Are Golden Retrievers Good with Small Dogs?


Golden Retrievers can make friends with humans, other dogs, cats, and many other smaller animals, but can they live with them under the same roof? Can you get a companion dog for your golden retriever? will they even get along?

In short; Are golden retrievers good with small dogs? Yes, golden retrievers are good with small dogs and can get along with them quite well and live with them happily under the same roof. Golden Retrievers can get along well with any dog if you introduce them right to each other.

The important question is not whether they can get along well with smaller dogs, but how can you make sure they become friends and companions.

To understand why golden retrievers are good with smaller pooches, why they get along with them quite well, and how you can introduce them to each other so they become good friends, keep reading t…

Why are golden retrievers good with small dogs?

golden retriever with another dog to show why are golden retrievers good with smaller dogs

Some people think that golden retrievers are overrated, and that they have gotten so popular and have gained this great reputation just for being good-looking.

And while there are absolutely no denying that golden retrievers are some of the cutest dogs in the world, they are also one of the friendliest and easiest-going breed out there.

Here are some of the best traits that make golden retrievers get along so well with smaller dogs:

  • They are eager to please
  • They are naturally empathetic
  • They are easily trained
  • They are not territorial
  • They like companionship

Let’s quickly explain how each of these reasons factor in making golden retrievers good with smaller dogs.

They are eager to please

Golden Retrievers are always eager to please their owners. They are always trying to make them happy anyway they can.

When they see that being good and gentle with other dogs makes you happy with them, they will keep doing that.

This is also true for all dogs, but it’s blatantly obvious with golden retrievers, to the point where I can now always notice how my goldens monitor my reactions whenever they are doing something and base their actions based on whether I’m reacting positively or negatively to it.

This eagerness to please is the most important reason that makes everyone loves golden retrievers so much. You can learn all the reasons why everyone loves golden retrievers here.

They are empathetic

Golden Retrievers are very empathetic dogs. Not only are they kind and gentle, but they also care about how you feel, which makes them treat smaller dogs and smaller animals in general with more love than you would expect.

You can learn more about golden retrievers and smaller animals in my post on can golden retrievers get along with rabbits here.

They are easily trained

Goldens are not only smart dogs but they are also one of the easiest dog breeds to train.

Although golden retrievers don’t win any dog shows, they are still considered the third easiest dog breed to train and they can, on average, learn a command after only 3 repetitions, which is very impressive.

They are not territorial

Golden Retrievers are not very protective of their territory, which means they don’t have the sort of territorial aggression that exists more strongly in most other dog breeds.

This is both a pro and a con. The pro is that it means goldens don’t mind sharing the space with other people and animals, and the con is that it makes them really lousy guard dogs.

You can learn more about whether goldens make for good guard dogs in my post on whether a golden will attack an intruder here. You can also learn everything about golden retriever aggression here.

They like companionship

Golden Retrievers not only like companionship, but they actually need it. They were bred from the beginning to be the ultimate companions to nobility on their hunting trips, so goldens really hate being alone.

In fact, I firmly believe that goldens are better in pairs than they are alone, and despite having to deal with a lot more hair around the house, it also means a lot more love to go around.

15 Dog Breeds that get along very well with Golden Retrievers

Although goldens can do well with almost any dog breed, here are 15 dog breeds that tend go get really well with them:

  1. Poodles
  2. Basset Hounds
  3. Goldendoodles
  4. Beagles
  5. Boston Terriers
  6. Pugs
  7. Peekapoo
  8. Cotton de Tulear
  9. Miniature Poodles
  10. Collies
  11. Pekingese
  12. Papillon
  13. Maltese
  14. Dachsund
  15. Shih Tzu

These dogs are in no particular order, and you should keep in mind that your golden retriever will get along with any dog if both dogs are trained well and if you do the introduction right.

