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The temperament of the Golden Retriever is a hallmark of the breed, and is described in the standard as "kindly, friendly and confident". Golden Retrievers make good family pets, particularly as they are patient with children. They are not "one-man dogs" and are generally equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them. Their trusting, gentle disposition makes them a poor guard dog. Any form of unprovoked aggression or hostility towards either people, dogs or other animals, whether in the show ring or community, is considered unacceptable in a Golden Retriever and is not in keeping with the character of the breed, nor should a Golden Retriever be unduly timid or nervous. The typical Golden Retriever is calm, naturally intelligent and biddable, and with an exceptional eagerness to please.
Golden Retrievers are also noted for their intelligence. The breed ranks fourth in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs – following the Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd – as one of the brightest dogs ranked by obedience-command trainability.