Is a Golden Retriever good for Apartment Living?

Written by Wen Duan

Golden retrievers are a very friendly breed of dogs. Some goldens are so friendly that they have little or no guard dog instincts at all. This is what makes them great family dogs. But are they OK in an apartment? 

Before we answer that question, we need to figure out what qualities we should be  looking for in an apartment dog. The following things should be taken into consideration when looking for a dog to live with you in your apartment.

Things To consider When Getting An Apartment Dog:

1. Size:

You want to make sure your dog isn't too big for your space. Make sure to give enough space for both your and your dog. A lot of lists recommend that you stick with the x-small to medium breeds for apartment living.

Golden retrievers fall into the large category. Male golden retrievers are anywhere from 65 to 75 pounds and female golden retrievers are anywhere from 55 to 65 pounds. Broadly speaking, all retrievers fall under the "large size" dog. Because of their size alone, golden retrievers make a lot of lists for dogs breeds that shouldn't live in apartments.

In fact, some apartment buildings have weight limits on what dogs are allowed. Check with your apartment building before getting a dog. Bottom line is when it comes to size, golden retrievers are not always ideally sized for apartments. 

2. Noisiness & Energy Level:

Be considerate of your neighbors. The last thing anyone wants in an apartment building is a dog that barks all day. This can be worked on with positive reinforcement training, exercise, and providing your dog with entertainment.  

Golden retrievers also get something golden owners call "Zoomies". When a golden gets the zoomies, they run back and forth all over your house or apartment. This can be loud if you live in an apartment that is not well sound proofed. 

Golden retrievers are moderate barkers. With proper positive training and adequate amount of regular exercise, you can minimize the amount of barks coming from your golden.  We recently wrote an article on this on "Do Golden Retrievers Bark A Lot?" I recommend you check that out if you you want to learn more about barking habits of golden retrievers. 

3. Going Potty:

It's important to establish a potty routine for your dog. In an apartment, that can be annoying if you don't have access to grass patch, or it takes a set of stairs or two to take your golden outside. According to vet Dr. Kristy Conn , "The average healthy dog will produce approximately 10 to 20 ml of urine for each pound of body weight per day. Ideally, adult dogs should be allowed outside to relieve themselves at least 3-5 times a day."

Though it can be taxing to take your dog up and down stairs 3-5 times a day, it's actually good for you and your dog. Not only it is an exercise that can relieve some of their energy, but it also gives them access to fresh air and a chance to socialize. It's a benefit of owning a dog, your care for them indirectly makes sure you get exercise as well.   

But in reality, not everyone can keep this up on a daily basis. So, if are getting an apartment and a dog, consider getting an apartment on the first floor with a patio. This will make things a lot easier when it comes to taking your dog out to go potty.

Now if you have a hard time doing this multiple times a day, people will sometimes use pee pads (pads that you can have indoors for your dog to poo and pee on). Though I'm personally not a fan of pee pads, I understand that when it comes to urban apartments not everyone has quick access to a patch of grass.

Though pee pads are more convenient, it is a lot better to take your dog outside to go potty. It is important to associate the outdoors with peeing, pee pads tells your dog that it's OK to pee inside. Pee pads are also something your golden may chewing on.  

If in a pinch and finding a patch of grass is not an option or there isn't a grass patch close to you, some people find it helpful to getting an artificial grass mat. Just put it on your balcony and it mimics going potty outdoors. When possible try to take your dog out, it's a good opportunity for exercise, fresh air, and socialization.

Now with potty options out of the way, let's look into how much a golden retriever pees and poos. According to Dr. Kristy Conn, smaller and younger dogs pee more often. Since golden retrievers are a larger dog, they will produce more pee and poo, but Golden Retrievers will have less poo and pee breaks compared to smaller breeds of dogs (except when it is a puppy). This is great for apartment living, especially if you live on an upper floor.  

 This is a grass like pet pad that has a three layer system that is odor resistant and allows liquid to collect in a durable collection tray. 

4. Energy Level:

The more high energy the dog, the more exercise they will need.

Golden retrievers have enormous amounts of energy. This is normal.  Golden retrievers were originally bred to go out and run all day long.

Golden retrievers are also one of the smartest dogs out there. They are very trainable. With training and proper exercise, they can live in apartments just fine. Golden retrievers are a very popular choice for service dogs because they are friendly and trainable. A lot service dogs live in apartments and do just fine. The key is that they get out and work off energy.

5. Friendliness:

With neighbors living in close quarters, you want to make sure to socialize your golden. The great thing about apartment living is that your dog will have lots of opportunity to meet new people and dogs. A lot of pet friendly apartments now have designated dog park areas. 

Golden retrievers have one of the best temperament out there. They are extremely friendly to a fault. This is great for an apartment dog, just not for a guard dog. 

6. Security Deposit:

Do you want your security deposit back? A lot of apartments are now asking for an additional deposit for pets as well as an additional amount with your monthly rent... with good reason.

*** Personal story time. ***

 I live in an new apartment building and my neighbor recently moved out. Their golden retriever was super friendly and his owners loved him, but due to their long shifts was he was left alone a lot for long time. He would always bark for attention when I took my dog out or when I walked by the window or door from a dark apartment. 

A week after my neighbors moved out, we noticed that the apartment complex hired a carpet company to replace 3 year old carpets. I saw the old carpet in the hall, and it was destroyed with pee stains and holes. Goodbye, security deposit! When not properly exercised and taken out, dogs will find other ways to expend their energy... in this case, it was destroying the carpet. 


What did I learned from this?

As a dog owner, it is important to make the time for your dog. Even owners with the best intentions have a hard time maintaining a consistent good routine for their dog. If it's hard to make the time, find a doggy daycare, a dog walker, or other ways to help them burn off energy when you don't have the time.

So Are Golden Retrievers Good Apartment Dogs?

Yes, they are. Regardless of whether you live in a large house or a small apartment, you can have a golden retriever. It's not about how much space you have at home but how much time you have to spending with them. Any dog can be a good apartment or house dog, it all depends on the human.

Do you have any tips on living with a golden retriever in an apartment? Share your advice below!

About the author

Wen Duan

Wen is a proud dog mom and a frequent contributor to our blog.