The Golden Retriever. While it's debatable if all blondes have more fun, this uber-popular blonde breed makes a strong case. Seriously, Golden Retrievers tend to live each day as if they have just discovered a swimming pool full of tennis balls and bacon. And while that sunny disposition is appealing, there are pros and cons to consider before bringing one of these blondies into your home.
It's one of America's favorite breeds, but the Golden Retriever came by way of a Scottish aristocrat named--no kidding--Sir Dudley Majoribanks (later known as--again, no kidding--Lord Tweedmouth). Bred to be not only a superbly sniffing waterfowl hunter, but a loyal house companion as well. Check and check.
Today's Golden Retrievers are highly-trainable, wonderfully loyal companions that make outstanding service animals and family-friendly pets.
- Sweet, calm, and probably nicer than your grandma. That happy-go-lucky image is not an empty stereotype. This breed is ridiculously good-natured.
- Smart and easy to train. Their size, speed, agility, and intelligence make them a fun animal to train. Not only for tricks like slow-dancing with you to Adele, but also service-specific skills for limited-ability companions.
- Loves large families and small kids. (Unlike half of your friends.) This breed loves being part of a family, inside the house and near the rest of the "pack."
- A perfect pet sibling. Golden Retrievers adapt well to other pets (including cats, rabbits, and other non-dog house pets) with a more-the-merrier mentality.
- Eternal puppy. This breed loves to romp and play and is especially energetic for the first 3-4 years of life.
- Not barky. Or bitey. But totally dreamy.
- Big and hungry. This breed gets big (55-75 pounds) and will gladly get bigger if overfed.
- Needs vigorous exercise (and a lot of it). Daily workouts of 40-60 minutes are a must for this breed. Without it, they can become restless, overweight, and chewy. If this doesn't fit your lifestyle, it's best to know ahead of time.
- Holy shed. This breed has hair and a boatload of it. Twice a year it sheds big-time (around spring and fall), but there's always hair. Everywhere. Having a Golden Retriever means having lint brushes.
- Not great at being alone in an apartment all day. This breed loves companionship and plenty of space to play and will not be appeased by a Top Chef marathon on TV while you're at work.
- Prone to certain health problems. Notorious for hip dysplasia, GRs also have the following health problems at a fairly significant rate: cataracts, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis, Osteochondrosis Dissecans, Allergies, Von Willebrand's Disease, Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (bloat), Epilepsy, Hypothyroidism, Hemangiosarcoma and Osteosarcoma. If you're going through a breeder, be sure to ask for health clearance paperwork. If not, health insurance is a must for this breed.
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