The golden retriever is among one of the most popular breeds of all the retrievers with its rich golden long feathered coat of creamy to light brown.
They are one of the most lovable and intelligent of all dog breeds and are excellent as pets and have a lovable temperament, the golden retriever makes an excellent pet for those families with children.
The golden retriever is a loyal sweet natured dog who loves nothing more than pleasing their owner which makes them easier than certain other breeds to obedience train and housetrain.
The retriever as a pet
The golden will normally get on with anyone anything including other dogs however they lack in one thing, guarding, due to their amicable nature the golden retriever doesn’t make a very good guard dog.
On saying this however they are very protective of their owner and family and will be very wary of strangers approaching if left with children and they will make their presence known though they will very rarely attack anyone.
The breed is not a breed that you should leave alone for long periods of time as they love nothing more than being around the family and can get up to mischief should they be left.
They are a dog which does require frequent exercise and as the name suggests they love to retrieve anything and everything, from balls to Frisbees, in fact the dog will delight in chasing and retrieving whatever you throw for it.
Keeping your retriever happy and well
The breed does have a longer coat than some of the retriever breeds and this will need regular grooming in order to keep your dog in great overall condition.
The coat is double and of medium hair length which is smooth and is very easy to groom and should be brushed with a comb and a firm bristle brush, with particular attention being paid to the dense undercoat.
A dry shampoo should be used on a regular basis with a full bath only very occasionally as this can dry out the lustrous coat too much.
The retriever can be prone to hip dysplasia and also congenital defect of the eye, so when purchasing your puppy make sure you buy from a reputable breeder who have had the puppies parents checked and cleared. Von Willie brands disease and heart problems are also know in the golden so the puppy’s parents should also have been checked for these too.
Some retrievers are known to have problems with skin problems and skin allergies can occur, these should always be given immediate attention from the vet. On average the golden retriever will live for around 10 to 12 years and when fully grown they measure roughly 24″ in dogs and 22″ for bitches, the weight of the adult dog will be around 80 pounds and around 70 pounds for bitches.
Buying a golden retriever puppy tips
The golden retriever is an excellent choice of breed for the family; they are a very gentle intelligent breed who is excellent around children. They adapt well and quickly to a new home and are generally very easy to train as they love nothing better than to please.
There are however certain things to take into consideration before buying your puppy, the golden retriever loves to be around people and doesn’t like being left alone for long periods of time so you should ask yourself if you have the time needed to take care of a dog.
Due to the gulden’s long coat they also shed profusely and need regular grooming to keep them clean and healthy, they also need a lot of exercise as they are a very active breed.
Choosing your new puppy
You should always buy a puppy from a reputable breeder and make sure that you see the puppies with their mother and if possible also see the father, if this is not possible then the breeder should be able to show you photographs of the father.
The breeder should also be willing to show your health certificates for both the mother and father of the puppies as the breed can have several health problems some of which are inherited and can be passed onto the puppies.
If you have a family with young children then you shouldn’t go for the quiet puppy, try to choose one that is interacting well with its littermates but not overly boisterous. A golden retriever puppy should be inquisitive, confident and interested in who you are and shouldn’t shy away from you all the time.
Golden retriever puppy’s coats will look a lot lighter when they are puppies than they will when they are fully grown so color at this young age is nothing to go on. A rough guide to the color they will be when fully grown can be seen on the fur on the ears, of course the color of the mother and father will give you a better idea of how the puppy can turn out.
Always ask the breeder about each individual puppy, a good breeder will have spent time with the puppies and will know the temperaments of each, some puppies will naturally shy away from strangers so just because the puppy is sitting in the corner looking a little wary of you doesn’t mean it’s always like this.
Once you have chosen your puppy then make sure that you are given all the proper documentation including any health certificates and kennel club registration papers. The breeder should also make sure you know you can contact them at any time and they should also give you advice on things such as feeding, care and grooming along with tips on caring for your new puppy.
Golden retriever grooming tips
Due to the golden retriever’s long feathered coat daily grooming is essential to keep your dog healthy and well, the golden retriever is particularly known for its beauty and to keep it looking beautiful you not only have to groom it daily but also occasionally trim the coat.
