The Perfect Family Dog – The Golden Retriever, Of Course!

The Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog. Having one in the house is like having an enthusiastic, joyful child who wants to please and loves being with its family. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not! I’ve loved and been obsessed with dogs all my life. I’ve owned several different breeds, even a Cairn Terrier mix, but for me there’s something captivating about the Golden Retriever. To begin with, I love its young, playful energy, which seems to last its whole life.

I’ve written a book, Charlie: A Love Story, about one of these dogs, his love of our family, our love for him, and what a great family dog he was. It tells of Charlie’s extraordinary character and our very special relationship – a relationship that was as deep and unforgettable as they come. Of how this family dog willingly and lovingly accepted two dogs that we rescued, understanding instantly that they were going to be part of our family and that he needed to open his paws to them. And of how he defied the odds and lived a full, joyful life, despite his fight with melanoma. A stronger, more solid being, a better family dog, I have yet to meet. He was the emotional core of our family.

Almost all dogs are good family dogs. I think that’s because dogs are descended from wolves, and wolves are pack animals. Even more importantly, according to Temple Grandin, who wrote Animals Make Us Human, a wolf’s preference is to live in families. They live in packs when they have to, but their primary bonding is as parents and children. Also according to Grandin, some dogs have more wolf characteristics than others, and the Golden Retriever has twelve of the fifteen wolf characteristics, even more than the German Shepherd. So for the Golden, being part of a family is paramount. This tendency, combined with the Golden’s uncanny ability to empathize, makes them an exceptional family dog.

The Golden Retriever is the perfect family dog even when on vacation with you – so appropriate, and happy to be there. In Charlie’s story, I tell of the time my husband and I took Charlie and Barney, another of our Golden Retrievers, to San Ysidro Ranch in Montecito. It’s a beautiful place, and the best part is that they love dogs! Charlie and Barney were more than well-behaved for the entire stay. They didn’t bark. They slept through the night. They were friendly to anyone who came to the room, usually bringing the person a toy. They were happy and a joy to be with. But that’s Goldens. I dare you to find a better family dog. Their character is unbeatable. A Golden Retriever is the family dog, par excellence.

To find out more about Charlie: A Love Story, you can click on the following link: