Golden Retriever Vs. Shetland Sheepdog: Which Breed Is More Friendly?

Hey there fellow dog lovers! If you’re in the market for a new furry friend but can’t decide between a Golden Retriever and a Shetland Sheepdog, then this is the blog post for you. Both breeds have a reputation for being friendly and lovable, but which one is more suited for your family? In this post, we’ll dive into the temperament and characteristics of both breeds, compare their friendliness levels, and even give you some tips on how to train them to be even more sociable. So, grab your pup and let’s get started!

First up, let’s talk about Golden Retrievers. As one of the most popular breeds in the United States, Golden Retrievers are known for their outgoing and affectionate nature. They are extremely loyal to their families and are great with children, making them a popular choice for family pets. However, does this mean they are more friendly than Shetland Sheepdogs? Let’s continue to find out.

Now, on to the Shetland Sheepdog, also known as Shelties. These fluffy, pint-sized pooches may not be as well-known as Golden Retrievers, but they have a lot to offer in terms of personality. Shelties are often described as intelligent, confident, and lively. They also tend to bond closely with their owners and are great with children, much like Golden Retrievers.

But, when it comes to friendliness, is one breed better than the other? Let’s take a closer look at our comparison between the two breeds and find out.

Golden RetrieverShetland Sheepdog
TemperamentFriendly, kind, outgoingFriendly, affectionate, playful
TrainabilityHighly trainableIntelligent but independent
Energy LevelHighModerate
Activity NeedsNeeds daily exercise and mental stimulationNeeds regular exercise
SheddingHeavy shedding twice a yearModerate shedding year-round
Good with ChildrenVery goodVery good
Good with Other PetsUsually goodUsually good
Health IssuesPotential joint problems, cancer, and heart problemsPotential eye problems, allergies, and thyroid issues
Lifespan10-12 years12-14 years

Temperament of Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and affectionate temperament. They are intelligent, social, and have a great personality. They are easy to train and love to please their owners. They are also great with children and other pets, making them a perfect addition to any family.

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Golden Retrievers are loyal and devoted companions and tend to get attached to their owners. They love attention and affection and will follow their owners around the house. They are also great with strangers and love making new friends.

Golden Retrievers are active dogs and require regular exercise, which can be in the form of playtime, walks, or runs. They are also known for their love of water and enjoy swimming and playing in the water.

Overall, the temperament of Golden Retrievers makes them an ideal family pet, as they are loving, friendly, and easy to train. They require attention, exercise, and socialization, but in return, they will provide years of love and companionship.

Friendly Dogs Comparison.

Characteristics of Shetland Sheepdogs

Shetland Sheepdogs, also called Shelties, are a small to medium-sized breed that originated from Scotland’s Shetland Islands. They share a few similarities with their distant cousins, the Rough Collie, except for their size. Here are some of the characteristics that make Shelties unique:

  • Intelligence: Shelties are known for their intelligence. They are quick learners and respond well to positive reinforcement training.
  • Active: Shelties have a lot of energy and love to stay active. They enjoy a good game of fetch and hiking with their owners.
  • Gentle: They are very gentle and affectionate with their families, including children. They are excellent family pets and thrive on human interaction.
  • Sensitive: Shelties are sensitive to their owner’s moods and emotions. They can pick up on subtle cues and will try to comfort their owners when they are feeling down.
  • Protective: While Shelties are typically friendly towards strangers, they are also protective of their loved ones. They make great watchdogs and will bark if they sense any danger.
  • Shedding: Shelties have a thick double coat, and they shed heavily twice a year. Regular brushing is necessary to keep their coats in good condition.
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In conclusion, Shelties have several characteristics that make them excellent family pets. Their intelligence, gentle nature, and protective instincts make them great companions. However, their high energy levels make them better suited for families who have the time and energy to keep them active.

Friendliness Comparison between Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs

When it comes to friendliness, both Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs are known for their lovable nature. However, there are slight differences in their approaches to showing affection. Golden Retrievers tend to be more outgoing and friendly towards strangers, making them great family pets and therapy dogs. Shetland Sheepdogs, on the other hand, tend to be more reserved and cautious around strangers, but are still very loyal towards their owners and can be great watchdogs. Ultimately, both breeds are friendly and loving, but their expressions of affection may differ.

Two dogs looking at the camera - one a Golden Retriever and the other a Shetland Sheepdog.

How to Train Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs to be Friendly

Training your Golden Retriever or Shetland Sheepdog to be friendly is essential for their socialization and overall well-being. Here are a few tips on how to train these breeds to be friendly:

  • Start Socializing Early: It’s essential to socialize your puppy at an early age to help them get used to new people, animals, and situations.
  • Treats: Use treats to reward your dog for friendly behavior when meeting new people or animals.
  • Positive Reinforcement: Use positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, rewards, and toys to encourage friendly behavior.
  • Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to training your dog to be friendly. Repeating the same exercises regularly will ensure your dog is well-rounded.
  • Professional Training: Consider taking your dog to professional trainers for specialized training to make sure they get the best care possible.
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By implementing these tips, you can train your Golden Retriever or Shetland Sheepdog to be friendly.

Factors to Consider when Choosing between Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs for a Family Pet

When choosing a family pet, there are multiple factors to consider. Some of these factors include lifestyle, living arrangements, and the temperament of the breed. When comparing Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs, there are a few specific factors to keep in mind.

First, Golden Retrievers are larger and require more space. Therefore, families living in smaller spaces should consider a Shetland Sheepdog. However, if a large yard is available, a Golden Retriever may be a good fit.

Secondly, both breeds are people-oriented and love to spend time with their families. However, Golden Retrievers tend to be more outgoing and energetic, while Shetland Sheepdogs can be more reserved. If the family is active and has children, a Golden Retriever may be the better of the two breeds.

Lastly, grooming requirements should also be considered. Shetland Sheepdogs have a thick coat that requires frequent brushing, while Golden Retrievers have a moderate coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting.

Shetland Sheepdog

In summary, families should consider their living space, activity level, and grooming commitments when choosing between Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs as a family pet.


After all the discussion about the temperament, characteristics, and training of Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs, the verdict is clear – both breeds are incredibly friendly.

Golden Retrievers are known for their affectionate and social nature, while Shetland Sheepdogs are intelligent and loyal companions. Both breeds thrive on human interaction and are great family pets.

When it comes to training, positive reinforcement techniques work well for both breeds. Proper socialization is also important for ensuring a friendly demeanor in either breed.

Ultimately, the decision between Golden Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs as a family pet should be based on personal preferences and lifestyle factors.

No matter which breed you choose, the most important factor in building a friendly and loving relationship with your pet is consistent love, care, and attention.

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Hi, I'm Carol, a passionate animal lover and blogger at As an experienced pet owner and caregiver, I've gained first-hand knowledge and expertise in the care and well-being of our furry friends. Through my blog, I strive to share my insights and offer valuable tips and advice to fellow pet owners, while prioritizing trustworthiness and accuracy in all of my content.

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