Can a Golden Retriever Live in a Small Apartment

Can a Golden Retriever Live in a Small Apartment?

Last Updated: August 20, 2023
correct answerThe Short Answer is:

As long as they have a loving and caring family, they can live in almost any kind of home. Keeping a larger breed dog in a smaller living space is harder than it is if you have more space. Even someone who lives in an apartment can be a fantastic dog parent with the right motivation and dedication.

In this article you will know the answer to the query “Can a Golden Retriever Live in a Small Apartment?“.

Are they able to?

Can a Golden Retriever Live in a Small Apartment

The following article will argue for the possibility of a golden retriever living in a small apartment.

I know that isnot an opinion you will hear often but I do not think that the size of a goldfishs home is the most important consideration.

As long as they have a loving and caring family they can live in almost any kind of home.

Keeping a larger breed dog in a smaller living space is harder than it is if you have more space.

Even someone who lives in an apartment can be a fantastic dog parent with the right motivation and dedication.

I would like you to read some of my considerations below as you give this some serious thought.

There is an obvious need

Golden retrievers do not have any precise statistics but in the United States it is estimated that 3.3 million dogs are taken into rescue shelters each year. 

Six hundred and seventy-one thousand of them are euthanized and 1.6 million are adopted.

There are estimated to be 130000 dogs entering dog shelters each year in the UK but I could not find any statistics showing how many are adopted. Nevertheless according to a separate survey there were 56043 stray dogs in the UK in 2018. 

Any way you look at it all breeds of dogs including golden retrievers need loving owners to adopt them and care for them. 

It is not about space

Even if you have read otherwise on the Internet I do not think having any kind of dog in an apartment is ideal and this isnot because of the limited space- its because of how close your neighbors are to you. 

Any noise above a certain volume or pitch is heard in an apartment and that is an unavoidable fact of life.

Additionally dogs can make a lot of noise. 

The real joke is that all these articles on the Internet that recommend the best breed of dog for apartment dwellers tend to recommend small breeds of dogs.

Theres no arguing the fact that a small breed of dog is one of the most highly strung excitable breeds in the world.

With their yapping these dogs always make a lot of noise.

My mother-in-laws little poodle cross barks from the moment the front doorbell rings until she can answer it.

Its enough to raise anyones blood pressure with the noise the high-pitched squealing that goes along with it. 

The same goes for my Dads jack Russell but I would not go on. 

Such disturbances are very very intrusive in an apartment. 

The decibel level at which a small dog breed such as a jack Russell barks hasnot been documented but the average decibel level for a dog is between 80-90 decibels which is the same as a human shouting.

What is your available space? 

Based on these figures it appears that the average size of apartments is shrinking. 

There were 941 ft2 across the U.S. in 2018 which is 5% less than ten years ago. 

This figure was much smaller in 2017 with the average flat (apartment) measuring only 527 square feet a slight increase from three years prior.

What is the space requirement for a golden retriever?

Even the smallest apartment has plenty of room for a golden retriever which can measure 23″ tall 40″ long and weigh around 68 lbs.

When an adult golden retriever is at home he or she will usually be sleeping or relaxing.

They will usually roam between two or three places around a home throughout the day. 

In addition to a comfortable bed there are also a few places where they can lie on the floor. 

Another factor to consider about the space is how many people live there what their ages are and how tolerant they will be of a golden retriever?

You need to know how many people live in the apartment (and their ages) because if your apartment is busy noisy and cramped already bringing a goldie there will probably not work out well for you and definitely not for the dog.

It is also important to consider the ages of the people you live with. With very young children and very elderly parents living with you the amount of time that you can devote to a dog will be minimal. Golden retrievers will require a couple of hours of your time every day.

Even though you can sometimes meet the needs of a golden retriever and a child by taking them for a walk this isnot always possible.

Kids tend to have lots of toys so there is less room for the dogs and they are more tempted to chew on all of these wonderful objects on the floor.

Golden retrievers make fantastic companions for elderly parents who are housebound but just like young children elderly parents are very time-consuming and they may also have a lot of equipment. 

The equipment would not be chewed by the dog but it will take up valuable floor space.

Furthermore dogs can be a trip hazard- especially those breeds such as golden retrievers that like to get up close and personal with everyone.

Are there any dangers associated with the dog causing an accident because your parents tripped over it?

As with most dogs of a similar size golden retrievers require a fair amount of exercise- probably between 1 and 2 hours per day.

You need to be honest with yourself about the time that you have available and how much you enjoy walking.

In the event that you answered the first question “not at all” and the second question was “I do not know but I’m sure I’ll love it” then perhaps you should reconsider getting a golden retriever.

You can easily spend an hour or two walking or being outside on the right day. The weather is great the sun is shining and theres not much on.

This could even spill over into the next couple of weeks.

Nevertheless a golden retriever needs that level of devotion every day. No matter how bad the weather is no matter what other demands you have on your time. 

If you ask me someone with two golden retrievers and someone who loves walking this level of commitment can be both hard and boring at times. 

What can be done to spend less time?

Whether it is a person or a dog exercising it is not just about the amount of time that is spent exercising but also about the quality of exercise.

As an example a 15-minute session of throwing a ball or a stick for your golden retriever over the park is equivalent to a 30-minute walk in terms of how hard the heart is working.

Therefore every now and then shortening the duration of an exercise session while increasing its intensity is a good thing.

My dogs and I have done some things like this.

Ten years ago when Bumps was only a baby I used to take her over the park by bike instead of walking. 

