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Golden Retriever playing with kids

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Kids?

Different breeds do better in different living situations. We look at whether Golden Retrievers are good with kids and families.

Choosing a dog to fit in with your family’s needs can be an interesting process to navigate. There are so many factors to consider. The dog will become a part of your home, and you want this transition to be as smooth and seamless as possible. So it is imperative to do proper research on breeds and suitability. You are likely here because you are wondering — are Golden Retrievers good with kids?

Golden retrievers are an excellent with kids. They are a very intelligent, super affectionate, easily trainable, and generally calm breed. They thrive in a family and it doesn’t take much effort to make them a part of your home. They are one of the most popular breed choices to have around children.

Goldens are one of the most popular breeds in America, especially for families. There are good reasons for this. We will explore why this is so.

Golden Retrievers: A Profile

First, let’s take a general look at the Golden Retriever breed.


Large. Golden retrievers are classed as a large breed of dog. The average male can grow up to 60CM high. So you have to have the space for them in your home with your children. Otherwise, it will become overcrowded rapidly.

Coat Type

Soft and sheds. This can be a problem with allergy sufferers. The Golden’s fur is not hypoallergenic, nor does it stay on its host for too long. The tell-tale sign of a house with a Golden are the balls of sandy fur dotted around. While they love to be groomed, it is a daily job.


Cool, calm, and collected. Goldens are full of love. Playful and active. Intelligent and obedient. All of these traits add up to a breed that can be easily trained, retain commands, learn routines, and seek affection from their humans. They love to be around people and will follow them around happily.


A Golden’s average life span is 10-12 years. This is not the longest life span for a breed. Golden’s old age can be littered with health problems even if they have had good health all their life. Cancer is more common in Goldens than most breeds.


Required, but fairly easy. They are very easy to train and an affable breed.

Why is a Golden Retriever a Good Choice for Families?

Goldens have the wonderful combination of being very intelligent but also very easy going. A well socialized Golden usually won’t be bothered by much, and takes things in stride without getting easily stressed.

They are patient and tolerant with children, and enjoy interacting with them. They have a friendly disposition and rarely have aggression issues. Training them is relatively easy, so can be integrated into the family without too many challenges.

And while Goldens are not naturally ferocious guard dogs, they are quite loyal and will generally be very protective of their owner and family.

How Trainable is a Golden Retriever?

Golden retrievers are great fun to train. They love treats and they love attention even more. A well-trained dog is great around kids.

Though it will take patience, time, and effort, the rewards for proper training will have a long-term positive effect on your dog’s ability to be around children.

A large percentage of service dogs are Golden Retrievers, which indicates their trainability.

What are the Health Needs of a Golden?

Goldens generally have the same level of health needs as the average breed. Like any dog, they require a quality diet and sufficient exercise.

Golden Retrievers in old age are known for their health problems. They can suffer from arthritis, obesity, hip dysplasia, eye problems, cancer, and more.

This means that the fun pup your children once played with, won’t be able to play and interact in the same way. It can also be upsetting for children to see a beloved family pet decline in health. But this is true of any dog.

Are Golden Retrievers Smart?

Yes, Golden Retrievers are smart! In fact, Golden Retrievers are consistently ranked in the top ten smartest dog breeds by most professionals. They are very emotionally intelligent, easily trained, and are a popular choice for different types of service dogs.

Intelligence is measured in different ways, but Goldens are easy to train and are excellent problem solvers.

Exercise Needs

Especially at younger ages, these dogs need a lot of exercise. The recommended amount is at least two hours a day. Two hours a day means at least two long walks. They need to run and play. If your family has very young children, this may not be suitable for your daily routine.

Exercise isn’t just a matter of letting the dog play with your kids. While this can satisfy some of their exercise needs, they usually need more in the way of runs or long walks. Dogs that don’t get enough exercise suffer emotionally, and the resulting stress and anxiety can create further issues in the household.

Goldens and Barking

Goldens are vocal, but not unbearably so. They don’t bark for no good reason and they tend to speak more when playing and exciting. They are a quiet breed overall. This can be great for babies and toddlers.

There is a unique frustration in getting your kids down for a nap and then the dog waking them up barking a few seconds later. Thankfully, this is less likely to occur with a golden.

