The Shih Tzu Breed: Temperament, Personality & More

shih tzu breed

These pint-sized pooches are known for their luxurious coats, deep dark eyes, and cute, flat muzzles. For more than a thousand years, the Shih Tzu dog breed has been an affectionate lap and loyal companion dog, and today they’re even top contenders in agility competitions. The name Shih Tzu translates from Mandarin to “Little Lion,” but these pups aren’t exactly ferocious—in fact, they’re one of the friendliest and most outgoing breeds around.

Shih Tzu Average Size and Life Expectancy

  • Height: 9-10.5 inches
  • Weight: 9-16 pounds
  • Life Span: 10-18 years

Shih Tzu Characteristics and Traits


Affectionate with family 5/5

As one of the friendliest dog breeds, Shih Tzus love people, especially their everyday caretakers. Expect your pup to follow you around the house, beg for scratches and belly rubs, and generally show you a whole lot of love.

Good with other dogs 4/5

While some affectionate dogs might want to claim all the attention of their owners, Shih Tzus are happy to share the love with other dogs. These outgoing pups are known for making fast friends with other four-legged creatures in their homes.

Good with children 5/5

Few dogs take to kids better than Shih Tzus. Thanks to their relaxed demeanor, they can handle the high-energy experience of young children any day of the week. Just be sure to let any children know the proper way to play and handle a dog. Too much roughhousing can sour the mood of even the most docile Shih Tzu.

Good with strangers 4/5

Shih Tzus are almost always ready to make friends. Whether you’re inviting someone to your home for the first time or chatting with a stranger on your walk, your pup will be eager to make their acquaintance.

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Adapts well to apartment living 5/5

Lapdogs through and through, Shih Tzus once literally sat on the laps of ancient emperors and lounged around the palace grounds. Shih Tzu size, on average, falls below 16 pounds, which means your home doesn’t need to be opulent for your pup to be perfectly comfy. 

Good for Novice Owners 5/5

A friendly disposition, small size, and low stimulation threshold means nearly anyone can give a Shih Tzu dog a happy home. You don’t need any prior experience—just a big heart to be a Shih Tzu owner.

Sensitivity level 3/5

Highly curious but not easily spooked, the Shih Tzu personality is typically calm, even in highly stimulating environments. If your pup is looking a little overwhelmed in a social situation, give them a few minutes to cool off. They’ll be back to their spunky self in no time.

Tolerates being alone 3/5

Shih Tzus are content to lay around, nap, and relax when their owners aren’t around, though this affectionate toy breed shouldn’t go too long without the companionship of their favorite human. If your pooch has another furry friend to hang out with, they may last even longer before feeling lonely or restless.

Tolerates cold weather 2/5

Shih Tzus hail from a cold climate and can handle the cold better than they can handle the heat. However, they still won’t fare too well at temperatures below 45°F due to their small size, especially if you trim their long coats. For longer walks in the cold, consider doubling up with a puppy jacket or sweater.

Tolerates hot weather 1/5

Overheating is a big risk to Shih Tzus. Their double coat traps heat, making sweltering days almost unbearable, and their flattened noses can cause breathing difficulties. Be sure to keep your pup hydrated, and consider taking your Shih Tzu to the groomer for a summer haircut when the weather turns warm.

Health and Grooming Needs

Shedding level 2/5

Shih Tzus sport a thick and lustrous coat, but they’re not known to shed excessively. Shedding is most noticeable when washing and grooming your Shih Tzu puppy.

Coat grooming frequency 4/5
To keep your Shih Tzu looking and feeling its best, regular grooming is required. Daily brushings, frequent baths, and trips to the groomer are all useful to maintain your Shih Tzus good looks.

Drooling level 1/5

Shih Tzus typically keep their saliva to themselves. Unless they’re drooling over their bowl or giving you a big wet kiss, you can expect minimal drool from this adorable dog breed.

Coat type/length 3/5

Few qualities are more iconic than the Shih Tzu’s soft, flowing double coat. With a short inner layer and a long outer layer, these coats come in a variety of colors (from solid black to white and gold) and are often decorated with eye-catching markings that make every pup one of a kind.

