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Why Golden Retrievers Are The Worst Dogs



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Despite their overwhelming popularity among pet owners, Golden Retrievers are often held up as the epitome of canine companionship. However, with a more critical and in-depth analysis, one may argue that these lovable canines are indeed the worst dogs. This may seem surprising considering their adorating eyes, wagging tails, and endearing personalities, however, examining deeper reveals a different facet of this fluffy story.

Suitability to apartment living

Golden Retrievers are large and robust dogs that require substantial amounts of exercise to stay healthy and happy. They quickly feel cramped in an apartment setting, making them a poor choice for pet owners living in bustling urban environments. Couple this with the fact that they are notorious shedders, leaving vast amounts of hair everywhere they roam, and it’s clear that Golden Retrievers are best suited for homes with plenty of outdoor space.

To say that Golden Retrievers are a handful within a space-constrained environment is an understatement; their physical needs and natural temperament demand more room than what most apartments offer. – Anonymous Dog Trainer

Expensive to maintain

Known for its exceptional appetite, Golden Retrievers can become quite an expense when it comes to feeding them. Moreover, they tend to have a number of hereditary health conditions which make maintaining their health a costly affair. It’s not uncommon to spend hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars each year on a Golden Retriever’s food, grooming, and medical bills.

Training difficulty

Training a Golden Retriever, while not impossible, can be quite challenging. They have energetic and playful personalities, which, although delightful, can delay and complicate the training process. Additionally, Golden Retrievers are known for their curious nature which often leads them to distractions, making it difficult to train them effectively.

What are the potential health issues that Golden Retrievers may face?

Golden Retrievers, like all other breeds, are prone to certain health conditions. The key is awareness about potential concerns to ensure early diagnosis and effective treatment. While not all Golden Retrievers will experience these health issues, it’s essential to understand the possibilities.

Golden Retrievers are Prone to Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

One of the most common health concerns in Golden Retrievers is hip and elbow dysplasia – a developmental disorder resulting in abnormal formation of the hip or elbow joint. Early detection and treatment can help manage this condition and maintain the dog’s quality of life.

Eye Conditions are also Common

Different eye problems, such as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and the more severe cases of retinal dysplasia may affect Golden Retrievers without warning. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian can ensure early diagnosis and effective treatment.

Skin Conditions

Golden Retrievers have a lovely golden coat that unfortunately makes them susceptible to a variety of skin conditions. Allergies, hot spots, tumors, and hypothyroidism can all cause skin issues in this breed.

Cardiac Issues

In some cases, Golden Retrievers suffer from heart diseases like subaortic stenosis (SAS). To keep a careful watch on your dog’s cardiovascular health, regular check-ups are crucial.


A rather unfortunate fact about Golden Retrievers is their high susceptibility to cancer. Discovering these conditions early and initiating treatment can improve the prognosis significantly.

In spite of these potentially serious health conditions, with the right care and regular veterinary checks, Golden Retrievers can lead a healthy, prosperous life.

What are the common misconceptions about Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers are Easy to Train

This is one of the most prevalent misconceptions about Golden Retrievers. While it’s true that they are generally eager to please, which can make certain aspects of training easier, they are not necessarily easy to train overall. Their energetic and playful nature often leads to distraction, making it difficult to maintain their focus during training sessions.

Golden Retrievers are Great with All Other Animals

Another common misconception is that Golden Retrievers are naturally good with all other animals. While they are usually friendly and sociable with other dogs, this doesn’t mean they’ll be the same with all other animals. Just like any other breed, their behavior towards other animals can vary greatly depending on the individual dog and their experiences.

Golden Retrievers Don’t Require a lot of Exercise

Commonly people assume that Golden Retrievers can be couch potatoes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Golden Retrievers are an energetic and active breed, requiring plenty of physical exercise and mental stimulation. Failing to meet these needs can result in behavioral problems.

Golden Retrievers are Always Good with Young Children

One popular belief is that Golden Retrievers are inherently and universally good with children. While many are indeed patient and gentle with kids, this trait should never be taken for granted. Any interaction between dogs and small children should be supervised to ensure safety for all parties.

Why Golden Retrievers Are The Worst Dogs

All Golden Retrievers Love Water

It is often stated as a fact that all Golden Retrievers love water. However, just like any other breed, whether a dog likes water can depend on the individual. If they aren’t introduced to water in a positive way at a young age, they may be uncomfortable or even afraid.

Golden Retrievers are a Healthy Breed

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Golden Retrievers are prone to a number of health issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia, eye conditions, and heart diseases. Additionally, they have a high prevalence of cancer compared to other breeds.

Their Golden Coat is Easy to Maintain

Golden Retrievers have a double coat that requires regular grooming. Without consistent grooming, their coat can become matted and may lead to skin issues. Hence, coat maintenance demands time, effort and attention – a fact frequently underestimated by potential owners.

