7 Reasons to NOT Get A Golden Retriever

If you are here, you are most likely considering getting a Gold Retriever. Despite these pups being an incredibly sweet and loving breed, there are plenty of disadvantages to consider and reasons you may not want to get a Golden Retriever.

This is not a bash-piece on the breed, but rather a devil’s advocate article to help you consider factors that may not have occurred to you so that you can better determine if this is the right breed for you and your family.

7 reasons to NOT get a Golden Retriever will include:

  1. You’re a clean freak who doesn’t want a dog that sheds a lot
  2. You don’t have a lot of time in your busy schedule/attention
  3. You don’t want to spend a lot of money on a pet (this breed is prone to health issues)
  4. You’re looking for an ‘Outside-only’ dog
  5. You have a loud home or conflict-filled, (this breed can be very sensitive to stress)
  6. You want a more petite dog or one that will stay puppy-sized forever
  7. You’re looking for a guard dog

Having a pet can be one of the most rewarding relationships in your life, but not if it’s an ill-fitting match. You want the proper pairing when choosing a pet, which means a dog that will easily move into your world and not bring chaos into it.

Selecting the wrong breed for yourself can only cause more stress for you and this sensitive fur-baby breed.

This guide will help you consider some of the negatives about Golden Retriever and determine if it’s a relationship that will add value or take away value from your life and home.

7 Reasons to NOT Get A Golden Retriever

I want to begin by restating that Golden Retrievers are a wonderful dog breed with so much love to give. You already know this, or else you wouldn’t be here trying to determine if they’re the best fit for your life.

They are loyal and intelligent, great with children, and committed to you. But there are enough cons about the breed which are undeniable. My point is – if you can’t handle them at their worst, you won’t find them worth the trouble, even at their best.

You’ll need to weigh what factors are the most consequential to you and decide if you think the upsides are worth all the distress of the downsides.

To determine which breed is the best fit for you, I’d like you to read the rest of this article while keeping these questions at the forefront of your mind. Please consider:

– How much you want to walk them/ Be active – If not at all, this is the wrong breed for you, and you ought to find a smaller dog that requires less exercise.

– How much you want to spend on them – This can be an expensive breed that is inclined to health issues like heart disease and cancer.

– If life expectancy is consequential to you– Losing a pet is one of the hardest things we go through as humans. Smaller dogs will live longer, so keep this in mind if you’re not well-suited to processing pet grief.

– How much you hate mess– These sweet babies shed a ton, so they are not the right fit for you if you like a perfectly maintained home.

– How much time you have to commit to them – This breed is very sensitive and has destructive tendencies if they do not receive the proper time commitment and attention. If you’re working overtime, this probably isn’t the right breed for you.

Note on this – Perhaps if you’re that busy, ask yourself if you should get a pet right now at all or wait to have more free time. Is it really fair to that pet to be confined to a cage all day waiting for you to get home? Be honest with yourself.

– How much space you have– This is a large breed that needs room to move around. Be fair in all of your opinions and consider the life you can offer this dog, besides what he/she can offer you.

These are just a few factors that I feel would be useful to process while heading into this guide.

Let’s dive into the specifics and see if you can live with all the not-so-fun parts of this breed. If by the end of this guide, you feel that these are not deal breakers and you still want a Golden Retriever with all your heart, then we’ll discuss the best way to adopt and avoid harmful breeding techniques that can also be expensive.

Reason #1 – You’re a Clean Freak

I completely understand wanting to keep a clean home. If you take pride in your sanctuary and want a best friend that doesn’t fur-it-up, this may not be the right breed for you.

Darling as Retrievers are, they drool and shed. A LOT. Seasonally these dogs will lose significant amounts of their fur, especially in the warmer months where their bodies do not need as much protection.

They will slosh water around when drinking from the bowl and leave a little trail of drool and fur behind them at almost all times. If this doesn’t make you say, ‘awe,’ then perhaps find a breed that is aware of its own size.

Just as some small dogs have Napoleonic complex and think they are the size of tough Pitbulls, I tend to believe the Golden Retriever is not aware of his larger size and the mess he can make.

Some reasons not to get a Golden Retriever may include:

– You hate vacuuming. You would probably need to double, if not triple the frequency at which you are vacuuming and lint-rolling the furniture.