Grooming a Golden

As we’ve already discovered, golden retrievers have a thick coat. They shed, and shed a lot. You will constantly find yourself cleaning up and removing dog hair from furniture, clothes, floors, crockery, you name it. This can be a problem, especially with younger children.

Young babies require a certain level of hygiene. Excessive amounts of dog hair, dirt, and everything that comes along with a dog’s fur can challenge this hygiene level.

Goldens require a lot of brushing and regular grooming. They also have long fur which can bring with them all the debris from their outside adventures. This can lead to a messy house and messy furniture.

Golden Retriever with kids

Are Golden Retrievers Good with Toddlers and Babies?

When a baby starts to become mobile, your whole world changes. So does your dog’s world. All of a sudden, your child can be in your Golden’s personal space very quickly. So how do you navigate that? It’s a tricky question. However, there are some top tips for finding peace and harmony between your dog and child.

Supervising and Being Present

The most important tip for navigating life with a Golden around your kids is to always be present. It may sound obvious, but leaving your children alone and unsupervised with your dog is not recommended.

Though goldens are kind and caring, as with any breed, they have tolerance limits. Keeping a strong watch will not only assure safety but also mean you are around to teach boundaries to both dog and child.


Sometimes your dog will crave their own space away from their family’s kids. This is fine, it’s not a failure. In fact, it is healthy to encourage separation at different points of the day.

Goldens love being around their family but they also need their own space. This could be as simple as a nice and comfortable dog bed in a separate room or a crate. As long as they know they have a designated area, they will use it and look for it when they need a time out.

Quality Time

Quality time and nurturing are important for Goldens. They need one-on-one interaction and attention. A Golden will be much happier if they get their own special time with their owner.

Time just for them! This can be a walk together, or even just a play session in the yard. A tasty treat perhaps, or a new day out. Whatever the circumstance, making sure your Golden gets your attention is an important part of retriever ownership.

Family Time

As well as making sure they get one on one attention, including your Golden in family time is also key to their overall well-being. They love to feel included in their home unit. This promotes a healthy attachment and makes sure that they know where and what their place is within the family.

Teach Empathy to Your Children

This point is for both dogs and children. Teaching empathy and showing understanding play a big role in nurturing the relationship between a dog and their family’s children. Teach your children the signs of when your dog wants to be left alone. Teach your dog the same. Thankfully, Goldens are intelligent and very trainable.

Training Guidance for Golden Retrievers

All of these tips below will help to make sure your golden forms a positive relationship with your children.

Start as a puppy:
For the most positive effect, the best time to begin training is when a Golden Retriever is a young puppy. If you start training your dog too late, there is a good chance they will already be set in their negative behaviors and training will be more challenging.

They will be resistant to learning new commands. They may resist training altogether. Though it’s never too late to teach a Golden something, it is better and easier to teach them while they’re young.

Use treats: Treat training is a winning strategy with most breeds, and Goldens are no exception. To reinforce positive behavior, a treat is offered. The treat is withheld until the Golden complies with the training command.

After they do what you want them to do, they are given the treat. Goldens love food and treats so it’s important to not overdo it. As a breed, they are vulnerable to obesity and other weight-related problems as they get older.

Stay strong: Training a dog can be tiring and stressful. Giving up won’t benefit you or your dog in the long run. Keep going, even on days when your dog seems to take a step backwards. Persistence always pays off.

There will always be a moment when it clicks. If you stay strong, consistent, and firm, your Golden will respond positively. 

Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are one of the most amenable breeds to have around children. They have a sweet, caring, and full-of-love personality that craves being part of a family unit. They can play nicely with children of all ages and are respectful of babies.

However, it is important to teach your children rules for being around dogs and animals. This is because every dog has its limits, and it’s your responsibility as their owner to recognize that.

With this in mind, Goldens are one of the more patient breeds. They love to be a part of whatever you are doing and will love the tiny humans as much as the big ones.

Goldens have the brainpower and the emotional capacity to connect with humans in a wholesome way. They are generally well-suited to being a family pet. They love to be a part of a unit.

As long as they get their exercise and attention, they can be a well-loved member of your family.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor