When we think about a beautiful family dog with a well-balanced conformation, Golden Retrievers are definitely one of the dogs that come to our mind. The lustrous golden coat is the most noteworthy feature of this breed. In fact, it is this very coat that makes Golden Retrievers so popular among dog lovers.
However, one may wonder how much does it costs to maintain that beautiful coat of Golden Retrievers. Others may even go as far as to conclude that Golden Retrievers are an expensive breed. But the question is, are Golden Retrievers really so costly to maintain?
The answer would be, both yes and no. It all depends on your time, requirements and lifestyle. No one can deny that becoming a dog parent is a big responsibility. And when it comes to Golden Retrievers, you need to devote adequate time and labour to tend to their various needs. Some people find Golden Retrievers very easy to maintain, others do not.
If you wish to find out whether a Golden Retriever is suitable for you or not, pore over the whole article.
Development and Purpose of Golden Retrievers
Initially bred for wildfowl hunting sport, Golden Retrievers are Scottish in origin. They were produced by a crossbreeding of the best Retrievers and water Spaniels. The first Golden Retriever was developed during the rule of Queen Victoria by Dudley Majoribanks, first Lord Tweedmouth.
Since then, Golden Retrievers have been used for a variety of purposes:
- Field trials and hunting.
- Search-and-rescue operations.
- Guiding blind people.
- Different Competitive events.
Physical Features of Golden Retrievers
The Gorgeous Golden Retriever is a well-built, medium-sized dog with a coat so lustrous and dense that dog lovers are instantly enchanted by it. With a broad face, kind eyes and small ears, it appears all the more cute and friendly. Besides that, no one can ignore that cute-straight snout when it begs for attention or food.
Based on their sex, the height of Golden Retrievers varies between 21.5 to 24 inches. They may live for only 10 to 12 years and can weigh between 55-75 pounds. With a merrily wagging feathery tail, they appear to be a very confident, alert and eager to please dogs.
Characteristics Features of a Golden Retriever
By nature, Golden Retrievers are very cheerful and outgoing. Even though they are loyal and obedient, they can prove to be terrible watchdogs. Because of their social nature, they do not bark at strangers. Consequently, you won’t even know if an intruder has entered your house.
Apart from that, they are very energetic and playful. Activities like fetching and swimming are some of their leisurely pursuits. They are intelligent as well. Consequently, you can train them without putting much effort. They are also very eager to please and therefore make the perfect family dogs.
However, like any other dog breed, raising a Golden Retriever has its own share of challenges. If you wish to adopt a Golden Retriever, you must be mentally prepared to deal with those challenges.
The lifestyle of a Golden Retriever
If you have apprehensions regarding the maintenance of one of the most beautiful and sweetest dogs, consider the following aspects of their lifestyle before planning to own them:
With a water-resistant double coat, Golden Retrievers are bound to shed. And this problem is relevant to all working dogs who trace their origin in cold or other extreme climatic conditions. Shedding is one of the major complaints that Golden Retrievers always tend to have. And why not? Who wants to have scattered golden hair all over their house, furniture and clothes?
Unfortunately, there is no way to completely mitigate this issue. However, you can apply some useful methods to limit this issue.
- Brushing: Brushing their beautiful golden hair using a slicker brush will remove the dead hairs from their body before they fall and scatter all over the house. This method should be used regularly during shedding seasons. While at other times, once or twice a week will do just fine.
- Bathing: You can also give your Golden pup occasional baths. It will loosen their dead fur and help you to brush the dead hairs out before they make your home dirty. However, ensure that your Golden Retriever is dry enough before you begin your brushing session.
Apart from brushing and bathing, the nails of Golden Retrievers need to be snipped regularly. This part of the grooming session is common to all dog breeds. Therefore, you cannot complain about Golden Retrievers being high maintenance because of this requirement.
Nonetheless, if you don’t have enough time and patience to deal with the shedding issues of your Golden Retriever, you will definitely consider them high maintenance.
Activities and Exercise
As gun dogs, Golden Retrievers are bound to have a lot of energy. The fact that they were initially developed for fetching dead fowls from distant lands explains both their intelligence and vitality. Consequently, they need ample amount of exercise and outdoor activities to maintain their physical and mental health.
However, not all exercises are suitable for Golden Retrievers. You have to make sure that they are neither under-exercised nor over-exercised. An under-exercised Golden Retriever will indulge in inappropriate behaviour. While over-exercise can weaken the joints and bones of your Golden Retriever.
To ensure that your Golden Retriever is not under-exercised, you need to engage them in following outdoor activities:
- Walking and Sprinting: Take your Golden Retriever outside for at least twice a day. An hour of walk and short sprints will definitely benefit your pup’s cardiovascular system.
- Long runs and Bike rides: You can also take your Golden pup for bike rides and long runs to take care of their overall health.
- Field trials and hunting trips: These are some of the other significant ways through which you can satisfy your Golden Retriever’s exercise needs. In fact, being a gun dog, your Golden Retriever will love such trips.
- Participating in competitive events: To keep your dog healthy, both physically and mentally, you need to utilize its full potential. Engage your Golden pup in individual canine sports like tracking, agility and obedience. It will engage their intelligence and cast off their excess energy.
However, if you want to engage your sporting dog in some high-impact activities, it is recommended to approach a vet first. If your Golden Retriever is over-exercised and becomes weak or sick, it will definitely require a lot of maintenance.