– You like to wear black. If you are a self-proclaimed gothic or just love noir, be prepared for a golden fuzz to hue all of your favorites. They have lots of fur as well as thick undercoats, so it will come out like a spring shower of fur. If you can’t commit to brushing them daily, then don’t get this dog.

– You don’t like the smell of dogs. This is one of those breeds that loves If you’ve ever smelled a wet dog before, then you know precisely why this is not optimal. Retrievers are the child-like sweeties that will just roll around in a big pile of mud having the time of their life.

If this isn’t utterly adorable to you, then you may be annoyed by having to work harder to keep your home smelling fresh. This will mean more frequent bathing and commitment to grooming.

Really any pet is bound to make your home a bit less clean and perfect. It’s simply part of the deal for any domesticated pet.

Cats have messy litter, rabbits make your home smell funky, and Golden Retrievers shed. Did I mention they shed?

Reason #2 – You’re Too Busy

This reasoning is completely valid and fair. In this capitalistic society, we’re all working as hard as we can to make ends meet and earn that valuable free time to enjoy ourselves. And when you’re off, you may want to be at the bar or out with friends for all of your free time. This is all well and fine. If it’s just you.

But If you don’t have very much time to give, this can be a recipe for disaster with this breed specifically.

This is due to the breed’s very social and affectionate nature. If they are not receiving the time and quality care that they require to bond with you, they will not only get sad and depressed, but actually destructive!

Like a child throwing a tantrum on aisle four of the grocery store, if you leave your Golden Retriever in the home for 40-60+ hours a week unattended, you may come home to find pillows chewed up, feathers strewn about the room, furniture torn up, and your favorite pair of shoes hanging from their mouths.

This isn’t as cute as it sounds. You will be pissed; I can guarantee that much. So save yourself the headache of a ruined home or doggy-backlash if you already know you can’t give a Retriever what he needs.

I’m such a huge lover of animals and worked in many shelters becoming familiar with a variety of breeds. I personally feel that you can’t blame animals for these kinds of reactions.

As toddlers, they really just don’t know any better.

They don’t know how much you love those slingback heels. They don’t have any concept or way to understand why a coach would be so important to you. They are not doing it to be malicious.

They only know that they are lonely and want to let you know that. They can’t talk so this is the method in which they can communicate that message. Subtle, no. But effective, yes.

Please, if you do get a dog that behaves wrongly like this, do not mistreat them or get abusive. This breed is so highly sensitive, and it will honestly break their hearts to disappoint you in any way.

Don’t take it out on them, just realize that you’re not holding up your end of the bargain in this relationship. If you can’t commit the time, do not adopt a pet.

You shouldn’t leave a pet alone all week or even worse, in a cage. That’s no kind of life for any living creature, and they deserve much more from you.

This breed will require multiple daily walks and at least 1-3 hours of outside time daily. They love being family pets and having many people to spread their love to.

If you can be honest with yourself about how much time you truly have to commit to them, you will make a healthier long-term decision. For you, for them, and for your home!

Reason #3 – You’re on a Budget

Honestly, all pets are expensive. But Golden Retrievers are prone to health issues and can be expensive to maintain with grooming costs and food considered.

  • They are larger, so they will require more food. Also, they have sensitive stomachs, which could mean expensive specialty food.
  • They do shed a lot, so they may require periodic grooming to keep their fur and skin healthy.
  • They are prone to cancer, so if that should happen, treatment costs could add up quickly.

Some of the main health issues and ailments that Golden Retrievers are prone to and you should be aware of include:

Hip Dysplasia

One of the most common health issues that Golden Retrievers face. Part of it is being a larger dog and the force of gravity pulling on their joints over time. Once your Retriever gets older, he may have trouble walking up stairs or even getting on the couch.

It can be heartbreaking to see as their bones wear on the ligaments and cause joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness. There is some symptom relief which can be prescribed by your vet, but if it comes to surgery, this can cost up to $5,000.


Sadly, Golden Retrievers have a very high risk for cancer compared to other dog breeds. It is reported that 56% of females and 66% of male Golden Retrievers will die due to some form of cancer, see the study here.