Grooming can either be done by yourself or if you prefer a visit to a dog grooming parlour, if you want to look after your dog yourself then you will need several items and these are:
- A brush.
- A comb.
- A pair of straight edged scissors.
- A pair of thinning scissors.
- Nail cutters.
While your dog will benefit from daily grooming trimming of the coat will only have to be done when it becomes untidy, it is better to remove a small amount of hair over a couple of days than try and do it all in one session. Some important points to remember when trimming your dog are:
- It is better to be on the conservative side when trimming, you can always take more off but you can’t stick it back on.
- Always make one or two cuts with the trimming scissors then comb to see what the coat looks like before continuing.
- Never make the cut across the hair.
- Always push the scissors underneath the top layer keeping an upward movement.
- Always keep running the comb through the coat as you trim.
Before you begin trimming make sure you have brushed and combed your dog thoroughly being very careful of any tangles your dog may have in the coat.
Where you start is up to you but usually professional groomers will start with the feathering on the hind quarters, before you start hacking away take a good look at what actually needs trimming.
If hair is hanging over your dog’s hock then it needs trimming above the hock, pay attention to the tail the correct length should be reaching to the hock and trim if necessary.
Always remember to cut twice and comb and cut on the conservative side, slowly work around your dog and if they are showing signs of boredom then leave it until tomorrow.
Of course this is stating the obvious but never try to groom a dog that won’t stand still, you could not only cut away too much hair but also risk injury to the dog.
If you are unsure or nervous about tackling the trimming then maybe a better idea would be to take your dog to a professional groomer and ask if you can stay and watch them trim before tackling it yourself.
Your dog’s nails will need to be trimmed occasionally and this can be done just as you would your own with nail clippers. Just as you can hurt yourself if you cut the nails down to the quick then the same will happen if you cut your dog’s nails too short.
Only trim the very tip of your dog’s nails, if you don’t think you have took enough off then cut again but bear in mind not to cut into the quick as it will bleed and could make your dog very wary of letting you near them again.
Golden retriever training tips
The golden retriever is usually one of the breeds in the retriever family which are very quick to learn, due to the gulden’s excellent temperament they are very willing and eager to please.
Once your new puppy has settled into its new home you should either begin training at home or enroll your puppy in a puppy obedience class. The advantage of taking your puppy to a class is that you will mix with owners who are all in the same boat as yourself, learning, and you will get excellent advice, and another big advantage is that your puppy will learn to mix with other dogs from a young age.
When choosing a place for training you should enquire as to what methods they use for training as the golden loves and responds best to positive rewards.
Shouting, yelling or berating the golden very often will only result in them retaliating with stubbornness, however should you prefer to train your dog on your own in your own time then this is acceptable too and several DVD`S or books are available to help get you started.
How and when to start training
From around the age of 8 to 12 weeks is the best time to start teaching your dog obedience and housetraining, of course housetraining should be the number one priority to stop those little accidents from occurring.
Obedience training from an early age is essential as by doing this you are setting out rules for behavior and what you expect of your dog just as you would with a young child. You will also want to teach your puppy from a young age how to stand still while you groom him and brush his teeth.
If you are intending to put your dog in a show then you will also have to teach show skills such as the correct stance and no fidgeting around. You will also want to teach your puppy good socialization skills such as how to act around other dogs and people, the first few months of your puppies life are essential to how the dog will turn out later in life and these skills aren’t inbuilt only you can determine the outcome.
You should follow a very strict routine from the beginning when housetraining your new puppy and you will need a lot of patience to start off, while your puppy is very little it is wise to assign a place near your dog’s bed where he can go to the bathroom.
You should always place him onto the newspaper or litter tray after he has been fed and at various times throughout the day and when he goes praise him profusely and offer treats.
You can gradually move the paper towards the door and out into the garden as he gets older, if your puppy does make a mistake take him to his toilet place immediately and place him there holding him there for a few seconds.
Always make sure you disinfect the area well after a mistake, this is not only for cleanliness but also to get rid of the smell that your dog will be susceptible to. Dogs often use smell as a trigger action and this smell could trigger your dog into thinking this is where he should go.
