Why Are Golden Retrievers So Nice? (and Why Everyone Loves Them)


Golden Retrievers were the third most popular dog breed in 2019, and they have constantly been one of most popular dog breeds in the United States in the last decade.

People adore Golden Retrievers for their friendliness, and this brings us to our questions;

Why are Golden Retrievers so nice? Golden Retrievers are so nice because they were bred to be the perfect companion for humans. They were meant to retrieve game for hunters, so they were bred to be friendly to humans and other animals, intelligent, and sociable.

In a way, humans have always been looking for the perfect companion, and when we didn’t find it, we used intentional evolution to our advantage and bred dogs to the breed we know and love today.

Understanding the history and temperament of your golden retriever will not only make you better understand your dog, but it will also build a deeper connection. So, let’s discuss what makes golden retrievers so nice in a bit more detail.

Golden Retriever peeking

Why are Golden Retrievers So Nice

Ask anyone who has had a Golden Retriever for some time and they will all tell you the same; golden retrievers make everything better. A golden retriever will touch almost every aspect of your life.

But what makes them so special? Let’s see.

Bred to be Perfect Companions

An image of a beautiful looking golden retriever to illustrate some of the reasons why are golden retrievers so nice

Golden Retrievers were bred to be the perfect companion dogs. Most sources claim that the dogs were bred by Lord Tweedmouth, while other, more recent sources, tell other stories.

But despite those conflicts, all sources agree that golden retrievers were bred by people who had hunting as their main activity.

It’s easy to understand so much about Golden Retrievers when you know why they were bred. What does a hunter look for in a dog?

Friendly

Golden retriever laying on its back

It was normal for a group of nobles to go on hunting trips together, and the perfect dog in these trips is the friendly dog who won’t bite a noble and gets you in trouble.

This trait has carried on with golden retrievers until today. Goldens are very friendly with strangers and they always assume these strangers are friends.

Humans love friendly animals, and we started caring for and breeding the friendliest golden retrievers more than the not-very-friendly goldens, so the friendliness genes were amplified.

This kind of selective breeding over the last two centuries is one of the main reasons why golden retrievers are so friendly and loved by millions around the globe in the modern world.

Gets along with dogs and other animals

Golden Retriever being kissed by a horse

The other nobles will have their dogs with them on these hunting trips as well, so your dog needs to be able to get along well with these other dogs. No dog fights can take place on these hunting trips, and so, the golden retriever was bred to be friendly with other dogs as well.

But it’s not just other dogs that goldens need to get along with, the dog needs to get along with other animals such as horses. You can’t have your hunting dog be spooked by the sound of horse hoofs in a distance.

This trait, also, was carried on thanks to selective breeding until today. Golden Retrievers are very friendly with other animals such as cats.

A Good swimmer

Golden retriever smiling while swimming

The story goes that Golden Retrievers were bred from a mix of a certain Scottish terrier and another dog. This makes sense, since a hunter would want his dog to be a good swimmer, and Golden Retrievers are excellent swimmer.

Why would you want your dog to be a good swimmer? So they can retriever the birds you shoot when they fall in a body of water such as a lake or a river.

The Golden Retriever’s double coat insulates it from the water and the dog has a natural ability to navigate in the water, and this was exactly what they were looking for.

By the way, did you know that their coats will change color over time? Yeah, really. Find out why your Golden Retriever’s coat color changes here.

Smart but not stubborn

Golden retriever smiling on grass

This one is actually very difficult. They needed a dog that is smart enough to understand and learn commands, but not stubborn that they would simply refuse these commands.

Huskies, for example, are incredibly intelligent, but raising a husky is a challenge. They are smart enough that they will understand your commands, but they are so stubborn that they often choose to ignore these commands.

Golden Retrievers are not like that. They are smart enough to learn any command in an average of three repetitions, and they are not stubborn to choose not to follow it.

They are just more obedient and chill than most other dog breeds, except for when Labradors who are also incredibly smart while not being stubborn.

Protective but Not Aggressive

White golden retriever with woman by the sea

A calm demeanor is one of the important characteristics of the Golden Retrievers, and this also is mostly by design. The Golden Retriever’s calm demeanor and peaceful attitude means they rarely if ever snap.

This is important, Golden Retriever can often keep a calm demeanor even when they’re under situations that may be stressful to other dogs.

However, they never lost their protective instincts. Golden Retrievers are still dogs by nature, and they will stand up and turn aggressive against threats to their owners.

You can also train your dog to be a better guard dog, I have explained three ways to do so in my ‘will a golden retriever attack an intruder‘ article. I do recommend taking a moment to check it out if you want to know how Golden retrievers behave when faced with threats such as intruders.

Mostly Quiet

Golden retrievers can bark really loudly, but they don’t loud nearly as much as other dogs. Actually, they are considered relatively quiet dogs when compared to other dogs.

The reason they are often quiet is that they are not easily spooked and they are not as territorial as other dogs, and so they are less likely to bark every time someone passes by your house in the street or every time the mailman comes along (they actually make good friends with mailmen, but that’s a story for another post.

Strong yet Gentle

Golden retriever on grass with a toy

Many people get surprised when they’re told that Golden retrievers are, actually, pretty strong. They have one of the strongest bites in dogs and they are quite muscly.

The reason we forget they are so strong is because they are so gentle all the time. Golden Retrievers are gentle with people, children, and other pets so much that we forget that they are actually quite strong and capable of doing serious damage if they were aggressive.

This gentleness makes them perfect family dogs as parents can trust them around their children. Of course you should train your golden when they are puppy to be gentle, but it comes more easily to them than to other dogs.

Misconception
Most people think that golden retrievers have “soft mouths” by nature, and this is not true. Golden Retrievers can be more easily trained to “soft mouths” items than other dogs, but they don’t have it by nature and still need bite inhibition training while they’re young.
Golden Retriever peeking

Are All Golden Retrievers the same?

No, Golden Retrievers are not all the same. While it’s true that all golden retrievers are genetically similar and look the same, they don’t all necessarily have the same personality traits.

Personality is a complex concept in dogs as it is in humans, and while genetics can play a part in the characteristics and traits of your dog, they are not the only thing that determines their personality.

This brings us to another, pretty important question, actually.

Related Questions

Are Purebred Golden Retrievers better?

There is nothing fundamentally different that makes purebred golden retrievers better than rescues or mixed dogs. Genetics, lineage, and parents can indeed play a role in the making of a dog’s personality, but they are not the only factor.

Purebred golden retrievers are also not “better” than mixed golden retrievers. Scientists are still trying to figure out the personality in humans not alone in dogs, and they are nowhere near solving this complicated puzzle.

Why is this important? Because, unfortunately, some ill-intended breeders use the term “purebred” to make people pay staggering amounts of money (that can sometimes reach thousands of dollars) to get a “purebred Golden Retriever puppy”.

No, seriously, go google it, it’s ridiculous what some breeders charge for a puppy just because they are labelled “purebred”.

Being “purebred” doesn’t guarantee anything. It doesn’t guarantee that the dog will be perfect personally, physically, or genetically wise. Don’t fall for these scams, please.

Sources

Origins of Golden Retrievers Revisited – GRCA

Science explains why golden retrievers are awesome – Huffpost

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