General health 3/5

A well-cared-for Shih Tzu can live a happy life well into its teen years. The most common health issues for this adorable dog breed are eye, dental, and breathing issues.

Potential for weight gain 4/5
These little pups can have big appetites. Additionally, because they’re more than happy to laze around the house, they may not always exercise as much as they need. Portion control and daily activity are the best ways to prevent your Shih Tzu from developing a weight problem.

Size 1/5
Standing less than a foot tall, these dogs are tiny enough to fit in a tote bag. Shih Tzus are definitely on the small end of the dog breed spectrum.


Easy to train 3/5

Shih Tzus are eager to please their owners during training, but they’re not always eager to work. Plenty of treats, verbal affirmations, and consistent practices can help your pup during training.

Intelligence 4/5
Shih Tzus may be too smart for their own good. Oftentimes, they know precisely how to charm their owners into giving them what they want. With high emotional intelligence, you might be consistently surprised by how smart this breed is.

Prey drive 2/5
Most Shih Tzus would prefer a soft pillow over a thrilling squirrel chase. Your little dog may surprise you from time to time with their fascination with potential prey, but Shih Tzus usually have little to no interest in following their predatory instincts.

Tendency to Bark/Howl 2/5
This breed is typically quiet unless vying for the attention of its owner. You may hear the occasional whine for your Shih Tzu, but don’t expect many vocalizations in general.

Wanderlust potential 2/5
Shih Tzus typically know that they’re living the good life indoors, and are highly unlikely to run off. These dogs are seriously domesticated and might even ignore an open door in favor of a spot on your couch.

Physical Needs

Energy level 2/5

Undemanding and easygoing, Shih Tzus are fairly low-energy dogs. Of course, their calm nature doesn’t inhibit them from showing plenty of affection to their owners.

Intensity 3/5
Short playful bursts may be most Shih Tzus’ preference. They’re not going to be tearing up the streets on an hour-long walk, but they might be extra giddy when you walk in the door.

Exercise needs 2/5
A short walk is enough to tucker out an adult Shih Tzu for the rest of the day. In fact, you may be more concerned about overexerting your Shih Tzu than underserving their exercise needs.
Playfulness 3/5

Shih Tzus are agreeable little pups. If you’re in the mood to play, they’re game. If you’re looking for a quiet night on the couch, they’re more than happy to keep you company. 

Mental stimulation 3/5
A few minutes of mental stimulation every day can keep your Shih Tzu’s temperament happy and balanced. Your pup might appreciate a short game of fetch or even an exciting food puzzle. 

More About Shih Tzu

Many are drawn in by Shih Tzu’s enigmatic good looks. Part teddy bear, part lion, all shrunk down to a pocket-sized pup, Shih Tzus are instantly recognizable. Their pillowy soft double coat can be styled in a variety of ways, and owners opt for stand-out hairdos, ranging from top knots to fringed bangs.

Moments after meeting a Shih Tzu, you can expect to have already made a friend. Despite the occasional “hello” barking, it doesn’t take much time for a Shih Tzu to warm up to new people (and animals). They’re real charmers when they want something to go their way, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself catering to their every whim—they’re just that convincing.

As members of a toy dog breed, Shih Tzus are perfectly happy in smaller apartments or more spacious homes, so long as their loving owner is nearby. Sometimes described as Chrysanthemum Dog because of their unique facial hair, Shih Tzus are a perfect starter pet for first-time dog owners. While their coats demand regular grooming and bathing, just about every other aspect of caring for a Shih Tzu is relatively easy. Whether you take a pleasant stroll around the block or spend some quality time indoors, your Shih Tzu will always be happy to be in your presence.

Shih Tzu History

Dating back to the Ming Dynasty, Shih Tzus are native to Tibet, where they were likely bred from Pekingese and Lhasa Apso dogs. Shih Tzus were prized and protected by Chinese nobles, remaining rare and hidden away behind the palace walls for centuries.

Shih Tzu history also tells us that these animals held an important place in ancient Chinese culture and were integral to Buddist mythology. You’ll find Shih Tzus playing a central role in various Buddist stories and legends. In addition, idols and statues were carved to represent the fierce and loyal spirit of the Shih Tzu.

