Do Golden Retrievers and Pit Bulls Get Along?

Do golden retrievers and pit bulls get along well enough to live in the same home? If you’re a golden retriever or pit bull parent looking to add a new dog to the family, you might wonder this at some point.

Can you have one or more golden retrievers living with one or more pit bulls? Yes, well-trained pit bulls and golden retrievers will get along just fine, as both breeds are very friendly, energetic dogs that are dedicated to their families.

 Of course, there are some key points to keep in mind when introducing any new pet to your current pet. On top of that, there are some special quirks about both breeds that can be helpful to keep in mind when you’re observing the dogs’ interactions.

How to Successfully Have a Golden Retriever and Pit Bull

Dogs are, by nature, very social animals. They don’t like to be alone, they like to be in a pack. While it’s true some dogs are very dog-aggressive, the majority of them are not.

With a proper introduction and understanding of your dogs, there’s no reason you can’t own these two, or any two, breeds together successfully.

What must you know before you try to have one of each of these breeds? Something like this:

  1. Understanding of the breeds
  2. How to successfully have two or more different breeds of dogs
  3. Understand each dog
  4. Other technicalities and possible complications

Understanding of the Breeds

Breeds are a great place to start when you’re trying to figure out what kind of dog to get for your family. Most breeds are known for something-police work, farm work, the family dog.

While each dog is different, breeds are where you should start. You don’t want to get a breed that’s notoriously high energy if you’re looking for a furry friend to watch television with you.

You also don’t want to get a puppy because it’s cute while living in a studio apartment, only to realize it’s a Great Dane.

Before you ask whether two breeds will get along, you need to ask if your life will get along with the breeds.

Do you already have a golden retriever or pit bull and want to add the other to your life? First, will the other breed fit with your life? Read up on them before you decide.

Golden Retrievers

Who doesn’t love golden retrievers? They’re picturesque; a beautiful, fluffy golden marshmallow that loves kids. Here’s the rundown on these famous pups.

Weight Height Lifespan
65-75 pounds (male)

55-65 pounds (female)

23-24 inches (male)

21.5-22.5 inches (female)

10-12 years

Information found:

Temperament of Golden Retrievers

Retrievers have earned their title as one of the best family dogs. With enough energy to keep up with little kids, they’re also snuggly enough for the night time. They happily welcome anyone, making themselves bad guard dogs.

Golden retrievers are intelligent and trustworthy, as they were originally bred to retrieve shot fowl and bring it back, uneaten. They become very devoted to their family, happy to go anywhere with their people.

They’re peaceful dogs, usually very friendly towards any dog, cat, or another animal.

Needs of Golden Retrievers

Like most large dog breeds, retrievers often suffer from hip dysplasia. This can lead to surgeries or at least pain medication to help keep it in check for the dog.

Their long thick coat requires regular grooming. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, be it home grooming or in a doggy salon. If you’re committed, you can do all of it at home and still keep his coat nice and shiny. If you’re low on time, you may need a groomer.

Retrievers have an oddly high chance of contracting cancer. While no one knows why they seem significantly more likely to pass away from cancer than other breeds.

Pit Bulls

There’s a much longer list of people who don’t like pit bulls than people who don’t like golden retrievers. Whether it’s dogfighting or being neglected by owners out on probation, they don’t always come with the best mental image.

But now everyone’s realizing they aren’t necessarily aggressive or mean dogs. They do have a lot of muscle and energy which makes them great for working dogs who help police and firefighters, but can still be great pets. Here are some reasons why.

Weight Height Lifespan
35–60 pounds (males)
30–50 pounds (females)


18-21 inches (males)

17-20 inches (females)

8-15 years

Information found:

Temperament of Pit Bulls

Pit bulls are hardy dogs, heavy on the muscle side. They are energetic, enjoying a working job like with public servants. They’re eager to please and just want to make humans happy.

The breed does show some aggression, but aggression towards people is uncharacteristic of them. Just like golden retrievers, it doesn’t make a good guard dog because of how friendly towards people it is.

Pit bulls have a social media reputation of being large, mean dogs, common on shows as belonging to drug dealers.

