The Golden Retriever is a large-sized breed of dog bred as gun dogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland gamebirds during hunting and shooting parties, and were named 'retriever' because of their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged. Golden Retrievers have an instinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards. They are a long-coated breed, with a dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors, and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water. Golden Retrievers are well suited to residency in suburban or country environments. Although they need substantial outdoor exercise, they should be housed in a fenced area because of their instinctual tendency to roam. The dog sheds copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and requires fairly regular grooming.
The breed is a prominent participant in conformation shows for purebred dogs. The Golden Retrievers' intelligence makes them a versatile breed and allows them to fill a variety of roles – common ones being guide dog for the blind, hearing dog for the deaf,hunting dog, detection dog, and search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its temperament has also made it the third-most popular family dog breed (by registration) in the United States, the fifth-most popular in Australia, and the eighth-most popular in the United Kingdom. Golden Retrievers are rarely choosy eaters, but require ample exercise (of two or more hours a day). The breed is fond of play but also highly trainable.