It wasn’t until the 1930s that Shih Tzus left their native home of Asia and made their way into Europe. By 1935, England’s Shih Tzu Club established the first European standard for the breed. For the next decade, Shih Tzu popularity spread throughout Europe, and following WWII, the breed made its way to North America. By 1969, the Shih Tzu was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club, and today this breed remains one of the top 20 most popular dog breeds for Americans.

Shih Tzu Facts

  • All modern Shih Tzus are descended from 14 dogs used to repopulate the breed.
  • Despite their small stature and luxurious coats, Shih Tzus are known for their agility in dog competitions, and often win notable awards at international dog shows.
  • While the Shih Tzu breed is centuries old, it has only been in the last 100 years that they’ve become popular pets around the world.
  • Shih Tzus have a distinctive underbite that can cause dental problems for some.
  • Military personnel can be thanked for bringing Shih Tzus to the US from Europe. After falling in love with these dogs overseas, WWII veterans decided to bring some home.
  • Perhaps the most essential of the Shih Tzu facts, the name is pronounced She-dzoo.

What You Need to Know as a Shih Tzu Owner

Thinking of bringing a Shih Tzu home? You can expect your pup to thrive when given plenty of affection, attention, and care. Additionally, educating yourself on the particular needs of this breed can ensure a longer, healthier, and happier life for your little dog.

Shih Tzu Health & Preventative Care

Prioritize your Shih Tzus health by taking them in for regular veterinary check-ups and keeping them up to date with vaccines and parasite prevention medications. Due to their skull shape, Shih Tzus are prone to Brachycephaly-related breathing health problems, and as Shih Tzus age, they may develop ear, skin, and eye issues, such as cataracts. Proper hygiene, grooming, and quality care can help prevent the worst side effects of aging.

Shih Tzu Temperament & Emotional Wellness

Shih Tzus are naturally easygoing, but they still have their fair share of quirks. Too long without their owner and they’re liable to suffer from separation anxiety and exhibit destructive tendencies. Additionally, without regular playtime, your pooch could become lethargic and downtrodden.

Shih Tzu Environmental

One of the most notable Shih Tzu characteristics happens to be their elegant double coat. While it can help to keep Shih Tzus warm in the winter, it also exacerbates the risk of overheating and suffering from heatstroke in hotter weather. Shih Tzus often spend their days inside, away from the beating sun, so ensure your home is kept at a comfortable temperature for your pup. 

Shih Tzu Exercise & Play

Most Shih Tzus are indoor dogs who don’t mind a little outdoor play as long as it’s matched with plenty of rest and relaxation. That said, physical activity is still important for Shih Tzus, as it is for all dogs. Short legs mean short walks are preferred, so consider breaking up their daily exercise routine into three 15-minute walks.

Shih Tzu Behavior & Training

Despite their high emotional intelligence and successful trainability in most areas, many Shih Tzus prove difficult to housebreak. Their excitable, puppy-like behavior and lack of focus can complicate the process. Fortunately, Shih Tzus are also all about making their owners happy. Provide plenty of treats, positive reinforcement, and start early to maximize your training success across the board.

Shih Tzu Nutrition

Prepare your Shih Tzus dinner from scratch or opt for well-balanced commercial dog food. Either way, you can provide a nutritious and delicious meal option that your dog will love. The average Shih Tzu should eat 1/2 ounce of food for every pound of their body weight. If your dog begins to lose or gain weight rapidly, visit a veterinary professional for a clear picture of your companion dog’s health. 


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French Bulldog 101: Temperament, Lifespan & More

french bulldog puppies playing outside

French Bulldogs are sweet, affectionate, and downright funny. These pups have a Parisian flair and a laid-back attitude that suits their quirky look and miniature size. Portable, agreeable, and a little mischievous, one look at a French Bulldog and you’ll notice a shining personality beneath their kind, dark eyes.

French Bulldog Average Size and Life Expectancy

  • Height: 11-13 inches
  • Weight: 16-28 pounds
  • Life Span: 10-14 years

French Bulldog Characteristics and Traits


Affectionate with family 5/5

There’s no limit to a French Bulldog’s love. Whether they’re snuggling up with you on the couch, scampering over excitedly as soon as you walk in the door, or gleefully following you around the city, they’re your pal for life.

