The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. This has also been backed up by the American Kennel Club and their annual list of the most popular breeds in the United States. According to that list, the Golden Retriever has been in the top five for years. To be completely honest we’re not surprised. Golden retrievers are the perfect family dogs. They are clever, goofy, and are fun to be around. Besides that, they are fairly easy to train.
In addition to that golden retrievers have been used as service dogs, emotional support dogs, guide dogs and even rescue dogs. Which proves how smart and trainable they are.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the temperament appearance, and health of the Golden Retriever breed. By the end of this article, you will see all of the good sides and all of the bad sides of this canine.
If you’re thinking about getting a Golden Retriever you should definitely read this article and do research on your own to really be sure that this breed is the ride for you. People often underestimate how high-maintenance golden retrievers really are. And sadly because of that many dogs end up at shelters or simply abandoned.
Golden Retriever history
Before we get into the temperament and physical appearance of the Golden Retriever we will first cover their history. It’s always interesting to know when a certain breed was developed by whom it was developed and how much they changed during the years.
Golden retrievers are thought to have originated in the Scottish Highlands, where they were predominantly utilized as hunting dogs. Because their hunting grounds included many ponds and marshes, the Scottish estate owners need a dog that could recover birds in both water and on land. With the advancement of firearms, retrievers needed to be able to bring birds back from greater distances.
There was a long-held belief that Golden Retrievers were derived from Russian sheepdogs purchased from a circus. In actuality, the breed was developed in Scotland, on Sir Dudley Majoribanks’ highland estate, subsequently known as Lord Tweedmouth.
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Tweed Water Spaniel
Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord Tweedmouth, mixed a Tweed water spaniel with a yellow retriever to create the ultimate retriever. The four pups were then utilized in additional breeding with lines such as Irish setter, bloodhound, St. John’s water dog, and black retrievers. Throughout the final years of the nineteenth century, he kept careful records, demonstrating the purpose of breeding a dog with a soft mouth for retrieving game, but that was both powerful and active.
Tweedmouth brought Nous to Scotland and bred him to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel, in 1868 and 1871. Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct) were known for being enthusiastic retrievers in the field and extraordinarily calm and loyal at home – traits that today’s Golden Retrievers share.
Nousand Belle’s offspring were bred with Wavy- and Flat-coated retrievers, a Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red setter. Tweedmouth kept the majority of the yellow puppies to continue his breeding program and distributed the others to friends and family.
Not unexpectedly, the Tweedmouth breed first drew recognition for its hunting abilities. Don of Gerwyn, a liver-coated descendant of one of Tweedmouth’s dogs, was one of the most well-known, winning the International Gundog League trial in 1904.
National breed club in the US and the UK
The Golden Retriever gained popularity in England, and The Kennel Club of England formally recognized the breed as a unique breed in 1911. They were classed as “Retriever — Yellow or Golden” at the time. The breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.
Golden retrievers were imported to North America in the early twentieth century as both a hunting dogs and a companion. The American Kennel Club officially recognized the golden retriever in 1925. When the AKC initially introduced the AKC Obedience Champion title in 1977, the first three dogs to receive the honor were golden retrievers.
Gerald R. Ford’s and Ronald Reagan’s golden retrievers are examples of presidential golden retrievers. A little fin fact, Golden Retrievers gained popularity with American families in the 1970s when President Gerald Ford had a golden named Liberty.
Physical characteristics of the Golden Retriever
As it is with any purebred breed of dog there is a certain breed standard for the Golden Retriever. Meaning there are certain rules for what a Golden Retriever needs to look like starting from their ears, from their coat color, from their tails, eyes, and so on. When it comes to the United States that breed standard is set by the American Kennel Club. The AKC doesn’t only set the standard for Golden Retrievers but for all purebred dogs.
Because the AKC sets the standards for all breeds, we will take a look at what they stayed on their website on the appearance of Golden Retrievers.
According to the AKC here is what a Golden Retriever should be like:
A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert, and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog, he should be shown in hard-working condition.
