Golden Retriever owners know that this breed is among the most sweet and companionable. Ranked third most popular dog by the AKC, they are described as friendly, intelligent, and devoted. Why are they so beloved? Here are nine traits you’ll probably recognize.

9. You’ll never need to vacuum the kitchen floor again…

Goldens seem to have an insatiable appetite. Their favorite place during dinner preparation is usually right under the chef’s feet. One of our Goldens came running from two rooms away if he heard the word “OOPS!” since that meant there might be a stray diced carrot dropped on the floor.

golden retriever waits for food

Waiting for something good. Photo: Christian Schramm, CC BY-ND 2.0

8. …but you will spend a lot of time with your vacuum cleaner.

Goldens have a thick water-repellant double coat, perfect for these dogs who were bred to retrieve water fowl for hunters. They shed their coat seasonally, so don’t be surprised to see drifts of fluffy dog hair gathering in the corners and under the bed unless you vacuum often. Weekly brushing helps keep their beautiful coat shiny (and keeps some of it out of the vacuum cleaner!)

golden retriever puppy

Photo: Franco Vannini, CC BY 2.0

Related: This Lost Dog Traveled 111 Miles Through The Woods To Find His Family

7. These pups love their people.

Originally bred to spend hours with their hunter in duck blinds, the Golden Retriever evolved to be very people-oriented. Don’t be surprised if your Golden wants to have physical contact with you as often as possible. Ours likes to lay on our feet during dinner (see also #9 re: dropped food), but also follow us from room to room to maintain contact.

golden retriever gives hug

Photo: Franco Vannini, CC BY 2.0

 6. They’re the poster child for Public Displays of Affection (PDA).

Like most dogs, Goldens LOVE LOVE LOVE physical affection. Don’t be surprised if yours greets you by burying his muzzle between your thighs, his head perfectly positioned just below your hands so that petting is oh-so-convenient.

curious golden retriever puppy

Photo: Since This Moment, CC BY-SA 2.0

5. They’re great with family members of all sizes.

As people pleasers, Goldens seem to intuitively know how to be increasingly gentle as they encounter smaller and smaller kiddos. When children approach us on a walk and ask to pet our dog, he automatically sits, and if the child is very small, even lies down to be less intimidating (and to increase the odds he will get some petting).

golden retriever with baby

Photo: Cathy Stanley-Erickson, CC BY-ND 2.0

Related: This Special Girl Is Teaching Her Adopted Dog Sign Language

4. Their most frequent fashion accessory is the Cone of Shame.

Prone to allergies and “hot spots,” your Golden may from time to time be required to wear an Elizabethan collar or as he sees it, the Cone of Shame. The first time our Golden needed to wear the e-collar (to prevent continued licking of a hot spot) he hovered near us looking for all the world like he was blushing, if dogs could do such a thing.

golden retriever sad

Photo: Normanack via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

3. They’re party animals.

When guests arrive at your home, your Golden is pretty sure they’ve come to see him. Naturally extroverted, he will work the room at a party, being sure to spend time with each and every attendee so as not to slight anyone.

golden retriever plays tug of war

Photo: Franco Vannini, CC BY 2.0

2. They are simply adorable as puppies.

Come on. You have to admit it. All puppies are cute, but Golden pups are The. Cutest. Ever. This explains why you see them so often in commercials and advertisements.

Related: Watch This Support Dog In Training Learn To Be A Superhero
golden retriever puppy paw

Photo: Franco Vannini, CC BY 2.0

1. They all go through (and overcome) a “knucklehead” stage.

However, that puppyhood (see #2) seems extra long. For at least his first two years, your Golden will require close supervision. Then, almost magically, he will complete the “knucklehead” stage and become calmer, gentler, and less likely to chew things that don’t belong to him.

golden retriever

Photo: Ida Myrvold, CC BY 2.0

And the best part? After your Golden overcomes the knucklehead stage, he’ll be a loyal family member for life.

Header image: Franco Vannini via Flickr, CC BY 2.0

Nancy Groth is a lifelong dog lover, and has raised two beautiful Golden Retrievers. She and her husband have also raised two service dogs-in-training as volunteers with Support Dogs Inc.