Is a Golden Retriever the Right Dog Breed for You and Your Family?
So, you read THE WATCHER a dozen times, you've seen Golden Retrievers working as guide dogs, and now you want to buy one of your own. So many families have made that decision and been very happy with the dog they purchased.
But... before you bring this cuddly yellow fuzz ball home, you need to be convinced that this breed is really the right dog for you and your family.
Facts to consider.
A Golden Retriever is a big, muscular dog, which weighs in at 55 to 75 pounds and stands 21 ½ to 24 inches tall at the shoulder. It has a broad skull, which may explain why they are so intelligent.
Golden Retrievers were originally bred to be working dogs? The AKC places this breed in the Sporting Group. They are high energy animals and need plenty of exercise, especially while they are less than three years of age.
This desire to stay busy is one reason this breed makes good rescue, Seeing Eye, or drug sniffing dogs. You must keep them occupied or they will find ways to amuse themselves, such as eating your entire shoe collection.
Do you like gardening? If you do, you will need to be sure you have a separate area where you can contain your dog, since most Golden Retrievers love to dig. While they are going through their puppy stage, they are also prone to chewing up shrubs.
Since Golden Retrievers are large dogs, you may want to consider the cost of food before buying your puppy. These dogs eat a lot. Also, since they are prone to hip dysplasia, you may want to ask your veterinarian about feeding your puppy food that is especially formulated to help large breeds grow properly.
If you have small children, you may need to consider whether a Golden Retriever puppy will be too boisterous for them. Although adult Goldens are excellent family dogs, puppies can be quite mouthy and rowdy. They may accidentally knock toddlers down while they are playing.
If you do buy a puppy when you have small children, you will need to find time to teach him good manners quickly. You may want to attend obedience classes with him, so that he is used to other dogs and people and learns how to act when he is outside the house. Training your puppy before he is too strong for you to control easily is a good idea.
Golden Retrievers need frequent grooming to keep their coats from tangling. You will need to pay special attention to the area behind your dog's ears, as it is prone to developing large mats. Frequent grooming will also help you alleviate dog hair on furniture, which can be quite heavy when your dog is shedding his coat. In addition, you will need to have enough time to check your dog for ticks after he goes for a romp in the park or other grassy and wooded areas.
If you still feel that this is the breed for you, be sure to look for a good breeder to buy your puppy from. A healthy, good tempered Golden Retriever makes a wonderful, intelligent companion.
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