Skip to Content

Are Golden Retrievers Good For First-Time Owners?

Are Golden Retrievers Good For First-Time Owners?

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds, thanks to their friendly nature and even-temperedness. Plus, Golden Retriever puppies are insanely cute and the perfect family companions!

So if you are considering getting a Golden Retriever but you have never had a dog before, you are probably wondering if these dogs are suited for first-time owners.

The quick answer is yes! But there are still a lot of things to consider before you go ahead and get yourself a Golden Retriever puppy now.

Read on for more information on what makes Golden Retrievers great dogs for owners from every experience level and whether a Golden will suit your lifestyle.


Why a Golden Retriever is a Good Choice for a First-Time Dog Owner

There are a lot of reasons to love a Golden Retriever. A Golden is a loyal and loving dog that really likes to impress. Many of those reasons are exactly why they make great dogs to have as your first.


A Golden Retriever’s intelligence is probably the main reason they make such great first-time dogs.

They are extremely quick to pick up new commands and excel at obedience training since they have a very high need to please their owner. This will come in handy as a first-time owner; it will allow you a little slack when it comes to making mistakes in training.

Because they are so extremely intelligent, they are able to read your emotions. This will make them behave in such a way to please your needs first and foremost, which makes them really great service dogs as well.


As just stated, their high level of intelligence makes these dogs very easily trainable. They require a lot of mental stimulation and enjoy learning.

Try to include a lot of tricks and games in your training routine. This will keep them mentally engaged and happy.

Make sure that you treat your Golden Retriever gently. Even though they are easy to train, it doesn’t mean that a Golden can’t at times be a stubborn dog. Don’t punish it for not wanting to listen to your command right away. They are a sensitive breed that needs a lot of love -positive affirmation training always works best.

Temperment & Personality

Apart from being easy to train, these dogs come with a seemingly constant wagging tail. A Golden Retriever is one happy dog and will bring you lots of joy, no matter if you are a first-time owner or an experienced dog person.

1) Good with kids

If you are a first-timer with children, a Golden Retriever will be the perfect dog for you.

They are family dogs through and through and will do everything to protect their pack and make them happy. This instinct makes them bond quickly with babies or small children as well. Their patience and extreme obedience also come in handy when your toddlers are likely to pet them a little bit too roughly, or accidentally step on their tail.

With that being said, we strongly advise against ever leaving your children alone with a dog without your supervision. Dogs and children communicate and perceive situations in very different ways, and this can lead to misunderstandings and mistakes, even with the most patient and loving Golden Retriever.

2) Loyal

As mentioned, Golden Retrievers are quick to bond with people, especially their owners. This does make for a lousy guard dog, but a great first dog. A Golden is always very eager to please and make friends and is therefore quite forgiving.

If you are looking for a dog breed that will go the extra mile for you, a Golden Retriever is the right dog for you. They love their owners with such intensity that they don’t even shy away from saving them from danger.

3) Fun

Their high level of intelligence makes them really fun dogs as well. You can even go as far as to call them goofy.

They have a playful nature that will never leave their owners bored. You will enjoy many hours of tug-of-war with these energetic dogs!

They also love games and fun toys that engage their mind. Sit back and enjoy watching your Golden Retriever while it solves a mind-puzzle to get its favorite treats!

One of the best things? They can even put away their own toys! Ask them to fetch things for you or put away their favorite stuffed animal and watch them get all excited because they know exactly what to do. If only you could train your toddler to do the same, right?

4) Quiet

Golden Retrievers are not known to bark a lot. The American Kennel Club specifies them as relatively quiet dog breed.

Again, this doesn’t make your Golden a good guard dog, as it will probably greet every stranger at the door with its tail wagging, but this is not why you got yourself a Golden Retriever in the first place.

With a Golden Retriever as your first dog you don’t have to struggle to figure out if they are barking out of excitement or because of something serious. In a Golden Retriever’s case, it must be serious if they dare to make a noise.

