Golden Retriever Guide

Sporting Dog Breeds

The golden retriever is an athletic, strong dog, capable of carrying heavy game over land and water. For this, it needs a broad, powerful head with strong neck and well-developed fore- and hindquarters. It is just slightly longer than tall. The gait is smooth, powerful and ground-covering. The water-repellant coat is dense, with the outer coat straight or wavy.

Everybody's friend, the golden retriever is known for its devoted and obedient nature as a family companion. It is an apt sporting retriever as well and yearns for a day in the field. Ignoring its active nature and powerful physique can lead to behavior problems, and it needs daily physical and mental exercise. It tends to be overly exuberant and boisterous, and its enthusiasm for everything often distracts it during training; however, it is eager to please and enjoys learning. The golden's achievements in competitive obedience are remarkable. It especially enjoys games that involve retrieving and loves to carry items in its mouth.

AKC RANKING 2

FAMILY gundog, retriever

AREA OF ORIGIN England

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION retrieving

TODAY'S FUNCTION retrieving, assistance, obedience competition, retriever field trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 23-24 Weight: 65-75

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 21.5-22.5 Weight: 55-65

OTHER NAME yellow retriever

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Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Very playful

Affection level Very affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Very friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Very friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Hard to train

Watchdog ability Medium

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The golden retriever needs daily exercise and human interaction. Challenging obedience lessons, active games or retrieving sessions are all good ways to exercise the golden's mind and body. Although it is capable of living outdoors, it is such a social dog that it is best when it shares its life with its family. The coat does not tend to mat but needs twice weekly brushing.
• Major concerns: CHD, elbow dysplasia, cataract
• Minor concerns: entropion, distchiasis, trichiasis, cataract, pyotraumaticdermatitis, subvalvular aortic stenosis, OCD, allergies, vWD, cardiomyopathy
• Occasionally seen: gastric torsion, epilepsy, CPRA, osteosarcoma
• Suggested tests: hip, elbow, eye, cardiac, (blood)
• Life span: 10 – 13 years
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One of the best documented and most fortuitous efforts to produce a breed resulted in the golden retriever. The man responsible for the breed was Lord Tweedmouth, who lived just north of the Scottish border along the Tweed River. With an increasing interest in retrieving dogs in the mid-1800s, a dog that could push through heavy vegetation, brave cold water, swim strongly and retrieve gently was in demand. Lord Tweedmouth bred Nous, a yellow wavy-coated retriever (a descendant of the small Newfoundland and the earlier Labrador breeds used by fisherman) to Belle, a Tweed water spaniel (a popular liver-colored retriever with tightly curled coat). They produced four puppies, which showed promise of being outstanding upland bird dogs. Subsequent judicious crosses were made with other black retrievers, Tweed spaniels, setters and even a bloodhound. The breed was first considered to be a yellow variety of flat-coated retrievers, but was recognized as a separate breed, the yellow or golden retriever, in 1912. A few of these dogs had come to America by way of Lord Tweedmouth's sons by 1900, but the AKC did not register them as a separate breed until 1927. The breed was valued for the hunting abilities so ably produced by the careful blending of foundation stock. It only later became popular as a pet, show dog and obedience competitor. After it made the transition, however, its rise to the height of popularity was meteoric, and it remains one of the most popular of all breeds in America.
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