Good with other dogs 4/5

While your French Bulldog might prefer to be the center of attention, they don’t mind sharing the spotlight on occasion. These dogs can happily cohabitate with other animals.

Good with children 5/5

French Bulldogs have a gentle and sweet disposition, making them ideal for homes with small children. Kindness, patience, and affection are key parts of the French Bulldog temperament.

Good with strangers 3/5

While typically friendly and social, French Bulldogs have a deep sense of loyalty to their owners that can sometimes manifest as aggression. Fortunately, through proper training and care, this behavior can be easily corrected.

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Adapts well to apartment living 5/5

French Bulldogs were bred for domestic lives—perfect for busy metropolitans and small, urban apartments. While they’re just as happy out in the country, they’re an ideal choice for those living in smaller spaces.

Good for Novice Owners 5/5

For first-time dog owners, French Bulldogs are an easy pick. They’re highly trainable and undemanding when it comes to exercise and stimulation.

Sensitivity level 4/5

These pups pack a lot of emotion into their small frames. French Bulldogs are highly sensitive to their owner’s emotions, tones of voice, loud noises, and just about everything else.

Tolerates being alone 3/5

French Bulldogs can tolerate a few hours away from their special person, but as you approach the seven-hour mark, their disposition may start to turn. Too much time by themselves can result in emotional turmoil and misbehavior from the French Bulldog.

Tolerates cold weather 2/5

A short coat and small body make the French Bulldog sensitive to the cold. To avoid hypothermia, keep your French Bulldog bundle up during winter walks.

Tolerates hot weather 2/5

French Bulldogs can have a hard time during the warm months, as well. Their short noses make them extra sensitive to hot weather, so ensure they have plenty of water and a place to cool down during summer scorchers.

Health and Grooming Needs

Shedding level 4/5

If you are looking for the types of dogs that don’t shed, Frenchies aren’t the best choice. While some breeds only shed seasonally, French Bulldogs shed year-round. You’ll likely be vacuuming up hair on a regular basis.

Coat grooming frequency 3/5

These year-round shedders benefit from regular grooming. Brushing and bathing can help combat excessive shedding and keep your French Bulldog looking and feeling their best.

Drooling level 3/5

French Bulldogs are average droolers, so you can expect a little saliva around mealtime. If you notice your Frenchie drooling more than usual, contact a veterinarian, as this behavior could be related to a potential health problem.

Coat type/length 3/5

Short, smooth, and shiny, French Bulldogs have a silky feel to their fur. Along with their wrinkly, loose skin, expect your Frenchie to be extra soft to the touch.

General health 2/5

What are the potential health issues? The French Bulldog profile is a generally healthy one. Unfortunately, they may be more prone to respiratory issues than other breeds, due to their squished face. Additionally, some Frenchies suffer from unpleasant but manageable skin issues and allergies.

Potential for weight gain 3/5

Notorious couch potatoes, it’s easy for French Bulldogs to miss out on healthy exercise while continuing to scarf down their meals with vigor. Canine obesity can be a serious issue, so keep an eye on your dog’s weight and encourage healthy habits.

Size 2/5

The typical French Bulldog size is under 28 pounds and less than 13 inches tall. Though small, French Bulldogs have a noticeably muscular frame and a sturdy build. 


Easy to train 3/5

French Bulldogs can be highly agreeable during training sessions, though they may occasionally exhibit a stubborn mood. To combat this, remain consistent and don’t let their misbehavior derail their training.

Intelligence 4/5

The intelligence of French Bulldogs shines through in their interactions with humans as well as their love of games. Additionally, their adaptability to new scenarios and environments is closely related to their intellect.

Prey drive 1/5

Because Frenchies were bred as city dogs, they’ve never had much of a need for their hunting instincts. It’s uncommon to see a French Bulldog chase after anything besides a treat or a toy.

Tendency to Bark/Howl 2/5

Frenchies don’t particularly like to bark, but they are known to make a number of quieter vocalizations. Yips, yawns, growls, and gargles are all ways for your dog to express their feelings.

Wanderlust potential 2/5

Most Frenchies prefer the comforts of home to the open road. It’s highly unlikely your pooch will take off and even less likely that they’ll make it very far.