Speaking of the introduction, let’s see how you should make it as seamless as possible:

How to introduce your golden retriever and small dog to each other

Here is how you can introduce your golden retriever to a smaller dog:

  • Plan on how you will separate the two dogs
  • Introduce the smell of the new dog to the older dog
  • Remove their possessions temporarily
  • Choose a good place and time
  • Control the first introduction
  • Constant Supervision for a couple of weeks

Plan on how you will separate them

Before you introduce the two dogs to each other, you should make your plans on how you will separate the two dogs. Even if neither of the dogs is territorial, you will want to avoid any problems that comes from sharing spaces by first giving them each some privacy.

You will want to separate their feeding spots, give them each their own crate and own rooms if possible even. You will want to decide where each dog can play and roam freely and what are the “neutral” spaces they can interact with each other in while under your supervision.

Introduce the smell of the new dog to the older dog

You will want to first introduce the smell of the new dog to the older dog before you bring them home. Bring a blanket or a towel with the smell of the new dog to the older dog and let them sniff it.

This way you are allowing them to learn about the new dog before actually bringing them home, which makes the introduction much smoother.

The same trick is used by families to introduce their babies to their dogs before they bring the baby home, and it works here just as well.

Remove their possessions temporarily

You will want to remove all of your dog’s favorite toys before bringing the new dog home.

Even dogs that are not really territorial can be a bit possessive about their favorite toys, which could mean troubles when the new dog eventually find their toys and want to play with them as well.

Choose a good place and time

For the place, you will want the first introduction to happen in a neutral space where both animals can be free to explore one another.

The best option is to actually make the first introduction outside of the house completely such as across the street from the house or in the backyard. If this is not possible, you can make the introduction inside the house but in a common area such as the living room.

For the time, it should be after your older dog has had their daily exercise. If they are already calm and quiet, the introduction is much more likely to go smoothly. However, the dog shouldn’t be too exhausted that they actually need to sleep. Just tired enough that they are calm and quiet but not sleepy.

Control the first introduction

For the first introduction, it’s better to have someone help you and control the leash of the new dog while you hold on to the older dog’s leash.

You should not restrict their movements much. Let them sniff and explore each other freely, and you should encourage your older dog to explore them using quiet and calm praises.

You should also stay calm but happy during the first introduction. Your dog will sense when you are stressed or anxious and they will get stressed and anxious themselves, which is the last thing we want to happen.

Constant Supervision for a couple of weeks

After introducing the two dogs to each other, you should be able to monitor their interactions as much as possible. Most dogs will quickly get comfortable with each other, but problems could arise at any point, so keep a close eye on them.

You should also keep your older dog’s routine and structure in place while starting to build a routine for the new dog as well or incorporating the new dog into the older dog’s routine.

Changing your older dog’s daily routine can stress them out and they may look at the new dog as the cause of the change.

Here are the body language signs you should watch out for:

  • Stares
  • Growling
  • Snarling
  • Raise fur on the neck or back
  • Showing teeth
  • Hunched back
  • Barking

You can also watch this video which is just 2 minutes long but also explains the process very simply.

Now that you know what you should do in detail, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do.

Common mistakes to avoid when introducing dogs to each other

These are the mistakes people commonly make when introducing two dogs to each other:

  • Never force the dogs to play or spend time together
  • Never show any favoritism for one dog over the other by holding them more, spending more time with them, or allowing them things the other dog isn’t allowed to
  • Never allow any dog to bully the other
  • Never allow the two dogs to get into a fight
  • Never let them stay unsupervised during the first week
  • Never use one crate for both dogs

This is basically everything you need to know about golden retrievers with smaller dogs.

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Related Questions

Do golden retrievers need another dog?

No, golden retrievers don’t need another dog at the house to live happily and they are perfectly content being the only dog at the house, but they will get along well with another dog easily and it will help them keep each other entertained and engaged when you are not at home.

Is it better to have 2 dogs than 1?

Having two dogs instead of one is actually better as the dogs can provide companionship for each other when you are not at home or don’t have enough time. However, having two dogs instead of one will need more time, effort, and money from you to keep them happy.

Helpful Resources

How to train your dog to get along with smaller dogs

How to introduce a new puppy to your older dog

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