Height: 21 – 24 in
Weight: 55 – 80 lbs
Life Span: 10 – 12 yrs
Coloring: All shades of golden; from almost white to red
Area of Origin: Scotland
Similar Breeds: Labrador Retriever, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Curly- Coated Retriever, Flat -Coated Retriever, Irish Setter
History and Origin:
A gun dog specializing in retrieving game quickly and harmlessly, the Golden Retriever is of Scottish origin, developed in the mid nineteenth century. Technological advances in hunting rifles created a need for an intelligent, agile, and hardy retriever to seek out and return fallen birds over large distances. When the attempt to train pointer and setter breeds to fulfill this role was unsuccessful, attention was given to developing a breed that would satisfy the needs of the nineteenth century hunter. Dudley Majorbanks, the 1st Baron Tweedmouth of Inverness took on this challenge. His first retriever dogs were a mix between the Flat-Coated Retriever and the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel; the marshy landscape of northern Scotland required a hunting dog comfortable retrieving prey both on solid ground and in lakes and ponds.
Further introduction of Bloodhound and Irish Setter blood created an intelligent and loyal hunting dog specializing in fowl. The popularity of this new breed spread throughout the United Kingdom, and in 1913, the Golden Retriever became a recognized breed by the Kennel Club, separate from the Flat-Coated Retriever, under which it had previous been categorized. By 1925, the Golden Retriever had established itself as a favorite hunting and companion animal in the United States, and was accepted into the American Kennel Club the same year.
Still used as a hunting dog today, the Golden Retriever’s versatility and intelligence have allowed it to excel in a number of services; it is used extensively as a guide dog, search and rescue dog, and in bomb and drug detection. It is the third most popular breed in America after the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd, and enjoys great success as a devoted family companion.
Personality and Temperament:
Intelligent, patient, loving, and kind, the Golden Retriever is truly a “people” dog, and loves meeting strangers! A devoted family companion, the Golden Retriever is not suited to guard dog work as aggression and hostility are unacceptable in its breed standards and are rarely exhibited by the breed. It is a patient dog with a willingness to please; it is fantastic with children. A keen intellect is present underneath its loveable exterior, and the Golden Retriever is ranked fourth – only trailing the Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd – for intelligence. Active and playful, it thrives in an environment where it can have a job to complete. A lover of water and the outdoors, the Golden Retriever can be an excellent companion for the nature lovers. Due to its calm, accepting, loving nature, the Golden Retriever is a suitable breed for the nervous or first-time owner.
Exercise & Training:
The Golden Retriever is a working dog at heart, and need quite a bit of physical and mental exercise daily to keep it happy and healthy. Exercise and training regimes with varying activities will help satisfy the Retriever’s instinct to work, and the breed is particularly successful in hunt and obedience trials. Participating in agility, dock diving, and retrieving activities are all excellent ways to allow the Golden Retriever to exercise its natural instincts, and also helps strengthen the bond between dog and owner. If given proper stimulation, the Golden Retriever can live happily in an apartment, but a house with a yard is ideal. Due to its high level of intelligence, the Golden Retriever is exceptionally easy to train, and its laid-back nature allows even the most novice of trainers to achieve great success with this dog.
The Golden Retriever is an average shedder, and its double coat requires frequent brushing to keep it tangle-free. Bathe only when necessary to avoid drying out the skin.
A hunting dog, the Golden Retriever shares many characteristics and ancestry with other British retrieving dogs, such as the Flat-Coated Retriever, Curly-Coated Retriever, and the Irish Setter. It is similar in demeanor and appearance with the Labrador Retriever; the two breeds likely share ancestry through the old-type Flat-Coated Retriever.
Interesting Facts about the Golden Retriever:
1. The Golden Retriever has an exceptionally gentle mouth, designed for carrying delicate fowl (either dead or alive) back to its master on the hunt.
2. American Presidents Gerald R. Ford and Ronald Reagan both owned Golden Retrievers.
3. The Golden Retriever has been featured in many films, such as Air Bud and Homeward Bound.
4. Unlike some other breeds, whose histories are clouded in mystery, the ancestry of the Golden Retriever is preserved in records written by Lord Tweedmouth’s gamekeepers from 1835 – 1890. They were published in 1952 by Tweedmouth’s great-nephew.
Organizations dedicated to the Golden Retriever:
Golden Retriever Club of America
National Rescue Committee of the Golden Retriever Club of America
GRREAT – Golden Retriever Rescue, Education, and Training
Golden Retriever Freedom Rescue, Inc.
Golden Retrievers in Need Rescue Service (G.R.I.N.)