Physical Needs

Energy level 3/5

These dogs may spend most of the day sleeping, but after their beauty rest, expect an excited and energetic pup—at least until it’s time for their next nap.

Intensity 2/5

French Bulldogs may look tough, but they shouldn’t overexert themselves, again because of their flattened face structure. Low-intensity activity is preferable for this dog breed.

Exercise needs 2/5

Most French Bulldogs need only moderate exercise to maintain good health and stable energy levels. A quick jog around the block or even a run around the living room or backyard could be enough to satisfy their exercise needs.

Playfulness 3/5

Despite their typically laid-back demeanor, you still might find your Frenchie in the mood to play. Tug of war and fetch are staples of doggy playtime for this dog breed.

Mental stimulation 3/5

Food puzzles and brain games are great ways to give your French Bulldog the occasion mental boost. Your pooch won’t be too demanding, but offering a variety of activities is the best way to keep them entertained.

More About French Bulldogs

The mellow mutts known as Frenchies have skyrocketed to puppy-stardom, finding a spot at the top of many rosters of most-loved and sought-after dogs. What makes the French Bulldog such a one-of-a-kind canine? Behind their tiny frames is the spirit of a charismatic charmer, ready to follow you wherever you go. Liveliness, sociability, and an affectionate nature are just a few of the most beloved French Bulldog characteristics. 

The French Bulldog’s appearance is unmistakable due to their flattened noses, wrinkled skin, and oversized ears. That said, there are a variety of French bulldog colors and patterns, and no two French Bulldogs ever look quite the same. This breed is also notable for its penchant for sounds. Snorting, snoring, wheezing, and even the occasional flatulence are all par for the course.

Frenchies are active animals, at least when they’re not zonked out on the couch. These pups frequently bounce between eager companions and full-time cuddlers, always hoping for just a few more precious minutes to cozy up with their favorite human. The most important of the French Bulldog facts? These dogs love to be with their owners—24/7. For those seeking a furry friend to join them on their urban adventures, you’ll find a lot to love in a French Bulldog.

French Bulldog History 

Despite their name, French Bulldog history begins back in England. In the mid-19th century, industrious Brits in the lacemaking industry began breeding the toy bulldog, and after the Industrial Revolution upended this particular sector, the former Nottingham lacemakers moved to Normandy where they continued to breed French bulldogs.

Once in France, popularity for their dogs steadily grew. These lap-sized toy Bulldogs were treasured by artists, politicians, and commoners alike. Fully embraced by French culture, the breed became firmly established.

By 1885, an American breeding program for French Bulldogs was established, and these pups became icons of high society. Over the last century, they’ve been frequent contenders in international competitions, and in the past decade, more Americans than ever have welcomed Frenchies into their homes. All in all, it’s a very good time for the French Bulldogs.

French Bulldog Facts

  • Unlike many dogs, French Bulldogs can’t swim.
  • The French Bull Dog Club of America was formed in 1897 and is still active today.
  • Artificial insemination is necessary for most French Bulldog breeding.
  • Because French Bulldogs have short, brachycephalic snouts, air travel can be very dangerous for them due to the potential for stress or overheating. 
  • French Bulldogs are known for vocalizing, and some have even been reported to sing (in their own sort of way).
  • Frenchies are very sensitive to vocal tones. A sharp or harsh voice can send them reeling.

What You Need to Know as a French Bulldog Owner

Bringing a new dog into your life is about a lot more than providing the bare essentials. Familiarize yourself with the most crucial French Bulldog breed info to better prepare your home for a new furry friend.

French Bulldog Health & Preventative Care

Vet visits, vaccinations, and standard check-ups are important for all dogs. In particular, French Bulldogs are prone to mouth, snout, and respiratory problems because of their flattened faces. Genetic predisposition may also leave your Frenchie more vulnerable to skin infections and eye conditions.

French Bulldog Temperament & Emotional Wellness

You can expect an even-tempered and agreeable pet when it comes to getting a French Bulldog puppy. That said, Frenchies are bred as a companion dog and are prone to separation anxiety when away from their owners for too long. Stick by your French bulldog puppy’s side or take them to doggy daycare to avoid any emotional turmoil.

