This dog is a notch above when it comes to being a family dog. It is loving, affectionate, great with children and adults, obedient and loyal. It is also intelligent, calm, gentle, and quick to respond. Because of its people skills, this popular breed is often trained to help physically disabled people [source: Fogle, "The Encyclopedia of the Dog"].
Breeders have developed different lines of golden retrievers for various purposes -- gundog, show dog, family dog or assistant [source: Fogle, "The Encyclopedia of the Dog"]. While the golden is mostly known for family life, this dog began as a skilled waterfowl retriever. Today's golden still possesses the instinct to retrieve and loves the physical exercise of a hunt. At home, you can fulfill these needs through outdoor games where the dog can chase and carry toys in their mouth [source: Coile].
Like almost any breed, this dog needs good training. Also, it needs some space to live and to exercise. For maintenance, brush your golden regularly; it sheds, so if you hate dog hair, the golden may not be for you. A final note -- this dog is versatile, so whether you want it to stay at home, hunt birds or do both, it will not disappoint.