Golden Retriever the dog for you?

Breed History

Compared to some breeds, the Golden Retriever is relatively new. The breed was developed by Lord Tweedmouth, a Scottish Lord, in the 1860s. He created the breed by mating an unregistered yellow Flat Coat Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct). Future outcrossing included Tweed Water Spaniels and black Flat Coated Retrievers. Some also say that he used Irish Setters and Bloodhounds in the mix.

By 1908, the breed had come under the public eye and started to gain popularity when a Lord Harcourt showed his Golden Retrievers at the Kennel Club Show in the United Kingdom. From there, popularity spread, with the breed taking off in the United States in the 1970s, when President Gerald Ford brought his First Dog, a Golden Retriever named Liberty, to the White House.

The breeds popularity in Australia has resulted in six state breed clubs, as well as the National Golden Retriever Council. A larger breed of dog, the modern Golden Retriever stands 51-56cm (females) and 56-61cm (males) and weighs 24-30kg and 30-35kg, respectively.


A “kindly expression” is part of the standard of this lovely breed, who has a golden personality to go along with that golden coat. The Golden Retriever is known for a kind, pleasing temperament that makes him the perfect choice for therapy and guide dog work. Although a larger breed, they do well with children as long as they have been taught manners (remember, a big dog can accidentally knock over a small child, with no malice involved).

Energy Level

Though it may be easy to forget based on appearance, the Golden Retriever IS a hunting breed. They were bred for a job – to retrieve game from the moors of Scotland – and to do that job well. Although decades have passed, the breed still retains a strong work ethic and retrieving instinct. This is great if you are looking for a hunting partner. If you are looking for a family pet, it’s something to keep in mind. Their drive and instinct need an outlet. They are a high energy breed! To be a good house mate, Goldens need DAILY exercise, whether it’s a jog, a good game of fetch, agility, etc. Many a bored Golden have become destructive chewers, barkers, and diggers!

Space Needed

Being a large breed, give it some thought if you think your flat has enough room for a Golden Retriever to move around without issue. That long tail can cause a lot of destruction as it waves exuberantly!

More than that, having a backyard with room to make sure your Golden is getting his daily exercise can make your life easy, but is not necessary if you commit to exercising him outside the house each day. Goldens are definitely family-orientated and love to snuggle up on the couch after a day’s run or agility practice.

Common Health Problems

A fairly healthy breed, the Golden Retriever does have some genetic disorders you should be aware of when selecting a puppy. Any respectable breeder should do health testing and screening, to help ensure your dog has a long and healthy life. Hip and elbow dysplasia are two of the biggest concerns in the breed. Any breeding animals should be tested for both. Also, due to this, owners should take care that their young, growing puppies do not do anything to strenuous, that could cause undue stress on these joints before they are fully developed. Also keeping them nice and lean while growing helps growing joints stay nice and tight.

Golden Retrievers can also suffer from several genetic eye problems, including Progressive Retinal Atrophy and Hereditary Cataracts, which affect eye sight, and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia and Post Polar Cataract, which do not. Breeders in Australia are expected to screen their dogs annually for these conditions.

Hereditary heart disease is another concern, and again, it’s the responsibility of the breeders to not breed any dog with a heart condition that could be passed on the offspring. Golden Retrievers have more cases of canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) than most other breeds – this may be due to their being predisposed to taurine deficiency, research has not been conclusive on this.

They also are known to have epilepsy and it is strongly thought to be hereditary in Goldens, so ask any potential breeder if their lines have it. Ichthyosis, excessive flaking skin, is also a hereditary condition that can be avoided by not getting a puppy from a breeder that has dogs with it.

Ectopic Ureters (wet puppy syndrome), where the ureter does not enter the bladder in the correct position, is also something that Golden Retrievers can have. Unfortunately, as of now, they have not identified if this is hereditary or how to screen for it.

Like many other breeds, cancer is a concern. In fact, according to the National Golden Retriever Council Australia, a study showed that 60 percent of American Golden Retrievers were lost to it. However, research has showed that this may be due to a fairly recent gene mutation in their lines. While you can’t completely safeguard against cancer, ensuring your puppy is coming from healthy, tested stock may reduce the chance.


Golden Retrievers are biddable and easy to train. Being bred for a job, they enjoy working with people and training is fun for them! They excel at almost any sport – from agility and dock diving to hunting and obedience. Even if you just want a well-mannered family dog, putting in the work to socialize and train your young Golden will reward with you many golden years of good behavior. While they are generally a friendly breed, you will still want to socialize them with people of all types, especially children due to their size, and any animals you want them to live with. Remember, they are a hunting breed and may have the instinct to chase or bark at small animals.