Golden retriever faqs
If you are thinking of buying a golden retriever puppy then you will probably have a lot of questions regarding the breed and if they are a breed suitable for you, there are numerous books available on the breed and websites specializing in the golden retriever but to get you started here are some of the most common questions that are asked about the breed.
Golden retrievers guide
There are many different types of retriever and they all make great pets and companions, of course one of the most common is the Golden retriever with its luxurious golden coat, but there is also the Labrador retriever with a smoother shorter coat, the Curly coated retriever and the Flat coated retriever all of which make excellent pets and are good for those families with children.
The Golden retriever is the most popular not only due to its long wavy coat, but also for the fact that is has a delightful nature, however at the same time they are one of the larger breeds of retriever and can be quite boisterous, while they do make an excellent pet to have around children the excitability of this breed can mean that they could knock over a very small child.
As with all dogs very small children should never be left alone with them.
The Golden retriever is one of the easiest breeds of dogs to train due to their nature and the way they love nothing more than pleasing their owner, however training should begin at a very young age to establish who is the boss, because due to their large size and their playful attitude a large dog can get out of hand.
Although it has to be remembered that while the dog might look big it isn’t fully mature until around the age of 2 and in some cases the dog doesn’t lose its “puppy ways” until the age of three.
The Labrador retriever is another very popular breed among the retrievers and again has a very gentle nature; the Labrador retriever has a shorter coat than the Golden which of course doesn’t require as much grooming.
The Labrador retriever is around the same size as the Golden and they don’t shed as much. The Labrador retriever is well known for its excellent temperament and is considered to be very gentle which makes them a suitable dog for those with children.
Although the Labrador retriever isn’t specifically a guard dog they can be very protective with members of the family and in particular when around strangers.
The Labrador retriever is also known as an hunting dog and as such they love to please their master and are willing to learn and adapt very well to training which should start at a very early age due to their robust size.
The curly coated retriever is well known as a hunting dog but they also make for great and loyal companions and shouldn’t be overlooked when considering one of the Retriever family members as a pet and companion.
Because they are hunting dogs they are very easy to train and are loyal, they are also excellent around children and have a wonderful temperament while at the same time having character, which sometimes shows through as being mischievous.
They are however a very “lively” dog and they do require plenty of exercise and love being outdoors so aren’t suitable for those who only have a small yard.
Finally don’t overlook the Flat coated retriever when choosing from the retriever breeds, it is devoted to its master and this makes the dog very easy to train. The same as the other breeds of retriever, the Flat coated retriever has a wonderful, gentle temperament which makes it an ideal and loving companion.
Again this breed does require a lot of exercise and is not a dog to just lie down quietly in the corner of a room; it has what sometimes seems to be boundless energy and if left cooped up can become mischievous even to the point of destroying your belongings.
While it does make an excellent pet this is a breed that does require a little more attention
Golden retriever history
Golden retrievers first came to light in Britain in the early 1800`s, it was a Scotsman by the name of Lord Twee mouth who first brought attention to the breed on his estate in Inverness.
Lord Twee mouth first saw the dog on a trip to a British seaside town by the name of Brighton; he visited a circus while on his visit and performing were a trio of dogs who the lord fell in love with.
The dogs were Russian sheepdogs and the lord bought the trio and took them home to Inverness and began to breed them, this is where the early golden retriever came from.
The golden retriever was originally bred as a sporting dog for retrieving water fowl and they quickly became a very popular breed with early golden retrievers being shown in England as flat coated retrievers.
By the 1890`s the golden retriever had made its way to North America but they were not shown in dog shows there until the 1920`s, in these very early years the dog was used primarily for hunting.
It wasn’t until much later that the breed finally became recognized for its value as a loyal and faithful companion and a dog worthy of showing.
The very early golden retrievers varied in coat color from a light gold to a dark copper but gradually as they were introduced more into shows the color lightened into what it is today. Today for showing the lighter colors are the more preferred ones with reddish coats thought to be a fault in the breed.
The golden retriever breed was first shown in dog shows in Britain in 1908 but it wasn’t until 1913 that the dog was actually granted separate breed status and was first classed as the yellow golden retriever. It wasn’t until 1920 that the breed became known under the name we know it today, the golden retriever.