But what does that mean in terms of size and overall appearance of Golden Retrievers? What are the standards of this breed?
Golden retriever breed standard
Firstly, let‘s talk about the size of Golden Retrievers. Male Golden Retrievers should be between 23 and 24 inches in height at withers, while females should be between 21 and a half inches to 22 and a half inches tall at the withers.
When it comes to weight, according to the AKC male adult golden retrievers should weigh between 65 and 75 pounds. Female adult Golden Retrievers should weigh between 55 and 65 pounds.
The Golden Retriever has a broad head with a well-defined stop, dark eyes set well apart, a wide and powerful muzzle, a large black nose, dark-colored and slightly drooping flews, and short ears or medium-size ears that hang with a slight fold. All of those features are a breed hallmark of the Golden Retriever.
There is a lot of muscle in the neck, and the skin isn’t very tight. The shoulders are well laid back and have long blades, and the body is deep through the chest with well-sprung ribs. People usually keep their back level from their withers to their croup. They usually keep their long, straight tail on the ground, almost in line with the back. Legs: The forelegs are straight with a lot of bone, the hind legs are strong with bent stifles, and the feet are like those of cats.
The double coat is one of the most noticeable things about this animal. The outer coat is long, flat, or wavy and has good feathering on the forelegs. The undercoat is dense and protects the animal from the weather. The coat can be any shade of cream, yellow, or gold. As the coat ages, it tends to get lighter. Kennel Club rules say that dogs can’t have red or mahogany-colored coats, but a few white hairs on the chest are OK. In the beginning, only dogs that were yellow or golden were allowed. This meant that many great cream-colored dogs were left out.
In 1936, the Kennel Club changed its standard to allow cream-colored dogs. People who work at conformation shows like to use cream as the main color, and it can be almost white in today’s world. Golden Retrievers that are bred for conformation shows often seem to have lengthier and ultra-fine coats than those that are used as hunting dogs, but this is not always the case.
Personality of the Golden Retriever
The Golden retriever has a very unique personality. When someone says Golden Retriever all of us think of dogs with a happy expression, full of energy, and always ready for an adventure. We associate Golden Retrievers with kindness affectionate behavior and lots of cuddles.
But let’s dig deeper into the personality of the Golden Retriever and which traits set them apart from another separate breed.
The breed is known for its pleasant and calm personality. There are two types of Golden Retrievers. One is a working dog, and the other is a pet. It doesn’t matter that the Golden Retriever is born with a nice personality. He still needs to be properly trained and socialized in order to make the most of his lineage.
The Golden Retriever, like all dogs, needs to be socialized when they are young. This means that they need to be exposed to a wide range of people, sights, noises, and experiences when they are young. Socialization is important to make sure that your Golden puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.
According to the AKC, Golden retrievers are also affectionate, reliable, and trustworthy friends, so they make good pets. The Golden Retriever is not a dog that fights with other dogs or people in normal situations, as well as a dog that shows fear or apprehension that isn’t true.
Character in more detail
In general, golden retrievers are known for being friendly and fun. They are also sociable, smart, and dedicated to their family and friends. Golden retrievers are different from other dogs because they are the best family dog for any home. When you have a friend like this one, you won’t be able to find anyone else who is as kind and willing to help. Younger kids can play with them in the yard or on the beach with them. They become more calm and quiet as they get older.
Golden retrievers, which were bred to work, have a lot of energy and want a lot of attention. These dogs are best for people who are active and have a lot of free time. It’s best for them to live in a home where someone is always there to play with them. They don’t do well when they are left alone at home because they are too attached to their humans to be able to cope.
They want to do their best for their owners because they were raised to work with people. Golden retrievers enjoy having a job to do, such as bringing the paper or getting the kids up. When you’re out and about with your golden, their cheerful nature usually draws the attention of other people. Goldens get along well with strangers and other dogs, and they don’t bite.
