As a breed, Goldens tend to be good with children. However, as with any dog, it is not a good idea to leave puppies and children together unattended. More info on kids and dogs Both tend to play hard and could accidentally injure one another. Goldens aren't likely to intentionally hurt anyone but could knock a small child over while playing. Also puppy teeth can be rather sharp, and while grabbing for a toy they could break the skin. Children also play roughly and can be cruel in their play. As a parent, it is your responsibility to teach both the child and puppy how to behave around each other.
If a Golden does not get enough daily exercise, they will find a way to use the energy up themselves. It will probably be in a destructive manner, which is why people think they are hyper. A Golden with correct temperament is not hyper. Field Goldens tend to have more energy then those bred from show lines. Goldens are active dogs, especially in puppy hood. Goldens often do not mentally mature until around 2 years of age. So they will have adult size but still act like a puppy. Planning to spend time daily exercising your dog will make for a calmer pet.
Many Goldens are used as Service and Therapy dogs, assisting handicapped persons in leading normal lives. They have been used as Search dogs for bombs, narcotics and people. But the average Golden will excel in obedience, tracking, agility, or any activity the owner wishes to train for. They are a very versatile breed whose only wish is to please their owners.
Goldens with proper coats have a soft, downy undercoat and a longer outer coat. Generally Goldens shed their coats in the spring and fall. Called "blowing coat," it can be helped by bathing in warm water and blow drying to remove the dead coat. House dogs do not grow as much undercoat as dogs who spend more time outside, but tend to shed slightly year round. If hair in the house is a problem a golden is not the breed for you.
Goldens must be groomed regularly. Their coat will tend to matt if not kept brushed especially behind the ears and in the feathering. You should groom a puppy so they learn to enjoy the attention and will be easier to handle when grown. Grooming about once a week will help keep the hair out of the house, more often if the dog is shedding. After a walk in the woods or field, you should check for burrs and tangles in the coat and remove them with a comb.
Tools for grooming a golden are a slicker brush for the body coat and a pin brush for the longer hair on the tail, legs, and chest. A comb to help remove foreign matter for the coat and a set of nail clippers are also needed. If unsure how to trim nails ask your veterinarian for a nail trim lesson.
A Golden can be bathed monthly; just use a good dog shampoo. A conditioner can also be used to help keep the tangles down. You must dry them after a bath, especially in humid weather, or they may develop a "hot spot". "Hot spots" are a bacterial infection that the dog scratches or chews till it is bloody. Veterinary intervention is needed to stop this quickly before the dog does too much damage.
On the whole, Goldens are pretty easy to care for if they are regularly groomed.
If left alone outside some Goldens have been known to become excessive barkers. Goldens often tend to pick up a toy in their mouth to greet visitors with. So it is real hard to bark loudly with a stuffed toy in your mouth. And no, they do not make good guard dogs.
Not all Goldens take to the water like a duck but once discovered they love it. Introducing your golden to water should be done at a young age; never force them to swim. An older dog can show a young pup how to swim but if a puppy is unsure just allow him to wade around at the edge. Access to an in ground swimming pool should be supervised, as dogs can't climb ladders and will need help learning how to get out safely.
Either sex make good pets. In general, male Goldens are more devoted, and females are a little more independent. For example, if you are watching TV and leave the room, your male will follow but your female will get up and take your place on the couch. Females if unspayed can be "moody" while males will be distracted if a female is in season. Both of these are good reasons to have your pets spayed and neutered. I have found males to be easier to train but they usually have more energy than most females. Either one will give you years of love and devotion.
This means there are a lot of people breeding Goldens. With careful research you can find a breeder who has a goal when breeding, other than the mighty dollar. The average price for a properly bred puppy is about $700-$800. These puppies will be from a breeder who has all breeding stock screened for genetic problems, and usually shows their dogs in conformation, field, or obedience. They have taken the time to study pedigrees and have chosen what they feel will be the best breeding, not just the Golden next door because he has "papers."
Hip-dysplasia can be a problem as with any large breed; so be sure to ask breeders if they have "cleared" their dogs either with OFA or Wind-Morgan for hip-dysplasia. Even Goldens from clear parents can have hip dysplasia; this is not a guarantee. But Goldens from clear parents have a better chance of not developing problems than from unknowns.
Eye problems are also present in Goldens. The parents should be examined yearly by a veterinary ophthalmologist to screen for PRA, retinal folds, and cataracts. Again this is not a guarantee your dog will not develop problems, but not all eye problems will lead to blindness.
Heart problems have been found in some Goldens. Most breeders have all their adult dogs screened by a cardiologist for problems before breeding. Some breeders also have the litter pre-screened before sending them to their new homes. Sub-aortic stenosis is the main heart problem in Goldens; if affected, they won't show signs but will usually die very suddenly.
Goldens can be prone to "hot-spots" especially in humid climates. Caused by moisture collecting near the skin and allowing bacteria to grow; it causes itching and inflamed skin. Allergies can also cause skin problems in some Goldens. Ear infections are a common problem with ears that hang, especially if a Golden spends a lot of time in the water.
Choosing your breeder carefully will help to eliminate most of these problems, but remember these are living creatures and the perfect dog has not been born. Most breeders are striving to breed only healthy dogs but mother nature does funny things.
Reputable breeders will want to ask you a lot of questions before allowing you to visit their kennel. These questions help them determine the proper placement for each puppy. You should ask to see the clearances for the parents; also ask to meet the parents. A lot of breeders use stud dogs owned by someone else so they may not be available to see. There may be relatives to the litter that you can meet. You can determine a lot from the adult dogs, as puppies are cute, but what you see in the adults will be closer to what your puppy will eventually grow up as.
The environment the puppy is raised in will be important. They need to have a lot of human interaction; this creates the bond that will last a life time between you and your dog. All the puppies should be outgoing and bright. They should be clean and look well cared for. Most breeders raise the puppies in the house; this allows them to be exposed to everyday noises and activity.
You need to decide what sex you prefer, what you are planning to do with the dog, and what kind of temperament you'd like. Once you have answers to those questions, discuss your ideas and wants with breeders. After talking to or visiting with breeders, choose one you feel comfortable with. Most breeders take the time to evaluate each puppy and help you select the puppy that is right for you. You may have to wait to get a puppy; most breeders have a waiting lists for upcoming litters. Be patient; this is a big commitment of both time and money. Goldens live to be 12-15 years old. So don't rush into choosing a puppy if you feel its not exactly what you are looking for.