French Bulldogs Environmental

They are the quintessential apartment dogs, bred for Parisian streets and urban environments. Additionally, you could also provide a wonderful life for a French Bulldog in the suburbs or a more spacious rural area. Ultimately, a comfortable, mild temperature and a cozy place to rest are key to this breed’s happiness.

French Bulldogs Exercise & Play

Daily exercise should be a part of all dogs’ routines, though owners need to be careful not to over-exhaust their tiny companion. French Bulldogs run the risk of overheating and may even struggle to catch their breath, but should still engage in moderate, regular exercise for their overall health.

French Bulldogs Behavior & Training

For success in French Bulldog training, prioritize plenty of positive reinforcement to mitigate their headstrong attitude and keep them in line. Just avoid raising your voice at your Frenchie puppy, they are extra sensitive to scolding.

French Bulldog Nutrition

These small and medium energy dogs don’t need an excessive amount of calories to get

them through the day. Avoid high-fat foods and table scraps to lower their potential for canine obesity (no matter how much they beg and whine, giving you the ultimate puppy dog eyes).


Looking to learn more about your French Bulldog’s health? The AskVet App is your instant connection to a licensed veterinarian.


Golden Retriever Guide: Temperament, Facts, & More

cute golden retriever puppies sitting in front of the fireplace

Excitable, lovable, and tremendously cute, Golden Retrievers are a beloved mid-sized breed with a kind and valiant disposition. These pups love to work hard, play hard, and impress their owners in any way they can. With intelligent, expressive eyes, a sturdy frame, and their signature golden coat, Golden Retrievers have long been a staple of American households.

Golden Retriever Average Size and Life Expectancy

  • Height: 21-24 inches
  • Weight: 55-75 pounds
  • Life Span: 10-12 years

Golden Retriever Characteristics and Traits


 Affectionate with family 5/5

Golden Retrievers live for their owners. You can expect your Retriever to greet you at the door, sleep at the foot of your bed, and run to you for comfort when they’re upset. 

Good with other dogs 5/5

Social and agreeable, most Golden Retrievers get along splendidly with other dogs. All dogs are capable of aggression, but due to this breed’s intelligence and trainability, minor behavioral problems can be easily remedied.

Good with children 5/5

Sweet enough for toddlers but tough enough to handle a little horseplay, Golden Retrievers are a great pick for families with kids. Patient and kind, their temperament makes them a great child-friendly breed.

Good with strangers 4/5

A well-trained Golden Retriever is rarely suspicious or anxious around strangers. That said, they can be a little overly friendly. Retrievers are known to jump on new friends for an enthusiastic, yet often unwelcome greeting.

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Adapts well to apartment living 3/5

Goldens can adapt to nearly anything, including tiny apartments. That being said, these dogs will need to get outside and stretch their legs frequently, so certain busy lifestyles may clash with this pup’s needs. Still, with proper training and regular exercise breaks, you can expect them to thrive in smaller environments.

Good for Novice Owners 3/5

If you’re up for a high-energy pup that needs stimulating activity multiple times per day, a Golden Retriever will be a lovely and rewarding companion. If you’re a first-time dog owner a little unsure about your availability, you may want to consider a slightly less physically demanding pup.

Sensitivity level 5/5

This breed is highly sensitive to its environment. Expect your Golden Retriever dog to react to your mood as well as environmental stimuli, from the mailman to a thunderclap.

Tolerates being alone 1/5

Due to their sensitive nature, Goldens are prone to anxiety and fear if left alone for extended periods. They may also resort to destructive behavior when feeling unhappy.

Tolerates cold weather 4/5

Many Golden Retrievers actively enjoy playing in the snow when the temperatures drop. A long coat ensures your pup will be prepared for the winter, but on extra frigid days, consider bundling them up in a jacket or limiting outside time. 

Tolerates hot weather 3/5

Golden Retrievers are comfortable in the mild heat, but once temperatures rise above 90 degrees, they’re at serious risk for heat stroke. 

Health and Grooming Needs

Shedding level 4/5

How much dog hair loss should you prepare for? Expect mild shedding throughout the year and two major undercoat sheddings twice per year. For a few weeks every spring and fall, you may have to up your brushing and vacuuming frequency.