Feeding Recommendation

We recommend feeding your Golden Retriever puppy Stay Loyal Large Breed Puppy through nine months of age, for slow steady growth. And keeping them nice and lean. After that, switch to Stay Loyal Adult Chicken, Lamb, & Fish.

The Golden Retriever is a friendly, sweet-natured and intelligent dog that loves to be part of the family. Given the right amount of exercise and some training, they can make a splendid addition to any home. Ask yourself if you have the time and energy for daily exercise (it’s good for you too!) and enough time to train. If so, adding a Golden Retriever to your home might be just the right fit.

Safe Edible Chews for Puppies

Safe Edible Chews for Puppies

Regardless of the breed of your new puppy, one thing is for sure – it’s going to chew. Puppies use their mouths to learn about their world, starting from when they are born and their eyes are not yet open. They use their mouths in the same way a toddler uses his hands: to explore. As they get older, the urge to chew comes from teething – first as the baby teeth come in and then again when they lose them and get their adult teeth. So how do you save your belongings and yourself from those razor-sharp puppy teeth? Do so by making sure your puppy has appropriate chews to gnaw on!

Commercial Chews

Let’s start with commercial, store bought chews. Pet stores are full of things for your dog to chew on – from “dental sticks” to rawhide chews and even vegetarian options like dehydrated sweet potato. So, what’s a safe chew for a puppy?

Don’t feed rawhide. To any dog, any age. You can just skip right by all those “treats.” Rawhide is extremely hard for your dog to digest. Dogs also tend to break of large chunks, which pose choking and blockage risks.

After you have eliminated the “obvious” bad chews, it’s important to read the labels. Many commercial chews actually say they are not for dogs under 6 months or so. For example, Greenies, a very popular chew, says they are not suitable for dogs less than 6 months. WHIMZEES, an all-natural and grain-free chew, says they are not suitable for dogs under 9 months of age!

Puppies get their puppy teeth at around 4 weeks. These teeth then begin to fall out around 14-30 weeks (approximately 3.5 to 7.5 months old) and are replaced by adult teeth. This means that commercially made chews will be no help to you during your puppy’s strongest chewing phase!

So, what store-bought chews are safe?

Manufactured treats such as dehydrated sweet potato or salmon skin, however, are fine to give a teething puppy and are much safer than rawhide or other manufactured chews that are compressed into super hard bones. A puppy’s jaw is still developing during this period, and chews that are extremely hard (like the WHIMZEES and Greenies, or compressed bones and rawhide) can actually damage the formation of your puppy’s incoming adult teeth. They can also crack them as well!

So, if you want to buy treats, stick with the one ingredient dehydrated items. They are soft and don’t last as long, but still give your dog the chew they need, without any risks. For teething puppies, putting them in the freezer first can add some pain relief. Just remember to limit how many give you a small puppy, 1 to 2 a day is plenty.

Homemade Chews

Making chews for your dog is cheaper, you can cater to any allergies, and usually results in a safer product for your puppy.

You can save money by buying a dehydrator and making dehydrated sweet potato strips, salmon skin, even thin sliced chicken or beef. Again, freezing them afterward can help with a bit of pain relief on sore gums. Wrapping chicken around the sweet potato makes for a longer-lasting chew once it’s dehydrated.

Another option is to freeze a carrot (make sure the size fits your puppy – it should not be so small as to pose a choking hazard). For super tiny puppies, frozen whole green beans may be a good choice as well.

And there are raw meaty bones. These are a personal choice, some people like them, some do not. Raw meaty bones are what wild “dogs” such as dingos and wolves would eat to satisfy their chew cravings. Raw bones are good because they are not so hard that they will cause problems with the incoming adult teeth, and the fleshy exterior and tendons can soothe gums while helping loosen stubborn baby teeth, especially the canines.

Just remember to keep size in perspective, both a bone too small and too big can be an issue. For really small puppies, a wing tip might be enough. Large dogs may need beef brisket or lamb necks instead of chicken bones, which could be too small and pose a choking hazard.

Safety First!

With any chew you give your puppy, remember there are hazards. Choking and blockage is always a risk – if you notice your dog is not chewing small bites, but swallowing big chunks, it’s time to take the item away and try something else. It’s best to not leave your puppy unattended with anything potentially hazardous, that includes chews. If you do suspect your puppy is having trouble and may be blocked or choking, rush to the vet immediately. While there are risks, thousands of puppies eat chews every day with no issue. So be smart, avoid the bad stuff and watch your puppy. Do this, and your entire household will survive the chewing phase of puppyhood.