Are Golden Retrievers Energetic & How To Exercise Them At Every Age


Golden Retrievers are considered by many to be the perfect family dogs, and this is a sentiment that I wholeheartedly agree with.

However, they were not meant to live on our couches. They were bred to spend their lives outside running and retrieving game for hunters.

So, are golden retrievers energetic? Yes, Golden Retrievers are very energetic dogs and they are considered a high-energy sporting breed. Adult golden retrievers need at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-intense exercise twice per day to stay happy and healthy, and dogs that don’t get enough exercise will develop behavioral problems.

This answers the main point; yes, of course goldens are energetic dogs. Now, let’s see how you can make sure they get enough exercise and make it fun for both of you.

How Energetic Are Golden Retrievers?

Golden retriever running to illustrate are golden retrievers energetic and how much energy do they have

Golden Retrievers are very energetic dogs and they are considered one of the most active dog breeds. In fact, the AKC ranks golden retrievers as the 5th most active dog breed, just after Huskies and right before Labrador Retrievers.

Golden Retrievers are so active that some people consider them to be hyper, and the second most common complaint about golden retrievers – and Labradors as well- is that they tend to jump around on new people. The first complaint is always about goldens’ excessive shedding, of course.

But why?

Why Are Golden Retrievers So Energetic?

Golden Retrievers are so energetic because they were meant to be working dogs, so they have an impressive stamina that allows them to stay active for hours.

Stamina and high energy are very desirable traits in a dog if you want to take them out hunting and want them to be able to go on running around the field and over rough terrain to retriever your game.

This is why breeders heavily favored dogs that had more energy than their counterparts and focused on breeding these dogs.

Are all golden retrievers energetic?

Yes, all golden retrievers are energetic by nature, but they don’t all have the same levels of energy and some dogs can be noticeably energetic than others.

Some golden retrievers also have short spurts of high energy that does make them a bit hyper when they just seem to be completely out of control running everywhere and jumping on everyone.

There are many things that factor in how energetic is your individual dog, but in general, a golden retriever will be energetic.

What if my dog isn’t very high-energy?

Some golden retrievers can be a bit calmer by nature than others which may make their owners think that something may be wrong with them.

This is not always the case. Some golden retrievers aren’t very high-energy and can be significantly calmer than their counterparts even as young puppies – which is when they should be at their most active.

To learn more about why your dog isn’t that energetic, I’ve made a whole post to help you, so make sure to check out my post on are golden retrievers lazy here. I discuss the causes and solutions to your golden’s laziness there (and how to know if they really are lazy), so make sure to check it out when you have the time.

What if my Golden Retriever is hyper?

Most people that think their dogs are hyper are just not used to the level of golden retriever’s energy and they are usually first-time dog owners. In the majority of cases, your golden retriever is not hyper, they are just young and have a ton of energy to spare.

You can learn when do golden retriever puppies calm down here and I’ve also included three time-tested ways to calm down hyper golden retriever puppies in the same post.

The second most common possibility is that they are just not getting enough exercise, which is what we’re going to discuss next.

How Much Exercise Do Golden Retrievers Actually Need?

Golden Retrievers need at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise or up to 2 hours of light exercise per day, every day. Golden Retriever puppies need 15 to 25 minutes of exercise and elderly goldens over the age of 8 years need about the same as puppies or less depending on their health.

Don’t worry, this was just the short answer, I’m going to break it down and discuss it in more detail.

How to know how much exercise YOUR golden retriever needs?

Even though we have discussed the general terms, your mileage may vary a lot depending on many factors.

What their daily dose of exercise depends on:

  • Age
  • General Health
  • Their Activity Level
  • The type of exercise itself

General Health:

As for their general health; dogs that are in better shape will normally need more exercise than dogs that suffer from any health conditions. Goldens who have recently had to go through surgery or even a medical treatment course will not need as much exercise.

Activity Level:

Some goldens also have naturally higher energy and activity levels than their counterparts, which means they will need more time exercising or more intense exercises.

Type of Exercise:

The type of exercise itself also plays a big role. Walking is a low-energy exercise, so if you are planning on just walking, they may need up to two hours to get enough exercise.

On the other hand, they may only need 30 minutes of running to expend the same amount of energy exercising. You can learn how to run with your golden retriever here by the way.

Okay, let’s now discuss how much exercise do golden retrievers need depending on their age.

For a Golden Retriever Puppy

A Golden Retriever puppy will need about 10 minutes of exercise per day per their age in months divided into two exercise sessions every day. Your puppy should have a few hours to rest well in between the exercise sessions.

For example; a three-month-old golden retriever will need about 30 minutes of exercise divided into two 15-minute sessions at different times with a good rest between them.

This is the rule of thumb you can follow with your golden retriever puppy, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all rule. You should use this rule as a baseline and then find out if your own puppy needs more or less exercise depending on their behavior during the day.

For example, if your three-month-old puppy had their 30 minutes of exercise but they are still running around the house at the end of the day, maybe they need more exercise.

But if they seem a bit too tired at the end of the day, then maybe take 5 minutes off their exercise time in the following day and see how that goes.

Example of Daily Exercise Routine for Golden Puppies

With puppies, you want to be careful with the type and intensity of exercise since their bodies are still developing and they are still not strong enough for intense exercises such as long hikes or running.

You can:

  • Play fetch at morning for 10-20 minutes, then
  • Go for a walk around the block at the evening for the same time

OR:

  • Go for a walk in the early morning
  • Go for a swim in the afternoon

Swimming is less intense than running but is more intense than walking, and most goldens absolutely love to swim whenever they could.

