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Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever was first developed in the British Isles, likely the results of crosses between a yellow Flat-Coated Retriever, Tweed Water Spaniels and perhaps other spaniels, setters, Newfoundland, and possibly the Bloodhound. The Golden Retriever is one of the world’s most popular family companion canines. In addition to being an excellent bird dog on both land and in the water, many of the top obedience competition dogs in the country are Golden retrievers. Golden Retrievers possess an excellent nose and have been used not only for hunting and tracking, as well as for narcotics detection. Because their great desire to please and capacity for love, loyalty and learning, Golden Retrievers are also used as guide dogs for the blind, therapy dogs, and service dogs for the disabled.

Golden Retrievers are beautiful, sturdy, well-proportioned dogs with feathered, medium-length, cream to colored coat. The outer coat is water-repellent and the undercoat is dense. The head is broad, with a tapering, yet wide, powerful muzzle. The bite of the Golden Retriever is a scissor and they possess a clear frontal stop. The nose is black and the kindly eyes are dark brown or chestnut, with dark rims. The ears are medium-sized and pendant. The neck and thighs are muscular and the chest is broad. The tail is long, but not curled.

Golden Retrievers are lovable, well-mannered, intelligent, gentle dogs with a legendary charm. They are easily trained, and tend to be extraordinarily patient and gentle with children. These traits combined with a delightfully playful nature make Golden Retrievers outstanding family dogs.

Golden Retrievers thrive on pleasing their masters, making obedience training fun and gratifying, as well as tending toward excellent performance in obedience competitions. Friendly and outgoing with other people and other dogs, Golden Retrievers very little guarding instincts. While unlikely to attack, however, Golden Retrievers make good watchdogs, vociferously signaling a stranger’s approach.

A highly social dog, the Golden Retriever needs to be around people to be truly content. If isolated from human contact or left alone for long periods of time, Golden Retrievers may become destructive due to separation anxiety. They will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently walked and regularly allowed access to an open area to run. They are moderately active indoors and will do best with at least a medium to large yard. Give the Golden Retriever’s passion for swimming, a pool is always a nice added touch.

The smooth, medium haired double coat is fairly easy to maintain. Regular combing and brushing with a firm bristle brush, paying particular attention to the dense undercoat, will keep the coat smooth and free of mats. Bathing should only be performed occasionally, perhaps monthly and no more often than once every 2 weeks. Golden Retrievers are average shedders.

General measurements:

Height: Males 20-25 inches. Bitches 18-23 inches.

Weight: Males 60-90 pounds. Bitches 55-75 pounds.

Golden Retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and skin allergies. For this reason, it is important to request documentation of pre-breeding screening of the bitch and sire before purchasing a puppy.

Golden Retriever

Roger L. Welton, DVM
Founder and Chief Editor,
President, Maybeck Animal Hospital

Article updated 10/27/2012

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