All About the Golden Retriever Breed.
Golden Retrievers are excellent as family dogs, but they have abilities and talents beyond being just house pets. If you want to learn all about the Golden Retriever Breed than read on and enjoy!
The initial Golden Retriever breeds were used to track and find birds and retrieve them after the hunters had shot them. They are used by law enforcement for sniffing out contraband, by hunters for their hunting expeditions, disabled and blind as service dogs and search and rescue professionals in finding lost people. Having resilient and sturdy bodies combined with a loving and tolerant nature, Golden retrievers(Goldens) are ideal helpmates for humans.
The Golden Retriever is generally intelligent, sociable, loyal, and good looking. Golden Retrievers are so popular that 2 US presidents – Ford as well as Reagan had them as pets while in office.
Golden Retrievers are easy to train and great with kids. They are rated as among the top 10 most popular dogs in the United States.
Function and Purpose of the Golden Retriever
Known as the Gentleman’s gun dog, these are bred for the practical purposes of retrieving game birds and fowls which have been shot during hunting parties.
Due to its sturdy nature, they are great for all kinds of terrain – from marshlands and swamps to farmlands and prairies.
Since they are sociable, trainable, and intelligent, they have been used as service dogs for the handicapped, for tracking and searching, and as guide dogs for the blind.
The main qualities of golden retrievers are known for strength, agility, stamina, and athletic ability. They are extremely suited for running and swimming.
Golden Retriever Breed Standard
The Golden Retriever is a sturdy built dog with soft and dense wavy hair that is water repellent. The size is medium-large with a muscular body. Their coats are mostly in dark to light shades of golden color (hence the name golden retriever). Due to their similarity in looks, the golden retriever is also sometimes confused with yellow Labradors. But the Labradors have shorter hair, and this differentiates them from golden retrievers in appearance.
The Golden Retrievers have broad heads and thick muzzles. Their ears are triangle-shaped, and they flop down. The coat is medium long with straight or slightly wavy hair. The hair is lesser on the head, paws, and the legs.
The Golden Retriever is known for its’ kindly expression’, physical strength, and well-proportioned body. The overall appearance combined with the sturdy physique and balanced, purposeful gait makes it among one of the most popular dog breeds.
- Eyes are set fairly deep in the sockets with dark rims and set well apart. This also exudes an intelligent look to the breed. They are slanting and triangular-shaped with usually a brown color.
- The nose is usually black or brown. In case it is pink, the dog is not seen as purebred. Usually, the nose is big and large.
- Teeth are aligned in what is called a ‘scissors bite.’ This is where the outside of the upper incisors is touching the inside of the inner incisors.
- The neck is of medium length and has a sturdy and muscular appearance.
- The tail is thick and muscular at the base and narrows out. Usually, it is covered with a generous amount of hair.
- Shoulder blades are long and well laid back. Hindquarters are broad and strongly muscled.
The males usually stand at 22.5 to 24 inches. The females are usually around 21.5 to 22.5 inches in height.
Since these are large breeds, the weight can range between 65 to 75 pounds for males, while for females, it could range between 55-65 pounds. These are dogs that can quickly put on weight if they do not lead active lifestyles.
The average lifespan for golden retrievers’ ranges between 11-12 years
Colors and Markings
Color is extremely important to differentiate a Golden Retriever. Pale gold to reddish tinged golden coats is typically the range of colors that this breed predominantly expresses. Cream, off white or dark setter red colors, are usually not accepted as purebred Golden Retrievers. Greying or whitening due to age can occur. While some could show white marking on heads or toes as well as white patches on the chest, these are seen as undesirable.
What are the Three Types of Golden Retrievers?
There are 3 types of Golden Retrievers – British, American, and Canadian.
Let us understand each type a little more.
British Golden Retriever
British Golden Retrievers are common all over Europe. They have a broader skull and more muscular forequarters than the American type.
Another difference in comparison with the American Golden Retriever is that the eyes are more rounder and darker, which is in contrast to more triangular-shaped eyes of the American type. According to the UK, a standard cream is an acceptable color.
American Golden Retriever
The American type of golden retriever breeds are slender and less muscular with taller physiques as compared to the British type. Usually, the coats of American Golden Retrievers are darker in color.
Canadian Golden Retriever
The major difference between Canadian Golden Retriever and the other types is that it stands taller and has a darker coat.
Golden Retriever Character
Golden Retrievers are highly sociable dogs and love people. It might be difficult to have them as guard dogs because they get excited rather than aggressive when seeing strangers. The main characteristic of the golden retriever’s personality is its pleasant, loving nature. When training, it is necessary to remember this so as to make full use of their natural orientations. They make great family dogs hunting companions, outdoor playmates, and helpers.
Goldens are very friendly dogs and love to be with the family. They should not be allowed to be isolated outside the house for long periods of time. They should be trained to maintain a safe distance from strangers and guests who visit the house; otherwise, their eager, loving behavior can be misunderstood as aggression by the guests.
