11 Golden Retriever Quirks – Dog Behaviors Explained

golden retriever quirks & habits

You are thinking about adding a Golden Retriever to the family, but you aren’t sure what you can expect from this fun-loving breed.

There’s a reason that Golden Retrievers are such popular dogs and have been throughout history.

However, they also have a few quirks that you might want to keep in mind before you bring home your new canine companion.

Golden retrievers are prone to carrying around toys, requesting affection, and needing to go on lots of adventures. They are easily trained and are not picky eaters. Confidence is common, and they will often play solo or go for a swim if permitted. Retrievers are too friendly to make guard dogs.

If you are curious what else you can expect from your new Golden Retriever companion, here are their top 11 quirks explained!

Golden Retriever Behavior and Personality

It likely comes as no surprise that the Golden Retriever is an extremely sought-after breed. They are intelligent dogs who love their owners fiercely and are loyal almost to a fault.

If you have been searching for a dog that is easily trainable, highly adaptable, and friendly toward everyone, then a Golden Retriever is likely the natural choice for you.

This breed is known for its propensity to work in close relationship with people. They are often used as service dogs, family pets, and even for search and rescue work.

A Golden Retriever tends to have boundless energy, allowing you to work for hours with your dog before they ever start to show the signs of being tired.

In addition to being excellent working dogs, they also make the ideal family dog. These dogs have never met a stranger and are great with kids, other dogs, cats, and even other small animals.

Keep in mind that they will need to be socialized at an early age to ensure that their fun-loving nature shines through in these types of interactions.

Your Golden Retriever is also a quite active breed. They will need plenty of moderate exercise to be as healthy and happy as possible.

If you don’t have much space or time to dedicate to giving your dog the exercise he needs, then you may face some unwanted problems like digging or chewing.

Read Also: 7 Things Owning a Golden Retriever Says About You

11 Golden Retriever Quirks and Habits

Are you ready to see what traits your dog might have in common with others in the same breed? These top 11 quirks will give you more insight into your dog, what to expect from them, and how to best manage their behaviors ongoing. Take a look and see which of these behaviors align with your dog!

1. Carrying Around Toys

Have you ever noticed that your Golden Retriever always wants to have something in his mouth?

He just can’t seem to get enough of those plush toys that you leave out for him. Maybe he loves his tennis ball so much that he just can’t stomach the idea of letting it go. In fact, your dog may even cram two tennis balls in his mouth at the same time.

The reason behind this quirky behavior has to do with their hunting background. When the breed first became popular, they were trained to retrieve ducks and other water fowl with their mouths and bring it back to their owners.

This behavior seems to have translated even to dogs who are not used for hunting purposes. Like their name implies, your Golden Retriever likely loves to retrieve all sorts of objects for you.

2. Craving Snuggles and Attention

Many families seek out the Golden Retriever because they make excellent family pets. They are great with just about everyone, including other animals.

One of the things that owners both love and hate about their Golden Retriever is the dog’s need for affection. They form close bonds with their people, and they will want to be close to you as much as possible.

What does this mean for you? It means that your canine companion may try to sneak on the furniture in an attempt to get as close to you as possible. You may have to draw some firm boundaries if you don’t want your long-haired pup to shed on the couch.

3. Looking for Adventure

If you want to keep your Golden Retriever happy, you need to keep engaging their mind in daily activities.

This means that they need to go on plenty of adventures with you by their side. Many dog owners find that a long walk is not sufficient to keep their Golden happy and healthy. Instead, they may need to turn to other sports like agility or obedience trials.

This breed may also do well with dock diving or swimming due to their hunting heritage.

Consider what sport interests you the most and try to include your Golden Retriever into the mix. They will love learning a new game, spending time with you, and experiencing a new adventure all at the same time.

Related: 12 Mental Stimulation Activities for Your Golden Retriever

4. Everything is a Snack

While some dogs are extremely choosy about what they will and will not eat, you aren’t likely to encounter this problem with a Golden Retriever.

Owners will need to exercise great caution when it comes to leaving tiny morsels around that could be mistaken for food. Your four-legged friend is likely to eat whatever comes his way, especially if it smells tasty.

One way to avoid this behavior is to provide plenty of snacks and treats that your dog can chew on at his leisure.

If they have appealing items that are designated for them, they are far more likely to chew on these approved items rather than inhaling dirt and snacks from the floor.

5. Lack of Boundaries

Your playful Golden Retriever may lack the boundaries that other dogs seem to intuitively have. They have very little sense of where their body is in space and often spend their day knocking into walls or climbing over your other pets.