It can be aggressive and fast-growing in this breed, and like human cancers, the best form of treatment is early detection.

You’ll need to be vigilant about check-ups and notice the symptoms early on. Cancer treatments can be very expensive for pets and usually don’t end the way we’d like.

Respiratory and Cardio Issues

This is common with many large dog breeds as their larger mass affects their heart and lungs. You will need to look out for signs of your pup not being able to run as much as before, lethargy, difficulty breathing and similar symptoms. Get them to a vet immediately to rule out any form of respiratory condition.

Skin Conditions

This is partly due to their thick fur and multiple layers of coating. If you adopt a Golden, they will require regular baths and periodic grooming visits to keep the bacteria levels clean on their skin.

This breed is very susceptible to sebaceous cysts, skin cancer tumors, and more. It will mean regular visits to the vet to keep an eye on these symptoms.

Lastly, they are known for eating almost anything. This means their stomachs are prone to getting upset and bouts of diarrhea.

Sometimes they require surgery from eating something they weren’t supposed to. If you worry about your pets like they’re your children, you could be calling the vet every week on this breed.

As you can see, the expenses beyond food and grooming can really add up.

Since this breed is prone to many health issues, you may want to select a smaller dog breed that statistically will have a longer life expectancy.

It can be so painful to see your fur-baby in pain. If you can’t handle the sight of it, I wouldn’t chance to adopt a high-risk breed.

Reason #4 – You Don’t Want Them Inside

This will be a short section because it’s simple, to sum up, but very important to the mental health of your Golden Retriever.

This breed lives for your time and affection. If you just want an ‘outside-only’ dog, your Golden may end up feeling neglected and grow depressed.

This is not to say, never put them in the backyard. They need to run around and be free to play, so some outside time is great for them. (Note: be sure to have an electric fence or highly-secure perimeter that they will not escape from as they are highly intelligent.

They may find a way out if they’re not happy where they’re at. Or even if they just see a squirrel. Do not risk losing your fur-baby by keeping them in an ill-secure backyard.)

They will grow very unhappy if they don’t feel your love. Not only will they be saddened by being thrown in the backyard all the time, but they will also get loud!

You will have a pissed off barking Retriever that can go day and night, challenging your rest and sanity as well as that of your neighbors.

Imagine if you left your child all alone most of their lives. They won’t develop into the loving and fully cherished being that they could become with your time.

The point is – if you don’t want a dog to be a real member of the family, don’t adopt this breed.

Also please note – Golden Retrievers are not known for being self-exercisers. This means that a backyard is no replacement for walks or playing with their owners.

They can get bored in the backyard and tear it up while they bark all night long. Doesn’t that sound like a recipe for disaster?

Reason #5 – Your Home is Loud

No judgment here or at any point in this article–please do not see this as a personal attack but merely pointing out the truth of what this breed requires. I never judge, I give the facts objectively, so take this section from this perspective.

Families fight and this is normal. But if your home is a high-stress environment where people slam often, or yell, or have loud music blaring, or TV’s competing for attention, or any other sensory detail that could be, ‘too much,’ then Golden Retrievers will not do well in your home.

This breed is highly sensitive and acutely aware of its surroundings.

Too much stimulation and conflict will be very damaging to a Golden’s mental state and health. Its health may deteriorate more rapidly as an internal effect on its external environment’s misery.

It’s even been found that female dogs are more attuned to noise anxiety and may become destructive in an unhealthy/conflict-filled environment. Female dogs are found to be 30% more fearful of loud noises than male dogs, according to Psychology Today.

Again, please do not take this personally or as an attack on your home’s culture.

Perhaps you all love to yell. As a beautiful Italian woman once told me, “Italians, we even think loud!” My opinion is – do what works for you. But be honest and have the self-awareness to determine if this will sincerely be a healthy environment to bring a pet into.

A dog will not solve your family’s conflict, so please do not adopt a pet for the wrong reasons.

Reason #6 – You Just Want A Puppy

Of course, we all can barely stand how cute and perfect puppies are! But the tragedy lies in how many people adopt a pet when it is small, then throw it out once it’s larger and not as ‘adorable’ anymore.

