Golden Retriever

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Golden Retriever

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Date of Origin: 

1800s


Other name: 

yellow retriever


Original Function: 

retrieving


Place of Origin: 

England


Primary Current Function: 

retrieving, assistance, obedience competition, retriever field trials


Family: 

gundog, retriever


Overview:  

The origin of the golden retriever is well documented. In the 1800s, Lord Tweedmouth lived along the Tweed River north of the Scottish border. Some claim the breed began prior to Tweedmouth's time on the estate with Sir Dudley Majoribanks (pronounced "March-banks").

Golden Retriever Breed Health


Life span: 

10 - 13 years


Avg Size of Female: 

Height: 21.5 - 22.5 inches, Weight: 55 - 65 pounds


Suggested tests: 

hip, elbow, eye, cardiac, blood


Major concerns: 

CHD, elbow dysplasia, cataract


Avg Size of Male: 

Height: 23 - 24 inches, Weight: 65 - 75 pounds


Minor concerns: 

entropion, distchiasis, trichiasis, cataract, pyotraumaticdermatitis, subvalvular aortic stenosis, OCD, allergies, VWD, cardiomyopathy


Occasionally seen: 

gastric torsion, epilepsy, CPRA, osteosarcoma


Golden Retriever Breed History

Tweedmouth kept handwritten breeding records of the golden retriever from 1835 to 1890. Apparently, he bred a yellow wavy-coated retriever named Nous with a Tweed water spaniel named Belle. Nous was the sole yellow retriever in a litter of black pups. The retriever was bred from the small Newfoundland and the Labrador, while the Tweed water spaniel, which is now extinct, was a retrieving dog with a liver-colored, curled coat. Nous and Belle produced a litter of four bitch pups which proved to be talented upland bird dogs. Subsequently, crosses were made with such breeds as Tweed spaniels, setters, black retrievers, and a bloodhound. At first, what we know today as the golden retriever was considered to be a flat-coated retriever of a yellow variety. It didn't become recognized as a separate breed until 1912. The golden retriever evidently came to America around 1900 by way of Lord Tweedmouth's sons to the family's Texas farm. There is some confusion over the date that the AKC recognized the breed, ranging in time from 1925 to 1932. While this dog was valued for its hunting capabilities, it later became popular as a show dog and a pet. The golden's quick learning skills have made it a diverse worker used as a guide dog, therapy dog and service dog for the handicapped. This breed is often used in narcotics detection thanks to its exceptional tracking abilities. To this day, the golden retriever remains in the top ten most popular dogs in the United States.

Golden Retriever Breed Appearance

Athletic and strong, the golden retriever is slightly longer than it is tall. The front legs are straight and substantial, with well muscled forequarters. The hindquarters are broad, featuring straight back legs. The medium size feet are compact and round in shape, with thick pads. The head of this breed has a broad skull that features medium large eyes which are generally medium to dark brown in color. The eyes offer an expression of intelligence and friendliness. The ears are rather short and fall close to the cheek. The straight muzzle blends well with the shape of the skull, and has a nose that is normally brownish-black to black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The neck of the golden retriever is strong and muscular, blending smoothly into the shoulders and well-balanced body. The gait of this breed is described as well coordinated and powerful, showing good reach. The golden retriever has a double coat that consists of a dense, water-resistant undercoat. The outer coat can be straight or wavy, and it is usually firm and resilient. Heavy feathering is found on the front of the neck, the underside of the tail, and on the back of the thighs, while moderate feathering is found on the underside of the body and on the back of the front legs. The hair on the paws, the front of the legs, and the head is even and short. The color of coat is, as the name describes, golden and rather lustrous, and comes in a variety of shades. Sometimes the feathering is a lighter shade than the rest of the coat.

Golden Retriever Breed Temperament

Overall a happy, friendly, and energetic dog, the golden retriever loves to be with its family. It does especially well with children, though its overwhelming affection may be a bit much for very young children. This dog also does very well with other pets. However, it is not suggested as a companion for an elderly person due to its high energy level. This breed is easily trained as it loves to learn, and it enjoys pleasing its owner. At times, the dog's enthusiasm for everything around it may cause it to be distracted during training. Physically, this breed matures in about two years, but mental maturity usually takes three years or more, keeping a very puppy-like nature for a long time. This dog is capable as a watch dog, as it tends to bark at the approach of strangers. However, it is not a good guard dog: it is just too friendly. The golden retriever must be around people a lot in order to be happy. It is a very sociable and lovable dog, which can be entertained for hours simply by tossing a stick or a ball for it to retrieve. This dog requires much of the owner's time and attention. If given this kind of love and affection, the golden retriever makes a perfect addition to the active family.

Golden Retriever Breed Maintenance

The double coat of the golden retriever does not have a tendency to mat, but to keep it in good shape, brushing with a firm wire brush about twice a week is suggested. Be sure to pay close attention to the denser undercoat. Use dry shampoo on a regular basis and bathe when necessary. The golden retriever is considered to be an average shedder. Daily exercise is very important to this breed. It loves to play and run. It is not suggested for apartment dwelling, and it does best in a home with a yard in which to play. The golden retriever is moderately active when indoors as well. Long daily walks and the chance to run, retrieve, and play is essential to the physical and mental health of this playful dog.

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