Since this time the breed has continued to grow in popularity as both a hunting dog and family pet and its beauty is known worldwide, today the golden retriever is a well-mannered and easily trained dog which is bred for show, hunting and as a loyal and faithful pet.
Not only does it play its role as pet, show and hunting dog it also excels in helping people the world over as guide dog for the blind and search and rescue dog. In fact studies have shown that the golden retriever is one breed that is known to have fewer rejections in guide dog training schools around the world.
Golden retriever medical problems
All dogs just as adults can have medical problems and the golden retriever breed is no exception, although the conditions listed below are for the golden retriever most of them also apply to other retriever breeds.
The most common medical problems the golden has are hip dysplasia, eye problems, skin problems and epilepsy, though of course this does not mean that your retriever will suffer from these just that they are common to the breed.
However if you bought your puppy from a reputable breeder then they will have been well aware of these conditions and only used stud dogs that have been tested and are in the best of health to their knowledge.
Hip dysplasia means poor development of the hip joint and is a disease that is inherited, problems with the hip joints are common in many breeds and they can be a big problem especially when the dog gets older or if they are working dogs.
A reputable breeder will have had her dogs x-rayed for hip problems prior to using them for breeding, hip problems will show up on x-rays in dogs around the age of one year.
Golden retrievers can inherit the gene for central progressive retinal atrophy this is a progressive disease, which affects the light receptive area of the eye known as the retina. Dogs affected by this problem may end up completely blind at a very young age.
The retriever is also prone to cataracts and this too can be hereditary, again a reputable breeder will have had her dogs tested for this problem and as the problem can develop at any stage, testing on a regular basis is advisable.
If the seizure is an isolated event then it will not usually cause concern, however some retrievers are prone to seizures and if this is the case then the dog should not be used for breeding.
This condition affects the thyroid gland and produces symptoms of lethargy, obesity and problems with the coat. The disease is treatable by daily administration of an oral thyroid supplement and if treated correctly prognosis is excellent.
Hypothyroidism is known to be linked to causing epilepsy in the retriever and the seizures have stopped once medication for hypothyroidism has been started.
Skin allergies in the golden retriever are very common and numerous including mold, dust, pollen and food allergies. Symptoms due to allergies usually manifest as constant scratching, biting or licking, if you think your dog might be affected by allergies then consult your vet for treatment.
Golden retriever breed standard
If you are thinking of buying a golden retriever not just for a pet but also for showing then you will have to find a breeder that breeds puppies specifically for show.
To enter a dog in a show it must meet certain standards set out by the Kennel club, every breed has what the kennel club calls a standard and only dogs matching as close to this standard will win top prizes. The breed standard for the golden retriever is set out below:
- General appearance – the dog should be a sound, active, well balanced dog with a kind expression.
- Characteristics – intelligent, biddable and should possess a natural ability to work.
- Temperament – a confident dog that is kind and friendly.
- Head and skull – the head should be broad well balanced and well chiseled and should be set well on the neck; the muzzle should be wide, powerful and deep with the nose being black.
- Eyes – the eyes should be dark brown set wide apart with dark rims.
- Mouth – the jaws should be string with a perfect and regular scissor bite; the upper teeth should closely overlap the lower teeth and be set square to the jaw.
- Neck – the neck should be clean and muscular with good length.
- Forequarters – the forequarters should be straight with excellent bone, the shoulders should be well laid back and be long in the blade with upper arm being of equal length. Elbows should fit close to the body.
- Body – the body should be balanced wellbeing short coupled and deep through the heart, the ribs should be well sprung and deep with level top line.
- Hindquarters – loin and legs should be strong and muscular with good thighs and strong stifles, the hocks should be straight when viewed from the rear with cow hocks being very undesirable.
- Feet – the feet should be cat like and round.
- Tail – the tail should be level with the back and reaching to the hocks in length with no curl at the tip.
- Gait – the stride should be long and free, straight and true in the front and rear.
- Coat – the coat can be wavy or flat but must have good feathering with a dense water repellent undercoat.
- Color – the coat can be any shade of cream or gold but shouldn’t be red or mahogany in color.
- Size – the adult dog should be 22 to 24″ to the withers with the bitch being 20 to 22″ at the withers.
- Faults – any departure from the points listed above will go against the dog and points deducted accordingly to the degree of departure.