Coat grooming frequency 3/5

Keep your Golden happy with regular coat brushing and teeth cleaning every week. In addition, nail clipping, baths, and the occasional groomer visit can go a long way to maintaining your dog’s overall health.

Drooling level 3/5

Most often, Golden Retrievers drool for a reason. Whether you’re holding on to their favorite bone, dishing out their dog food, or tempting them with an exciting walk, Goldens can let some spit fly.

Coat type/length 3/5

Lustrous, luminous, and waterproof, the Golden’s coat is soft and protective. These thick double-coats are among the most well-known Golden Retriever characteristics. They not only look good, but they also keep these pups insulated from the elements.

General health 2/5

The Golden Retriever breed, like many large dog breeds, is prone to several heart and lung problems, in addition to hypothyroidism, joint issues, and some cancers. Still, these dogs typically live happy lives into their double digits when properly cared for.

Potential for weight gain 4/5

Golden Retrievers are highly food-motivated, frequently begging for an extra treat or searching for table scraps after a meal. Do your best to avoid overindulging your pooch. Excessive weight gain can lead to other health issues for your dog and lower their quality of life.

Size 3/5

A healthy, male Golden Retriever stands at around 2 feet tall and shouldn’t weigh more than 70 pounds. The average Golden Retriever size falls in the upper-middle of dog breeds, or as their owners like to say, “Not too big. Not too small.”


Easy to train 5/5

With proper training, Goldens can comprehend complex commands and complete multi-part tasks. Goldens are one of the easiest dogs to train and always looking for new ways to please their owners, so training should come easy.

Intelligence 5/5

Despite their happy-go-lucky goofball demeanor, Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent. Their adaptability, communication skills, and sensitivity to human emotions make their intelligence indisputable. When ranking breeds by intelligence, Golden Retrievers are routinely in the top five.

Prey drive 2/5

Golden Retrievers were once bred as hunting companions, but that doesn’t mean they’re eager to find prey. On average, Goldens are more interested in their human companions than finding smaller animals to catch.

Tendency to Bark/Howl 2/5

A naturally quiet breed, the Golden Retriever dog breed will usually only bark as a friendly “hello” rather than a menacing threat. These dogs are one of the friendliest dog breeds and weren’t bred as watchdogs, so they use their bark primarily to get the attention of their owner.

Wanderlust potential 2/5

Your Golden Retriever should be eager to leave the house for an exhilarating walk, but they’ll only enjoy it if you’re right behind them. Your pup probably won’t want to explore without you, as they’d most likely feel sad, scared, and alone without their favorite person.

Physical Needs

Energy level 5/5

These pups are high-energy from the second they wake up to the moment they curl up in their doggy beds at night. They’re the perfect family dog for individuals with active lifestyles looking for a pup to tag along on exciting adventures.

Intensity 3/5

Goldens may have energy for days, but they aren’t the type to pull on their leash, act out, or push themselves to the point of exhaustion. There’s a sense of restraint when it comes to Golden Retriever dog breed behavior.

Exercise needs 5/5

Known as a “sporting breed,” Golden Retrievers require about 90 minutes of exercise per day. Many owners decide to break this up into two or three walks, on top of games and unstructured playtime.

Playfulness 5/5

Even when your Golden grows up, they’re likely to still act like a puppy. Running, jumping, fetching—these are daily activities for a Golden of any age.

Mental stimulation 5/5

A variety of tasks, toys, and puzzles can keep your Golden Retriever fulfilled and stimulated. Occupy your pup’s mental energy with Tug of War, chew toys, and plenty of training to avoid boredom and unease.

More About Golden Retrievers

Looking to discover more about the Golden Retriever profile? Why not start with their balanced, muscular frames and welcoming smiles. From their shiny golden coats to their short flopping ears, these dogs embody a spirit of friendly adventure and fun.

Bred as working dogs, Golden Retrievers have retained a number of their original skills—most notably, their preternatural ability to fetch, or retrieve. Additionally, Goldens are fantastic swimmers and divers, capable of reaching depths of 15 feet. You might think your dog is part fish once you see them out on the water.

