It’s not surprising that Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. Along with being exuberant and friendly, they are strong dogs and hard workers. Goldens are good at whatever they do, be it hunting, serving as guide dogs, working search-and-rescue, or being devoted companions. Though they are serious about their work, they also enjoy being downright silly!
Personality: Intelligent, friendly, and devoted.
Energy Level: Very Active; This dog is active and energetic, and needs daily exercise.
Good with Children: Yes
Good with other Dogs: Yes
Trainability: Eager To Please
Height: 23-24 inches (male), 21.5-22.5 inches (female)
Weight: 65-75 pounds (male), 55-65 pounds (female)
Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
Barking Level: Barks When Necessary
In the early 1800s, game was plentiful in England and Scotland, and hunting was both a sport and a practical way of obtaining food. Retrievers came into prominence because of the desire for a medium-sized dog that would do well in wild-fowling, both upland game and waterfowl. Records kept from 1850 to 1890 at the Guisachan estate of Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord Tweedmouth, near Inverness, Scotland, record the development of the original strain of Golden Retrievers.
Lord Tweedmouth bought “Nous” in 1865, the only yellow in a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers. From a cousin living near Berwick, on the Tweed River, he acquired “Belle”, a Tweed Water Spaniel. This now-extinct breed was a hardy type used for retrieving and known for their intelligence, courage, and ability in water. In two litters, Nous and Belle produced four yellow puppies. Later breedings incorporated more Tweed Spaniel and Wavy-Coated Retriever, and a red setter.
By the end of the 19th century, Yellow or Golden Retrievers were well established in England, and they were first shown in England in 1908 in classes for Flat-Coated Retrievers “of any other color”. In 1913 they gained separate status, and the Golden Retriever Club (of Great Britain) was officially recognized.
The breed established its presence in the 1930s and ’40s, as hunting dogs and at field trials and shows, then also in obedience trials. While a few Goldens had appeared in North America as early as 1882, the AKC registered their first Golden Retriever in 1925.
While the early dogs in North America were mostly darker shades of golden, lighter shades have also become popular in later years. All are acceptable under the breed standard. The breed’s versatility, intelligence, and agreeable personality suit it for many purposes, and it has become one of the most successful, recognizable, and popular breeds in all areas of competition.
TRAINING AND TEMPERAMENT
With his friendly temperament and striking golden color, this breed is both beautiful to look at and a joy to own. While Goldens can adapt to virtually any living situation, they need considerable daily exercise to maintain physical and mental fitness. Your Golden should never be allowed to run free. Time spent in the companionship of people indoors can and should be complemented with time spent on daily walks or playing in a secure fenced area. Without the companionship of people and adequate exercise, your Golden may display behavior atypical of the well-cared-for pet and family member. Basic obedience training is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. It will make your dog a better companion and will help establish a stronger bond between the two of you. Your Golden wants nothing more from life than to please you.
A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog, he should be shown in hard working condition. Overall appearance, balance, gait and purpose to be given more emphasis than any of his component parts. Faults-Any departure from the described ideal shall be considered faulty to the degree to which it interferes with the breed’s purpose or is contrary to breed character.
NUTRITION AND FEEDING
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The Golden Retriever is a large breed and has a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
COAT AND GROOMING
Goldens need the occasional bath to keep them clean and looking their best. Grooming can be a wonderful bonding experience for you and your pet. Their strong fast-growing nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
ENERGY AND EXERCISE
Golden Retrievers are outgoing, loyal and eager to please, which makes them easy to train and a great part of any family. They have a joyful, playful approach to life and maintain this childlike behavior for longer than some other breeds. They are the Peter Pan of dogs! They love to play outdoors and need plenty of exercise, which makes them favorites of hunters as well as fans of playing fetch.
Like all breeds there may be some health issues, like hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease and cardiac disease. Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Golden Retrievers are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Golden Retriever can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.