Let’s talk about my favourite breed of dogs: Golden Retrievers! They’re originally from Scotland and are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US (and around the world)! Having two Goldens myself I know what wonderful family pets they make so their popularity is no surprise. They are one of the kindest, most affectionate, loyal, friendly and intelligent breed of dogs.
While Golden Retrievers are strikingly beautiful, they are mostly known for their wonderful eager-to-please temperament. They can also be employed as guide dogs for the blind, they make excellent hunting retrievers and they often excel in the show and obedience rings. Most important however is that Goldens make unsurpassable family companions!
Golden Retrievers are a sturdy, muscular breed. Their coat ranges from a cream color to a dark golden. Mature Golden Retriever males measure 23-24″ at the shoulder and typically weigh 75-80 lbs. Females are slightly smaller at 21 ½”-22 ½” at the withers and weigh about 60-65 lbs.
If you’re wondering whether a Golden Retriever is a good breed for you, you should consider the following:
Exercise: Your Golden will need 1-1.5 hrs of exercise per day. You will need to be out walking, running or throwing a ball for fetch to make sure your pet gets the exercise he/she needs. An ideal situation would be a big fenced yard where you and your Golden can play. If this isn’t possible, as long as you take your Golden out 2-3 times per day and exercise them well you might not need a fenced yard.
Shedding: You should be prepared for year-round shedding which means you’ll have to vacuum often! Brushing them regularly helps keep their coat looking soft and smooth.
Home alone: Goldens are social animals, which means they’re happiest when with their “pack” or family. Just like humans, dogs can get lonely, but the difference is they have no way of understanding when you’ll be back. This means they can get anxious when they’re left alone for too long. They also need plenty of mental and physical stimulation and can easily get bored when they’re by themselves for too long. So how long is too long? I’d say you should try not to leave your dog home alone for more than five hours at a time. Any longer and they’ll get too bored, lonely and will also certainly need to take a bathroom break.
Owning a pet is a lot of work and Golden Retrievers are no exception but if you’re prepared to train them and spend time with them, Golden Retrievers will love you unconditionally and become your very best friend for life!
Last June we took a road trip with the girls to Nova Scotia on the east coast. From Ottawa ON to NS it was a 16 hour drive (1000 miles/ 1600 km)! I knew the girls travelled well so I wasn’t worried about taking them along for such a long distance. They were calm and slept most of the way in the car. Ally had the big pillow to herself and Lizzie preferred to stay on the floor behind my seat where she could stay close to me and get her chin scratched. We gave them all the space at the back of the car and still she stayed on the floor!
I was excited to bring them to the coast where I knew they’d love to run on the beach and go swimming! Funny thing is, Lizzie and Ally enjoy very different beach activities. Ally is your typical retriever, chasing after the ball, running non-stop and digging for rocks and shells in the sand. She follows us closely and never strays too far. I always tell her she’s my good girl because she listens so well.
Lizzie has different ideas of what fun on the beach means. She’s more like a hound dog, nose to the ground and looking for interesting (smelly) creatures. Because of that she tends to stray a bit more and we have to watch her closely and call her back regularly. She found tasty mussels and didn’t hesitate to eat a few. I tried not to let her eat them but she always managed to sneak a few. Luckily she has an iron stomach and never got sick. It’s amazing what they can eat sometimes!
Years ago when they saw waves for the very first time, they wouldn’t go near them. They’ve gotten much better over time and now they go right in. Some beaches had smaller waves so the girls could swim more easily. Ally is a true retriever, not afraid of deep water and dog paddles with ease. Lizzie will only go in as deep as she can walk! When we threw the ball in the water, they’d both make a run for it but Lizzie would stop and let Ally fetch it if it was too far out. Miss Ally was a bit of a ball hog too. If Lizzie caught the ball first, Ally would try to take it from her right away. She’s always been that way from the day we brought her home at 8 weeks!
All in all it was a good trip. I loved to see how happy the girls were running in the big open space on the beach and how eager they were to explore new places along the coast. If I was to do it again I’d choose a location closer to home though. We did a lot of driving over two weeks, exploring the coast and going to different beaches. I would have preferred less driving time and more beach time.
A road trip to the beach with dogs isn’t for everyone though. It’s a lot more work than if you left your pet at home (but not nearly as much fun in my opinion). They don’t travel light, they get covered in sand and salt water, they need baths, they need their daily walks and can’t be left alone all day while you go to the beach or shopping. I knew that it was going to be a bit of a sacrifice bringing them along but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
If I can give you one piece of advice for travelling with pets it would be to plan ahead and be well organized before you leave. Book your pet friendly hotels ahead of time and make sure you pack all essentials and bring everything you need for your pet in case of emergency. Travelling with your dog can be loads of fun provided you have realistic expectations and plan well in advance. For me the benefits outweigh the sacrifices by a lot and I’ll probably be doing it again next summer. Safe travels!