Children and Other Pets
Golden Retrievers are great with kids and enjoy being around them. They are protective and will be sensitive to the child’s needs. Potentially the parent should supervise the interactions between their child and the dog to ensure the child knows how to approach and handle the dogs.
Leaving the child unsupervised with the dog is not advisable at any time. It should be great for the children and the dog to have regular playtime together. Since this is a larger breed of dog, there could be instances where the child could be knocked down during playtime by the dog by mistake.
One important point to note is to ensure that the child does not approach the dog while it’s eating or sleeping.
Goldens are usually good with other family pets and enjoy playing with other dogs. Usually, they are not very aggressive and are great playmates with other animals and house pets such as cats.
Golden Retrievers are highly trainable. Prof. Stanley Coren, who is a neuropsychological researcher, having conducted research on dogs, placed Golden Retriever as 4th among all dog breeds in intelligence levels, and obedience-command trainability criteria. Due to this quality, they are regularly chosen to be trained in search and rescue. They are also the best choices for guide dogs and service dogs for the disabled.
Golden Retrievers adapt very well to most conditions and can tolerate hot and cold weather. Since these are dogs that are meant for outdoor activities, it is important to have them engage in vigorous exercise daily. If this is not done, they tend to have behavioral problems as well as possible weight gain.
Golden Retriever Puppy
If the adult Golden Retrievers are endearing, then the puppies are a thousandfold more so. Most people would not be able to resist a golden retriever puppy as it is active, intelligent, and huggable. It is no wonder that Golden Retriever puppies are in high demand.
For a Golden Retriever puppy, usually, the coat will be much lighter than adult coats. A giveaway is the ear tips that indicate the color the puppy will grow into.
Most people who want to get a Golden Retriever puppy are unaware of the amount of care and work it takes.
Few Tips for New Puppy Owners
If all the adults in your household are working, then it might be necessary to take a few days off to help the puppy settle in.
Time has to be taken to establish boundaries and for the puppy to get used to the new home.
Once we get settled in proper training in terms of potty breaks and eating schedules, then human interactions can be initiated.
It is better not to let the puppies run on hard pavements till they get older, and the bones are properly formed.
Puppies need a lot of warmth, so do ensure that you have a lot of bedsheets and pillows around their sleeping area. It is possible that initially, the puppies will also urinate a lot, so be prepared to clean the sheets as and when it happens.
Puppies who are slightly bigger love to chew on slipper cardboard and almost anything they can get to. This is necessary for their teeth, so get a few chew toys that they can play with.
Golden Retriever Puppy Price
Golden Retrievers are in great demand, so buying them can lead to your shelling out anywhere between $500 to $ 2000 depending on the quality and age.
In case you want to adopt a puppy, even then, the price can come anywhere between $300- $500, but you will get registration and vaccinations free along with that. Although if you are picky about breed purity and puppy condition, this may not be the ideal route. For that, you will need to find a reputable breeder and look for a pedigree. Yes, you will end up paying quite a bit, but if you do not, then someone else will be willing to pay that amount and get the pup.
What is the Best Way to Pick a Golden Retriever Puppy?
It is a tough decision when you go to pick up a puppy, you have an entire litter, and you become afraid that you will pick the wrong one. Here are some tips to help you pick the right puppy
- First, it is important to do some self-analysis. What kind of pet do you want? Do you want calm, energetic, shy, dominant? Which type of puppy will best fit your household? Once you have clarity on what you want, you can speak with the seller (this may be the breeder). The breeder or someone who has observed the puppies can help you find the type you want. You can determine if they are sincere in their suggestions or just trying to sell you. It would be better to go to a well-known breeder than a pet shop.
- Observe the puppies for some time and see the behaviors. Which ones exhibit the qualities you want? If you see any that is dull or nonactive, it is better not to choose among the others.
- Spend some time with the puppies. Touch them or pet them, bring out a ball or a rope, and throw in their midst, or you can interact with them to see which ones are responsive. You can also identify more clearly the marking and the color etc. by doing this.
- Some people like to wait and see which ones come to them. If any puppy comes to them, they assume that that is the one for them. While logical foundations for this assumption may be hazy, there are many who do that. It helps to make a decision.
- If you are in doubt, then it would also be good to take a vet with you who can check the health of the puppies and also bring an expert who can identify whether the puppy chosen is a good variety and is pure. A serious, reliable breeder will always comply with that.
It also occurs that breeders will make the match themselves. They will ask you about your family situation, how much time you’ll have for your puppy, work situation, if the puppy will be a family dog or if you will be working or training intensively with your pup, etc.
The breeder will need this information so they can make a good match. For example, if you have a busy family with small kids the breeder is more likely to match a more relaxed, laid back puppy with you than a very sensitive puppy which will have a better fit with a couple without small kids.
If you are getting a puppy, here is a checklist of items you can get or keep ready for your puppy:
- Food, do not feed whatever you have at home, or think is right. Get specific puppy food from the pet shop, at least for the initial days.
- Get a food bowl as it is what the dog will be trained to eat from. A water bowl too.
