Country of Origin: Great Britain
Height: Males 22–24 inches, females 20–22.5 inches
Weight: Males 65–75 pounds, females 55–70 pounds
Coat: Double coat with straight or wavy, firm, dense, water-repellant outercoat and good undercoat; neck ruff
Colors: Various shades of golden
Registries (With Group): AKC (Sporting); UKC (Gun Dog)
Origin and History
In the 1850s, the fashion in England was for black-colored Wavy-Coated Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, although yellow recessives had always been present in these retrievers. It wasn’t until Sir Dudley Majoribanks (Lord Tweedmouth) began his breeding program in the late 1800s, though, that a golden-colored retriever was developed as a separate breed. Majoribanks acquired a yellow Flat-Coated Retriever, and wanting to strengthen the water-retrieving abilities, bred him to Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct), who were light colored and had curly hair. For 20 years he further refined his light-colored hunting dog with crosses to Labradors, red setters, other Wavy Coats, and possibly the Bloodhound. First registered as “Golden Flat Coats,” it wasn’t until 1920 that they were called Golden Retrievers.
Goldens came to North American in the 1920s and were immediately popular, but World War II had a negative impact on their numbers. After the war, the breed regained its popularity. By the 1970s, there were enough influential breeding programs in the United States that “American” Goldens began to have a look that was distinct from the “European” or “British” Goldens, which tend to be lighter in color, heavier, and have a wavier coat. However, they are still considered the same breed, and their standards are nearly identical.
Today, the Golden is one of the best-loved dogs in the world. He is a wonderfully versatile dog who excels in the hunt field and in just about any activity to which he is introduced. Goldens are used with more and more frequency by service dog organizations seeking mild-mannered yet highly trainable dogs.
Lovable, easygoing, pleasant companions, it is said that Golden Retrievers are born wanting to please. Always up for an adventure, Goldens are as at home hiking in the wild as they are curled up on the couch with their family. They are smart and sociable, understanding almost intuitively what’s desired of them from those around them. They get along fabulously with other pets, children, and people.
Particularly as a puppy but all throughout his life, the Golden Retriever does best with plenty of exercise. Because he is so good at so many things, one way to give it to him is by participating in sports or other activities.
Golden Retrievers shed regularly and must be brushed several times a week. Their flowing coat also needs to be kept free of mats, tangles, and things they can pick up in the field, such as burrs and mud. Their ears are prone to infection and should be cleaned regularly.
The average life span of the Golden Retriever is 10 to 12 years.
The Golden Retriever is truly one of the most easily trained breeds in dogdom. That doesn’t mean that he doesn’t need and deserve the same patience and positive attitude as his canine cohorts. It just means that trained with respect and rewards, he can master just about anything—and perform it with joy.
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