Are Golden Retrievers Good Hunting Dogs?

By John Martin - May 2, 2022

Golden Retriever hunting in the woods

Golden Retrievers were originally bred to retrieve various waterfowl. They are gun dogs, which means they can retrieve shot ducks and other birds. They can quickly recover it without damaging it with their teeth.

Their ancestors had a history of hunting and were named the “yellow retrievers.” Other than being good at hunting, Golden Retrievers can be good assistance or guide dogs if well-trained.

Characteristics of Golden Retrievers

One of the most striking features of the Golden Retrievers is that they all look almost the same. However, they have different colors that are slightly different. They are golden, dark, and light golden

There are also three types, which include Canadian, American, and English. Along with those, the coat of the Golden Retrievers also varies to a large extent.


Canadian Golden Retrievers is mainly a bit tall than the others and has a dark coat, which is comparatively thinner. The height of the males can be up to 69-60cm, whereas, for females, they can reach 56-57cm.


The American Golden Retrievers have dark coats and are also comparatively thinner. The shading of the coat is mainly gold. The males stand between 57-60 cm, while the females stand 56-58cm tall.


The English Golden Retrievers are more muscular than the American ones. Most importantly, the shade of their coats is also lighter. The standard regarding the weights is not fixed, whereas the American requirements are jotted down.

The height of these retrieves is very similar to the American ones. The males stand between 57-60cm, and the females stand 50-57cm in height.


The Golden Retrievers are generally very amiable. They are very friendly and gentle. Moreover, they make excellent pets, especially in families with children. Golden retrievers are very calm and intelligent.

Due to these characteristic traits of theirs, it can be challenging for them to be good guard dogs. On the contrary, they can’t show hostility or aggression as well. It is deemed to be an unacceptable trait that is not common among them.

The Golden Retrievers have been ranked fourth in terms of obedience-command trainability. This is one of the main reasons why their hunting skills can be improved. They can behave and obey their masters pretty well.

Keeping in mind their fun-loving temperament and their boost of energy, they have the patience to sit still for a long time to catch the birds. The ability of Golden Retrievers to put effort into the task given to them is also very exceptional.

They tend to overwork themselves until the task has been completed. Hence, taking care of the amount of time they spend working is also very integral. They are very athletic, and their size is appropriate for getting in and out of boats to retrieve the hunts.

Golden retrievers have an immense love for water and can play in it for as long as they want. They always excel in training skills, which is why they come under the category of hunting dogs. Their soft mouth and athleticism also enable them to retrieve waterfowls and many other birds effortlessly.

Since they are inborn with various hunting skills, intense training is not needed at all. Other than hunting, they can be good rescue dogs and guide dogs as well.

Common Activities

The Golden Retrievers are excellent in performing agility rings. They can go along with the instructions and training given to them and outperform many different breeds in various games.

Their retrieving skills make them more active, and they love hunting for things or fetching them. As mentioned earlier, they love playing in the water as well. This makes them excellent swimmers.

Some breeds need to be well-trained before they are left in the water to swim by themselves. However, with a few practice sessions, the Golden Retrievers can easily pick up the skill and swim effortlessly.

Due to this incredible ability, their help is used to rescue people from the water as well. Dock jumping is one such activity that they are good at. Whereas, in the land, they excel in flyball and many other activities.

Hunting Traits

The Golden retrievers have water-resistant coats, and it helps them keep them warm when it’s cold and vice versa. Moreover, while hunting, if they are kept in the blinds, they will obey very readily.

Their athleticism compels them to always be on the look-out for hunts. They know the things that shouldn’t be done and what they are expected to do.

One of the essential traits of this breed is that they have excellent noses and can easily track down the target merely with the help of the smell. They won’t back down until they get to them.

They can easily hunt down pheasants and what’s more impressive is that even if the hunters think that they’ve lost their target, the Golden Retrievers go to an extent wherein they don’t rest until it is found.

Most of the time, when birds are shot, they are injured and fly to some other place to rest. Since this is done in a very short time, the hunters tend to lose sight of them. However, Golden Retrievers tend to find them with their excellent nose and never giving up spirit.

Apart from that, they tend to catch hold of those fowls or pheasants in the most gentle way as possible, so that it does not get damaged at any point. The prey is brought to the master the exact way that it is found.

Aim To Please

Although the temperament of the Golden Retrievers has already been discussed, one of the top traits that make them such obedient and good hunters is their aim to please. This breed tries their best to please their owner in everything that they do.

Since they are very easy to train, they can pick the skills relatively quickly. However, the introduction to guns should be done in a relatively slow-paced manner.

Moreover, the Golden Retrievers are very sensitive, and although they are knowledgeable, one wrong move might make them less efficient in terms of hunting. Training them when the gun around takes a lot of patience.

If the owner forces them to get associated with the guns very quickly, this might lead them to turn away when the need arises.

Health Problems

The Golden retrievers are generally very healthy. However, the only disease that is they are most prone to is cancer. The Golden Retriever Club of America researched in the late 1990s and found out that cancer has caused 61% of deaths.

The other common illnesses common among the Golden Retrievers are cell tumors, cataracts, and heart diseases. It is also very important to know the grooming methods for them. They can quickly get ear infections if they are not taken care of properly.

Another characteristic of the Golden retrievers is that they shed. Hence this results in patches in their body. Those bald patches can be signs of various diseases as well.


The Golden Retrievers are one of the most affectionate and sensitive dogs. This is one of the main reasons why they don’t make good guard dogs. However, their ability to get trained easily and hunt for their owners is impeccable.

Moreover, their swimming, smelling skills, and athleticism makes them an even more, better breed to help their owners hunt.