- Potential Health Issues: If adopted from a reliable breeder, Golden Retrievers can prove to be quite healthy dogs. However, as they grow older, they become more prone to various kinds of health problems. These problems become so severe that they often do not live for more than 12 years. And it is during the later years of their life that they become what can be termed as “high maintenance.”
- Eye Issues: Eyes issues are pervasive among Golden Retrievers. Some of the dominant eye diseases that may plague your Golden Retriever includes:
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: It is a genetic disease that can affect the retina of your dog and make it eventually blind. Unfortunately, there is no treatment for this disease. However, early detection can save your pup from becoming completely blind.
- Cataracts: It affects the lens of your dog’s eyes. As a result, your dog’s eyes become cloudy, and therefore, the retina doesn’t receive light. Such a condition can make your dog blind. However, early diagnosis and subsequent surgery can restore your dog’s vision.
- Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis: This disease is unique to Golden Retrievers. The exact cause of this disease has still not been ascertained. It often leads to the formation of cataracts and glaucoma. Consequently, your Golden Retriever may lose its vision. However, early diagnosis, constant therapy and monitoring can protect your dog from a complete vision loss.
- Joint Issues: Like any other large dog breeds, Golden Retrievers suffer from various joint problems. Some of these problems include:
- Hip dysplasia: A condition in which the ball and socket of your dog’s joints may not fit properly. Consequently, the ball and socket will continue to rub and grind each other when your dog tries to move. Such a condition causes tremendous pain in your dog’s joints. A prolonged condition can eventually result in your dog losing its joints’ function. However, certain modifications in lifestyle or surgery can cure your dog’s joint issues.
- Patellar Luxation: It is a form of knee injury in which the kneecap slides from its original position. Surgery and joint supplements can cure this condition.
- Swellings & Cancer: As your Golden Retriever grows old, it may develop some ugly fatty growths. Although most of such “growths” are harmless, some of them may turn out to be cancerous. Unfortunately, among all other dog breeds, Golden Retrievers are the most vulnerable to diseases like cancer. In fact, 60 per cent of all Golden Retrievers have the probability of dying from cancer.
Therefore, if you find your Golden Retriever developing unsightly fatty growths, you must get it examined by a vet.
Apart from the diseases mentioned above, Golden Retrievers are also prone to suffer from allergies and skin diseases. Consequently, you need to spend a considerable amount of money on your Golden Retriever’s health throughout its lifetime.
Golden Retrievers are a very cheerful, social and trustworthy breed. Generally, such qualities are very much favoured when you wish to find a companion in your dog. However, if you have a hectic working life and have to remain outside for hours, the same qualities can make you tag Golden Retrievers as high maintenance.
As pets, Golden Retrievers demand constant attention from their human. Whether you are working, cooking, watching television or doing any other activity, your Golden Retriever will keep following you like a shadow. You need to do a lot of petting to keep them happy and healthy.
Spending time with your Golden Retriever is all the more necessary because they often tend to develop some undesirable behavioural issues when left alone for long hours. And then there’s their bodily health. If you don’t spend enough time with them, you won’t even know if they suffer from any of the diseases mentioned above.
Therefore, if you don’t remain at home for long hours or don’t want a dog that follows you almost everywhere, Golden Retriever is definitely a high maintenance dog for you.
As large working dogs, Golden Retrievers do need a considerable amount of feeding to satisfy their nutritional requirements. However, the feeding expenses of your Golden Retriever will depend on the quality of the food they ingest. If you provide your Golden Retriever with average-quality dog foods, it will cost you a maximum amount of Rs. 2,500 per month.
However, such dog foods are mainly composed of grains and by-products of meat. Hence, it will not fulfil your dog’s nutritional needs. Therefore, you need to provide your Golden Retriever with premium quality dog foods which contain fresh meat-a significant source for fats and proteins. It will cost you almost Rs. 5,000 per month and that’s a lot when you have a lifestyle that runs on a tight budget.
Anxiety and other Behavioural problems
Golden Retrievers tend to be quite touchy by character. Consequently, you need to keep calm and be patient during their obedience training. Besides that, they create a lot of mess while eating or drinking. Therefore, you need to prepare yourself for a considerable amount of cleaning when you plan to adopt a Golden Retriever.
Moreover, as mentioned earlier, Golden Retrievers require a lot of attention. It is like they cannot live alone, even for a moment. If they are not given enough attention or are left alone for long hours, they can develop behavioural issues like anxiety in the later years of their life. And a dog with anxiety issues can be termed as a real high maintenance dog. You have to not only give it enough attention to make it comfortable but also spend an extra amount on its medication and therapy.
Truth to be told, Golden Retrievers demand “moderate” maintenance. But that is true of most of the dog breeds. However, if your Golden Retriever becomes sick, it will definitely turn into a high maintenance dog. Therefore, make sure to purchase your Golden Retriever from a reliable breeder. Verify your pup’s health screening documents and also ensure that your dog is insured.
As mentioned earlier, it all depends on your lifestyle, time and requirements. Raising a Golden Retriever can prove to be a cakewalk if you have considerable experience with dogs and a less busy working life. Conversely, if you like to be left alone, have a busy working life and have no experience with dogs, Golden Retrievers are definitely not the dog for you.