In spite of the fact that they aren’t ideal guard dogs because they are more likely to show where the treats are hidden than to chase away an intruder, golden retriever service dogs are very loyal and intelligent.
Needs of the Golden Retriever
For anyone considering a golden retriever, it’s important to realize they are getting a loving companion, but one that sheds frequently! A great deal. As a general rule, dog owners should expect to see some dog hair on their clothing and furniture.
In the winter and summer, they shed moderately, and in the spring and fall, they shed abundantly. Brushing your golden on a daily basis, on the other hand, can help prevent tangles and eliminate some dead hair before they take over. It will also keep your dog‘s coat in a good condition. So daily brushing is a must! Once a month baths can assist, but make sure the gold is completely dry before you begin brushing.
Nails on golden retrievers should be cut once or twice a month at the very least. When you hear them clicking on the floor, you know it’s time to trim them. Brushing your teeth twice or three times a week is also recommended. In addition, goldens’ fold-over ears produce an ideal growing habitat for bacteria and fungus. To prevent infections, look for redness or a bad odor in the outer ear and wipe it out with a cotton ball moistened with a mild, pH-balanced ear cleaner.
A golden retriever’s day wouldn’t be complete without some form of daily exercise as well as a mental exercise. Puppies need at least one hour of physical activity each day, even if it is spread out over multiple sessions or playtimes. Additionally, they like hunting and other dog sports including agility, obedience, and tracking.
Digging and chewing are common in a golden retriever who doesn’t receive enough exercise. Goldens enjoy mental challenges, such as learning tricks and playing with puzzle toys, but they should never be used as a substitute for exercise. The golden retriever’s growth plates are still growing throughout their first two years of life, so be careful with exercise. Wait to take your dog on lengthy, rigorous runs or hikes until he or she is fully grown, and always walk on grass rather than concrete.
Golden retrievers have a good disposition. But despite that, they benefit from early socialization and puppy obedience training sessions. Puppyhood is an important time for puppies to be introduced to a wide range of people, places, and experiences.
A golden retriever’s eagerness to please, friendliness, and loyalty are all characteristics that make this breed very straightforward to teach. Because a golden retriever responds so well to training, he is a particularly enjoyable dog for children, as he may learn some amusing tricks such as how to catch a flying disc or “throw” a ball.
Owners of golden retrievers need to assist them to control their food intake because they are prone to overeating. Instead of leaving food available all the time, portions should be weighed up and provided twice daily. Only a small amount of dog treats should be given out.
The eye and hands-on tests will help you determine if your golden retriever is overweight. The first thing to do is to gaze at him from a distance.
A waistline ought to be discernible. In this position, lay your thumbs along his spine and your fingers stretch outward across his back, allowing him to relax. You should be able to feel his ribs but not see them if you apply enough pressure on them. A lack of food and exercise may be the reason why you can’t help.
Talk to your veterinarian about what’s best for your pet. But generally speaking, if your dog is overweight you will need to start weighing their food and give them less food overall.
Goldens and children
Despite the fact that some dog breeds are better suited for families with children than others, it is critical that everyone in the household (including humans and dogs) understands how they are expected to behave and interact with one another regardless of which pup you choose. It’s always vital to prepare your children for the new doggie addition to the family, teaching them how to deal with animals in the appropriate manner and setting expectations for them ahead of time.
Distribute some of the responsibility for caring for your new puppy to your children who are old enough to do it on their own behalf. For example, young children can assist with feeding the family dog, older children can be in charge of dog walks, and children of any age can be expected to participate in playing and cleaning up after their new furry companion after they have joined the family.
Breed fanciers will tell you that Golden retrievers make wonderful family dogs and are a good choice for anyone searching for one. And that is true, but, obviously, you should never leave any dog alone with a small child, it can never be a good idea.
Health of the Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is an amazing breed but sadly they are not only among the most popular dogs in the US but they also belong to the breeds with the most health problems. You would be surprised how many genetic diseases the Golden Retriever can have. Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and epilepsy are only some of them.