Right now, there are over 70 million stray animals in the U.S. alone. ,” According to the Humane Society of the United States.

  “Of this 70 million, only about six to eight million will enter the nation’s 3,500 shelters every year”

There are enough animals starving and dying on the street, so please do not adopt a pet unless you’re in it for the long-haul. I’ve taken care of so many strays that got thrown out after they had puppies, if they tore up the house, or did something the owners found ‘bad.’

I beg of you to take them to a shelter at the least or find them another home. Don’t just throw them out to fend for themselves as once they’ve been domesticated.

This is nearly impossible. Also, if you don’t fix your pet, they’ll go out and make dozens more babies to starve and die.

I realize that’s a graphic and terrible image to consider, but that is the reality of the 70 million strays in our country. Please do not contribute to this heartbreaking issue.

If you just want a puppy, do not get a pet. Or if you simply want a dog that will remain small like a puppy forever, opt for breeds such as:

  • Maltese
  • Pomeranians
  • Pugs
  • Terriers
  • Bulldogs
  • Spaniels
  • Beagles

These are just a few petite breeds to consider, but they will remain little for life, require less exercise, require less food expense, as well as having longer life expectancies.

If all of these things appeal to you and you ultimately will not love the Retriever breed as much once they’re full-grown, then do not adopt a Golden Retriever.

Reason # 7 – You Want a Guard Dog

I can sum this one up very quickly – Golden Retrievers are not guarded dogs.

They are loving companions and sidekicks, even good watchdogs due to the fact that they may bark when they hear noises outside of the house. But a watchdog and a guard dog are very different things.

If you expect your Golden to protect the home, you’ll be quite disappointed to find your Retriever giving kisses and affection to the burglar. They are known for wagging tails and giving lots of lovings to perpetrators. So they won’t be very useful to you for this specific intention.

This breed is known for loving strangers and helping you make friends, but they will not attack command. Because they’re so friendly to everyone, if you are looking for home security or a safety-inducing pup, this is not the right breed for you.

Adopt Don’t Shop

Lastly, I want to encourage you to go to your local shelter and adopt a pet that will be put to sleep if they cannot find a home quickly.

Breeders are increasingly expensive.  Last year, the Golden Retriever Rescue team spent incredible amounts of money to save dogs from unsafe Retriever breeding practices that were occurring around the U.S.

Many breeders do not know what they’re doing, and this can absolutely increase the risk of your dog dying young or developing pre-mature health issues like the ones listed above. These breeders can be careless and harm these dogs so much more in the long run.

Please do not misunderstand me. This is not to say all breeders are bad. So many are utilizing healthy practices to strengthen the breed and do fantastic work for Goldens. But perhaps I’m biased after working in a shelter and seeing how many get put to sleep that has so much love to give.

Some questions worth asking are:

  • Why create more dogs when there are already millions in cages, waiting for a loving home?
  • Why spend thousands of dollars when you can go down to the SPCA or CAPS (a no-kill shelter) to pick out your new family member for thousands less?
  • Why not support a shelter that is trying to help these animals live compared to a company that is breeding solely for profit?

These are questions that should and need to be asked. I hope you will choose a dog based on which one dog connects with you, not which one is the purest bred or the ‘highest-class specimen.’

I would also like to encourage you to consider adopting an older dog.

Everyone wants a small puppy which is why so many dogs over the age of 1 or 2 never get home.

Consider getting a dog that is age 4-5+ that is already potty trained, will be calmer with your family and children, and honestly needs you just as much as that puppy does. Perhaps even more.

So, Is a Golden Retriever the Right Fit for You?

I hope I haven’t completely spoiled this breed for you but opened your eyes to some of the harsher realities of Goldens. I believe it’s healthy to research all sides of any decision so you can make an educated choice knowing all of the facts.

Overall, they are incredibly loving, fun, and loyal pets that will give you more of their hearts then almost any other breed I’ve ever met.

If after reading all of the negative parts of this breed, you still want one as your fur-baby, I say you’ve absolutely earned the right to do so! I’m sure your heart is in the right place, especially after being made aware of all of the downsides.

Follow your soul’s tug in whatever directions your instincts deem as right. Golden Retrievers will make stunning additions to any family, but did I mention they shed?

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