Golden Retrievers can’t be Apartment Dogs

This is not necessarily true. While Golden Retrievers are a large breed and do need room to move, they can adapt to living in smaller spaces like apartments. However, they will require regular exercise outdoors and the apartment should be dog-friendly.

What are the characteristics and behaviors of Golden Retrievers?

The Golden Retriever, with its friendly and tolerant attitude, is a pleasure to own. However, their versatility comes with a set of characteristics and behaviors that can make them challenging for some potential dog owners.

Golden Retrievers are Easy to Train

Golden Retrievers are intelligent and eager to please, making them one of the easiest breeds to train. This trait makes them excellent working dogs, capable of performing complex tasks. However, their intelligence may lead to stubbornness if not properly directed. They have a propensity to become easily bored and can develop annoying habits if not mentally stimulated.

Golden Retrievers are Great with All Other Animals

Golden Retrievers are generally sociable dogs that get along well with other pets. They usually show no aggression and can coexist peacefully with other animals. However, it’s important to remember that they are still animals with their instincts. Some Golden Retrievers may not display tolerance towards other animals, especially if not adequately socialized.

Golden Retrievers Don’t Require a lot of Exercise

This is not entirely accurate. As active and fun-loving animals, Golden Retrievers require significant daily exercise. Neglecting this need can result in destructive behavior due to pent up energy. Their love for fetching and swimming serves as an indicator of their need for vigorous physical activities.

Golden Retrievers are Always Good with Young Children

Golden Retrievers are famously known for being great family dogs and are usually very gentle and patient with children. However, as with any breed, individual personalities may vary. Some Golden Retrievers may not tolerate rough handling and could snap if provoked by boisterous behavior from young children.

All Golden Retrievers Love Water

While many Golden Retrievers enjoy water and are excellent swimmers, this is not a universal trait. Some may prefer staying on dry land and taking a romp in the yard instead. Each dog’s preference can vary and should not be forced, especially if they show fear or discomfort around water.

Golden Retrievers are a Healthy Breed

Overall, Golden Retrievers are a healthy breed, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. These may include hip dysplasia, various heart conditions, and certain types of cancers. Early detection and appropriate veterinary care can manage these conditions effectively.

Their Golden Coat is Easy to Maintain

The coat of a Golden Retriever is beautiful and luxurious but requires regular grooming to keep it in top form. Their dense double coat can shed heavily, especially during seasonal changes, which might be an issue for people with allergies or those who prefer a clean living environment.

Golden Retrievers can’t be Apartment Dogs

While Golden Retrievers can adapt to a variety of living conditions, they may not be suited for apartment living due to their size and energy levels. Limited space could restrain their physical activities, leading to potential behavioral issues. It’s vital to consider that their barking, which can be loud, may not be appreciated by close neighbors.

What are the alternative dog breeds that are often preferred over Golden Retrievers?

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers are a popular alternative to Golden Retrievers. Famous for their amicable nature and high energy levels, Labradors often have fewer health issues. They can suit both family environments and work as service dogs, thanks to their trainable and obedient nature.

German Shepherds

German Shepherds make for a great alternative and are renowned for their protective nature. They stay active and healthy, provided that they are given an adequate amount of physical and mental stimulation. Known for their intelligence and loyalty, German Shepherds are commonly used in police and search and rescue operations.


Poodles come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. Each of these types brings a unique set of characteristics and advantages. Standard Poodles are similar in size to Golden Retrievers, but they have hypoallergenic coats and are less prone to specific health issues. Known for their intelligence and trainability, Poodles are indeed a solid alternative.

Border Collies

Considered one of the smartest dog breeds, Border Collies may be a good choice for those seeking a trainable and active dog. While their high energy requires ample exercise, they are noted for their agility and excel in competitions. Their health issues are comparatively less as well.

What are some notable Golden Retrievers?

Lucy: The Oldest Golden Retriever

Lucy, a Golden Retriever from St. Charles, Illinois, holds the record for being the oldest Golden Retriever in history, having lived to over 17 years old.

Buddy: The Original Air Bud

Buddy is a Golden Retriever who rose to fame by showcasing incredible basketball skills in the original Air Bud movie. Despite an amputated leg due to synovial cell sarcoma, Buddy continued to perform in several sequels of the film until his death in 1998.

Charlie: The Drug-sniffing Dog

Charlie, a police dog in Australia, is a Golden Retriever who has made a name for himself in drug enforcement. Known for his accurate sniffing ability, Charlie has been instrumental in several drug busts, earning praise for his effectiveness in this police work.

Christy Avery has worked as a veterinary technician for more than five years, caring for both domestic and exotic animals. She has received training as a Fear Free Certified Professional to prevent and treat pet anxiety, fear, and stress.