are golden retrievers strong? 10 Exercises To Make Them Stronger


Goldens are affectionate, loving, and cuddly animals that give you the feeling of being the mellowest dogs in the world, but this shouldn’t make you think of them as weak dogs.

In fact, golden retrievers are not weak at all, which often comes as a surprise to people. Yes, they are fluffy and cuddly, but there is a lot going on under all this fluff.

So, are golden retrievers strong? Yes, golden retrievers are strong, they have a strong back and muscular shoulder, they are also one of the most popular hunting breeds because they were bred for tough working conditions so they have muscular, well-built bodies and energy that lasts all-day-long easily.

That was only a part of the answer: keep reading to learn more about your golden retriever and what makes them strong and how to know how strong your golden retriever is…

What Makes Golden Retrievers Strong? 

A photo of a golden retriever to show why are golden retrievers strong

What makes golden retrievers strong is their muscles and their strong build. They have a solid base, a medium-length neck that merges gradually into their muscular shoulders, and they have a strong back.

All of that makes their body well-balanced and strong.

Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve and they are also one of the most popular hunting breeds globally. You can learn more about the story of golden retrievers in my post on why are golden retrievers so gentle here.

How Strong Are Golden Retrievers, really? 

Golden Retrievers are large dogs, so they are strong, but they are not anywhere near the strongest large dogs.

What most people do not know about golden retrievers is that they are pretty strong and it’s easy to see why we keep forgetting that. Nothing that is this adorable can be thought of as “tough”, but they definitely could be when they need to.

Golden retrievers are muscular and they have a stronger bite than humans and most dogs. Golden retrievers actually have the 30th strongest bite of all breeds, and you can learn more about your golden retriever’s bites and biting behavior here.

So, do not let their cuteness fool you, they are great hunting dogs and that says it all.

How to make your golden retriever stronger?

If you want to make your golden retriever stronger, there are some exercises for muscle and strength building for your pooch.

Before you start working out with your dog, you should check with their vet first to see if they are healthy enough and ready for the workouts or not.

Some exercises you can do with your golden retriever to make them stronger:

  1. Swimming 
  2. Running
  3. Playing tug of war 
  4. climbing stairs 
  5. Pulling weights 
  6. Walking 
  7. Jumping on to a bench 
  8. Walking backward 
  9. Squatting
  10. Hiking 

Swimming

Golden Retrievers love swimming, and it’s a really good exercise as it will keep your golden retriever healthy and in top physical shape.

A 10-minute swim is equivalent to an hour of walking, you can make it a daily activity for you and your golden retriever and will make you both stronger and will be a great bonding time.

Swimming provides resistance training to the whole body, especially to their front end.

Running

Running is an excellent activity to do with your golden retriever. But before you take your golden retriever running every day, you will need to train them to run first and it’s better if you do it at an early age.

The sooner you train them to run the better because you will be able to build up their stamina at a slower but steadier pace that gives better results.

Golden retrievers can run up to 35 miles per hour or 56 km/h but before you start taking them to run with you every day.

You can learn how to train your golden retriever to run with you here and follow the steps there to build their endurance.

Playing tug of war 

Playing tug of war is the most classic game you can play with your golden retriever, this game is loved by almost all the dogs, making your golden retriever use their strength to crouch and pull back.

However, some dog trainers do not recommend this game because they feel it encourages dominant behavior in dogs.

So just make sure that your golden retriever takes and releases the tug toy on your command.

Climbing stairs

Climbing stairs is not only good for us but it can be useful for your dog as well.

It provides two complementary actions, because going up the stairs makes your dog use their muscles to propel forward, and coming down the stairs requires some balance and controlled core stability.

Climbing stairs is also really good for dogs that are suffering from back problems. 

Pulling weights

This one is not as simple as the previous ones, it’s an actual dog sport so your dog will need some training first before actually doing it.

You can incorporate this exercise into their muscle-building program.

So before you start you should consult either their vet or a professional trainer to tell you what the proper weight pulling harness is.

You will have to start with a light amount of weight (the professional trainer will tell you the appropriate amount for their age and size) and train your golden retriever to drag the weight 30 to 60 feet, give them rest for 2 minutes and repeat the process.

Then gradually increase the amount of weight and number of repetitions over time.

You will also need a special harness for these, similar to the ones used in training sled dogs. Luckily, they are not that expensive and you can easily get them on Amazon like this one.

Walking 

Golden retrievers are an energetic breed so even if you are not trying to make them stronger they will need daily exercise to keep them active and healthy.

Walking is the perfect exercise for any dog, and it’s a pretty great exercise for humans as well. Golden retrievers love walking with their favorite person but honestly, they will love anything as long as it’s with their humans.

So taking them for a walk is great but if you want to make them stronger, you have to make it more challenging such as walking your golden retriever on sand or in knee-high water.

It will provide some type of resistance that will not be achieved by normal walking.

So instead of taking them for an hour-long walk, you can take them walking in sand or water for just 10 minutes. Don’t forget to clean their paws after they get out of the sand or water and before they get in the house, though.

Jumping on to a bench 

You can also try to have your golden retriever jump up onto a park bench or any similar platform and repeat it again. It’s similar to the exercise you do in the gym where you jump on something a little higher than the ground and then jump back down and repeat – but for your dog.

It’s great for your golden retriever and will make them use their power to jump up and use their control and agility to dismount.

Walking backward 

Try to have your dog walk backward for just a short distance, it focuses on strengthening their hip extensor muscle.

Even though walking backward is a natural movement for golden retrievers or dogs in general, so if you want to teach them this walk, you will need to do it in a narrow enclosed area.

Squatting 

Just like human squats, have your golden retriever sit and then stand, you can use treats to make it more desirable for them.

If they refuse to stand up when you ask them to just step back and offer them a treat and only give it to them when they do the command.

Hiking 

Taking them hiking will be fun for them and will make them stronger.

Hiking with golden retrievers is an underappreciated idea. They are such good hiking dogs and very few people actually take them up on the challenge.

You can learn everything about hiking with golden retrievers here. I highly recommend hiking with your golden retriever when you can, it’s awesome.

Why Golden Retrievers Are Not Dangerous 

Golden retrievers have a sweet temperament and they are nice and loyal by nature and this makes them great service dogs, they do not show any sign of aggression unless they feel threatened and scared or if they feel that someone they love and care about is in danger.

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Related Questions 

Are Golden Retrievers Dangerous? 

Golden retrievers are not dangerous unless they feel scared or threatened, then their adrenaline will kick in and they can attack. They also may attack if they feel that their owner is in danger and their attack can be really dangerous because they are large and strong dogs.

You can learn more about golden retrievers’ aggression here to know when and why they can turn aggressive and what signs you should be watching out for.

How Strong is a Golden Retriever’s bite? 

Golden retriever’s bite is rated as 190 psi, their bite is stronger than humans bite (we have a 100-150 psi bite force), it makes golden retriever the 30th strongest bite of all breeds however compared to other breeds it’s not as dangerous as other breeds.

Helpful Resources 

Muscle building and Strength Exercises for Dogs

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