5) Social

Golden Retrievers are very social dogs and will warm up to other people really quickly. This means you don’t have to change your social schedule if you choose a Golden as your first dog!

Because of their social side, Golden Retrievers need a lot of attention and care, so make sure you do not neglect them as they can get really frustrated and destructive if they are feeling alone.

If treated well, Golden Retrievers will easily become the love of your life and your best friend.

6) Active

Perhaps one of the reasons behind getting a dog for the first time was to get a bit more active yourself. After all, dogs need to go on daily walks, right?

Golden Retrievers are definitely no exception to this rule. In fact, they are quite active dogs that require at least an hour of exercise a day.

They absolutely love running, seeing as they were originally bred to be hunting dogs. But any other form of exercise, be it agility, playing fetch or obedience training, will do the trick as well.

Make sure that you let them get rid of any pent-up energy because they will otherwise get restless.


These dogs are relatively low maintenance; they don’t need much to look and be at their best.

Yes, their fur does go through seasonal shedding which will require a bit of daily brushing from your side, but you do not need to trim their coat.

Give them teeth sticks to chew on to keep their dental hygiene up and make sure you trim their nails regularly if they do not shorten by daily exercise outdoors. You will know to shorten their nails when they make a clicking noise on the floor when walking.

One thing that might shock you when dealing with a Golden Retriever as your first dog is how much they love to eat! In fact, more than half of Golden Retrievers are overweight or obese. So be careful not to overfeed your pup or give it too many treats because you love it so much (difficult, we know!). You will do more harm than good.


Who Does a Golden Retriever Fit Best?

If you’re considering a Golden Retriever as your first dog, you’re probably wondering if it will suit your lifestyle or whether you will have to make some significant changes to accommodate your new furry friend.

Luckily, Golden Retrievers are very adaptable, thanks to their high levels of intelligence. And as long as you take them on long walks and give them enough attention, they will be happy in either a house or an apartment. So you don’t have to worry about taking on a bank loan for a house any time soon because of your new addition to the family!

If you are a household with several people, you also don’t have to worry that your dog will get too fixated on one family member, as they equally love all of you as long as you give them enough love back.

If you are a single-person household, the only thing you need to make sure of is not to leave your Golden Retriever alone for too long. They do suffer from separation anxiety, therefore a Golden will suit you best if you work from home a lot or are able to tag your buddy along wherever you go.

Luckily, because of their great manners, it is usually easy to take them with you to almost any place.

Who shouldn’t own a Golden Retriever?

As we already hinted at in the previous section, if you are a couch potato, your Golden Retriever will not be very happy with you -and vice versa.

If you don’t manage to take them out for at least 60 minutes a day to tire them out, they will get seriously frustrated with living with you and probably start getting destructive. This might be the end of your favorite slippers, or worse. So unless you want to invest in new clothing and furniture, best to walk your dog!

If you are barely home and are not planning on taking your dog with you, then a Goldie isn’t the right first dog either. These dogs need to be around their people as much as possible, otherwise they will get depressed.

If you are a neat freak, maybe overthink your choice for a dog (or at least a Golden) as well. These furry fellas are hairy to say the least! They will leave you with lots of hair and get dirt in their coats from playing outside. They do shed all year round, but it will get heavier with the change of the seasons, twice a year.

So unless you are willing to spend some time grooming them and vacuum cleaning a couple times more in the week, don’t get a Golden Retriever.

If you are trying to avoid a dirty dog indoors by keeping your Golden Retriever outdoors, you will not have a happy dog either. Golden Retrievers are not made to live outdoors for too long; they are social animals that need to be with their family and want to chill with you on the couch while you watch Netflix.

If left in the yard for too long, the already mentioned destructive behavior will kick in and you will find them digging and chewing on anything that they can find. They might even portray aggressive behavior if they feel lonely and bored.

As we stated before, Golden Retrievers are friendly dogs; they really don’t make a good guard dog. So if you are looking for a canine to protect your homestead, we recommend going for a breed that is more suited for this. Golden Retrievers definitely aren’t and will make the mail man and anyone trying to enter your property uninvited their best friend in no time.

