Golden Retriever

Recommended for: Families
Maintenance Level: Medium
Lifespan: 11-12 years
Temperament:
Friendly, intelligent, gentle
Health Risk:
This breed has an around average probability of having health issues in its lifetime, hence it is one of the more affordable breeds to insure.
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Breed Overview

The Golden Retriever is one of the world’s favourite dog breeds. Originally bred as Scottish gun dogs, Golden Retrievers are smart, trainable and friendly companions. Because of their intelligence and work ethic, they make great working dogs and can be utilised in many different roles including as seeing-eye dogs, hearing dogs, hunting & detection dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

Golden Retrievers are sturdy, muscular, medium-sized dogs with a distinctive lustrous, thick, golden coat for which the breed is named. 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. American Golden Retrievers are taller than their British cousins, 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. Because they tend to shed quite a lot, it is recommended that owners spend 10 minutes per week brushing the dog and bathe it once per month.

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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Golden Retriever Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

Personality and Temperament

Golden Retrievers are famous for their friendly and gentle temperament, which has consistently placed them on most popular dog breed lists around the world, Australia included. 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.

Goldens are intelligent, outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please their humans. They take a joyous and playful approach to life and maintain this puppyish behaviour into adulthood. These energetic, powerful retrievers enjoy outdoor play; developed to retrieve waterfowl for hours on end, swimming and fetching are natural pastimes. While they love to play, they are incredibly smart and highly trainable. Favourites at dog shows and sporting competitions, Golden Retrievers are frequently listed in the top 5 smartest dogs.

As active and energetic sporting dogs, Golden Retrievers need plenty of daily exercise; if not, they are likely to engage in undesirable behaviour. They make great companions for active owners, including distance runners and cyclists. They also enjoy participating in canine sports such as agility, obedience, and tracking.

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.

Common Golden Retriever Diseases & Conditions

Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

Golden Retrievers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock for inheritable health conditions. However, the following conditions can occur in the breed:

  • Cancer. A 1998 study by the Golden Retriever Club of America found that various cancers (namely hemangiosarcoma, lymphosarcoma, mast cell tumour and osteosarcoma) were responsible for the deaths of 61.4% of Golden Retrievers in America, while a UK study from 2004 places this number at 38.8%.
  • Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition in which the thighbone and hip socket do not fit together properly, causing pain and lameness in one or both hip joints. The condition should be assessed and managed by a vet from as early as possible because it can lead to painful arthritis later in the dog’s life.
  • Elbow dysplasia, common among large dog breeds, is a heritable condition in which different growth rates of the bones in the elbow can cause joint laxity, leading to pain and lameness. Surgery may be required to fix the issue or medication may be given to control the pain.
  • Subvalvular aortic stenosis is a heart problem resulting from a narrow connection between the aorta and the left ventricle, which can cause fainting and even death. This condition is detectable and treatable.
  • Cataracts in canines, like those in humans, are characterised by cloudy spots on the eye which grow over time and can develop at any age. Often they do not severely impact the dog’s vision, but in some cases have been known to cause blindness. Another eye condition called Progressive retinal atrophy can also cause vision loss in Golden Retrievers.
  • Osteochondrosis dissecans is an orthopaedic condition resulting from improper cartilage growth in the joints, usually in the elbows, which causes severe pain. Too much protein fed to the dog when it is a puppy can lead to the condition.
  • Allergies can be an issue with Golden Retrievers, especially allergies to fleas and occasionally food. Symptoms include the dog licking its paws or rubbing its face very often.
  • Gastric dilation-volvulus (bloat) is a life-threatening condition affecting larger dogs. It is caused by feeding the dog one large meal a day, eating too quickly, or drinking lots of water or doing physical activity after eating. Unless treated immediately, the dog may die. Signs include a distended abdomen, excessive drooling and retching.
  • Other Issues, including Von Willebrand’s disease (a blood disease), epilepsy and hypothyroidism are also conditions which may affect Golden Retrievers.

Not all conditions are covered by Pet Insurance. For details of Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance cover, refer to the Product Disclosure Statement.

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    Golden Retriever Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance

    History

    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 it was first seen at a British dog show in 1908. In 1911 it was officially recognised as “Retriever (Golden and Yellow)”. The American Kennel Club officially recognised the breed 14 years later in 1925, but the breed’s popularity really took off in the 1970s, the era of President Gerald Ford and his beautiful Golden named Liberty.

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    Golden Retriever Facts!

    • Gerald R. Ford, the 38th President of the USA owned a Golden Retriever called Liberty. It is said that if Ford wanted to end a conversation in the Oval Office he would signal the dog who would then greet the visitor, creating a break in the conversation.
    • Golden Retrievers are great watch dogs but not great guard dogs, as they are friendly to everyone, even strangers.
    • Celebrity Golden Retriever owners include Ben Affleck, Denise Richards, Andrew Garfield, Curtis Stone, Betty White, Jackie Chan, Oprah and Adam Levine.
    • Golden Retrievers have starred in many films and television series, notably the Air Bud series, Homeward Bound, Pushing Daisies and the Aussie kids’ favourite, Napoleon.
    • Despite the fact Golden Retrievers are physically mature by the age of 2, they still act like puppies until around 3 years of age – some act like puppies for their entire life!
    • Golden Retrievers are “crepuscular” dogs, meaning they’re active in the morning and at night, but tend to sleep during a large portion of the day.
    • They have very high pain tolerance, which makes them perfect for potentially dangerous jobs, e.g. police work, search & rescue and hunting.
    • Their origin as hunting dogs make them great playmates, as they were bred to be able to seek and catch!

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    MORE INFORMATION

    Golden Retriever Club of NSW:    http://www.grcnsw.org.au/

    Golden Retriever Club of Vic:   http://www.grcv.org.au/

    National Golden Retriever Council Australia:   http://ausngrc.org/

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