The Golden Retriever is one of the world’s favourite dog breeds. Originally bred as gun dogs, the Golden Retriever is a smart, trainable and friendly companion. Because of their intelligence, they make great working dogs and can be seen performing a number of different roles including seeing-eye dogs, hearing dogs, hunting & detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Golden Retrievers are large, strong dogs with thick coats which repel water. There are three main types of Golden Retrievers, which have arisen due to the breed’s widespread popularity. The British type has a wider, shorter muzzle, shorter legs and tail, a deeper chest and a blockier forehead. British Golden Retrievers tend to be gold or cream, but never red, mahogany or white. American Golden Retrievers are taller than British ones, lankier, and less stocky. Canadian types have thinner, darker coats and are generally taller and leaner than other types. Puppies of all types usually have a very light coat which darkens over time.
The breed has a double coat which sheds throughout the year but particularly around the change of the season. It has a thicker, water-repellent top coat and a soft undercoat to keep the dog cool in warmer months and warm in cooler months.
Healthy male Golden Retrievers weigh between 29 and 34 kg on average and stand at about 58 – 61 cm tall. Females weigh in at 27 – 32 kg and stand at 55 – 57 cm tall.
The average lifespan of a Golden Retriever is around 11-12 years.
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They are known for being loveable and charming dogs who love to please their owners. They are at their happiest when surrounded by their family, and are often described as the ideal family pet. They are good with children, loyal, docile, and are extremely rarely aggressive.
Because they tend to shed quite a lot, it is recommended that owners spend 10 minutes a week brushing the dog and bathing it once a month.
Like all dogs, the Golden Retriever should be socialised and exposed to different environments and situations from a young age to ensure it becomes a well-rounded dog.
As they are large dogs, Golden Retrievers require at least two hours of physical activity a day – if they do not get enough exercise, they can become destructive and highly-strung. Whilst they like to play, they are incredibly smart and highly trainable dogs. Favourites at dog shows and sporting competitions, Golden Retrievers are frequently listed in the top 5 smartest dogs.
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The Golden Retriever is a relatively recently-developed breed. It originated in Scotland in the mid-1800s out of a need for an adequate retriever breed (both on land and in water) for wealthy hunters. The breed we see today came out of crossing the best water spaniels with existing land retrievers, resulting in an active, powerful dog with a soft mouth-grip for retrieving game. The Scottish businessman and politician Dudley Marjoribanks is credited with creating the breed and his daughter Ishbel is credited with bringing the breed to Canada.
The Kennel Club of England first registered the breed as “Flat Coats – Golden” in 1903 and in 1911 it was officially recognised as “Retriever (Golden and Yellow)”. The American Kennel Club officially recognised the breed 14 years later in 1925.