I was very pleased with myself because the intensity of the exercise for Bumps and me increased and we spent less time on it. 

I thought it was a win-win situation. 

Bump loved the park and she loved her walks but she hated this and although she might have tolerated it for a little while she quickly learned how to get around it.

Were I to take her over the park and force her to run constantly then she would cut corners.

As I rode around the perimeter of the park Bump quickly figured out that she could just run a much smaller circuit and keep me insight.

As soon as she made it crystal clear that she hated it we stopped doing that.

Just like humans dogs benefit from exercise not just physically but also mentally. 

Due to this you should spend between one and two hours exercising your golden retriever every day. 

When a dog is walking it is also exploring and this exploration is a form of stimulation on its own. 

They do much of this with their noses of course. However sniffing aids their understanding and keeps them alert. 

In addition to this it is also important that your dog is able to socialize with other dogs a necessary skill that will make them more comfortable meeting other dogs and most importantly more accepting of other dogs at home. 

A longer walk also means that you get to spend more time with your dog which will lead to a stronger relationship and increase trust all of which will improve how the dog behaves when they return to the apartment. 

Now lets talk about another important aspect of dog ownership which is your work obligations. 

How long are you going to leave your dog during the day?

It is a question that has important implications for all dog owners even though this article focuses on the suitability of boarding golden retrievers in small apartments.

Those who live in apartments are perhaps more affected by it due to the close proximity of their neighbors as was mentioned earlier. 

According to a recent survey conducted in the UK 20% of dog owners believed that leaving dogs alone for 24 hours was okay.  As a dog owner who hails from the UK I’m very embarrassed about that figure.

According to a survey conducted last year 24% of dog owners never leave their pets alone (never?) while 25% leave them alone for five hours or more. 

Based on the advice given by some of the biggest dog charities the recommended limit is four hours. 

What are the main dangers of leaving a dog alone for too long (if you live in an apartment)?

A classic sign of separation anxiety is howling or barking. This is a behavior that can be quite inconvenient to your neighbors. 

There is no doubt that golden retrievers have one of the loudest barks of any dog. The bark of one of our dogs Mia could be heard from about 30 meters away. Fortunately she would only do this when she saw our car approaching. 

Dogs that are stressed outpace a lot. Are your neighbors likely to hear this? Golden retrievers are relatively large dogs. Carpets absorb noise more effectively than solid floors.

Three Big Access Issues

I would like to discuss three key differences between owning a golden retriever and living in a house and owning a golden retriever and living in a small apartment in this section.

There are three issues: the garden the stairs and the hosepipe.


The average house has a garden while an apartment usually does not.

Gardens are great for a variety of reasons but they are especially handy for the “first thing in the morning” and “last thing at night” bathroom trips.

One of the reasons that they are so convenient is that the dog can just be let out of the back door.

Its not necessary to put on your shoes and coat or even get dressed. 

Do you have access to a garden during these times or is there a nearby patch of grass you can use?

To have to get dressed and put some shoes on to go potty your dog will be an inconvenience to say the least but if the nearest patch of grass isnot that near it could get very tedious very quickly!


Second there is the issue of stairs. This will not be an issue if your apartment is on the ground floor but if your apartment is on the second or higher floor stairs might be an issue.

First of all stairs make accessing a toileting area much more difficult. Additionally stairs are not a good idea for a young dog or a veteran dog.

Last stairs may make things more difficult because they are used by more people than just you so you must make sure that you and your dog are clean and dry before using them. That way your neighbors will not be upset. 


Do you have access to a hosepipe if you live in an apartment? Every time Bumps and Sylvie come back from a walk I clean them off with a hosepipe.

If your golden retriever is swimming in a river you might want to wash it off because river water can smell when it dries on your dog.

Additionally my dogs love rolling in mud and eating fox poop which results in a hosepipe washdown.

Finally the ever-present threat of Alabama footrot is another reason why I regularly hose my dogs feet. 

Yes you can accomplish all of this with a bucket sponge and water but it takes so much longer.

You small apartment dwellers who are on the hunt for a golden retriever should also consider vacuuming.

Aside from their soft and playful personalities another key characteristic of this special breed of dogs is their coats. 

These are things of beauty. In addition they shed quite a bit of hair every day and in the Autumn and Spring (when they grow a new coat) the amount of shedding is truly astounding.

There are two reasons why vacuuming is a consideration.

Keep in mind that you will need to vacuum at least once a day to keep on top of all of this goldie “debris”.

You might have to run the vacuum over the carpet a few times to collect all the hair and you need to pay attention to the edges and corners since thats where the majority of the hair ends up when you have solid flooring. 

Second vacuum cleaners are noisy machines that your neighbors will definitely hear. Are they bothered by you vacuuming more often?

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Amanda Dogs Trainer

Amanda (Author)

With over a decade of experience, Amanda is a distinguished dog trainer. Her expertise in canine behavior has transformed countless lives, fostering harmonious human-canine connections. Through compassionate and personalized approaches, she empowers owners to understand and connect with their furry companions, creating a legacy of joyful tails and transformed lives.

Osvaldo Maciel Dogs Trainer

Osvaldo Maciel (Content Reviewer)

Osvaldo Maciel, a stalwart in the field with 14 years of experience, is a revered dog trainer. His journey is defined by a profound understanding of canine behavior, shaping unbreakable human-canine bonds. Osvaldo guides owners to connect with their beloved pets, leaving an indelible mark of happiness and transformation. His legacy shines through the countless lives he has touched.

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