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FAQ about Goldens

Frequently Ask Questions

How long is the life span of a Golden Retriever?
The typical life span of a Golden in the 1990's and early 2000's was 15 years. Today, that average life span has been cut to 10 to 12 years of age. Cancer is the leading cause of death and Goldens certain types of cancer are more prevalent in Goldens than any other breed.

What is the difference between males and females?
Other than the obvious, the difference between the male and female Golden Retriever is predominately size. Females are normally between 50-60 lbs and males are 65-80 lbs. Of course this can vary because of genetics.

Is it true that females are calmer and more affectionate?
Absolutely not! Males in most cases are much more affectionate than females. Males are big loving teddy bears. Female Goldens are generally more independent than males.

Do all males mark territory and lift their legs?
No, if they are neutered early enough, 6 months to 1 1/2 years, they do not become territorial markers or leg lifters. They will squat like a female.

Why should I spay my dog?
There are many reasons you should spay your dog.
If you have your female spayed before her first heat cycle you are protecting her against mammary tumors, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. Spayed pets will not have heat cycles that soil your rugs. Sterilized pets behave better.

Why should I neuter my dog?
Neutered pets can’t develop testicular tumors and have a lower incidence of prostate cancer. If you neuter your dog early you will have less chances of medical problems, territorial aggression, leg lifting, roaming, behavioral problems, mounting & possessive aggression.

The biggest reason for spaying or neutering your pet is pet responsibility. Males who escape their yards can sire litters without their owner’s knowledge. Millions of unwanted pets are euthanized everyday. The primary cause of this is people who fail to spay or neuter their pets, and who abandon or give up pets because of lack of commitment to training a pet.

Do Golden Retrievers shed?
Yes they do! Goldens shed most all year round and there are least two times a year that it is a lot. You can expect dog hair everywhere if you own a Golden Retriever. They need to be brushed daily and regular use of an undercoat rake will significantly improve the shedding. Daily brushing also keeps them from matting. If you do not like dog hair in your house a Golden is probably not the dog for you.

I can't handle all the hair!  What is your opinion on shaving a Golden?
Do not shave your Golden.  An undercoat rake and a steady routine of brushing will solve the problem.  Goldens actually have two coats of hair. Their coat is designed to keep them comfortable and protect them in both winter and summer.  During the winter, the undercoat grows, and in the spring they being to blow that coat.  The undercoat rake is designed to remove all of the dead undercoat.  When first using one, it will take a few sessions of raking and brushing to remove all of the dead coat, but once you have done that, a weekly routine of brushing and using the undercoat rake will keep shedding to a minimum.  The first time you use it, you will be shocked at the amount of hair you remove.

Combine the undercoat rake with the Porcupine Bristle Brush and you have the tools to keep your Golden's coat looking beautiful and you can control indoor shedding.

Do Goldens need exercise?
Yes, letting your dog out for potty breaks only is not considered enough exercise. They are a sporting breed and as such need plenty of exercise. Throwing tennis balls, swimming and romping with other dogs is great exercise. You do need to be careful exercising your Golden under the age of 18 months old. They need exercise but it must not be forced. You should refrain from jogging with them until they are fully grown because you can damage their joints.

Are Golden Retrievers good with children?
Most Goldens are wonderful with children; however, when they are young and full of energy they can easily knock small children down from excitement. It is important not to leave small children alone with a dog unattended because of children that might pull on their tail or poke them in the eye.

When do Goldens grow up?
Golden Retrievers are usually physically mature by 2 years of age. Mentally, it depends on the dog but usually not before 3 years of age.

Why does my Golden Retriever not retrieve?
Some dogs are born with more drive than others, a puppy that is not properly socialized generally will not retrieve. Some pups have no play drive which allows them to learn to retrieve on their own. It generally has to be encouraged by either the pups siblings (as in "take away games") or by the owners engaging the dog in play and praising the dog for the retrieving behavior. Shaping the behavior by using praise when the pup goes after the thrown object , more praise when he touches the object or picks it up, more when he takes even one step towards you with the object, etc.

Are Goldens good guard dogs?
No, most Golden Retrievers will bark at strangers but most of the time they will greet the stranger at the door with their tail wagging and a toy in their mouth ready to play. They will most likely show them where all the silverware in the house is .

Why does my dog scoot on the floor or chew on his rear end at the base of his tail?
There could be two reasons for this. They could have tapeworms or their anal sacs need to be emptied. The first thing to check is their stool. Tapeworms look like little pieces of white rice and are visible. If they have tapeworms you will need to see your vet for treatment. If you do not see tapeworms then you may need to take your dog to the vet to see if his or hers anal sacs need to be emptied.

Do Golden Retrievers bark a lot?
Not typically, but they can if they are bored.

Why does my Golden itch?
That is a tough question. Some of them have allergies so this could be the cause. It could be inhalant, contact or food allergy. Many Golden Retrievers have very sensitive skin so it is important that you use medicated shampoo on them if they do. This can relieve a lot of the itching. Many of them have flea allergies and one flea alone can caused them to excessively itch.

What is a hot spot?
They look like open, oozing sores that start out real small, could be the size of a quarter and if not treated quickly the size of it will escalate really fast and get out of control. Golden Retrievers can get hot spots very easily. Hot spots are often caused by allergies. The most common would be by fleas. If you do not get all the shampoo out of your dog this can cause a hot spot too. Most hot spots need to be shaved so that they will get well. Shaving the area promotes air circulation. It is best to see the vet before they get out of control.

My Golden Retriever has flaky skin, what is the best course of treatment?
Medicated shampoo and a high potency essential fatty acid dietary supplement for the skin & coat.

My Golden Retriever has constant ear infections. How can I avoid this?
Most Goldens need their ears cleaned weekly with an ear cleansing solution. Goldens have floppy ears so they do not breathe as easy so they get yeast and bacterial infections constantly if they are not kept clean. Their ears need to be as clean and free of debris as your ears.

Why should my Golden eat a premium dog food?
Premium dog food produces healthier coat & skin. It also produces smaller stools.

Why should Goldens be inside dogs?
Golden Retrievers are family dogs. They live for their family so they are poorly suited to live in a backyard all day. When they are bored and stressed they develop behavior problems, such as digging, barking, and become destructive.

Does my Golden Retriever need obedience classes?
Every dog and their owner should attend obedience classes. Goldens are large dogs and because they get over excited when they greet guest they need to know their basic commands such as heel, sit, stay, and come. Obedience classes are a great bonding experience for you and your Golden Retriever.