Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs with dense and water-resistant coats. Their coats can be feathered, flat, or wavy, and they range in color from cream to golden brown. If feathering is present, it is sometimes lighter than the rest of the coat. These dogs have broad heads, tapered muzzles, and brown or black noses. Their ears hang and their eyes are large and dark. Golden Retrievers measure 21.5 to 24 inches at the withers and weigh 55 to 75 pounds.
An eager, intelligent, loving, and playful breed, Golden Retrievers are a perfect fit for suburban families who spend a lot of time outdoors.
An eager, intelligent, loving, and playful breed, Golden Retrievers are a perfect fit for suburban families who spend a lot of time outdoors. These dogs benefit from a fenced-in yard due to their size and energy level. They are well behaved and get along great with children.
Golden Retrievers love playing fetch and other games, and their boundless energy means hours of play before they become tired or bored.
Golden Retrievers are known for being everyone's friend, and they are especially loving and patient with children. They make devoted and obedient family companions, and they are not typically territorial, destructive, or aggressive. In fact, they are as friendly with unfamiliar people and other dogs as they are with extended family members. For this reason, they do not make the best guard dogs.
These dogs are highly confident and extremely active, and they love carrying objects in their mouths. They will run and play until they collapse, and it's necessary to monitor their activity and fatigue levels because of this. Daily exercise is necessary to keep these dogs mentally and physically stimulated.
Golden Retrievers are best suited to life with active families or couples in which one or more family member is home during the day for company. These dogs do not enjoy being left alone for long periods, and even a few hours a day can result in depression and loneliness. In homes where human family members are away at school or work all day, a dog sitter may be necessary to prevent these problems from developing.
Golden Retrievers are prone to a number of health conditions, some of which are hereditary and/or known to shorten life. Common health problems in this breed include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, pyotraumaticdermatitis, OCD, skin allergies, von Willebrand disease, and epilepsy. Certain eye conditions, such as entropion, cataracts, central progressive retinal atrophy, distchiasis, and trichiasis are also known to affect Golden Retrievers.
Heart disease, especially subaortic stenosis, is also prevalent in Golden Retrievers. This condition causes a narrowing of the aorta responsible for carrying blood away from the heart. Other serious concerns in these dogs include gastric torsion, hypothyroidism, and certain cancers, such as osteosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, mast cell tumors, and lymphosarcoma. In fact, the cancer rate in these dogs is so high that some veterinarians have dubbed them "cancer retrievers."
Routine veterinary checkups, proper nutrition, timely vaccinations, and plenty of exercise help ensure Golden Retrievers live a full 10 to 12 years. However, exercise should be gentle during the breed's first two years of life, as the growth plates are still forming during this period and are susceptible to damage.
Early training is important when it comes to preventing obnoxious behaviors in Golden Retrievers. Without proper training and socialization, the breed can develop negative behaviors and habits, such as excessive barking, digging, chewing, and food stealing. These behaviors are also worse when the breed is bored or left unsupervised for long periods. Patience and consistency are key to training these dogs.
Young Golden Retrievers can be difficult to manage, as they tend to be boisterous, intense, and highly energetic. Puppies can easily spend most of the day chewing, jumping around, and retrieving every object in and out of sight. Fortunately, these behavioral traits will mellow once the Golden Retriever is a few years old.
The easiest way to manage the breed's hyperactivity is to provide plenty of outlets for excess energy. Golden Retrievers loving running, swimming, and playing fetch, and they are always in the mood to accompany their family on bike rides, hikes, and runs.
The Golden Retriever's double coat sheds seasonally and needs brushing a couple of times each week. Although the coat does not tend to mat, it will become tangled and collect sticks and other debris if not brushed regularly. More frequent brushing during shedding season can help manage loose hair. At peak times, it may be necessary to brush these dogs daily, and this should be a consideration before adoption or purchase.
Bathing this breed is rarely necessary, but a thorough rinse after swimming in chlorine, salt, or algae is essential. Failure to rinse these substances from the coat can damage the hair and dry the skin.
The nails need trimming every few weeks to prevent snags and breaks, and the ears should be checked weekly for redness, odor, discharge, or other signs of infection. Any wax accumulation should be promptly removed with a veterinarian-approved otic cleanser. To prevent gum disease and tooth decay, the Golden Retriever's teeth should be brushed regularly with canine toothpaste.
The Golden Retriever originated in 19th century Scotland for use during hunting. Lord Tweedmouth developed the breed to create a retriever that was well suited to the climate of the Scottish Highlands, as well as to the game and terrain of the area.
To start, Lord Tweedmouth crossed the original Yellow Retriever with another dog found on his estate, called the Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct). Later, Bloodhounds and Irish Setters were introduced to the mix to create the Golden Retriever that exists today.
The Golden Retriever is now one of the most popular dogs in the United States, due primarily to the breed's intelligence, attractiveness, and eager-to-please attitude. In addition to being excellent companion animals, the breed makes a great guide dog, hunting companion, and search and rescue dog.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Golden Retriever in 1925.