Tuesday, June 25, 2024
General Pet Health

Breed Breakdown: Golden Retrievers

By Sara Phillips,
Strategic Brand Manager at Pet Naturals® of Vermont


Loyal, smart, kind, easy-going. These words are all commonly heard in association with golden retrievers. However, sometimes the road to this end is considerably bumpy.

We have two Goldens. Our eight-year-old male, Hinckley, came from a local, reputable family breeder, who owns both parents and limited the female to just two litters. Hinckley comes from champion field trialing and hunting stock, and he is an amazing athlete, highly intelligent, and one of the best dogs we’ve owned. But if you’re the Doberman who lives down the street, then it’s game on (more on that later).

Luna (pictured above) is 20 months old, and she’s a rescue pup who came to us after some friends rescued Luna and her mom from a gross puppy mill. She is sweet, cute, and the stupidest dog you’ve ever met.

How is it possible that we have not one, but two, ridiculous retrievers? Who knows? Hinckley is terrific in so many ways. He loves people (even kids) and cats. He doesn’t counter surf or eat the cat food. He never used to bark (until Luna the barking maniac came along). And he’s incredible at fetching tennis balls, catching a Frisbee on the fly, and swimming. However, Hinckley has a bubble around him. He does not like it when other male dogs enter his bubble. He gets angry. And he has an excellent memory.

Hinckley and Luna on their way to doggie day care

The neighbor’s dog and Hinckley have a long standing relationship that consists of Hinckley spazzing out on his side of the fence when the neighbor’s dog walks by (always on a leash, thankfully). We’ve worked hard with Hinckley to keep his temper in check, and he successfully attends doggie day care once a week, where he can spend the day with a nice group of female dogs. Apparently he’s a chauvinist. Or a gigolo. No one can be sure.

And who can forget the potting soil episode when Hinckley was about 10 months old? The door between the living room and deck was open, as it was a nice summer day. I was vacuuming upstairs, and when I came back downstairs, Hinckley had dragged an entire bag of potting soil from the deck into the living room and proceeded to “unpack” it for me. I had to laugh, despite the fact that potting soil was scattered all over my living room.

Luna-graduationThen there’s sweet, lovable, Luna. Dumb as a bag of hammers. Seriously. We got Luna when she was three months old, with no training of any kind, including housebreaking. She didn’t even really know her name, so as I’m screaming LUNA, she’s just going about her business like everything’s fine. We think she may know her name now, but generally she just follows Hinckley around, so we can’t be sure.

During the housebreaking ordeal, Luna would go outside like a good little pup, only to come back in and pee on the floor. If she could talk, we’re sure she would have said, “Like, Oh My God, I was outside, and like, I forgot to pee, so like I just came in and peed on the carpet”. Such a blonde ditz.

After her first-time swimming hiccup, Luna now swims like a champ alongside her big brother.

The first time we took Luna to the lake, she was about 8 months old. Hinckley went bombing in after the tennis ball, so Luna went chasing right after him, went completely under water (in about three feet of water), and came up sputtering and splashing with a general look of horror on her face! We were doubled over laughing. Luna took a few minutes on shore to collect her dignity (more hysterical laughing) and then charged in after Hinckley again, and she’s been swimming like a champ ever since.

They are idiots, but after all, they are, in fact, loyal, smart and kind… unless you’re a male dog in Hinckley’s bubble.

Note from the editor: If you are a proud retriever parent, share your pictures with us on Facebook.