For an Adult Golden Retriever

Adult golden retrievers need at least 45 minutes of exercise per day and some higher-energy goldens such as the ones from the working field line will need up to 2 hours of exercise per day. Their exercise time should be divided into two sessions per day with enough time to rest in-between.

Again, these are just general rules that you should use as guidelines and not as strict guidelines. Start with 45 minutes of exercise and see how your dog responds and reacts during the rest of the day.

If your golden retriever seems to be having a lot of energy still at the end of the day even after their two sessions of exercise, then you will need to ramp it up to 1 hour of exercise. Still has a lot of energy? 90 minutes. Still some energy? 2 hours, then.

The point is that your golden retriever should be totally relaxed and laid back after their second exercise session.

Example of Daily Exercise Routine for Adult Goldens:

If your dog is older than 18 months, you can take them for more intense exercises and they will enjoy it even more. Things like hiking and running are now back on the table.

Here are some examples of daily routines I use with my dogs;

  • A 2-mile hike in the early morning
  • A good 40-minutes run in the evening

OR:

  • A 40-minute session of me cycling with them running by my side in the morning
  • Another 40 minutes of exercise in the evening, could be playing outside or running around the block.

And I take them swimming whenever possible.

For Elderly Golden Retrievers

Elderly golden retrievers need at least 40 minutes of light exercise per day divided into two sessions with enough time to rest in-between. Avoid any exercises that may be tough on their joints like running and try replacing it with things like swimming which is much easier on their bodies.

After the age of 8 years, most golden retrievers start developing arthritis and other joint problems which means you will need to start slowing down your exercise regiment with them.

Intense exercise for elderly golden retrievers with joint problems can be quite painful with them, and even worse they may actively try to avoid showing you their pain fearing this means stopping the fun.

If your golden retriever is limping or showing any other signs of pain, you should stop immediately and have them checked out. You can also learn why is your golden retriever limping here.

Example of Daily Exercise Routine for Senior Golden Retrievers

Before exercise: Always warm up with a short, low-impact form of the exercise to help their joints warm up.

Exercise Routines: Stick to light exercises such as a walk around the block, swimming, or indoor games.

Rest: They should have at least a few hours to rest well before the following exercise sessions.

Don’t: Take them running or hiking for long even if they seem excited and into it. Dogs can favor spending a good time with you over their comfort.

What happens when Golden Retrievers Don’t Get Enough Exercise?

When golden retrievers don’t get enough exercise, they will start developing behavioral problems and acting in undesirable ways because they have too much energy and don’t have anywhere to put it.

Think of them as a pot with boiling water inside of it and the stove can’t be turned off, they are going to explode sooner or later.

Here are some examples of what happens when goldens don’t get enough exercise:

  • They will chew everything
  • They will become hyper, running and jumping everywhere
  • They may bark constantly
  • They may start becoming aggressive
  • They can get stressed, anxious, or depressed

Here is your rule of thumb with golden retrievers:

An exhausted golden retriever is a happy golden retriever.

How Much Exercise is Too Much?

While every dog is different, we can safely say that 2 hours of moderate to intense exercise per day is too much for most adult golden retrievers. For puppies and senior goldens, more than 45 minutes of exercise per day could be too much.

Let’s break it down a little more:

For an Adult Golden Retriever:

For golden retrievers that are between 18 months and 8 years of age, which is at their prime, more than 2 hours of intense exercise can be too much. However, they can go for 4 or even 5 hours with light exercises such as walks or easy hikes.

Things like nutrition, genetics, and their level of training can play a big role here. For example, golden retrievers of the working line will have no problem exercising for 3 or 4 hours, which is more than most goldens can do.

For a Golden retriever puppies or seniors:

The exercises sessions for puppies and senior goldens should not exceed 45 minutes to an hour and should always be followed by a resting break. They should also always have the opportunity to warm up before the exercise for 5 to 10 minutes at least.

Puppies under 18 months of age and senior dogs older than 8 years will have problems keeping up with you in the same way that an adolescent or an adult golden retriever could.

Their bodies can’t simply handle it and their energy levels are not the same.

7 Signs Your Dog has had too much exercise:

Here are some signs that your dog is too tried:

  1. They are excessively thirsty
  2. Constant panting
  3. No interest in playing
  4. Forgetting commands
  5. Yawning
  6. Having zoomies
  7. Hiding

12 Fun Activities with Your Golden Retriever

Here are 15 fun activities with your golden retriever instead of the usual walking or running:

  1. Agility Training
  2. Playing Fetch
  3. Playing Tug of War
  4. Treasure hunting with treats
  5. Hide and Seek
  6. Following a Laser Pointer
  7. Swimming
  8. Running on the treadmill
  9. Hiking
  10. Hunting
  11. Cycling with them running by your side
  12. Dock Diving

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Related Questions

Why are golden retrievers so energetic?

Golden Retrievers are so energetic because they were bred to have high stamina and a ton of energy that allows them to run for hours with hunters. Goldens today are still very energetic and need exercise daily to stay calm and happy.

Are Golden Retrievers Low Energy?

No, Golden Retrievers are very high-energy dogs but they are also obedient and easy to train, which makes them the perfect family dogs. golden Retrievers are very easy-going and chill dogs when they get enough daily exercise.

Are Golden Retrievers Calmer Than Labradors?

Golden Retrievers are generally slightly calmer than Labradors and easier to live with, but both breeds are very sweet dogs although goldens tend to be calmer and more eager to please than Labs.

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