If you are not able to meet these dogs’ needs, then they will not be a good fit as a first dog.



What other breeds are good for first-time dog owners?

  • Papillon: These dogs are just as loyal and affectionate as Golden Retrievers. But they differ a lot in size and looks! Papillons weigh less than 10 pounds, so it will be quite easy to carry those little fellas around and they will also not need nearly as much space or exercise (only about 20 minutes a day!) as a Golden. A Papillon is perfect for apartment living.
  • Miniature Dachshund: Another example of a small dog that will be very easy to handle as well as to train is the Miniature Dachshund. They have a massive personality, which makes up for their tiny statue (of only about 6 inches!). They are very intelligent as well, and therefore easily trainable. But watch out, these guys can be feisty and this means they are already much better guard dogs than Golden Retrievers ever will be. Perhaps with a hint of a Napoleon Complex, though.
  • Bichon Frise: Bichons get along super well with children, contrary to popular belief as they are also quite small dogs. Similar to the Miniature Dachshund, they have quite a big personality, which makes up for their petite weight of not even 18 pounds. These dogs are incredibly intelligent and adaptable, which makes them great for first-timers, no matter if you are living in the countryside or a small apartment!
  • Labrador: Now to an alternative that has about the same size at least! The Lab is considered a lap-dog, despite their size. They are incredibly well-suited as a first-time dog and fit perfectly in any family. Just like the Golden Retriever, these dogs make great service dogs as they are highly emotionally intelligent. Their eagerness to please makes them easily trainable and therefore a good fit for owners that are still to gather experience in owning a dog.
  • Standard Poodle: Poodles are known to be extremely good at learning tricks and responding to commands. They are super playful and will make loving and loyal furry friends. As a first-time owner, you will thoroughly enjoy this breed. But beware that they also demand lots of exercise, even more than a Golden Retriever at times. Otherwise, they will get unhappy, just like a Golden would.
  • Greyhound: Greyhounds are very low-maintenance dogs with very short fur, which means a lot less grooming is needed than with a Golden Retriever. Thanks to their loving nature, they make great first-time dogs. Their athletic physique already tells us that these dogs need to be run daily. This means several walks a day to keep them satisfied and happy.
  • Mixed-breed dogs: If you are considering becoming a dog parent for the first time, do not forget about the many dogs that are currently waiting in shelters for a second chance at a forever home. These dogs can be highly intelligent and show amazing traits of both their parents, so make sure you do your research if there is a mixed breed pup that caught your eye – it might just be the right one for you! Many times, a rescue dog also makes for a great first-time dog because they are incredibly eager to please their new owner in order to stay with you. This can come in handy when training them as a first timer as well.

Are Golden Retrievers easy to house-train?

As these intelligent dogs can be trained from an early age, you will find it easier to potty train a Golden Retriever than many other dogs.

They have a high level of adaptive intelligence, which means that they learn from experience and will understand quickly that it makes you happy when they go potty in the garden or during a walk instead of on your carpet.

Note that as with other breeds, the earlier you start to house train your dog, and the more consistent you are with the training, the better and quicker they will learn it.

Do I need a big house for a Golden Retriever?

If you are wondering “are Golden Retrievers good apartment dogs?”, then your quick answer is, yes, they are.

As we already mentioned in this article, as long as you manage to give your Golden Retrievers good exercise and enough mental stimulation, this active breed will be happy in an apartment.


Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are easy to train, fun and loving dogs that will definitely make your life a lot brighter, thanks to their goofy and happy nature. They are perfectly suited for a first-time dog owner.

With that being said, make sure that you are happy and able to meet this dog’s needs. Just because they are well-suited as a first dog, doesn’t mean you are well-suited for them.

If you are into the outdoors, able to give them lots of attention and affection and do not mind some extra dog hair flying around your home – then the Golden Retriever is definitely the dog for you!

If you are interested in learning more about these beautiful dogs, visit our homepage for more information on Golden Retrievers!