What's a golden retriever boyfriend? The TikTok dating term explained

Who doesn't love a cute golden retriever, right?

Images of couples being romantic together, and a picture of a dog owner having fun with her Golden Retriever.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Who doesn't love golden retrievers? They're sweet, reliable, cuddly and adorable—everything you'd want in a partner, canine or human. 

Given the pup's delightful qualities, this has inspired a new term amongst the TikTok generation. A 2022 dating trend popping up on FYP includes finding a "golden retriever" boyfriend—a fella who makes things easy and pleasurable in a relationship, much like the dog breed. 

Where do we sign up? Raise your paw if this sounds stellar.

Though it certainly seems like an ideal situation, there are pros and cons to the newly launched virtual dating term. Let's dive in. 



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Should you want a golden retriever boyfriend?

"A positive aspect of this golden retriever thing is that it’s nice to be with a man who does not sweat the small stuff," says Jaime Bronstein (opens in new tab), relationship therapist, coach and host of “Love Talk Live” on LA Talk Radio. "There is something wonderful about having this sense of easiness. However, no authentic relationship should just be easy because then it’s not real."

Of course, we all want an enjoyable, smooth-sailing love life, but there are going to be points in time when you and your S.O. don't see eye-to-eye. The negative part of the golden retriever concept is that your seemingly perfect fella will kind of get on your nerves after a while—he won't challenge you, and the last thing you need is a guy following you around like a puppy. (You already have one of those.) 

"You don’t want a guy who only has the qualities of a golden retriever. You do want a man who is going to have his own opinion, but of course, have those wonderful qualities—like cuddling," Bronstein says.

But given the trends and sayings that have emerged over the course of the last few years, golden retrievers are certainly a welcomed change from the likes of ghosting, situationships and so on. Yes, it's rough out there guys.

Regardless of what term pops up next, always be sure to stay positive and truthful when on the hunt for your person/pup. If you'd prefer a pointer or a boxer to a golden, you do you—whatever works best for you and your wellbeing.

The most important thing of all, regardless of the situation or trendy term, is to remain positive and remember life isn't all about your relationship status.

"Take it one day at a time," Bronstein says. "Honor whatever your needs are. You need to believe that you're going to find your person. You have to trust that it's all worth it."

Wishing all of our friends with two legs best of luck in the love department. 

Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 


The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 


Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 


When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)