Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Let’s Talk About Dogs: Alternatives To Retrievers

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

If you google a list of popular dog breeds, chances are golden retrievers will be at the top, or at least close to it. And while they deserve it for their cute looks and easygoing personalities, I think some other dog breeds also deserve a chance in the spotlight. So if you want a big, smiley furball but don’t want to be too basic, check out some of the breeds on this list!

Bernese Mountain Dogs

Bernese mountain dogs are large and hard-working since they were originally bred for tasks like pulling carts and guarding livestock. Because of this, they are typically larger than golden retrievers — but don’t let that intimidate you! 

They have extra-large hearts too. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), their sweet dispositions make them great with families, including those with children and other dogs.


One look at a Samoyed instantly evokes the image of the world’s happiest polar bear. These fluffy white dogs, nicknamed “Sammies,” are known for their trademark smiles which come from the naturally upturned corners of their mouths. 

Though the AKC says this trait was initially bred into the breed to prevent their drool from forming icicles while they pulled sleds, today Sammies are more than happy to show off their smiles while playing with their humans.


Perhaps the largest dog on this list, Newfoundlands are often compared to bears due to their size and thick brown or black fur. But unlike real bears, so-called “Newfies” are very huggable.

These gentle giants even earned a reputation of being “‘nanny dog[s]’ for kids,” according to the AKC. They love their families the same way that Bernese mountain dogs do, and their good temperament is considered a key trait of the breed.

However, being big does have some downsides. Newfies aren’t exactly an apartment-friendly breed, and food and medicine costs add up quickly for such heavy dogs.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

While Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers have a mouthful of a name, they are actually one of the smallest breeds on this list, being about the same size as Samoyeds and slightly smaller than golden retrievers.

Other than size, though, these dogs look very similar to their golden relatives. Their fur comes in the same red-orange color but with the addition of trademark white patches that give them an adorable, fox-like appearance.

According to the AKC, this breed is affectionate and eager-to-please, much like golden retrievers. However, their intelligence and energy mean they need a lot of stimulating playtime.

While there may not be anything quite like a good old golden retriever, these breeds definitely have great traits of their own. Plus, their uniqueness adds some extra charm!

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, watch us on TikTok, and read our latest Tweets!

Devan Colby is the senior editor and writing director at the Her Campus at BU chapter. She oversees all articles that the chapter publishes on the site, and occasionally writes some of her own. Outside of Her Campus, Devan is also a feature writer for The Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at Boston University. She has also interned with her local Nexstar-owned TV news station as a member of their digital team, where she helped produce content for the station's corresponding website. She is currently a junior at Boston University majoring in both journalism and political science. Writing is Devan's main pastime, and even when not working for a publication, she loves to write creatively. She is also a hobbyist visual artist with an interest in photojournalism. When she's not creating, she can be found going for runs around the city with friends or fawning over her quartet of houseplants.