We’re not saying this to discourage you from getting a golden retriever we’re just saying this so you are aware of all the health problems this dog carries with him. When you’re aware of the health problems and the symptoms of those problems you can easily spot them on time. This can be crucial in saving your dog’s life. We’re also saying this because you should be aware that a dog with many health problems will also cost you a lot of money.
When getting a Golden Retriever you should really look for a good breeder, a reputable breeder, someone you can trust in someone who will sell you a healthy puppy. A good breeder will do health screenings of the parents in order to eliminate the best possibilities of all hereditary health problems. When getting your dog from a good breeder you’re also getting a health guarantee for your dog you’re getting a guarantee that the puppy you’re buying it’s really healthy.
Most common health conditions
No don’t we know that Golden Retrievers have many health issues and health problems let’s take a look at the most common health problems of calling retrievers and all of their symptoms?
Canine hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition in which a dog’s hip joint fails to develop normally. The hip is a ball-and-socket joint that can become very loose and unstable if the two halves do not expand at the same time.
Hip dysplasia in dogs can be dangerous because if a dog walks around with a loose hip joint, the architecture of the joint may be irrevocably damaged. If the problem isn’t treated, it can lead to osteoarthritis (also known as a degenerative joint disease). Cartilage wears away as a result of the uneven movement, resulting in scar tissue and bone spurs.
Hip dysplasia in dogs is a genetic condition, meaning it is handed down through the generations. Keep in mind that large breed dogs are more prone to the disease than small breed dogs if you’re thinking about getting a Labrador retriever. But, this sickness in dogs is caused by more than just heredity.
According to specialists, puppies with a genetic predisposition to hip dysplasia are more prone to develop the disease if they are overfed, resulting in faster-than-average weight gain and growth. Overexertion, or too much exercise, is another risk factor for puppies.
Elbow dysplasia is a hereditary condition induced by the interaction of two genes from the same parent.
The precise mechanism by which the elbow grows improperly is unknown. It is theorized that there is an uneven fit (or incongruency) that results in improper weight distribution within the joint. Points of high pressure harm the cartilage that covers the bones, which can lead to cartilage and underlying bone disintegration (osteochondrosis).
Elbow dysplasia is a common condition, particularly in large breed dogs. The most prevalent symptoms are forelimb lameness and stiffness. The latter is usually most noticeable following a period of relaxation following physical exercise. The weight-bearing ability of the leg may be reduced, and the paw may spin outward. Osteoarthritis symptoms commonly appear when the dog is a puppy (five to eight months old) or when the dog is an adult (a few years of age).
Veterinarians can successfully treat some dogs with elbow dysplasia without surgery. Exercise must be moderated on a regular basis. Each dog has a different threshold for the amount of time and type of activity required to induce elbow pain to worsen. Hydrotherapy is frequently beneficial. Your dog will need to go on a diet if he is overweight.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Progressive Retinal Atrophy is a genetic disease that affects several canine breeds as well as mixed breeds. It seems to be passed down in most dogs in an “autosomal recessive” pattern, which means that the dog that is sick must have had the defective gene from both parents.
These are some of the breeds that are most likely to get this disease: Bedlington Terriers; Cavalier King Charles Spaniels; Labrador and Golden Retrievers; Rottweilers; American Cocker Spaniel; and English Springer Spaniels.
The term “atrophy” refers to the partial or full wasting of a physical portion. The term “progressive retinal atrophy” refers to a range of degenerative illnesses that affect photoreceptor cells. The cells degenerate over time in this condition, eventually resulting in blindness in the affected dog.
Two types of PRA
There are two types of PRA in dogs:
- an early-onset form, also known as retinal dysplasia. We can see the first signs in puppies around 2-3 months of age.
- a late-onset variant that is frequently detected in adult dogs between the ages of 3-9 years.
The photoreceptor cells of the retina develop improperly in retinal dysplasia, resulting in an early onset of blindness. Typically, the damage is done on both rods and cones.
