Are Golden Retrievers Lazy? What to Do With a Couch Potato!

Golden Retrievers are active and energetic dogs, but they are also quite obedient and mellow when compared to other dogs. As puppies, Goldens tend to be less hyper than their counterparts of other breeds.

This is just one of the breeds characteristics, they tend to be the more mature dogs in the bunch, and this is one of the many reasons they make such good family dogs.

However, laziness could also be a sign of something that is worth your attention.

What does this mean? Are Golden Retrievers lazy? Golden Retrievers are not lazy, but they are often quieter, more obedient, and gentler than dogs of other breeds. However, your golden retriever could also be lazy because they are not getting enough food, getting too much food, it’s too hot, or because they’re bored, depressed, sick, or injured.

This means that goldens as a breed are not to be considered lazy, but your own dog could be lazy indeed. To learn about what could be causing your dog to turn into a couch potato and how you could re-energize them, keep on reading.

Are Golden Retrievers Lazy?

If we’re speaking as a breed in general, then no, golden retrievers are not lazy dogs in this regard. They may seem to some people as lazy because they are more mellow and gentler in their movements, but this doesn’t make them lazy, it just makes them friendlier dogs, that’s it.

Goldens are also quite calm compared to other breeds. Don’t get me wrong, they will still get hyper at times and have this seemingly infinite energy that is enough for them to run around the world, but these are rare moments for most dogs.

Is my golden retriever lazy or is it something else?

The first question to ask is whether your golden retriever is actually lazy or is it something else? For example, has your golden retriever always been lazy? It this a new thing? Have they become lazy after a certain event like changing their diets? Can you link their laziness to something else?

Any dog owner who pays enough attention to their dogs will be able to answer whether their golden retriever has always been lazy or is this a new thing.

Possible Reasons for Your Golden Retriever’s Laziness

To help you answer this question, let’s look at the possible reasons your golden retriever is lazy.

They are bored

Golden Retrievers need daily exercise and they need quite a bit of it to stay physically and mentally healthy, dogs that do not get enough daily exercise and stimulated will get bored and they will start to lose interest in other things as well.

How much exercise your dog needs will really differ from one dog to another based on things like age, nutrition, and overall activity level.

I had one dog in particular that needed much more than the recommended minimum of daily exercise to stay happy, and they would get super bummed out if they don’t get it a couple of days in a row.


If your dog is an adult (18 months of age or more) try to aim for more than 1 hours of daily exercise. If they still seem lazy to your throughout the day, take it up a notch and see how long do they enjoy the walks or runs. They could also need a more vigorous form of exercise such as a swim or a run.

If you can’t give your dog more time to exercise, make the exercise itself more intense.

Too Much or Too Little Food

If your dog is getting too little food, they will not have enough energy to be active and they will feel tired all day long. It can also be the quality of food that’s low and doesn’t contain the nutrients they need to have healthy levels of energy.

You can check my recommended dog foods for Golden Retrievers here.

It could also be the other way around, you could be giving them too much food. Too much food will make them feel bloated the same way you feel after Thanksgiving dinner. It will also lead them to gain weight which will make them less active.


The key to find the balance of just the right amount of high-quality food that will give them the right nutrients and enough energy.

You may need to experiment a little. You may need to change their foods a couple of times to find something that they like and is good for them. You may also need to adjust the portion sizes and the meal times.

Here are a few tips that I have found helpful:

  • No large meals
  • Try giving them five-to-six small meals a day
  • Distribute the meals over the day so that there are 2-3 hours between meals
  • Give them less treats, or find treats that are smaller

If you can’t figure it out on your own, you can consult your vet, of course, on what your dog needs.

If you make them the food yourself, you should make sure that there are no harmful ingredients in them. You can learn here about the 18 human foods you should never give to your golden.

They’re Injured

Your dog could have been injured without you noticing. It doesn’t have to be a serious injury, it could be a small injury but in a sensitive spot that makes it difficult for your dog to move around and be as active as they usually are.

For example, their paws could be cracked from walking on a hot surface and they will not be able to walk on them until they heal, or they could have been playing with an aggressive dog that bit them somewhere sensitive a little too hard.

They could have also twisted something or something small like that.

If your dog is injured, they will not be able to keep their physical activities, and they will try to avoid physical contact with you as much as possible. They will not want anyone to touch them there.


Check if your dog is licking a certain body part as this is where the injury is likely to be. Check whether they are moving correctly or if they seem wary of your touch.

If you can and they let you, check every part of their body for injuries. Check their paws, tummy, and legs. If you find an injury, inspect it, clean it, apply ice, and if it looks serious, contact your vet for advice.