This really isn’t fair to the breed at all, as most are happiest at home with the family. Just like most other dogs, pit bulls are only as good as the people who raised it and own it.

Needs of Pit Bulls

Pit bulls are avid climbers, so be very thorough with fencing for this breed. They come with a lot of stigmas too. As a pit bull owner, not just as a dog owner, you’ll be required to keep them on a leash.

Some states still have laws regarding pit bulls. Even counties will enact proposals and legislation against pit bulls, so keep an eye out in case things change as you may need to take extra steps for your dog.

Hip dysplasia is common in this breed, as can parvovirus when they’re puppies. The best way to care for them is to be aware that as a large dog breed, they are more likely to experience hip issues and keep them vaccinated.

Two or More Breeds Together

Dogs are pack animals, but many people worry about issues between different breeds of dogs. The short answer?


Unless you’re concerned about sizes, such as a Great Dane and a Chihuahua, you really have no need to worry. As long as neither dog has exhibited any signs of dog aggression, it’s a quick and easy process.

What if your dog has shown signs of dog aggression? In this case, don’t get another dog. Find a trainer who may be able to help you, but also prepare to accept that your dog just may be too aggressive towards other dogs.

Accepting that and keeping your dog safe and happy is more important than risking an injured dog.

Puppy Socialization

Puppies aren’t usually born alone. They usually have many littermates to grow up and play with. Generally, littermates who grow up into adulthood together stay bonded for life. Sometimes, dogs of different litters will bond together like siblings if they meet young enough.

A pair of dogs shouldn’t be split up if they’re bonded since puppy time. Imagine if you spent your entire life with someone, only to have that person pulled away. For older animals, it can be traumatizing enough to cause one or both of them to pass away.

If your puppy or dog was without any littermates, he may have some social issues. Aggression towards or irritating other dogs is common for dogs with social issues.

The more you socialize your dog when he’s young, the more accepting of other dogs he’ll be.

Some dogs simply don’t like other dogs. Always remember that it’s better to have a happy, solitary dog than risk any animals or people being hurt.

Proper Introductions

Just like it is for us, doggie introductions are important, especially when a new dog is coming to stay.

You should never let dogs just meeting each other jump on each other, bite at each other, or in other ways attempt to hurt each other. Be cautious, as not being cautious could result in an injured dog or person.

Adult Dog Introductions

When introducing two adult dogs, you should always be on your watch. Keeping both on leashes, try to introduce them both on “neutral” ground, ground neither dog would consider its territory.

For instance, the sidewalk in front of one dog’s house isn’t his territory because it isn’t the yard he’s allowed in.

Allow the dogs to approach each other, keeping an eye out for any kind of aggression or fear from either dog. As long as none appears, allow them to sniff each other.

As long as they stay friendly towards each other and you see no fear or aggression, you can let them off the leash if your surroundings allow you sot that they can play.

Puppy Introductions

Puppy introductions are the easiest. Young puppies can usually just be allowed to run around together and play immediately, and they won’t harm each other at all.

Older puppies, who can wear leashes and collars and have begun adjusting to that, should wear leashes when first meeting. Keep them on the leash, and let them sniff each other. If any signs of aggression appear, pull them apart.

Be mindful of the fact that adult dogs can more easily injure puppies. When introducing them, keep both on leashes. Allow them to sniff each other, again watching for aggression. If the dog gets annoyed with the puppy at any time, split them apart.

What to Watch Out For

As always, monitor your fur babies. Just because they get along great doesn’t mean they won’t have the occasional spat, just like people do.

There should be no sudden changes in the behavior of the dogs after the initial introduction time. If one dog starts to show any kind of aggression towards the other dog or any person, there is most likely something wrong. Veterinary care may be required.

All dogs may have some injury occur, and mild aggression is occasionally a symptom of that. The aggression may be angled at another dog or at a person.

Either way, safety must be prioritized. Again, immediately take your dog to the vet for examination if he or she is acting out of character.

All of these are very unlikely to occur. The best thing to do is to make sure you keep an eye on your pets and their interactions, so you quickly pick up on any abnormalities.

Understanding Your Buddies

Each dog is unique, just as each person is unique. When you have two dogs, you have to keep that in mind. You need to understand their personalities and how they work together.

