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Golden Retriever Rescues By State – The Ultimate List

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If you are thinking about adopting a golden retriever to be a part of your family, you’ll want to check out today’s ultimate list of golden retriever rescues by state.

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dogs in the country for a very good reason.

These friendly and intelligent dogs make fantastic family pets.

Sadly, while there are many excellent breeders out there selling healthy and happy Golden pups, there are also hundreds of thousands of Goldens of all ages that are homeless and in desperate need of someone to care for them.

Golden Retriever standing behind a gate

Adopting a golden retriever from a rescue won’t only bring a lot of love into your home, but it will also help some of the dogs that need it the most.

In this article, you will find a list of rescues where you can adopt a golden retriever depending on where you live.

You will also find essential information that you need to know about these amazing dogs before you commit to taking one home.

Finally we’ll share a few top tips for getting your rescue dog used to their new home as quickly as possible.

Do Golden Retrievers Make Good Pets?

Golden retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds when it comes to pets, especially for those looking at larger dogs, rather than small pooches.

While every dog is different, the golden retriever breed has a lot of characteristics that make them ideal pets:

  • They are affectionate and friendly and will bond with you very quickly.
  • They won’t bark at or intimidate your friends and neighbors as they like pretty much everybody (so they don’t make good guard dogs).
  • They get along with other dogs, so they fit in well in homes that already have pets.
  • They bond with children quickly and form mild protective instincts; plus, they are very aware of their own size and strength and know how to be gentle with children.
  • They are very intelligent, which means they are easy to train, and are able to figure out what is required of them in new situations with minimal guidance.
  • They are eager to please and motivated by reward, which again, makes them very easy to train.

But there are also some challenges to be aware of before adopting a golden retriever:

  • They are big dogs, weighing 60 to 80+ pounds, so they need a pretty big space to call home; they won’t thrive in an apartment
    PRO TIP: Actually a Golden Retriever can thrive in any size home, but in a smaller home they will require more mental and physical stimulation. We had Apache when we lived in our small apartment and to keep him happy and healthy we walked him 3 times a day and did obedience training with him several times a day.
  • Their size means they do need to eat quite a lot, so it can be expensive to feed them especially if you choose a premium fresh brand like The Farmer’s Dog (we use The Farmer’s Dog as a topper for our dogs)
  • They need lots of exercise, at least an hour a day, and preferably more, which is a significant time commitment.
  • Because they are highly sociable, they can suffer from separation anxiety when they are left alone for a long time. They are also intelligent enough to get into trouble when left alone for too long. They should only be left at home alone for a maximum of 8 hours.
    QUICK TIP: I would not recommend leaving your Golden home alone regularly for 8 hours a day. Eight hours at home alone once in a while is okay, but don’t make it a habit. At our home if we have to leave our dogs home alone for much more than 5-6 hours then we get a puppy sitter to watch them for the day.
  • They shed a lot! If this is an issue, you can consider a golden retriever-poodle mix, goldendoodles, that tend to have the non-shedding coats of poodles.
  • They have a tendency to become overweight if overfed and don’t have the ability to control their own appetite.
    MY EXPERIENCE: Just like our Labs, our Golden’s act like they are always starving. Don’t overfeed because an overweight Golden can lead to health problems.
  • Golden retrievers are prone to joint issues in older age and will require extra care in their senior years.

None of these are reasons not to adopt a golden retriever. But they are things to be aware of and prepared for before committing to having one of these amazing dogs in your life for the next 10 to 15 years.

Why Adopt A Golden Retriever From A Rescue?

While there are many breeders out there creating amazing little golden retriever puppies out there for you to buy, there are also hundreds of thousands of golden retrievers across the country that need adopting. This is for a variety of reasons.

  • First, Goldens are very popular pets, so there are unethical breeders out there creating puppies for which they can’t find homes.
  • Second, many people adopt a gorgeous little pup, only to realize that they grow into a big, shedding dog that requires lots of care and attention. They decide that they simply don’t want them anymore. 
  • Many loving pet owners need to give up their pets due to a family member who has allergies, moving to a place that doesn’t allow animals, moving abroad, or other unavoidable circumstances.
  • Sadly, there are also people who die and leave their pets behind with no-one to care for them, or they simply abandon them.

These are the golden retrievers that find themselves in rescue centers, waiting for new homes.

OUR EXPERIENCE: We had friends buy a Golden Retriever with all the best intentions. Unfortunately, they learned that owning a Golden Retriever did not fit their lifestyle and ended up putting their dog up for adoption.

What To Expect From Golden Retriever Rescue Centers

When you head to a golden retriever rescue center, expect to find a range of dogs that are identifiable as golden retrievers or golden retriever mixed breeds.

They will range in age from puppies to mature dogs and will have different levels of training and socialization.

The rescue center will provide the dogs with medical care, shelter, and training, and at the same time, look for suitable homes for each dog.

Expect the rescue center to ask you a number of questions to ensure you are ready to adopt a golden retriever. They will work with you and consider:

  • Whether your lifestyle will permit you to care for and spend quality time with a pet?
  • Whether you are prepared for the financial burden of caring for a dog for the next 10-15 years, including food, veterinary bills, and so forth?
  • Whether you have the facilities to keep a large dog like a golden retriever?

If you are a suitable candidate, they will then work with you to find the most suitable dog from the shelter for you to adopt.

Don’t worry; rescues will not place dangerous dogs, such as dogs that bite, in your home.