The cells of the retina develop normally in late-onset PRA, but they begin to degrade with time. In most cases, the rod cells degenerate first.
Because PRA is not a painful disorder, vets usually overlook it in its early stages. Night blindness is the most common symptom of PRA in dogs. Affected dogs are prone to nighttime anxiety, may be hesitant to enter darkened places, and may collide with objects when the light is dim. Pet owners with PRA-affected dogs frequently notice that their pet’s eyes have become particularly reflecting when light shines on them and that the pupils are more dilated than usual.
Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
Aortic stenosis is a cardiac ailment that affects some dog breeds more than others. Aortic stenosis refers to a narrowing of the heart’s aortic valve. The aortic valve is the valve that allows blood to flow from the heart to the rest of the body.
When this valve narrows, the heart (and notably the left ventricle, which pumps blood through the aorta) has to work harder to squeeze blood out through it. This extra work can injure the heart in a variety of ways, including muscle failure and other issues.
Valvular aortic stenosis, supravalvular aortic stenosis, and subvalvular aortic stenosis are the three types of aortic stenosis (subvalvular or subaortic stenosis). The most prevalent of these disorders in dogs is subaortic stenosis (SAS).
Aortic stenosis is a genetic disease that affects several breeds. The Newfoundland, Boxer Dog, Rottweiler, Golden Retriever, and Dogue de Bordeaux are the dog breeds most typically affected with aortic stenosis. Aortic stenosis has also been reported in the Bull Terrier, English Bulldog, German Shepherd, German Shorthaired Pointer, Great Dane, Mastiff, and Samoyed, though less frequently.
A cataract is an unnatural haziness of the eyes triggered by a modification in the lens’s structure. Light usually passes through the lens, projecting an image onto the back of the eye (retina). Cataracts obstruct light transmission and impair vision. Cataracts typically worsen over time, resulting in vision loss and, finally, total blindness.
Cataract symptoms are not always as visible as you might anticipate, especially if they grow slowly and over time. You may have noticed:
A cloudiness or grey tinge in your puppy’s eye(s) – you may just detect this if light strikes the eye at a certain angle, or if you picture your dog.
Loss of vision, particularly in low-light situations – this can be difficult to detect since it often grows gradually, and most dogs are extremely skilled at responding by utilizing their ears and sense of smell instead.
Cataracts themselves are not uncomfortable, but some of the underlying disorders that create them are (such as eye injury or glaucoma).
Epilepsy is probably the most common brain disorder in dogs. A seizure, also known as a convulsion or fit, is a temporary involuntary disruption of normal brain function that is typically accompanied by uncontrollable muscle movement. Epilepsy is a term used to describe recurrent seizures. Seizures in epilepsy can be single or clustered, and they might be infrequent and unpredictable or occur at regular intervals.
A single seizure is almost never dangerous to the dog. But, if the dog experiences numerous seizures in a short period of time (cluster seizures), or if a seizure lasts more than a few minutes, the body temperature rises. If hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) occurs as a result of a seizure, a new set of issues must be addressed.
Seizures can be caused by a variety of factors. Idiopathic epilepsy, the most prevalent cause of seizures in dogs, is a hereditary condition with no known cause. Other potential causes include liver disease, kidney failure, brain tumors, brain trauma, and poisons. Seizures frequently occur when the dog’s brain activity changes, such as during excitement or feeding, or while the dog is falling asleep or waking up. Between seizures, affected dogs may appear entirely fine.
Seizures, although their dramatic and frightening look, is not painful, the dog might experience disorientation and possibly terror. Dogs do not swallow their tongues during seizures, contrary to popular perception. You will not help your pet if you put your fingers or an object into its mouth, and you face a great chance of being severely bitten or harming your dog. The main goal is to keep the dog from falling or injuring itself by knocking objects into itself. There is little risk of injury occurring as long as it is on the floor or ground.
Allergies are common in dogs of all breeds and backgrounds, despite the fact that they are rare in humans. By the time they are six months old, dogs are more likely to have allergies than at any other time in their lives.
