My first two dogs as a child were Cocker Spaniels. I thought they were so pretty, with their wavy long fur and floppy ears. Of course, I wasn't the one who had to take care of them, either.
My grandma always had Basenji's when I was growing up. Perfect dog type for her, but not for me.
Once I went away to college I didn't have dogs again until my husband and I were married. We adopted two mutts from the Humane Society. One doggie we have no clue what he had in him he was so mixed, and the other one was half Australian Cattle Dog and half who knows??? Maybe even GR. We loved them both but once we had kids I decided that I wanted a breed next time that likes kids. My two pound pupppies just tolerated my kids, but never really enjoyed being with them.
My brother in law (who's a vet) and my sister in law have always had Goldens. I knew from being around them what great dogs they are, even if they are like a fiber factory blew up in your house from all the fur, lol. So when our 2nd pound pup reached the great age of 16 and had to be euthanized, we decided to "go for the gold". We didn't want to buy a puppy so I started watching on Craig's List in the hopes that maybe we could luck out and find a dog that way.
One day a lady posted a beautiful GR on CL. She didn't really want to get rid of him, but she had been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or something and couldn't keep him any longer. We were excited and got my kids all excited, etc....(big mistake!). The day we were to go pick him up, she called and canceled because her daughter was too upset to give him away. We were sad but understood, so I kept watching CL. Finally we found Sam, being given away under similar circumstances. His family was divorcing and had 3 large dogs....something had to give, so they gave away Sam since he was the youngest. They took great care of him, and the woman's mom was his breeder (don't know for sure, but probably a BYB) so she did a lot of training with him, etc....He came to us well leash trained, neutered, etc....
Of COURSE two days later the lady with the first GR called and wanted to give him away after all. We took him, but found that with 3 children, (including a baby who was 9 months old at the time), 2 male puppies (both 12 months at the time) were just too much to handle. So Buddy was returned and Sam has remained. He's a GREAT dog, the best I've ever owned. I am sold on Goldens and he's everything I had hoped for, especially with the kids. I can't imagine having a different breed, although I'll never say never.
I still miss Buddy like crazy and wish we could've kept him, but he and Sam are both really large (over 75 pounds each) and it was just more than I could manage while keeping the baby safe from their unintentional but rough playing.