Sweet and eager to please, the Golden Retriever is a sporting breed that is more likely to lick an intruder to death rather than scare them away. This cheerful canine is the closest thing you can get to a perfect family dog. Golden Retrievers draw loving attention from almost everyone they come into contact with. This active dog will play fetch with you until you are the one that is worn out. Their undeniable intelligence, loyalty and agreeable temperament make them an ideal choice for working as a service dog. Their happy faces and glistening coats bring admiration at home and in movie roles.

Golden Retrievers come in various shades of gold, with a dense, water-repellant double coat that is generally lighter on the underside. They generally weigh 65-75 pounds and are 21-24 inches in height. They are rather muscular in nature. The American Kennel Club describes Golden Retrievers in this way, “A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident.”

The Golden Retriever was born to be a working retriever. This means that they require a high level of activity for them to stay healthy. They are a great choice for active singles or couples, or as a part of a family where there is someone home during the day and has the time to make sure they are getting enough exercise. Golden Retrievers simply adore being around their owners, and won’t be happy spending too much time alone. Regular activities like walking, jogging, hiking, playing fetch or swimming will keep them from becoming destructive because they become bored.

Just like many breeds who were bred to hunt, the Golden Retriever has evolved into different personalities. Some are like big, fluffy teddy bears, while others are darker, smaller and leaner and are used as hunting companions. According to Vetstreet, those who are near white in color tend to be less healthy and have a tendency to have problems with biting. They say that the Golden Retreivers that excel in sporting are more energetic, but have more stable temperaments. Each type is excited about getting exercise. Golden Retrievers wake up every day thinking of one thing: What fun are we going to have today?

To keep your Golden Retriever happy, take her for long walks for at least an hour every day. Make her your running buddy or swimming partner. They are excellent at dog sports, including obedience training, agility, rally, flyball and tracking. Goldens are a perfect candidate for therapy dogs, as this fulfills their need to serve a purpose. Fetching tennis balls is one of his favorite activities. Provide him with an assortment of puzzle toys to challenge his mind.

Golden Retrievers belong indoors with their families. If you want a dog that just lives out in the yard, a Golden Retriever would not be ideal for you. If they become lonely or bored, they will bark, dig, and become destructive in general.

Thinking of getting a Golden Retriever of your own? Start by looking at this list of local Golden Retreiver rescue groups from the Golden Retriever Club of America National Rescue Committee.