Overreaction or hypersensitivity of an individual’s immune system to an allergen is what we refer to as an allergy. The most prevalent allergies are to proteins, whether they come from plants, insects, animals, or even meals.
Many different compounds contain allergens. Allergies can be triggered by microscopic chemical compounds as well as proteins from insects, plants, or animals. Insect proteins such as flea saliva and mold spores are examples of common allergies, as are pollen, dust mites, and other medications.
Skin itching, whether localized or widespread, is the most common indication of allergies in dogs. Some respiratory system symptoms include coughing, sneezing, and/or wheezing. It’s possible that your eyes or nose will occasionally be watery. Allergies can cause vomiting and diarrhea in certain people, depending on the severity of their symptoms.
A dog’s scratching may be a sign of a variety of allergies, including food allergies and atopy.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus – Bloat
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) also known as Bloat, is a potentially lethal condition that affects dogs. The term “dilatation” refers to a disorder in which the stomach fills with air and mucous, causing it to balloon to many times its normal size. Volvulus is a disorder in which the stomach flips or twists over itself, preventing stored air and mucus from moving into the rest of the gastrointestinal tract.
GDV is potentially fatal. The enlarged stomach strains the major arteries of the abdomen and restricts blood supply to the heart, leading to cardiovascular compromise and shock.
GDV illnesses strike swiftly, and owners must be aware of the symptoms or indicators that accompany them. GDV is most common in German Shepherds, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Basset Hounds, and other large breed dogs with deep chests, but it can affect any dog. Dogs frequently exhibit uneasy behavior. They may pace or whimper to express their worry or anxiety. Owners frequently complain about ineffective retching (trying to vomit but getting nothing), as well as excessive salivation and drooling.
You may even notice that a dog’s stomach appears larger or bloated. These are indicators that your dog needs to see a veterinarian right soon. Dogs with it require surgery to recover. It is critical to act soon, otherwise, the dog may not survive.
Golden retriever price
In terms of money, Golden Retrievers are pricey. They are very pricey. Especially if you buy them from a good breeder. If you buy a puppy from a good breeder, you should expect to pay between $1500 and $4000. We know that this is a lot of money, and you might want to look for a cheaper breeder now that we know that. A person who will give you a Golden Retriever puppy for half the price of what it costs. But, you should also be careful. If you want to buy a puppy, be aware that any backyard or neighborhood breeder can’t promise that you’ll get a healthy one.
People who aren’t trustworthy can be found all over the place. You can do a simple Google search to find a puppy for $800. But don’t be fooled by them. We know it looks like a great deal or a good deal. But in the end, that puppy will cost you a lot more money than one from a good breeder.
Those who sell their puppies for $800 or less know that the puppies are not healthy. There’s still money to be made even though. Dogs are not important to them. They don’t care whether or not the puppy lives or dies. But we’re sure you love the puppy. We also know that you will do everything you can to keep your puppy alive. Even if that means spending a lot of money on vets and medicine.
There is no need to feel bad about it if you just buy your puppy from a good breeder.
Five Golden retriever fun facts
- Golden retrievers appear frequently on both big and small screens. You can see them in a variety of television and film shows. For example Full House, Homeward Bound, the Air Bud movies, and the Disney Buddy films.
- This one isn’t a secret, but Golden retrievers wear their emotions on their sleeves. Between their eyebrows, sighs, grunts, and smiles, you can almost always tell what a golden is thinking.
- A golden retriever owns the record for loudest bark. Charlie, a golden from Australia, owns the record for loudest bark. Thankfully goldens aren’t normally heavy barkers!
- Have you ever heard about Murphy the golden who survived for nearly two years in the California wilderness by himself? He went missing during a camping trip and almost two years later someone noticed him and alerted his family.
- Golden retrievers are frequently used as therapy dogs to soothe and calm people. Goldens appear to have an abundance of empathy and unconditional love. From small toddlers to elderly people, there’s something about a Golden retriever that can calm and reassure them.