A lot of people mistake Golden and Labrador Retrievers to be the same dogs judging by their similar inherent retriever qualities and friendly nature. Though you could call them cousin breeds, they are poles apart and that is not just because of the longer and shinier coat that Golden retrievers have compared to labs. There is a lot more to the breed of Golden retrievers than what meets the eye.
Golden retrievers get their names, primarily because they have a natural ability to retrieve things. They are very trainable and their sight and hearing skills can be honed along with their retriever qualities making them excellent hunt dogs. They are so commonly known as the best retrievers that an entire video game from the nineties include them as hunt dogs, where in, a player has to aim at flying fowl and once they are shot they fall and get lost in the bushes and then the animated retriever would jump into the bushes and retrieve them no matter where they are. These are the kind of dogs one would thoroughly enjoy a game or two of fetch with!
Golden retrievers are a very intelligent and hard working breed. Moreover their desire for love and eagerness to please leads them to work harder. They are quick to learn and be able to follow any kind of orders. Owners of these retrievers need to be very careful with what they make their retrievers do because these dogs never give up, they would keep working and following orders until they drop dead to earn an extra pat on their heads. As babies they are always very hyper excited, fascinated and experimental with everything. They sleep for fixed intervals and while they are awake they must simply have something to do the entire time, be it chewing on to something (anything), running about the house, rolling on their backs or just barking at nothing in particular. In fact their excitement, sometimes, gets the better of them even in their slumber when they growl and kick off in the air while dreaming. These are not the kind of dogs that you could put on a leash. That would be very unfair to the personalities of these dogs and would restrict their exercise which an owner must be very particular about because this breed loves eating and could very easily be a victim of obesity.
While in places like Scotland and Canada, where the climatic temperatures drop below freezing point, it is advised to give Golden retrievers a bath once every two months. However, in harsh climatic conditions like that of India, veterinarians say that a daily bath, once a Golden retriever puppy is three months old, is very necessary to protect them from the effects of the scorching heat. Golden retrievers are cold climate dogs which makes them very vulnerable to hot weathers. During the Indian summers, it is advised to provide these retrievers with proper air conditioning at all times and they could be taken for an outdoor walk only late in the night or very early in the morning. Recently, Hyderabad received heavy nonstop showers for three days and power cuts had become very frequent. My friend, who is the owner of a five month old Golden retriever puppy, that he has named Murphy, did not bother turning the inverter on during one of the three hour power cuts in the afternoon, because the weather was cool enough. The poor puppy simply fainted in the absence of air conditioning even in an average temperature of twenty two degrees Celsius. My friend had to spray cool water all over his body on the vet’s advice, for half an hour to get Murphy back to his senses. These retrievers start sweating their paws if the temperature around them gets anything near twenty. They are constantly panting and getting restless, which should be an obvious cue for the owners to provide some kind of cooling to them.
Golden retrievers are also known to get deeply involved with their humans. They could be perfect therapists for people suffering from depression or anxiety disorders since they are compatible, friendly and very patient. It is always better to give these dogs some space in spite of their convincing and persuasive skills at asking for food and love, because they get very attached to anyone who gives them a lot of their time and energy. Love kind of ruins their reputation at being some of the world’s most intelligent breeds. Murphy, for example, does not eat until my friend gets back from wherever he has been, even if it means to stay hungry for hours at a stretch. Talk about Golden retrievers being big time foodies! Sometimes my friend has to take care of outdoor chores such as gardening or washing the car. Murphy just has to give him company; he would stay out under the hot sun until my friend is forced to lock him up in an air conditioned room and finish up his chores quickly because Murphy would not stop whining until he is set free. I have seen other dogs, including mine, who exhibit jealousy if their humans paid attention to other pets or people. Surprisingly Golden retrievers show a lot of motherly affection to everything and every person that is dear to their humans. Murphy would pounce on me and lick my face every time my friend’s mom pulls my cheek. He even lets me play with his half chewed toys, turning a deaf ear to my persistent refusals at not wanting to play with toys that are sticky with saliva!
Another awesome thing about Golden retrievers is that they excel at swimming and love water. They could be trained for water rescue purposes. On rainy days you would find them frolicking about in puddles tirelessly for hours together.
Owners, however, must be very particular about their regular vaccinations. Golden retrievers generally have many inherent disorders and are otherwise prone to lots of diseases including cancer. They also get allergies from fleas hence their fur has to be groomed regularly to check for fleas and to keep them from excessive shedding. Excessive shedding could also be a result of stress in the retrievers hence it is an owner’s responsibility to look into the needs of their dogs and keep them happy.