The Golden Retriever is a favorite family dog, taking one of the top positions on the list of the most frequently registered dog breeds with the American Kennel Club each year. Sociable, gentle, and patient by nature, the Golden Retriever is an excellent choice for families with children. A member of the AKC’s Sporting group, the Golden Retriever is a working breed with the intelligence to excel at any active pursuit from obedience to Rally, agility, scent work, field trials, conformation, and much, much more.
A dog breed that lives to please those it loves most, the Golden Retriever is a joy to train. Yummy treats and lots of praise are all you need to motivate this sweet-natured dog to learn. The Golden Retriever bonds deeply to its family and willingly protects them when sensing the presence of danger.
For a wonderful canine sidekick that is a good fit for nearly any living situation, you can’t go wrong by adding a Golden Retriever to your family. Read on to learn more about this delightful dog breed.
Height:21 to 24 inches
Weight:55 to 75 pounds
Life Span:10 to 12 years
Best Suited To:First time dog owners, active families
Personality:Curious, gentle, affectionate, loving, loyal, playful, friendly, eager to please
Exercise:Moderate exercise required
Barking:Not much of a barker
Drooling:Not prone to drooling
AKC/CKC Group:Sporting group
Colors:Light golden, golden, dark golden
Coat Types: Medium length double coat
Golden Retriever Overview
One of the ten most popular dog breeds in the United States, the perennially happy Golden Retriever is a charming family companion and working dog. Friendly, attractive, devoted, and incredibly smart, the Golden Retriever is one dog breed that’s got it all going for him.
A spirited breed, the Golden Retriever is exceptionally playful and remains puppylike until he reaches approximately four years of age. Some Goldens are known to still display their puppy ways well into their senior years, one of the most charming things about this happy breed.
The Golden Retriever’s original purpose was to retrieve waterfowl from the water for their owners on hunts. A job that was extremely physically taxing, the Golden was built for endurance and has relatively high activity requirements to satisfy this breed’s natural desire to work. Regular daily exercise is a must for this dog to remain healthy and physically and mentally content.
A dog breed that is exceptionally close with those it loves most, the Golden Retriever wants to be where his family is and does not do well if isolated from them for any length of time. Golden Retrievers should live in the house with their family members but can enjoy time in the great outdoors playing and stretching their legs.
The Golden Retriever is a highly sociable dog. This means that he is not likely to excel in the role of guard dog. The Golden is far more likely to bowl over an intruder with lavish affection than to keep anyone at bay. If you’re looking for a dog to alert bark and keep thieves off your property, you might need to add two dogs to your home: the Golden and another dog breed like a Doberman Pinscher or a Rottweiler to provide watchful protection over your home and hearth.
The Golden Retriever is a double coated breed. This double coat consists of a soft, plush undercoat and a coarser topcoat. Together, these two coats help to protect the Golden Retriever from extreme heat and cold and act as waterproofing from water and snow. The Golden’s coat is medium in length and comes in three different colors: light golden, golden, and dark golden. The variations in these golden hues range from an almost white known as English cream to a rich mahogany red reminiscent of the striking Irish Setter’s coat coloring.
The Golden Retriever’s coat texture can be wavy or smooth. Feathering is located on several parts of the dog’s body including the tail, the chest, and the back of the legs.
The Golden Retriever is well-renowned for his sociability. The breed has never met a stranger, eagerly making friends wherever he goes. The breed is very puppy-like, a personality trait that often stays with the dog well into advanced age. Playful, loyal, and full of spunk, the Golden Retriever is very good company and is game to participate in whatever you have in mind.
A dog breed that lives to please, the Golden Retriever is an amiable companion and a very willing training partner. If you’ve got treats on hand and readily lavish praise on your dog, your Golden will be only too delighted to learn whatever tricks you’ve got up your sleeve.
Though the Golden Retriever was bred to be a working dog, the breeds still excels in its role as a cherished family companion. However, potential owners must be prepared to help this dog expend his natural energies on a daily basis. Golden Retrievers are not a sedentary breed, and they will not thrive in a home that prefers the couch potato lifestyle. A commitment to daily walks is an absolute must for this active breed.
A dog breed that is highly adaptable, the Golden Retriever does well in nearly any living situation. However, apartment life is not ideal unless you are committed to taking your Golden for vigorous walks on a daily basis. A house with a fully fenced backyard is the perfect solution for the lively and athletic Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever is highly obedient if taught appropriate canine manners and the basic obedience commands. With this in mind, the breed is not particularly prone to wandering. Still, the Golden Retriever is a hunting dog, and thus, it is recommended that the Golden be kept in a securely contained yard when outdoors and be on lead when out for walks.
A dog breed that is highly social, the Golden gets along very well in a home with multiple pets. To ensure a harmony in your home, it is best to make any introductions between housemates on neutral territory to prevent any territorialism from presenting itself. It is always a good idea to introduce a Golden Retriever puppy into a home of established pets rather than an adult dog; however, this breed is so soft-natured and sweet that even an adult can typically be successfully integrated into a multi-pet home over time.
