The Golden Retriever is a large, balanced, well proportioned gundog breed that is very popular worldwide not only as a retriever but a family pet and companion. It is slightly longer than it is tall and possesses a great, natural working ability. It is characterized by a well chiselled, broad head with a wide and deep muzzle, well defined stop and black nose. It has dark brown eyes with dark eye rims offering an expression of intelligence and friendliness, a set of rather short ears that falls close to the cheeks, strong jaws with complete scissor bite, and a muscular neck that carries the head intelligently. The forelegs of the Golden Retriever are straight and well boned, balanced by equally straight, strong and muscular hindlegs with compact, medium-sized feet and thick pads for cushioning the Golden Retriever’s body from the ground. The well feathered tail is carried straight and level with the back without any curl at the tip. This breed has a double coat made of dense, water-resistant undercoat and a straight or wavy topcoat. The front neck, underside of the tail, and back of thighs are marked with heavy featherings while moderate feathering can be found on the back of the forelegs and undercarriage. The coat can be any shades of gold or cream.
The Golden Retriever originated in the highland deer forest of Guisachan (“Place of the Firs”) in Inverness-shire, Scotland. It was developed by Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks (pronounced “Marchbanks”), 1st Baron Tweedmouth. The development of the Golden Retriever was well documented, as evidenced by the breeding records of Marjoribanks from 1835 to 1890. The breed was a result of a cross between a yellow-coloured dog named “Nous” and a bitch Tweed Water Spaniel (which is now an extinct breed) named “Belle.” Nous was acquired in 1865 and the cross produced a litter which included four female pups in 1868. These four bitch pups would later on be crossed with other sporting breeds including the Red Setter, the sandy-coloured Bloodhound, the St. John’s Newfoundland breed, the Springer Spaniel, and two wavy-coated black retrievers. The result was an ultimate hunting dog, more dynamic and powerful than previous retrievers but gentle and highly trainable. The Golden Retriever was officially recognized as a breed by the English Kennel Club in 1911 and was entered in the stud book as “Retriever (Golden and Yellow), although they were first accepted for registration in 1903 as “Flat Coats – Golden.” The breed was officially named “Golden Retriever” in 1920 and was first brought to Canada in 1881 and registered with the AKC in 1894 and CKC in 1927. Today, the Golden Retriever remains to be one of the most popular dog breeds in the world.
The Golden Retriever is an energetic, friendly and happy breed known for its gentle temperament. It also goes along very well with other household animals. It is easily trained as it loves pleasing its master and it typically loves to learn new things. The Golden Retriever reaches its full height in about 24 months but is typically a slow-maturing dog, mentally speaking. It usually takes about three years or more before its puppy-like nature turns into patient demeanour. Though it is never aggressive, it will typically bark at strangers which make the breed a capable watchdog.
The Golden Retriever requires constant human companionship in order to be happy. It thrives on the affection given by its family and is quite a sociable and lovable dog which can be entertained through fun fetching games such as tossing a stick or a ball to retrieve.
.The double coat has moderate grooming requirements; brushing with a firm bristle brush twice a week should keep it in excellent form. This breed sheds on average and should be bathed only when needed.
The Golden Retriever has an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years. Like other retrievers, it is also prone to certain hereditary diseases. Hip dysplasia is one common ailment in the breed. Certain types of cancer including the most common, hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mastocytoma and osteosarcoma accounts for the most number of deaths among Golden Retrievers. Cataract is the most common eye disease in the breed, along with progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma, distichiasis, entropion, corneal dystrophy and retinal dysplasia. Several other medical issues affect this breed, including:
Haemophilia, genetic illnesses that impair the body’s ability to control bleeding.
Foods that contain wheat, corn, and poultry are ideal base diet for this breed. Limit the amount of beef as much as possible. Also, the Golden Retriever should be given a diet with the best sources of fatty acids (linseed-, corn- or wheat germ oil) in order to keep the coat in excellent condition.
This breed requires an active family and needs to be exercised on a daily basis. Daily long walks, a session of play in an open area, or running are some of the best exercises suited for this breed. It is not recommended for an apartment life because of its high energy level. It is more suited in a house with a large yard where it can run and play freely.
It is excellent with children and very tolerant of them, although it can be too boisterous for small children. This breed is well known for its affection for people and makes a great therapy dog.