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Golden Retriever - Meet The Obedient Athlete

Updated on January 27, 2015

Golden Retrievers are approachable, athletic and a loving family companion. They are energetic, fun-loving, fond of children and loyal. In the past two years they have come in 3rd place behind the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd on the AKC registration list. If they were human they would be that good-looking jock, with nerd smarts, will go out of his way to help you and listen, resulting in a magnetism that will always get the girl. How many breeds can claim all of this?

2013 AKC Breed Registration Rankings

Labrador Retriever
German Shepherd Dog
Golden Retriever


The Golden Retriever is from the Scottish Highlands and date back to the late 1800's. This breed originated from a mix of many other breeds by Lord Tweedmouth. He crossed his yellow retriever, Nous, with a Water Spaniel on his Estate named Belle. The two had a litter of three Golden Retriever puppies named Crocus, Cowslip and Primrose. His goal was to create a suburb retriever. The retrievers that existed then were not good at water retrieval. Firearms became more advanced which made it possible to shoot birds from longer distances. This resulted in downed birds not getting tracked down and recovered. Crossing with a water spaniel would result in a breed which could retrieve downed game from both land and water. Later on there was more crossing with Irish Setter and Bloodhound resulting in the Golden Retriever breed we know today.

Golden Retrievers were first recognized by The Kennel Club of England in 1903. The American Kennel Club first recognized the breed in 1925 and in 1938 the Golden retriever Club of America was founded. The Golden Retriever was first recognized in Canada in 1894.

Due to their trainability, intelligence and obedience they became widely used for Police, military, search and rescue and guide dogs.




The Golden retriever is a very obedient breed. The first three dogs to win the AKC Obedience Champion title in 1977 were all Golden Retrievers.

They are very friendly, kind, eager to please and patient. The Golden Retriever is amiable with strangers and those familiar with them. Their gentle, trusting disposition make them poor guard dogs. They are compatible with other, dogs, cats and animals.

Golden Retrievers are active, need plenty of exercise but are patient probably due to their history of sitting quietly while hunting birds. They love to work and will never quit so be careful not to overwork them.

They excel as natural athletes, have great agility and do well in dog sports.

In Stanley Coren's. The Intelligence of Dogs, they ranked #4 for intelligence behind Border Collies, Poodles and German Shepherds. Due to their straight A smarts, temperament and obedience they are perfect for all the guide, mobility help, search and rescue and hunting work they are popular for.


Size and Shape

A Golden Retriever is usually about 21-24" tall. Most of the females are at the lower range (21"-22") and the males at the higher range (23"-24"). Their length measurement is longer than their height. The shepherd's weight can vary with males normally anywhere from 65-75 pounds and females from 60-70 pounds.

Golden retrievers are slightly longer than tall and have a well-developed, athletic build. Their fore and hind quarters are solid and well-developed. Their heads are broad and neck is strong.

There are slight differences in appearance between the British, American and Canadian types of Golden Retriever. The British dog muzzle is wider and shorter, chest is deeper and the tail is slightly shorter. Their eyes are usually more round. The American dog are slightly taller but less stocky than the British dog. Their eyes are more slanted or triangular. The Canadian is the tallest and has a thinner and darker coat.



The Golden Retriever coat has various golden shades. Could you have guessed their color from their name? Shades differ from a very light golden to a darker golden, blonde, yellow and mahogany. As they age their coats can get darker or lighter, especially around the muzzle with more whitening of the fur.

Do you prefer a lighter, golden color or a darker, reddish shade?

See results


Golden Retrievers have a double coat of hair. Their outer coat is water-resistant, slightly wavy and sheds in small amounts throughout the year. Their undercoat is soft and sheds in the spring and fall. The hair against the belly often lies flat. On their necks, back thighs and bottom of their tails there is heavy feathering and on the backs of their front legs there is mild feathering.

Due to all this hair Golden Retrievers need regular grooming, brushing and baths. During periods of heavy shedding they need brushing every day. The use of a shedding tool is also a great help in removing loose hair. frequent baths are best, at least once a month. Brushing your dog before the bath helps the bathing process. Brushing is also a good time to inspect your dog's skin for any abnormalities.


Golden Retrievers are susceptible to specific ailments, genetic disorders and other diseases. Normal trips to the veterinarian is highly recommended for any breed.

According to a health study, in 1999, by the Golden Retriever Club of America cancer was the cause of death for 61% of American Golden Retrievers. a similar study by the UK Kennel Club in 2004 put their number at 38%.

Golden Retrievers are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia which can cause pain and arthritis later in life. This afflicts one-fifth of the dogs.

Eye diseases are also possible such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, glaucoma and retinal dysplasia. Cataracts are the most common eye disease.

Golden Retrievers can suffer from skin diseases with allergies the most prevalent. Their most common allergy is fleas. Make sure your dog receives treatment with flea and tick treatments to prevent skin allergies which can lead to a long list of complications such as rashes and hair loss. Make sure to follow proper instructions on all flea and tick products especially the spot on treatments. These treatments are safe as long as they are properly applied.

Due to the style of their ears have them cleaned regularly to prevent ear infections.

Golden Retrievers love to eat so they can become obese very easily. Make sure you break their meals up and limit the snacks and junk food.

President Ford's Golden Retriever


Golden Retriever Fun Facts

  • Both presidents Ford and Reagan had Golden Retrievers as the Presidential pet.
  • Some television shows and movies that featured Golden retrievers were Air Bud, Homeward Bound, Full House, The Drew Carey Show, The Incredible Journey, Pushing Daisies, Fluke and Cats & Dogs.
  • Life span is 10-12 years.
  • The Golden Retriever Club of Scotland assembled 222 Golden retrievers at the historic Guisachan House where the breed was born.

If you are getting ready to add a new dog to the family or want to try a different breed why not give a Golden Retriever some thought? It's hard to beat the athlete and companion combination.
If you have a Golden Retriever I'm sure you have some interesting stories to tell about your dog. Feel free to add a short story to the comment section below, I would love to hear them.


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    • Joseph Garea profile imageAUTHOR

      Joseph Garea 

      3 years ago from New York

      Thank you MarieLB. I appreciate the kind words!

    • MarieLB profile image


      3 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Couldn't help reading it again. It is so well laid out, it is a pleasure to read. Anyone who understands animals is anyone I like!!LOL!! Great hub

    • MarieLB profile image


      3 years ago from YAMBA NSW

      Fantastic read about this beautiful breed of dogs. Enough detail, well organised and makes for very interesting reading. Voted up of course!


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