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All about your Golden Retriever

Mild-mannered and reliable, with a kind nature bound to melt hearts.

Affectionate, playful and handsome, the Golden Retriever is one of the most popular family dogs. Discover more about this courageous, curious and smart all-rounder, and get tips on a range of topics from exercise, grooming and behaviour, to what you can do to keep your dog healthy and happy.

A Wet Golden Retriever Returning From A Swim In The Ocean

Breed information & advice

The Golden Retriever belongs to the gun dog group, and while he was originally bred to retrieve game from the hunt he has had many jobs, including being a sniffer dog and therapy dog. He’s rarely a fussy eater, easily trained and needs a house with a large garden to blow off some of his boundless energy.

  • Perhaps the one job the Golden Retriever is not suited to is guard dog, as he is keen to impress just about everyone he meets.
  • His beautiful golden coat is thick and tangles easily, so you’ll need to brush your dog’s coat daily.
  • Typically he will weigh between 25kg and 34kg, when fully grown.
  • A healthy Golden Retriever will usually live for 10 to 12 years.

Typical size of a Golden Retriever

Large: 53cm-61cm

The Golden Retriever is always bursting with energy, and needs more than two hours of exercise each day. Just like the name suggests, he loves to bring you things, and you’ll often find him carrying something around in his mouth, such as your shoes. When you are out together, a game of fetch with a ball or stick is the perfect pastime for your companion.

When it comes to mealtimes, feed him a high-quality diet that will give him all the nutrients and energy he needs, split over two meals. How much you give him will depend on his age and size, and how much exercise he is getting. Check the food packet for portion recommendations.

More than two hours of exercise per day

Give your dog plenty of exercise each day, including fun games to keep his mind active too.

Panting Golden Retriever Walks Through Field In The Sun
Majestic Golden Retriever Looking Up

Common health problems & illnesses

Golden Retrievers need all of the usual vaccinations, flea and tick control, and dental checks to go on to lead a healthy life, but it’s worth being aware of some of the more specific ailments which can affect this breed, so you can look out for any symptoms.

1. Joint problems

Like many breeds of dog, Golden Retrievers can develop arthritis, a painful inflammation of the joints, as they get older. You should look out for any cautious or tender movements in your dog when he gets up or lies down, reluctance to play, or lameness. Stiffness or pain will usually ease as he gets moving. You may also want to limit your puppy’s playtime on harder surfaces like concrete while he is growing, as this can affect his growing bones and cause disorders in later life. There are many treatments available, ranging from diet and exercise for overweight dogs, to drug therapy for pain.

Arthritis accounted for almost 14% of Tesco Pet Insurance claims for this breed in 2015.

2. Aural Haematoma

Ear infections or fleas can cause a build-up of blood to collect in the cartilage of the Golden Retriever’s ear flaps, a condition called aural haematoma. Watch out for signs of this in your dog, such as shaking and scratching of the ear. If you suspect he has this problem, visit your vet who can decide if it will clear up on its own or needs treatment, which usually involves draining away the fluid.

3. Tumours

Benign growths such as lipomas, or fatty tumours, are common in this breed and grow beneath the skin – usually upwards and outwards. They are often harmless and appear in older dogs, but they could need removing if they are limiting movement. As part of your dog’s weekly grooming routine, look out for lumps, bumps and other changes in his skin. If you are worried by anything you find – or just want to be sure it’s nothing more serious – your vet can take a closer look and determine the right treatment.

4. Epilepsy

Golden Retrievers are one of the dog breed groups at risk of developing epilepsy, where abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes symptoms such as seizures. If it develops in older dogs, there could be a clear cause such as poisoning, but in some cases the condition is simply genetic or the cause is unknown. Treatments include elimination diets and medication.

5. Hypothyroidism

When the body doesn’t produce enough of the hormone thyroxine, this is known as hypothyroidism, and is common in larger breeds such as the Golden Retriever. The disease can affect the way food is used to create energy, and signs to be aware of in your dog include lethargy, a dip in mood and hair loss. Typical treatment involves hormone replacement.

Dog name popularity

If you’re struggling to think of a name for your new Golden Retriever, take a look at the most popular ones at Tesco Pet Insurance for inspiration.

Dog name popularity
Bailey
Molly
Poppy
Max
Charlie

Average treatment costs

Wondering whether pet insurance for your Golden Retriever is worth it? We’ve put together the top five conditions claimed for by Tesco Pet Insurance customers in 2015, and the average cost of treatment.

ConditionAverage treatment cost
Arthritis and degenerative joint disease£229.97
Cruciate rupture£216.33
Tumour£270.74
Lameness£236.81
Epilepsy, fitting or seizures£249.34

Tesco Pet Insurance claims data from paid treatments including excesses from 01/01/15 to 31/12/15.

Considering Golden Retriever insurance?

We know your dog is an important member of the family, so give them the protection they deserve with Tesco Pet Insurance.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.

Grooming advice

Because Golden Retrievers tend to shed throughout the year, you’ll need to introduce a regular grooming schedule if you are to keep his coat shiny and healthy. Brush his fur every day to get rid of excess hair, and bathe him at least once a month to make sure he stays looking and smelling clean.

If you hear clicking on the floor, it may be time to clip your Golden Retriever’s nails. Be careful not to clip these too short as you could hit a blood vessel and cause bleeding – a professional groomer will be able to share some tips with you, if you aren’t experienced.

It’s a good idea to use a special cleanser to thoroughly clean in and around your dog’s ears – the folds and flaps are ideal breeding grounds for dirt and bacteria, and an infection could develop if left unwashed.

Fun & interesting facts

  • The first Golden Retriever can be traced back to the 1860s in the Scottish Highlands.
  • Your dog will be white-blonde, yellow or golden – but his other features will depend on whether he is a British, American or Canadian Golden Retriever.
  • He is one of the smartest dog breeds, alongside Border Collies, Poodles and German Shepherds.
  • He just loves to go for a swim, and is by far the most water-loving of all dogs.
  • Famous owners of this breed include Jackie Chan, Oprah Winfrey and Ryan Reynolds.

Important information

KEY INFORMATION

The content on this page aims to offer an informative introduction to pet breeds, but does not constitute expert veterinary advice. If your dog or cat falls ill or has an injury, contact your vet immediately. Tesco Bank Pet Insurance has a partnership with vetfone™ which means that as a customer, you can benefit from their advice as part of your policy.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

All facts and figures were correct at date of publication and were compiled using a range of sources.

WHAT IS VETFONE?

Vetfone™ is a 24/7 helpline that provides expert advice from nurses qualified with the RCVS (Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons). If your pet has a medical emergency, or you need reassurance on grooming, feeding or general advice, vetfone™ is there to help.

As a Tesco Pet Insurance customer, you can access expert veterinary advice provided by RCVS registered vet nurses as a standard benefit with your policy, and the service is provided at no additional cost. A quick call could answer any questions you have about your pet, give you peace of mind and could even save you an expensive trip to the vet.

Tesco Bank Pet Insurance is arranged, administered and underwritten by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc. The vetfone™ service is provided by Vetsdirect Ltd.

Discover more breeds

Browse our other cat and dog guides to learn about some of the UK’s most popular breeds.