When they are actively engaged in playing a game with you, they are likely to go as hard as possible even if it means that they bang into the fence or another obstacle in the backyard.

While this lack of boundaries often presents itself during playtime, it is also true for when your dog wants a little bit of attention.

They have very little awareness of their size and will frequently do their best to curl up on your lap, no matter how uncomfortable it may be for you.

6. Playing Solo

While your Golden Retriever loves playing games with you, they aren’t opposed to spending their days playing by themselves either.

They will toss a tennis ball around, shake their favorite rope toy, and chase squirrels around the yard to entertain themselves. Just be aware that if your dog can’t find something productive to do to entertain himself, he may find ways to get into trouble by digging or nuisance barking.

The best thing to do is to ensure that your Golden Retriever always has something interesting to play with. Spend some time playing games with them, teaching them new tricks, or engaging in a sport. A tired dog is a happy dog!

Read Also: 10 Stimulating Jobs for your Golden Retriever

7. Golden Retrievers are Easy to Train

The reason so many people love this breed is because they are so easy to work with and train. The Golden Retriever is an incredibly intelligent dog, and they are always eager to please their owners, particularly if they have a strong bond with you.

Training for basic obedience is always a good idea for safety reasons and convenience, but you may want to train your Retriever for more advanced commands as well.

Consider all of the applications that you could use to train your Golden Retriever. They could be a great service dog, therapy dog, or emotional support animal.

Be sure to look into the various requirements for these types of service and see if your dog would fit the bill to be put to work.

8. No Guard Dogs Here

While many owners get a larger dog like the Golden Retriever because they want a dog to guard them and protect their house, this breed is not really well-suited to this application.

You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that your Golden Retriever doesn’t bark much at all unless they are very excited while playing games with you.

Why aren’t they likely to bark at intruders?

Well, the Golden Retriever is an incredibly loving and friendly breed. They rarely meet a person that they don’t like and everyone could be a potential new friend. If you were looking for a guard dog, the Golden Retriever likely isn’t the dog for you.

9. Confidence is Common in Golden Retrievers

Some dogs are naturally a little intimidated by new experiences, people, and even other pets. You aren’t likely to encounter this type of situation with a Golden Retriever.

Most owners find that they don’t have to work hard to cultivate a sense of confidence in this breed. They are quite naturally able to integrate new experiences into their repertoire and to embrace new friends with ease.

You won’t find too many dogs of this breed with confidence issues. The more time you spend with them working on tasks and exposing them to new things, their confidence will only soar.

A Golden Retriever is a great dog if you love to go out and about, take lots of trips, or spend long afternoons at the dog park.

10. Dive Right in

Have you ever noticed how eager your dog is to dive right into the mud puddles or the pond in your backyard?

Golden Retrievers tend to love the water and are quite strong swimmers. One little-known fact about Golden Retrievers is that they actually have webbed feet that make it easier for them to swim.

If you want to make your dog’s day, try taking him to a local doggie pool or a dog park that has a water feature. They will love getting to splash and play plus interact with other dogs.

This could be the ideal day for your fun-loving Golden Retriever: fun with you, other dogs, and a quick and refreshing swim!

11. Head Out on the Road

Because your Golden Retriever craves adventure, you will likely find that your four-legged friend is more than willing to hop into your car and head wherever with you.

They might not even get to leave the car if you are going to the grocery store or to the post office to run an errand.

However, they will still love the one-on-one time with you. Be sure to purchase a dog seatbelt clip and try not to roll the windows all the way down so your dog won’t be tempted to jump out at a stoplight.

Riding in the car also gives your dog an important change of scenery that is great for stimulating their brains and minds.

Don’t be surprised if your Golden Retriever comes home from a long car ride and takes a lengthy nap. All of that excitement can really wear a dog out!

Golden Retriever Habits

As you can see, the Golden Retriever is a very unique dog that has a lot of quirky habits. Most of their owners find these small quirks to be endearing and charming.

With a little bit of training and some consistent bonding and affection, your dog will be happy and healthy, eager to stay in relationship with you. Consider how you can harness some of these powers today!

Do Golden Retrievers bark a lot?

Golden Retrievers are known for being quite friendly with everyone, including other animals. As a result, they do not tend to bark a lot. If they do not get enough exercise or mental stimulation, they may pick up this unwanted habit though.

Do Golden Retrievers dig?

While all dogs are capable of digging, the Golden Retriever is not likely to do so unless left to their own devices for an extended period. Provide activities or attention for your dog to keep them from picking up this type of habit.


Hi, I'm the owner of Juniper Pets! You can often find me playing fetch with my dogs, working out or cooking up something legendary in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy my blog!

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