Golden Retrievers are an attractive breed, with wide heads and muzzles, a sloping crown and muscular bodies. Strong and active, there are two varieties of the breed.
The English variety has a lighter colored coat and shorter body, whereas the American Golden Retriever is longer and leaner. Both varieties have hunting and herding skills, as well as making excellent guide dogs for the blind and being extremely popular as pets.
The Golden Retriever is classified as a Sporting Dog, or Gundog in Britain, and has an average life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years.
The Golden Retriever’s coat is normally a gold or cream shade and the breed has
a double coat, The outer coat is feathery and soft, with long, straight or wavy hair.
The undercoat is shorter and acts well as a water repellent which is helpful during the summer months when the breed loves to be in and out of the water. This coat also helps to keep the animal warm in cold weather and cool during hotter temperatures. The coat sheds in spring.
The Golden Retriever’s history can be traced back to the nineteenth century, when they were bred as working dogs and primarily for hunting in England. They would hunt and retrieve small felled game during hunting trips, hence their memorable name.
Retrievers would find and carry killed game back to the hunter and some breeds developed water-repellent coats and webbed feet in order to retrieve waterfowl. The Golden Retriever is suited to wood and field activities and helped with hunting game.
Retrievers have always been a popular pet due to their gentle and loyal nature and while they still work and continue to be used as hunting dogs, they also make a lovable addition to any household.
Golden Retrievers are often referred to as Gold Retriever and Golden Labrador Retriever, although they are a distinct breed from the Labrador.
The Golden Retriever is believed to have descended from the black wavy-coated Retriever which produced yellow or gold puppies on occasion. The breed also includes elements of the Newfoundland, Setter and Spaniel and it was Lord Tweedmouth who improved the breed towards the end of the nineteenth century. They attracted great attention when they were first shown in 1908.
One legend has it that the Golden Retriever originates from 8 Russian Sheepdogs who were performers in a Circus Troupe, although there is no historical evidence to support this tale.
Nowadays, the Golden Retriever is involved less in hunting activities, although the skills and characteristics which made them successful in this arena remain with them today.
Very loyal and sociable, the Golden Retriever loves interacting with humans and having fun. They make great pets for families with children and are not prone to attacking visitors. They are also great with other animals too, even with those which are smaller than them, unlike other hunting breeds. They are calm and well-mannered and can also make good watchdogs.
Golden Retrievers enjoy playing games, including fetch and playing with toys. They love to interact with humans in this way and can be great fun to be around. Leaving them alone for extended periods of time will make them unhappy. The breed is also highly intelligent, quick to learn and loves plenty of exercise and attention.
Golden Retrievers are prone to many ailments and they need to be carefully looked after and checked regularly for any signs of illness or changes in behavior. Some of the most common conditions affecting Golden Retrievers include
[-]Elbow Dysplasia – abnormal development of the hip joints[/-]
[-]Hip Dysplasia – abnormal development of the elbow joints[/-]
If you notice any signs of the above you should take your dog to the vet so that he or she can be properly treated. It is important to remember that like any breed; Golden Retrievers can become sick due to traumatic events, infections, immune deficiencies, genetic conditions or degenerative diseases.
Golden Retrievers have long hair and a double coat which means that they shed a lot and need to be brushed daily to prevent matting. Brushing helps keep shedding to a minimum and keeps clothes and furniture hair free. The breed also love being in and out of water during hot weather which means they will need to be bathed frequently.
As well as brushing the hair, Golden Retrievers need to have their nails trimmed on a regular basis to prevent discomfort. Ask your vet to show you the best way to clip nails.
In addition you should also check your dog’s eyes, teeth, ears and feet to ensure that any problems are identified as soon as possible. This is particularly important in the case of puppies and older dogs.
Golden Retrievers are an athletic breed and need plenty of exercise to stay healthy and content. They enjoy long walks and games, and should be allowed to run free in open spaces and socialize with other dogs. They love being outdoors and are great hiking or camping companions.
The Golden Retriever is easily trained and loves to learn new tricks. Obedient and loyal, they will work hard to please their owner and are a highly intelligent breed. Training a Golden Retriever can be fun and very rewarding.
The Golden Retriever loves activity training and will enjoy hunting, herding, search and rescue. They are well-behaved and learn quickly how to behave around adults, children and other animals.