Goldens have easygoing personalities, but it’s not always easy to keep up with them. Golden Retrievers demand a great deal of attention, exercise, and stimulation to maintain their mental and physical health. Often, the best way to keep your Golden in tip-top shape is with focused activity and rigorous training. Their enhanced intelligence and their history as working dogs ensure that you’ll be able to train them to sit, speak, shake, and so much more. 

 Golden Retriever History 

Golden Retriever history begins with Lord Tweedmouth, a Scottish statesman, businessman, baron, and reputable breeder. In the mid-1800s, Lord Tweedmouth crossed a Wavy-Coated Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel, in an effort to breed a new type of retrieving dog.

Almost instantaneously, Tweedmouth’s dog breeds became popular amongst European hunters for their impeccable abilities in the field, and by the early 20th century, the Golden was recognized as a distinct dog breed by The Kennel Club in England. Soon, their popularity would expand not only across Europe but to the United States as well. 

Following World War I, several other countries began distinguishing the Golden Retriever breed. By 1932, the American Kennel Club recognized the dog breed in a watershed moment for dog history. As one of the most popular breeds in the U.S., Golden Retrievers continue to find their way into hearts and homes across the country.

Golden Retriever Facts

  • Despite the Golden Retriever gaining massive popularity over the subsequent years, the breed has never won Best in Show at Westminster.
  • They may be called Golden Retrievers, but the coat colors of this breed vary from off-white to light brown.
  • Because of their calming presence, Goldens are often utilized as therapy dogs.
  • Golden Retrievers are premier sporting dogs, capable of running, jumping, hiking, and swimming right alongside you.
  • There are three variations of the Golden Retriever: English, Canadian, and American.
  • Golden Retrievers have webbed feet. Along with their water-repellent coat, this feature makes them unrivaled swimmers in the canine world.

What You Need to Know as a Golden Retriever Owner

Friendly, silly, and a whole lot of fun—becoming a Golden Retriever owner is highly rewarding. Before picking out your Golden Retriever puppy, it’s worthwhile to consider the details involved in caring for this breed. Understand these essential Golden Retriever facts before welcoming one into your home.

Golden Retriever Health & Preventative Care

Known for their high endurance and high energy levels, Golden Retrievers are a naturally healthy and robust breed. So, what are the potential health concerns you should watch out for? Unfortunately, due to their size, they’re prone to joint issues such as hip dysplasia and cruciate tears, as well as eye problems, ear infections, skin conditions, cancer, and heart disease. Regular veterinary checkups are essential to keep up with necessary preventative routine care. 

Golden Retriever Temperament & Emotional Wellness

To feel their best, Golden Retrievers need plenty of activity and human interaction. For those who spend extended time out of the house, doggy daycare is a great option to fulfill your pup’s social needs when you have other obligations. When all their needs are met, Golden Retrievers are big, furry balls of joy, eager to show their owners love. 

Golden Retriever Environmental

Golden Retrievers can thrive in a bustling city, out in the country, or anywhere in between. So long as they’re given plenty of daily exercises (and a chance to retrieve), any loving environment can be ideal. That being said, the length and density of your dog’s particular coat

might influence how well they fare in either cold or warm climates—all Goldens are wonderfully unique.

Golden Retriever Exercise & Play

The top concern of any Golden Retriever is exercise. Without 60 to 90 minutes of activity every day, your pup may lose its playful spirit and gain excess weight. Besides daily walks, you can enjoy games of fetch, hiking, swimming, and plenty of other high-endurance activities with your pooch.

Golden Retriever Behavior & Training

Training your Golden Retriever should be a breeze with the right techniques. As people-pleasing dogs, you can expect your Golden to respond to positive reinforcement, treats, and praise. The younger you start, the better. Even as Golden retriever puppies, they crave the excitement of learning a new task and executing it for their owner. Try mentally stimulating tricks and tasks after they’ve nailed easier commands like sit and stay.

Golden Retriever Nutrition

These food-loving pups need a strict diet to avoid gaining excess weight. That means minimal table scraps and measured portions for every meal. When training, treats are a must, but keep a close eye on how many you feed your Golden Retriever puppy on a daily basis. As always, a quality dog food or specially prepared meal is essential for maintaining your Golden’s overall health, and any issues around food should be immediately addressed with the help of a vet.

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