Are Golden Retrievers Smart?

It probably won’t come as a shock that the Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United Kingdom. The Golden is sociable, loyal, intelligent, and pleasant to look at. 

First developed near Glen Affric Villiage in the Scottish Highlands, this active breed is not only quite brilliant but silly and playful. They make wonderful family pets and will easily join you for a jog about the neighbourhood. They also have an amazing ability to give a sense of calm to those around them.

But are Golden Retrievers smart? Quite, actually. They are regarded as the fourth smartest dog breed and have the same intelligence roughly as a 2-year-old human. They are also capable of learning over 160 words. What about training? Are there specific jobs that the Golden Retriever would be ideal at?

Read on to find out more about these wonderful and compassionate animals. 

What Makes Golden Retrievers So Smart?

Dog breeds that fit in the category of ‘brightest dogs’ were found to need no more than five command repetitions before understanding a new command.

They also obey the first command given more than 95% of the time. That is quite astonishing!

Canine personality profiles are generally split into five sections.

The following is a personality profile of the Golden Retriever:

  • The Golden’s emotional reactivity is fairly low
  • The Golden’s sociability is quite high
  • The Golden has moderately low energy
  • The Golden’s learning ability and intelligence is extremely high
  • The Golden is very low in dominance 

Why is the Golden Retriever So Smart?

Considering the breed’s history as a working dog, it’s not hard to see where their smarts came from. The original purpose of the Golden Retriever was to work with his owner, marking and retrieving game birds that had been shot. This had been a treasured ability of the breed since the late 19th century. 

Even at quite a distance from their handler, the Golden Retriever has the keen ability to work independently. They can successfully mark, find and retrieve the game. 

Guns dogs who work out in the field are known for their exceptional ability to problem-solve.  They are quite adept at finding a shot bird that may be hiding in thick grass or undergrowth. 

The breed’s skills, and intuitive intelligence, are in large part what the answer is when we ask, ‘Why are golden retrievers so smart?”

Is it Easy to Train a Golden Retriever?

The Golden Retriever excels in both intelligence and trainability, making her very easy to train! They have a powerful desire to please their masters, and because they are so easily trained, it is a win-win situation.

They do best with a positive rewards system. The understandings we have today of canines tells us that dogs can learn fairly complex commands. Both of these traits found in the Golden Retriever make it a pleasure to train.

Are There Jobs for the Golden Retriever?

There certainly are. This breed is listed as being one of the most beneficial when it comes to helping man in fields of service. Next, we will cover which jobs are Golden Retrievers are best at.

Attendance Dogs

Attendance dogs should be patient, intelligent, and hard-working. The Golden easily has all these traits.

They are great at keeping track of obstacles and are ideal in guiding blind or disabled individuals. Goldens are excellent at concentrating on the task at hand and are not easily distracted.

The Golden is incredibly loyal and is perfect for a life of service and support. Because of their great memory and love for routine, they’re able to make decisions in unsafe conditions.

Their personalities suit them wonderfully as an attendance dog as they are gentle by nature as well as dependable. They are usually not distracted by loud noises and is willing to meet the public with a jolly wagging tail. 

Police Dogs

In some capacities, a Golden Retriever makes an excellent police dog. They have a keen sense of smell that can be utilized for sniffing out bombs or weapons, along with illicit drugs.

Goldens are repeatedly exposed to specific substances and taught to detect explosives at crime scenes. They have over 200 million receptors in the nose, giving them the ability to recognize several odours just by smelling. 

Goldens are perfect for high-traffic areas such as airports and public events. Because they have such a calm and playful temperament, they do well with large groups of people, especially children.

Like other breeds, the Golden wouldn’t cause the public to become nervous. Often the appearance of a German Shepard or Rottweiler may give some a sense of concern, but the friendly face of the Golden Retriever puts everyone at ease.

Because she is best suited for tracking and hunting, she makes an ideal dog for search and rescue. The Golden can cover a large area with their sense of smell, and they can easily navigate through the rubble of a natural disaster or explosion to search for missing people.

Police often receive calls from victims who are lost or in need of assistance. Often a terrified parent may need help looking for a lost child. The Golden Retriever’s ability to smell with the level of precision they have is invaluable, especially in emergencies. 

Therapy Dog

Because the Golden Retriever is so well-mannered and easily trainable, they can certainly be used as a therapy dog. A therapy dog must be friendly and willing to provide comfort to people in retirement homes, hospitals, schools, and many other settings.

Therapy dogs are often seen in places that have special therapy dog programs. Because Goldens are so well behaved, they often make a difference in the lives of those who may struggle, whether it’s in school, or hospital or some other area.


In conclusion, the Golden Retriever is an intelligent dog breed that has a heart for helping mankind. Their brilliance has earned them the reputation for being one of the most beloved dogs in the United Kingdom. With consistent training, these lovely dogs can provide a world of joy for all involved.

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