You have to remember that just because he has four paws and a muzzle, he can sense things on an even deeper level than you can. Just think of the actual depth of understanding and personality he must have.

How could you live in the same house as other people without ever really getting to know them? How can you live with your dogs without ever really getting to know them?

The best bet for having loyal companions who are happy and make you happy is to try and understand them.

Here are some ways dogs communicate that you should look out for when introducing him or her to new friends:

  • Watch their tail. Wagging is happy, down may indicate relaxation, tucked means they may be scared.
  • Watch their ears. You can tell when dogs are listening to you or anything else based on where they point their ears.
  • Vocal noises are important. Most people can tell an angry bark from a sad whimper, but try to learn the different “tones” of a dog as well. Each dog will have unique tones that are individual to them.

For more on understanding dog body language, check out this link:

Other Things to Keep in Mind

There are countless things to keep in mind when adding a dog or dog to your family, but here are some things to consider before you even start looking at dogs. These are also key factors to remember when considering which dogs to house together.


Adoption is a wonderful thing to be able to do for an animal. Shelter staff know the animals well and are usually able to give you an idea of what to expect when you bring them home. They can also tell you how each dog feels towards other dogs, probably the most important thing to know when you’re looking at having two dogs in the house.

Whenever possible, try meeting some shelter dogs before you spend big money on a dog from a breeder. There are a few things to keep in mind that you wouldn’t think of when buying from a breeder.

– Possible former trauma. You usually don’t know the dog’s past, so you risk adopting a dog that has suffered abuse and has residual trauma. This can impact you, your family, and definitely impact how they get along with other dogs. Any dog-related trauma is important to know about before introducing two dogs.

– Unknown health history. You don’t know everything about shelter animals, which can be a scary thing. The shelter will have already done everything they can to ensure any contagious diseases are handled and the shelter will warn you if the dog cannot be with other dogs because of medical reasons.

– Unknown breeds. Most rescues are mixed breeds. You can have dog DNA testing done, but that’s still rather experimental. If you value a purebred, this probably isn’t the way to go. Again, when considering bringing two dogs into your house, the breed is not important.

But, just as there are negatives, there are positives.

  • You’re saving that dog’s life.
  • You’re paying a much smaller fee than at a breeder.
  • Shelter animals tend to be more affectionate as if they know you saved them.

Consider a shelter just as strongly as a breeder. If you aren’t looking for a purebred dog, then shelters are the best place to start. They have the biggest variety, even if they aren’t purebreds. And if you ask any shelter pet parent, they know you adopted them and love you extra for it.


Breeders are the best option if you’re looking for a purebred dog. These are usually people who show dogs, or just someone who knows exactly what kind of dog they want. The biggest drawback to breeders is the price.

The biggest reason you may want to try a breeder when looking to add another dog or get two together is that you know the history of the dogs. While you don’t necessarily know of any history on a shelter dog, a breeder can tell you exactly how the dog you’re looking at socializes.

Choose your breeder very careful. Many “breeders” are actually just puppy mills, places where they hold dogs in inhumane conditions just to produce more puppies, which they sell.

A puppy from a puppy mill that has been mistreated may be more likely to show aggression toward other people and other animals.

Reputable breeders will have some kind of accreditation and no problem showing you a clean facility.

Final Thoughts

Before you bring home any new pet, make sure you’re ready. If you don’t have an outdoor space ready for either of these high energy breeds, you’re going to run into a problem. Or if you have a lot of valuables, you need to worry about them breaking with two dogs running around.

Keep in mind all members of the family and how they may feel. If you have someone regularly stay with you and they’re allergic to dogs, you may want to reconsider.

The most important thing to do before adopting your first, second, third, etc. dog is that you’re prepared. You never want to return or leave a pet at the shelter because it doesn’t work out.

If you’re adding another dog to the family, make sure you make proper introductions between the new dog and the one you presently have.

If there’s going to be any issues between the dogs, you need to know before you bring your new friend home.

Just like most dogs, golden retrievers and pit bulls can live happy lives together. The important thing is the specific dogs, you, your family, and being prepared.

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