Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Country of origin: Great Britain (Scotland)
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Occupation: Hunter, companion,
performance sports
Size: 21.5 to 24 in tall; 50 to
80 lbs
Longevity: 11 to 13 years
Exercise: Vigorous daily
Training: Easy; moderate to
keep challenged
Grooming: Easy to moderate
Colors: Dark golden to cream

This is a golden dog with a matching golden temperament. It may not have the twinkle in the eye of the Labrador, it may have a bit of a sense of humour bypass, but this is a dog with an overwhelming generosity of spirit. The breed’s origins are known in absolute detail. Lord Tweedmouth, from Guisachan, Scotland, purchased a yellow Flat-coated Retriever named “Nous”, bred by the Earl of Chichester in Sussex, England, and crossed it with one of his nowextinct Tweed Water Spaniels. The cross produced a litter that included four bitches named Ada, Primrose, Crocus, and Cowslip. Their descendants, and in particular Cowslip’s, are the ancestors of all Golden Retrievers. Lord Tweedmouth did what is virtually impossible to do today. He introduced occasional outcrosses with other breeds into his breeding programme: Flat-coated retrievers, an Irish Setter for colour, even a tan-coloured Bloodhound for improved tracking skills. Initially, his breed was classified under “Flat Coats – Golden” but later acquired its own name. In the US, the breed standard calls for “rich, lustrous golden” while in the UK, golden or cream colours are accepted. This has led to the emergence of strikingly different-looking dogs on either side of the Atlantic.

In Britain, smaller working lines have diverged from the more common show lines of dogs. Regardless of looks, however, the temperament is the same: sensitive, devoted, sociable, obedient, with an intense desire to please and an almost obsessive compulsion to carry something in their mouths. As with all dogs bred for retrieving waterfowl, these mouths are gentle, and the patient Golden Retriever will rarely snap and is especially reliable with children. (These retrievers are also surprisingly vocal, but as far as watchdog value is concerned they may bark momentarily before gleefully watching a burglar strip your house.) Their affability, responsiveness, and eager desire to please has resulted in them becoming the top choice as assistance dogs for people in wheelchairs, as therapy dogs for visits to hospitals, as guide dogs for blind people, as well as superb police or mountain search and rescue work dogs. They are also used for drug and ordnance detecting. Popularity, with its accompanying intensive selective breeding, does bring problems. Skin and gastrointestinal allergies are increasingly common and, surprisingly, possessive aggression over food and toys occurs at a greater frequency than average in dogs. X-raying hips for dysplasia is still vital in breeding programmes.

Breed name synonyms: Goldie


Compared to other breeds, the history of the Golden Retriever is relatively new, dating as recently as the mid to late 19th century. There is an old legend suggesting that Golden Retrievers are descendents of Russian sheepdogs bought from a circus and later on brought to the United Kingdom.
However, it is a well known fact that the Golden Retriever originated in Scotland, as a result of the sportsman’s wish for efficient retrieving dogs for both waterfowl and upland game. It is believed that all Retrievers go back to one ancestor – the Saint John’s Dog of Newfoundland.
Today the Golden Retriever is among the top ten most popular dog breeds in the world.


According to the breed standard the Golden Retriever’s personality can be described as friendly, reliable and trustworthy. They are eager, alert, confident, well-mannered and relaxed. Golden Retrievers are people oriented dogs and crave human companionship. They are loveable, sociable, outgoing and friendly even with strangers. Occasionally they may bark but are very bad watch and guard dogs.

Golden Retrievers are active and energetic dogs that require regular physical activities. They also need a lot of mental stimulation. They are widely known for the ability to tolerate other pets and children. Sometimes their attitude towards children can be described as overwhelmingly affectionate.

Golden Retrievers reach mental maturity very late or never and tend to keep puppy-like nature through their entire life.


Golden Retrievers are sturdy, powerful, well-proportioned and symmetrical, large-sized dogs, with deep-set, brown eyes and kind facial expression. The chest is deep and the tail is curved and carried horizontally. The muzzle is wide and the jaws are strong.

Goldies have gorgeous, straight or wavy, thick and water-repellent double-coat. There are featherings on the underbody, forelimbs, chest and the underside of the tail. Accepted coat colors include any shade of gold (ranging from light to dark).

Male Golden Retrievers should ideally stand 23-24’’ (58.5-61cm) at the withers and weight around 65-75Ib (29.5-34kg). Females should stand 21.5-22.5’’ (54.5-57cm) and weigh approximately 55-65Ib (25-29.5kg).


Golden Retrievers enjoy learning and pleasing their owners and are therefore easy to train. They are obedient and ready to do anything for a praise or treat, which makes them an excellent choice for first time owners. They are very sensitive and must be handled gently. On the flip side they are enthusiastic about everything around them and often get distracted. Rarely if strong leadership is not established by the owner, the Goldie may take control and act out.

Exposure to a variety of experiences is crucial for raising a well-behaved and well-rounded Golden Retriever. The process of socialization is part of that experience. Since as a breed Goldies are very sociable, when left alone, they almost always develop severe separation anxiety, manifested through destructive chewing.


A large number of health issues can be seen in Golden Retrievers. They are prone to cardiovascular conditions (aortic stenosis, tricuspid dysplasia, Duchenne’s X-linked muscular dystrophy, pericardial effusion), dermatological conditions (atopy, food hypersensitivity, acral lick dermatitis), endocrine diseases (hypothyroidism, insulinoma), gastrointestinal conditions (secondary megaoesophagus, congenital portosystemic shunt), musculoskeletal conditions (myasthenia gravis, elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, Hock osteochondrosis), neoplastic conditions (mast cell tumors, trichoepithelioma, melanoma, haemangioma, hemangiosarcoma, fibroma, lymphosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, brain tumors), neurological conditions (epilepsy, acquired myasthenia gravis), ocular conditions (entropion, ectropion, pseudopapilloedema, progressive retinal atrophy, uveitis, glaucoma), renal and urinary conditions (familial renal disease, ectopic ureters, silica urolithiasis), reproductive conditions (congenital preputial stenosis), respiratory conditions (laryngeal paralysis).

The average lifespan of the Golden Retriever is estimated to be 10-15 years.



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