Golden Retrievers, often simply called the Golden, are one of the most loved and loving dogs and they’re known for being outgoing and loyal. Many people call these dogs “the perfect dog,” because they are so beautiful and they have such a wonderful temperament. Their lustrous, long coat gives these large dogs an elegant look, repels water and keeps them warm in the cooler months. Goldens are popular participants in purebred dog shows and their intelligence makes the dogs versatile, allowing them to fill many different roles, from beloved pet to hunting dog to guide dog.
The Golden Retriever has ancestors that go back to the 1800s and dogs bred within Britain at the time. Sportsmen were breeding dogs to retrieve upland game and waterfowl and most retrievers today trace back to the well-known Saint John’s Dog of Newfoundland, which was the wavy-coated retriever’s ancestor. Golden Retrievers are descendants of the wavy-coated retrievers, as are the Flat-Coated Retrievers. Goldens were generally unknown until the early 1900s, when a dog bred by Dudley Marjoribanks won a retriever field trial. In 1908, the “Yellow Retrievers” were finally registered in the England Kennel Club, although they were called “Flat Coats of Any Other Color.” They had their own recognition in 1913, being registered as “Retrievers – Yellow or Golden.”
The early 1900s found Golden Retrievers coming to the U.S. as well and they quickly surged in popularity. It wasn’t until 1025 that the first Golden Retriever was registered by the American Kennel Club. In 1038, the Golden Retriever Club of America was founded. Before and after the Second World War, the dogs continued to grow in popularity across the U.S. In the 1970s, there was a huge surge in the registration of these dogs. Their popularity continues today and they are considered one of the top 10 breeds registered with the American Kennel Club.
The Golden Retriever is a powerful, active symmetrical dog that is well-proportioned and sturdy. They boast a feathered, medium length coat that comes in various shades of gold. Their heads are broad and stocky with a wide, tapering muzzle, a black nose and medium-size pendant ears. Their warm, brown eyes are one of the beloved signatures of the breed.
This breed boasts a thick double coat that is water-repellent. Some Goldens have wavy hair while others have straight coats. Their coat has feathering on the chest, the tail, the back of the legs and the underbody. Multiple shades of gold are seen, from dark to light, and the coat generally becomes a bit darker as they age, although parts of the body or face may whiten. Generally, lighter coats are considered of higher quality and are often seen among dogs with a line tracing back to the original line in England.
Golden Retrievers are fairly large dogs and males usually weigh between 65-75 pounds and stand about 23-24 inches tall. Females are a bit smaller, weighing between 55-65 pounds and standing between 21.5-22.5 inches tall.
The Golden Retriever makes a wonderful family dog because of it’s easy-going, loving temperament. These dogs are intelligent, wonderful with children, kind, obedient, well-mannered and playful. While they are great watchdogs, they don’t make good guard dogs, since they love people so much. Their desire to please makes them great competitive dogs and they do wonderfully in obedience classes as well. Generally, Goldens are well behaved and even-tempered, but it is important to consider the breeder carefully before purchasing a Golden. Since the breed is so popular, some breeders have bred the dogs indiscriminately, resulting in puppies that have unstable temperaments. Choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder is important and it will ensure you get a puppy with a desirable temperament.
These dogs are very social and they love being around people. They thrive on interacting with others, so they don’t like being left alone too long. Without interaction and proper exercise, separation anxiety may occur among Golden Retrievers. Since they like to chew, it’s important to ensure that Goldens are given bones and chew toys. Of course, since they love pleasing people, they are wonderful to train, but they are sensitive and must be treated gently. Goldens do require plenty of exercise as well and they’ll enjoy playing fetch, biking, playing chase, swimming, running and hiking with the whole family.
While the long, gorgeous coat of these dogs looks beautiful, they do require a lot of care to keep them looking nice. To avoid tangles and to prevent regular shedding, Goldens should be brushed daily. They shed all year round, although they shed more heavily in the fall and the spring. Since the Golden Retriever may have a “dog odor,” it’s important to bathe them at least once a month, although they may require bathing more often. If they don’t naturally wear down their nails, they’ll also need to have their nails trimmed once each month. Regular ear cleaning and checkups should be done to prevent ear problems.
Since the Golden Retriever is so easy to train, they can easily be trained to do many different jobs. They are a popular choice for guide dogs, since they are so loyal, intelligent and kind. These dogs love the water, which makes them an excellent choice for water lifesaving and rescue. They are also used for bomb sniffing and drug sniffing because of their keen sense of smell. Some Goldens are even trained for tracking and rescue after natural disasters, such as earthquakes. Their wonderful personality makes them great care and comfort dogs and they are often used within hospitals as therapy dogs, particularly for children.
Golden Retrievers generally live between 11-12.5 years, but since they are susceptible to certain ailments, they need to have regular checkups with a vet. Certain genetic disorders and diseases are common among this breed. One of the most common health problems for Goldens is hip dysplasia. Some other common health concerns to keep in mind include cataracts, various forms of cancer, hypothyroidism, obesity, elbow dysplasia, muscular dystrophy, skin disorders and progressive retinal atrophy.