A light-coated Golden
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 8 Section 1 #111
||Group 3 (Gundogs)
||Group 1 - Sporting Dogs
||Gun Dog Breeds
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Golden Retriever is a relatively modern and very popular
dog. It was developed
retrieving dog to use while hunting wild
fowl. Today it is
one of the most common family dogs as it is easy to handle, very tolerant and
does not require very much of the owners, other than regular exercise, food and
veterinary check-ups. It is often affectionately known as a Golden, or
Goldie. What makes the Golden unique is its pleasing personality. This breed
gets along well with people and other dogs, however after the seclusion from dog
life it may develop human qualities and then may not be fond of other
dogs. It will bark when startled but other than that it makes a poor watchdog
due to its friendly nature. It is also easily trained because of the natural
drive to please the master. This is a dog who wants only to be with people and
is happy in the presence of people without being annoying or demanding.
Color ranges from nearly blonde to this dark golden coat.
The Golden Retriever reaches its full height at about one year of age, and
its full weight at about two. While it matures physically at about two years'
age, mentally it does not fully mature until three or older, and many owners
comment that their dogs retain their puppyish nature for life.
This is a large breed which in appearance is similar in size, general shape,
and color to the yellow
Labrador Retriever, especially when young and for those Goldens with lighter
coats. The most obvious difference is the Golden Retriever's luxuriant coat. To
confuse the two breeds is a serious faux pas to a fancier of either, of
AKC standard states that the coat is a "rich, lustrous golden of various
shades", disallowing coats that are extremely light or extremely dark. This
leaves the outer ranges of coat color up to a judge's discretion when competing
in dog shows.
Most Goldens enjoy active entertainment, such as
Goldies are active and fun-loving but also exceptionally patient, as befits a
dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a
hunting blind. Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage is a
size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for cool
Like the Labrador Retriever, they are noted for their
intelligence, their affection for people, and their tolerance of children.
They are natural
clowns, which characterizes them as great dogs to use in hospitals or
retirement homes. Golden Retrievers make great pets for young children due to
their nurturing instincts and gentle nature. The other side of this is that they
require lots of companionship to be happy. They do well in
obedience trials and make excellent
however, like people, not all of these dogs are this way. While they might not
do quite as well in
field trials as Labrador Retrievers, they are excellent hunters that are
famous for their outstanding scenting abilities. They are exceptionally eager to
please their owners.
Golden Retriever female puppy.
Obviously, the Golden Retriever loves to retrieve. Retrieving a thrown stick,
tennis ball, or
frisbee can keep a Golden occupied and entertained for hours, particularly
if there is also water involved.
Today's Golden Retrievers fall into two groups: show dogs and field dogs. The
Goldens in the show group are generally bigger boned, longer, and heavier. The
champagne color and long flowing coat are highly prized in the show ring. On the
other hand, field Goldens tend to be smaller, longer legged, and be redder
golden. These two strains derive from famous goldens from the 1960s. Gold Rush
Charlie moved the show Goldens toward their present characteristics, while
Holway Barty greatly affected the field group. Presently, many breeders are
attempting to unite these two strains into the all-Purpose Golden Retriever.
The breed was originally developed in
at "Guichan", near Glen Afric, the highland estate of Sir Dudley Majoribanks
(pronounced "Marchbanks"), later
Lord Tweedmouth. For many years, there was controversy over which breeds
were originally crossed; especially popular was a romantic story concerning the
purchase of a whole troupe of Russian
from a visiting
circus. In 1952, the publication of Majoribanks' breeding records from 1835
to 1890 removed all doubt.
A patient Golden showing the breed's broad face and wide muzzle.
The original cross was of a yellow-coloured dog, Nous, with a
Tweed Water Spaniel bitch, Belle. The Tweed Water Spaniel is now
extinct but was then common in the border country. Majoribanks had purchased
Nous on 1865 from an unregistered litter of otherwise black wavy-coated
pups. In 1868, this cross produced a litter that included four bitch pups. These
four became the basis of a breeding program which included
St. John's Water Dog of Newfoundland,
Springer Spaniel, and two more wavy-coated black Retrievers. The bloodline
was also inbred and selected for trueness to Majoribanks' idea of the ultimate
dog. This vision included a more vigorous and powerful dog than previous
retrievers but that would still be exceptionally good with people and thus
gentle and trainable. Russian sheepdogs are not mentioned in these records, nor
are any other
dog breeds. The ancestry of the Golden Retriever is all
sporting dogs, in line with Majoribanks' goals.
Golden Retrievers were first accepted for registration by the
Kennel Club of England in 1903, as 'Flat Coats - Golden'. They were first
exhibited in 1908, and in 1911 were recognised as a breed described as
'Retriever (Golden and Yellow)'. In 1913, the Golden Retriever Club was founded.
The breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.
The Hon. Archie Majoribanks took a Golden Retriever to
Canada in 1881,
and registered Lady with the
American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1894. These are the first records of the breed
in these two countries. The breed was first registered in Canada in 1927, and
the Golden Retriever Club of
the Golden Retriever Club of Canada, was formed in 1958.
The AKC recognized the breed in 1932, and in 1938 the Golden Retriever Club
of America was formed.
A Golden puppy chasing its tail.
The breed's prominence and prevalence has produced high demand for purebred
Golden Retrievers. As an unfortunate consequence, many Goldens are abandoned
each year by owners who can no longer care for them. These dogs, many of which
are old or in need of medical support, arrive in
mills, large-scale commercial breeding operations sometimes shut down for
their notoriously poor conditions, are another source of orphan Golden
In response, many volunteer organizations work to rescue, care for, and adopt
abandoned Golden Retrievers. These
groups usually accept dogs from owners and establish agreements with local
animal shelters to ensure that dogs will be transferred to their care rather
than euthanized. Once rescued, Golden Retrievers are placed in
homes until a permanent home is found. It is common for rescue groups to
screen prospective adopters to ensure that they are capable of providing a good
home for the dog.
Golden retriever rescue groups have relied heavily on the world wide web to
raise funds and advertise rescued goldens to adopters. In 1996, breed enthusiast
and rescue pioneer Helen Redlus founded
Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace, a website that sold merchandise to fund
rescue operations. Many local groups continue in this tradition, and rescue
organizations can be found in most regions of the United States and throughout
Famous Golden Retrievers
- Alex from
Stroh Brewery Company ads
- Air Bud
- Brandon, companion of
- Shadow from the
Homeward Bound movies
- Liberty, pet of
- Duke, from
Bush's Baked Beans commercials
- Comet from
- Speedy from
The Drew Carey Show
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