Can Golden Retrievers Live Outside?

Pet Care


September 9, 2022

There is no denying that golden retrievers enjoy being outside a lot. That’s not surprising; they were bred to be hunting dogs, making them a natural for being outside on a regular basis. They also love to play fetch, run, swim, and just be with people who enjoy being outdoors.

But does that mean that they can live outside? There are some people who believe that dogs should stay outdoors while people live indoors. But can golden retrievers live outside?

Can Golden Retrievers Live Outside?

Though they are outdoor dogs naturally, it does not mean that they should live outside. Though they were bred to be hunting dogs, changes throughout the years have made them more domesticated, which means that they sleep in the house.

Golden retrievers are meant to sleep indoors and should not be left outside for long periods of time if they don’t have any supervision. They do best indoors while also having a lot of interaction with their humans.

There are a plethora of potential issues if they are left outside. Bad weather could compromise their health, as could outdoor hazards. They could also develop behavioral issues, escape, or even be at risk from theft when they are left outside for extended periods of time.

The Difference Between Being Outside and Living Outside

It is important to make the distinction between being outside for an extended period of time and living outdoors. Golden retrievers can be left outside for short periods of time by themselves to play or go potty.

They should not, however, be left outside for hours at a time, nor should they be left overnight to sleep. Even golden retrievers who live on a farm are not left outside to sleep. They spend their days interacting with other dogs and animals, playing and spending the day. They then go into the house or to a dog house to sleep.

Why Being Outdoors for Long Periods isn’t Ideal?

Now that we know the answer to the question, “can golden retrievers live outside” it is time to expound on the matter a bit. To put it simply, golden retrievers are people dogs. They are a breed that is affectionate, and they tend to form very strong bonds with their owners.

It is not uncommon for golden retrievers to have separation anxiety because they like to be around their owners at all times. They have an affectionate temperament, making them naturally more friendly towards not only people but other pets, making them a popular choice as the family dog.

Add in their high levels of energy, exceptional smarts, and natural playfulness, and you get a breed that needs quite a bit of mental stimulation, activity, and companionship. These are generally not met by leaving them outside on their own for long periods of time.

That’s not to say that a golden retriever couldn’t survive outside. But with any family dog, the goal is not to survive but to thrive. Living outside on its own, a golden retriever is not in a position to thrive in the least.

Putting any dog, not just a golden retriever, outside for hours on end isn’t the same as giving them exercise. It is not the same as providing them with proper mental stimulation. If anything, the lack of companionship that being left alone outside does can become a major concern.

Safety Becomes a Concern

Safety also becomes a major concern when leaving your golden retriever outside for extended periods of time. Tethering should never be an option, either, because it can not only cause safety concerns but have potential behavioral issues as well.

That said, leaving them alone indoors does not absolve any of those issues. The key is that golden retrievers need regular attention from their owners. Leaving them alone for extended periods, whether it be inside or outside, can lead to a number of potential issues down the line.

The most important thing that you can give to your golden retriever is companionship. They need to be near their owner at all times, and that just can’t happen if they live outside regularly. If you have concerns about them being in the house, then it may not be the right fit.

Golden retrievers left outside tend to be much more prone to behavioral issues than other breeds. They get bored and lonely, and the lack of socialization and play can lead to a core of “bad” behaviors that result. Don’t leave your golden retriever alone for very long because it simply is not healthy for them.

If you aren’t comfortable with them sleeping in your bed or even your room, then crate training would be the best way to go, allowing them to remain close without having to put them outdoors.


Though golden retrievers are naturally outdoor dogs, there is a difference between spending time outdoors and living outdoors. They are encouraged to spend a good amount of time outdoors but are not to be left there to sleep.

Dogs in general are indoor animals and are meant to spend their time inside at night in particular. There are more than a few reasons for this and will ultimately allow them to remain safe under your care.