Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dog in the United States. They make great companion dogs, and are also very popular for service dogs. But the Golden Retriever breed was created to be a hunting dog, and for many years this was their sole purpose. It took several years before people realized the versatility of this breed.
Golden Retrievers retrieve instinctively, which is what makes them such good companion dogs for hunters. However, they are not true hunting dogs, like a blue tick or other breed of hunting hound. What this means is that they do not flush out the game for you, but rather retrieve the game once you've spotted and killed it.
If you're choosing a Golden Retriever to be a hunting companion, you'll have the best luck by choosing a dog that is bred from a line of field dogs rather than from a line of companion dogs. Over the years, many breeds of hunting dogs have evolved into family dogs. When this happens, you'll find that over the years, some breeders continue to breed for good hunting traits, while others breed for good companion traits. You should always choose a breeder who breeds his line for the best hunting traits if that's to be your dog's primary purpose. Golden Retrievers that are bred with hunting traits will love being in the field as much as their owners, will not likely be gun shy, and will be easily trained to retrieve game.
All Golden Retrievers, regardless of their planned primary function, should receive basic obedience training. A dog that won't come when called or that won't sit and stay when commanded to do so is useless to a hunter. So, the first training your hunting dog needs is the same training you'd give any dog that will live with you.
One great thing about Golden Retrievers is that they are perfectly capable of being your hunting dog and your family pet. They are very adaptable and have a temperament that is matched by few breeds. With the right training, they can be comfortable and reliable both in the field and in your living room. This is a breed that loves to be around people and wants to be your constant companion, whether it's for hunting or just a walk around the block.
Today, the Golden Retriever is primarily purchased to be a family pet. And you can't find a better breed for this purpose. However, they are still a very capable retrieving dog for the field hunter and will not fail you in terms of intelligence, eagerness to please, and superior tracking skills. The Golden Retriever is truly one breed that has it all.