PRO TIP: If you’re looking to adopt a Golden Retriever then you might want to talk to breeders. A reputable breeder will require the people who buy their puppies to return them if for any reason they are unable to continue caring for them. Reputable breeders will sometimes have dogs they are willing to adopt out.

Without further adieu. Here’s our list of Golden Retriever rescues by state:

Golden Retriever Rescues By State





  • MAGRR Golden Retriever Rescue (Located in Germantown, TN. Serving beyond West Tennessee and the “Memphis Area” into portions of Arkansas, Mississippi, and even Louisiana.

























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

 North Carolina

North Dakota





Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota







West Virginia



Tips For Caring For Rescue Dogs

You might want to take a look at our new puppy checklist before bringing home your new puppy. While our list focuses on puppies you’ll find a lot of items you’ll also need for a rescue dog.

Unlike brand new pups adopted from responsible breeders, rescue dogs often come with behaviors and habits from their previous homes that may or may not be suitable for their new home with you.

There are a few things you can do to make your dog feel comfortable in your home quickly and start learning new house rules without delay. 

Golden retrievers in particular are very intelligent pups and should have no problem adapting if you do a few smart things.

  • Dogs, like children, thrive on regularity, so create a schedule for them. Establish regular eating and exercise times, so they learn to know what to expect.
  • Reward your dog for correct behavior by treating them with food or play. Don’t yell or punish. Your dog can develop a negative reaction to this, especially if they have been punished by previous owners.
  • Make sure everyone in the house is giving the same commands and following the same rules. It can be confusing for dogs when people use different commands for the same behavior, or when different behavior is acceptable with different members of the household.
  • Teach children to respect the new dog, and supervise them when they are together for the first few weeks. Children should be taught not to disturb the dog when it is eating or sleeping, not to approach or touch the dog’s food or toys, to touch the dog in a gentle way, not to give human food to the dog, and so forth.
  • Take time to introduce your dog to any other animals in the house. Keep them separated for a few days but allow them to pick up one another’s scent. You can then allow them to see each other, and even be in the same room together supervised. Let them approach one another; don’t force them to be close together.
  • If they are not house trained, have them sleep in a crate, but not alone. It is better to place the crate in someone’s room. They can stop sleeping in the crate when they can consistently “hold it” the whole night.
  • If your dog gets anxious when you leave the house, try and make this time less traumatic. Don’t make a big deal when you leave or enter the house, so that it doesn’t feel like an “event.” You can also train them to accept your coming and going by simply leaving the house for a few minutes and coming back. Extend the period you are away for longer each time.
  • If your dog has significant behavioral problems, consider investing in a professional trainer.

Golden Retriever Rescue FAQs

Is There A Golden Retriever Rescue In Every State?

There are golden retriever rescue centers in almost every state. A few smaller states do not have them, such as North Dakota and South Dakota, but rescues in neighboring states are prepared to help residents adopt a pup.

What Are The Things To Consider When Adopting A Golden Retriever From A Rescue?

When you are adopting a golden retriever from a rescue, you may be taking on a dog that has already been abandoned or inadequately cared for once.

The rescue center will want to be sure that you are prepared to take on the responsibility of a large dog, as they won’t want to see the pup suffer neglect a second time.

Rescues will work to match you up with a dog that suits your lifestyle and won’t match you up with a dog that has serious behavioral problems.

Your dog may well have habits and hangups from their previous owner, so be prepared to spend extra time training and socializing them.

Can Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone?

Golden retrievers are very social dogs and they don’t like to be left alone for long periods of time.

They are also highly intelligent, which means they are smart enough to get into trouble if you leave them with nothing to do for hours on end.

Every golden is different, but as a general rule, they should only be left alone for a maximum of eight hours at a time.

Do Golden Retrievers Need Another Dog As A Companion?

Golden retrievers are sociable animals that will get on well with other dogs and also cats, which means they make a great second pet. But no, a golden does not require another dog as a companion.

And just because you have another dog will not mean that your dog can be left alone for longer periods of time.

Are Golden Retrievers Expensive To Maintain?

Golden retrievers can be relatively expensive to maintain, mostly because they are large dogs and, therefore, generally need to eat a fair amount.

They can also have steep medical bills when they get older as they are prone to a few medical conditions, such as joint issues and cataracts. You should probably expect to spend at least $1,000 a year maintaining a golden retriever.

The Verdict

Golden retrievers make fantastic pets. If you adopt one from a rescue, you will not only be bringing a lot of love and fun into your home, but also helping a dog that really needs it.

There are rescues all over the country where you can find your perfect golden retriever companion.

But always remember that owning a dog is a responsibility as well as a pleasure.

Make sure you are ready to take on the responsibility for the next 10 to 15 years before bringing your new best friend home.

We tried to include all the Golden Retriever specific rescues we could find across the internet.

If you know of a Golden Retriever rescue that’s not on our list please leave us a comment or send us a message through our contact form.

Another great place to find adoptable dogs and puppies is Petfinder.com. We adopted our first puppy, Linus from Petfinder.com and couldn’t have been more happy with our fuzzy friend.

How about you? Did you adopt a Golden Retriever or are you planning to adopt?

Tell us about your experiences in the comment section below.

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Golden Retriever Rescues By State - Golden Retriever standing behind a gate.

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One Comment

  1. Please notify me as soon as you have male, dark red golden retriever. My family would be so eager to adopt.


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