A dog breed that loves people of all ages, the Golden Retriever adores children. This dog type is both gentle and patient with kids and makes a loving and affectionate friend for them. Still, for the safety of both your dog and your children, all interactions between kids and dogs should be carefully supervised. It is also vital that all children be taught to understand and respect the boundaries of a dog.
The Golden Retriever is a bred that sheds a lot, so owners must be prepared to brush their dog regularly to help reduce the amount of shed hair in their home environment. In addition to this, Goldens do require regular grooming to keep their coats in excellent condition.
Goldens blow their coat twice seasonally; once in the spring and again in the fall. During this time, you can expect to see a lot more hair in your home. Bathing on an as needed basis and brushing several times a week are a great help in keeping the Golden Retriever’s coat tangle and mat-free.
Nail trims should be done at least once a week. Good oral hygiene will help to keep your Golden Retriever looking and feeling his very best. You should brush your Golden’s teeth at least twice weekly, more frequently if necessary. This will help to keep plaque and tartar at bay and to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay that could negatively impact your Golden’s health and longevity.
Owning a Golden Retriever means you will have to be committed to regular daily exercise. Experts recommend a minimum of one hour of vigorous activity per day. However, it doesn’t have to be one hour all at once. You can break up the exercise into several shorter periods if that is a better fit for your schedule. Among the activities Goldens excel at are running, hiking, and swimming. Other types of activity you can engage in with your Golden Retriever include hunting, field trials, agility, obedience, Rally, and tracking.
Golden Retrievers love to eat. Because of this, you will need to be careful not to overfeed your dog during training sessions. Choose treats that are bite-sized and low calorie. By selecting this type of treat, you can give your Golden the volume he desires without racking up a lot of calories. The Golden easily gains weight and the excess train on his joints is very detrimental to his health. Maintaining a healthy weight is vitally important to the Golden enjoying a long and healthy life. For this reason, Goldens should never be allowed to free feed as the dog will choose to eat more than he needs and can easily become obese.
Golden Retriever Health
All dog breeds are predisposed to certain genetic conditions. Thankfully, through careful health testing of breeding dogs, it is possible to limit and even possibly eliminate the transmission of some of the most commonly seen problems in some breeds. The main problems that can affect the Golden Retriever include:
- Hip dysplasia
- Elbow dysplasia
- Von Willebrand’s disease
- Progressive retinal atrophy
- Subvalvular aortic stenosis
- Osteochondrosis dissecans
- Gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat)
Reputable breeders conduct the appropriate physical and DNA tests on their dogs prior to any matings to ensure genetic illness is not knowingly passed from generation to generation.
An old tale was once shared that Golden Retrievers were the product of Russian Sheepdogs that were formerly used in a circus act. However, this is not true. The Golden Retriever is a breed that traces its roots to Scotland. They were developed on an estate that belonged to Sir Dudley Majoribanks, a man later referred to as Lord Tweedmouth.
Lord Tweedmouth was a breeder of many different types of dogs with a great desire to perfect each dog type that he bred. From the years 1835 to 1890, Lord Tweedmouth’s attention was firmly on the Golden Retriever. His goals for the breed included the production of a dog skilled at retrieval work with an astute attention span to his owner rather than to the prey on a hunt. In addition to these qualities, Lord Tweedmouth sought to create dogs that were devoted family companions with a gentle and loving disposition.
Beginning with an early type of Golden named Nous, Lord Tweedmouth bred this male to a Tweed Water Spaniel female in the hopes of producing a demeanor that was calm and consistent. This initial pairing was highly successful. From this initial pairing, Tweedmouth also introduced wavy and flat-coated retrievers, and even an Irish Setter into the mix. With each breeding, Lord Tweedmouth kept only the puppies that were yellow in color, giving the other puppies to family members and friends who also loved the breed.
Tweedmouth’s dogs were highly prized not only as cherished family companions but also for their hunting prowess. In 1911, The Kennel Club of England declares the Golden Retriever its own distinct breed. Recognition followed in America in 1932.
Though originally, the Kennel Club of England classified Tweedmouth’s dogs as “Retriever-Yellow or Golden,” this name was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920. Today, the Golden Retriever is one of America’s most popular dog breeds.
Fun Facts About the Golden Retriever
- Golden Retrievers are rated the fourth smartest dog breed in the world. They stand behind the following dog types: Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.
- Both President Ford and President Reagan were lovers of the Golden Retriever, each having one of their own while in office.
- Golden Retrievers are naturally very caring when it comes to other animals. They will eagerly nurse other creatures back to health if needed.
- Golden Retrievers can fall prey to depression if left alone for too long a time. They are an incredibly social breed that only thrives with a great deal of interaction with people. Even the presence of another family pet is a great comfort to this friendly breed.
- A Golden Retriever named Augie from Dallas, Texas, holds the Guinness World Record for keeping the most tennis balls in his mouth at one time. The total number of balls Augie could hold is five.
- The Golden Retriever has webbed feet. This is what helps the Golden to be especially good at water retrieval and swimming.
- Golden Retrievers’ faces grey as they age.
- 60% of Golden Retrievers are affected by cancer at some point in their lifetime.
- 62% of Golden Retrievers are considered to be overweight.
- The Golden Retriever seen in Air Bud and Comet are played by the same canine actor.