Golden Retriever

Country of origin:
Great Britain
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
• unsurpassed playfulness
• gentle with kids
• friendly with other household pets
• excellent trainability
• great gundog
• regular grooming needed
• needs relatively intensive daily exercise
• prone to obesity
• keen on chewing things

The Golden Retriever is an exemplary companion dog, which enjoys enormous popularity in its native Scotland as well as throughout the world. With its docility, cleverness and touchingly gentle attitude towards kids this breed does best in large families that prefer active lifestyle. Other talents of this dog include game retrieving, tracking, sniffing out drugs, assisting handicapped people.

The concept of creating a hunting dog, which would excel in retrieving both waterfowl and upland quarry appeared in the middle of XIX century. By that time retriever-type dogs had already won great appreciation with Scottish and English sportsmen but they constantly strived to improve working qualities of their dogs and make them more versatile.

Luckily enough the history of development of the Golden Retriever is well-documented in a journal led from approximately 1840 to 1890 by Dudley Marjoribanks in the Highlands, Inverness-shire, of Scotland. He adopted the single amber pup in a litter of dark wavy-haired retrievers in 1865 and nicknamed it Nous, which is translated from Greek as «wisdom». Eventually it turned into a stout dog with gorgeous golden hair. Nous was crossbred with the bitch of the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel who gave birth to four yellowish puppies. This litter was used as foundational stock for the development of the new breed. In his subsequent breeding work Dudley Marjoribanks also used such breeds as the Bloodhound, Red Setter, Labrador Retriever and other specimens of the Tweed Water Spaniel. In several generations he developed a stable line of Retrievers with excellent working talents.

The Golden Retriever attracted attention of dog lovers in 1904 when the Marjoribanks’ dogs took premier place in the first field competition for Retrievers. In 1913 it was finally accepted as a separate breed under the name «Retriever – Yellow or Golden».

Its first specimens found its way to the United States in the beginning of the XX century. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognised this dog in 1925. Its number permanently increased in this country after the Second World and peaked in the 70s of XX century.

Currently the Golden Retriever serves as a hunting dog, guide dog for the blind, search-and-rescue animal and as tracking and scenting expert. It performs exceptionally well in obedience and agility competitions, in various trials as well as thrives at dog’s shows throughout the world. Winsome personality of the breed, its docility and elegance are primarily responsible for its popularity as a family pet.

A well-balanced, placid disposition is the most prominent attribute of the Golden Retriever. It was developed to function in tight cooperation with people so it tends to deeply attach to its human family. This sociable dog requires a constant company and can misbehave if left alone for a long period of time. As with any other dog, certain amount of socialisation and obedience training is a must for the breed especially if you have one or several small children. In most cases it’s very kind and gentle with kids although it may be too exuberant and playful to be completely trusted with toddlers.

The Golden Retriever likes striking up new acquaintances and usually cordially welcomes any guest in the house. The universal friendliness of this dog implies that it will make an awful guardian, which will eagerly let any intruder in without a second thought. However, the Mother Nature presented it with enough vigilance to become a fairly good watchdog. Be mindful that this dog is an avid chewer, so it would be wise to provide it with decent amount of chew toys and bones.

Thanks to its peaceable nature the Golden Retriever usually treats respectfully other canines. It will be pleased to share its existence with one or several dogs preferably with matching energy level. Being a proficient hunting dog the Golden Retriever specialises on delivering dead animals to the hunter so it’s not as bloodthirsty as majority of sporting breeds. That’s why it can be kept together with a household cat (and other non-canine pets) if it has been exposed to its presence since an early age.
Health Problems

The most common problems for the breed include:

• cancer (various forms);
• eye problems;
• elbow dysplasia;
• canine hip dysplasia;
• muscular dystrophy;
• hypothyroidism;
• obesity;
• skin disorders;
• subaortic stenosis.

The Golden Retriever needs regular grooming. Its long, rich coat should be brushed on daily basis in order to avert mats and tangles and diminish the amount of loose fur that accumulates on carpets and furniture. This dog sheds continuously throughout a year and loses hair in flocks in the spring and fall. It also needs regular bathing (but not more often than every two weeks) since it’s apt to give off a nasty doggie smell.

Examine the ears of your pet every week and wipe them down with a soft cloth and a veterinarian-approved cleanser. Regular nail trimming is also essential for those dogs that don’t grind their nails off in a natural way. Cleaning of the dog’s teeth should be performed at least on a weekly basis.

The training of the Golden Retriever is a very simple work. This dog virtually lives to please its owner and will try tooth and nail for few encouraging words and some tasty food. So it’s well-suited for the role of the first dog. This breed should always be trained with a mild hand as it isn’t responsive to harsh or disrespectful treatment.

There is a certain difficulty in teaching this dog to walk on a leash without constantly pulling so start introducing your puppy to leash etiquette as early as possible. Thanks to great intelligence and obedient nature of the Golden Retriever it’s often the breed of preference of police forces that use it for detecting explosives and drug on search and rescue operations.

The Golden Retriever requires lots of energetic exercises in order to stay well-mannered and calm indoors. Nonetheless several long and brisk daily walks will mostly satisfy its need for physical outlet. This dog is always eager to take part in any exuberant activity whether walking, camping, swimming or playing hide-and-seek with children.

Despite its even temper and tranquil nature the Golden Retriever isn’t the best choice for an apartment dweller as it needs plenty of space to move around. This dog can become highly destructive if it doesn’t get a regular chance to burn its excessive energy.