Ask anyone what they think the friendliest kind of dog is, and more often than not, they’ll list a golden retriever as number one, or at least among the top five.
Goldens are sweet-natured, happy dogs and friendly to other dogs and humans alike.
Why Are Golden Retrievers So Nice and Friendly?
Golden retrievers are so friendly due to several factors, including the traits breeders selected for in the formation of the breed.
They were bred to enjoy pleasing their owners and not to be aggressive toward humans or other dogs.
While all breeds of dogs (and wolves) are incredibly similar on the level of DNA and genetic makeup, the tiny differences in genetic code can affect personalities, contributing to the friendly nature of golden retrievers.
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The History of Golden Retrievers: Why Were They Bred to be Friendly Dogs?
Golden Retrievers were originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century as hunting dogs to retrieve waterfowl for hunters.
The breed was developed by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth, who wanted a dog that was skilled in retrieving game from both water and land.
To create the ideal dog for his hunting needs, he crossed a yellow retriever with a now-extinct tweed water spaniel.
The breed was initially known as the Golden Flat-Coat, but was later renamed the Golden Retriever in 1920.
The Golden Retriever was first recognized as a breed by the Kennel Club of England in 1903, and was later recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925.
Golden Retrievers were bred to be friendly and sociable because they were intended to work closely with their human hunting partners. In order to be effective retrievers, they needed to be obedient, trainable, and have a strong desire to please their handlers.
A friendly and outgoing personality was also an important trait, as the dogs would need to work closely with strangers and other dogs in hunting parties.
Over time, the breed’s friendly temperament and trainability have made them a popular choice for many other roles besides hunting, including search and rescue, therapy work, and as family pets.
Their friendly nature and ability to form strong bonds with their human companions have made them one of the most beloved dog breeds around the world.
Today, Golden Retrievers continue to be a popular breed due to their trainability, friendly personality, and versatility.
They make excellent family pets, working dogs, and companions, and their history as hunting dogs highlights their strong retrieving instincts and loyalty to their human partners.
NOTE – You might want to take a look at this post answering the question: why is my dog not excited to see me anymore?
Golden Retrievers Were Bred for a Purpose
Part of the reason goldens are so friendly can be found in their name.
The golden retriever was bred to retrieve, which means fetching animals that have been shot (usually game birds such as ducks or pheasants).
Hunters needed friendly dogs, who wouldn’t fuss and bother with barking or nipping at other dogs, and who wouldn’t freak out at the presence of another hunter (human or otherwise).
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A Golden Retriever’s Strengths Engender Its Kindness
Goldens regularly land high on lists of the most popular breed of dogs because of their friendliness.
Again, going back to why they were bred, hunters needed a hard-working gun dog.
So breeders were selected for the traits they would value in a hunting dog.
- Goldens get along with other animals. If you’re hunting on a horse, the last thing you need is a dog that loses its mind in its presence.
- They’re strong, but they’re also gentle. When you send the dog after your quarry, the dog needs to be able to retrieve the prey without destroying it.
- Goldens are intelligent, but they aren’t stubborn. Hunters needed dogs that could learn quickly but wouldn’t get so set in their ways that they wouldn’t adapt. Goldens are smart dogs, but bullheadedness is not one of their traits.
- The loyal golden retriever wants to please. Your hunting dog needs to be one who will stick with you. Finding a dog who craves your approval makes it easier to work together.
Put these things together, and a picture of a friendly, happy-go-lucky dog emerges.
Note – Do you find that dogs always seem to like you? You might find this post interesting. It answers the question – why do most dogs like me so much?
Gentleness in Golden Retrievers Can’t Be Overstated
Most non-dog people are terrified of pit bulls.
The dogs get a lot of bad press, but thoughtful people understand that dogs — like people — aren’t born bad.
They’re products of their environment and upbringing.
That said, some breeds are naturally more aggressive than others.
For example, an abusive situation might trigger worse behavior in a pit bull than from more passive dogs such as retrievers.
Golden retriever attacks are rare, and they’re rarely unprovoked.