Beware that if they injury is hurting them, they may be aggressive with you to stop you from touching it and causing them more pain. In this case, you should take them to the vet and let them take it from here.

They’re Sick

Low energy levels could be a sign of a serious health issue. It can range from a simple infection to something far more serious such as hypoglycemia.

Some other conditions that could be causing your dog to be lethargic, low energy, or lazy include diabetes, metabolic diseases, kennel cough, parvovirus, and lestoposis.


If your dog seems low energy all the time or if they are exhibiting other symptoms, you should definitely take them to the vet as soon as possible and have them checked out. The vet will do a physical check and may run a few tests to reach a diagnosis.

If it’s a medical problem, your dog’s energy levels should be back to normal once the dog is healed or treated.

They’re Depressed

Depression is a serious problems in dogs just like it is in humans, and it should be treated as such. Have you been leaving your dog in the house all day alone while you’re busy at work? Have you recently started working extra shifts or spending more time at work?

Golden Retrievers don’t like being left alone. They are very social animals and leaving them alone for long will get them depressed.

Dogs can also get depressed when a family member travels for long or when a family members dies or gets really sick.

Golden Retrievers also get very attached to their family members, so they are hit harder with depression. Normally, it takes weeks for dogs with depression to start showing improvements, but some dogs never really recover of the loss of a loved one and they stay impacted by the loss for years.


If your dog is depressed, you can help them. If the cause is you leaving them too long, you can follow my tips for leaving a golden retriever alone here to help them fight off boredom and depression while you’re away.

It’s Too Hot

Goldens are not really made for hot weather and they prefer the cool weather. If it has been an especially hot summer in your country/city, this could be it.

The quality of air could also be the cause. Is it too dry or too humid? This can lead to serious issues with your dog’s health, and it will show first on their skin and hair condition. For example, if you live in a city where the weather has been too hot and too dry lately, you will find them shedding a lot more than usual.

You can learn how weather impacts your dog’s shedding here.


If you think the weather is too hot, simply bringing them inside where it’s cooler could help their mood improve a lot. I recommend taking a minute to read the guide on how to help your golden retriever in hot weather here.

Want a quick solution? Bring them inside, give them lots of freshwater, add ice to their water, and get them this excellent cooling mat from amazon.

If the problem is that the air is too dry, get this humidifier from amazon and let the dog sit in the same room where you put it.

They’re too young or too old

Age is a very important factor. Dogs are most active when they’re adults. As puppies, they will spend most of the day napping as their bodies grow. As senior dogs, they will just not have the same energy levels and their bodies will not be able to keep up as they used to.

You can learn when do golden retrievers get active and when do they calm down here if you want the full story, and I do recommend learning about that so you could tell what’s normal and what’s not.


First you should compare their activity levels with other goldens at the same age to learn if your dog is just lazy or is this normal for their age.

You should also find out whether they are active at other times of the day when you’re not looking. If you spend all day at work and you leave them to roam the house and the backyard, they could be exhausting themselves around the yard all day and are just done by the time you get back home.

Medication Side Effects

Some medications will have side effects that make your dog lazy. If your dog has been lazier than usual since they started a certain medication, this could very well be the reason.


Grab the phone and talk to your vet. It’s very likely that is just a temporary thing and nothing to worry about. However, if this is not common, your vet may want to replace the medication that’s causing the problem with an alternative that will not have the same side effects on your dog.

Related Questions

Are Golden Retrievers high energy?

Golden Retrievers are high energy dogs in general and require plenty of exercise to stay happy. A minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity is required to keep an adult golden retriever in good health.

Your golden retriever’s energy levels will also depend on their health, age, and their nutrition. Golden Retrievers make excellent companions for athletes as they can keep up with high-intensity exercises such as running for hours if they’re trained at a young age.

Golden Retriever’s energy levels will start to drop by the time they’re 10 years old, but there are some golden retrievers that stay physically healthy and active until they’re even 14 years old or more.

A good diet and a consistent exercise regimen can help your golden retriever live longer and make them happier.

Are Golden Retrievers Smart?

Golden Retrievers are very smart dogs. They are ranked as the fourth smartest dog breeds behind border collies, poodles, and german shepherds.

Goldens are very easy to train and they are highly emotionally intelligent, meaning they are very good in understanding humans from their body language and tone of voice. Golden retrievers can learn 165 words and they are considered as smart as a 2.5 year old human baby.

Most golden retrievers can learn more than 50 commands quite easily and it takes 3 repetition on average for a golden retriever to learn a new command.


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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