When a golden bites a human, it’s almost always because the dog senses its loved ones are in danger.
Their gentle nature contributes to their friendliness, making them excellent with kids.
They don’t see children in the family as competition for their master’s time and affection but rather understand that everyone is part of the family.
However, the gentle nature of goldens makes them less than ideal as guard dogs.
Of course, they’ll protect their families when they sense danger, but if a burglar were to break into your home at night, the chances are better that your golden will think, “Hey, new friend. Let me take you on a tour of the house” rather than, “I need to attack and drive off this imminent threat.”
Before we go any further, just in case you aren’t fully aware of how awesome golden retrievers are, check out this super-cute video:
NOTE – You might want to take a look at this post asking the question: do dogs think humans are cute?
To Bark or Not To Bark
A great thing about goldens is their relatively quiet nature.
Of course, they can bark and be loud and rowdy, but they are not dogs that tend to bark all day and night at anything and everything.
Going back to their gentle nature, golden retrievers do not hear the mailman coming up the walkway and feel the need to assert their territory.
They are less likely than other dogs to jolt awake at the slightest noise in the backyard and proceed to bark furiously at the window at whatever it is.
Golden Retrievers Are Just So Happy
Have you ever been around someone laughing so hard that they can’t tell you what they’re laughing at, but you end up laughing with them, even though you have no idea what’s so funny?
That’s the human equivalent of a golden retriever.
Their disposition is such that golden retrievers make people feel better.
They are kind and sweet, making them excellent therapy dogs.
This nature, coupled with the other stellar qualities a golden has, makes them excellent service animals, too.
NOTE – You might also like to read this post asking the question: why are dogs so gentle with babies?
Golden Retrievers Thrive on Playtime
They love to play.
The more you and your golden retriever play and spend time together, the tighter your bond grows, creating an upward spiral — the more time you spend together, the more time you want to spend together.
Who doesn’t love a playful dog who’s not pushy, loud, or aggressive?
Ten Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Make Great Family Pets
Golden Retrievers are among the most beloved dog breeds around the world, and for good reason.
They are well-known for their friendly, outgoing personalities and make excellent family pets.
Here are ten reasons why:
- They are gentle and patient with children. Golden Retrievers are known for their sweet and patient demeanour, which makes them great companions for kids of all ages.
- They are highly intelligent and trainable. Golden Retrievers are eager to please their owners and are quick learners, making them great candidates for obedience training, agility, and other dog sports.
- They have a strong desire to please their owners. This trait, combined with their high trainability, makes them excellent service dogs and therapy dogs.
- They are highly adaptable to different living environments. Golden Retrievers can thrive in both urban and rural settings, as long as they have regular exercise and socialization.
- They have a friendly disposition with other animals. Golden Retrievers are typically social with other dogs and even cats, making them great additions to households with multiple pets.
- They have a beautiful, long, and soft coat that is great for cuddling. This makes them especially appealing as lap dogs and perfect for snuggling up with on cold nights.
- They are highly energetic and love to play. Golden Retrievers require plenty of exercise and playtime to keep them happy and healthy.
- They are loyal and loving companions. Golden Retrievers form strong bonds with their owners and are always happy to be by their side.
- They have a natural love for water. Many Golden Retrievers love swimming and playing in the water, which can make for a fun day at the beach or lake.
- They have a long lifespan compared to other large breeds, with an average lifespan of 10-12 years. This means they can be a loving and faithful companion for many years.
Overall, Golden Retrievers make great family pets due to their friendly and adaptable personalities, trainability, and natural love for human companionship.
Final Notes On Why Golden Retrievers Are So Nice Friendly?
Dogs are great. Some breeds are seemingly nicer than others, but as previously stated, a bad dog is bad because of the people in his life, not because he was born that way.
That said, a bad golden retriever is very, very rare. Instead, they are kind, loyal, strong, sweet, and happy in most cases.
So, of course, they’re thought of as the friendliest dog.
Golden retrievers were bred to be that way, and it shows in the loving behaviour they express toward their people and their fellow animals.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!