- Get a collar and a leash, and start using them.
- Find a comfortable dog bed he puppy can snuggle on and a few cozy sheets as comforters/blankets
- Get toys for the puppy to chase and chew. Have a few at hand at all times.
- Get a good brush, shampoo as well as flea powder. The first thing you should do once you take it home is to clean it gently with water or a soft sponge and then dry and brush the coat.
- Containers for storing food should also be gotten so that it has a specific space to be kept in the houses and can be easily found.
Gear You’ll Need before your Puppy arrives
14 Puppy Gear Suggestions
Golden Retriever Health & Care
The quality of food that you give will greatly affect the activity level and overall health. It is not the amount of food but the quality of nourishment that they receive that matters. They tend to do fairly well on low-calorie diets as puppies. Some owners do this, especially between the ages of four to seven months, to keep them from growing too fast as they tend to develop bone disorders during this time.
Nutrition per category
An adult dog usually needs to be fed twice a day, about 2 to 3 cups of dry food, along with a good amount of water. This would change based on the size, age, and level of activity for every dog.
It is necessary to keep track of the size of the dog as the amount of food needs to be adjusted if it is seen that the dog is tending to put on weight.
Being adog with a lot of hair, the Golden Retriever needs to be cleaned and well brushed. The nails should be trimmed regularly. The thing to note is that excessive trimming of the hair affects the soft natural expression of Goldens. It is not advisable to use any type of styling gel powder or foreign substances on the coat as it already has a natural golden glow that can be easily maintained by regular brushing and baths.
The tail usually tends to be hairy and can be trimmed slightly for evenness, but not too much. The Golden Retriever’s coat tends to undergo a fair amount of shedding, so weekly brushing is inevitable as a part of proper care for these pets.
Our top 10 Recommended Grooming Items
As a part of the grooming, it is necessary to also include the ears. Goldens have floppy ears which tends to encourage the growth of bacteria or fungus, and thus this breed is prone to ear infections
It is necessary to check the ears weekly for redness or any bad odor.
Ensure that your dog’s ears don’t get wet while eating food or drinking water by having elongated food bowls rather than the usual round ones.
Check paws frequently. Ensure that the nails and the hair around the nails are trimmed regularly. They can be sensitive to their paws being touched, so be careful and ensure you use trimmers and scissors with caution.
The owners of Golden Retrievers have to be constantly aware and be reminded that Goldens are primarily outdoor sporting dogs.
They need to run, chase, swim, catch, and play on a regular basis.
Exercise every day is necessary to ensure that the golden retrievers remain in good shape and are healthy.
Since they are highly trainable, Golden Retrievers can be trained in athletic activities as well, which keeps them fit.
You should keep in mind that these dogs do have a tendency to gain weight if allowed to be inactive.
Their high energy level and playfulness can be redirected by taking Goldens on regular (long) walks, making them chase objects or playing fetch, hide and seek, etc.
Golden Retrievers love water, so occasional swimming activities would also be appreciated by your Golden.
The Golden Retriever breed is easy to train and can be used for multiple purposes such as search dogs, rescue dogs, service dogs, companions for disabled, etc. They can be trained for athletic activities as well as for competing.
They are excellent runners, swimmers, and can be trained to exhibit these athletic qualities. The law enforcement also uses them for sniffing and finding out smuggled goods and drugs.
It can be difficult to manage the Golden Retriever if it is not trained properly. You will have to eventually always have them on a leash or impose restrictions. Traveling with your pet can be difficult as well, especially since it is a large size dog. If it seems uncontrollable and too excited, it can scare people.
Training the Golden how to behave will actually give it more freedom and acceptance in your neighborhood. Since the Goldens are eager to please their owners, it is not very difficult to train but does require some time and effort. But it would be the best thing you did for your dog. Also, training time would be an excellent way to spend quality time with your dog and will create a strong bond between you.
While Golden Retrievers are strong and healthy dogs, they may be prone to a few diseases like heart, eyes and ear problems, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cardiorespiratory conditions, skin conditions, cancer, hypothyroidism, ear infections, etc.
Routine check-up of the heart, hip, eyes, elbow, and ears is necessary. Finding a good vet and ensuring that you take the dog there regularly is essential.
Other than this, regular bathing and grooming can prevent parasite problems. The Golden Retrievers are sensitive to parasites and can be allergic to mites, ticks, and fleas. They could have skin issues due to this, hence the need for parasite prevention.
What is also essential is to be careful that the dog is fed only high quality and premium food. This will also keep parasites at bay. Due to its long hair, there needs to be a constant vigil on the bacteria formations on the body.
Cataracts are also common issues with Golden Retrievers. This is when the vision is clouded or impaired by the formation of a white or yellow film.
They are also prone to epilepsy. In cases where they have involuntary seizures or seem to lose consciousness, take them to a vet immediately. Epilepsy has medications to control it and can be treated.
Obesity is another issue that Goldens have if adequate care is not taken. Since they are big dogs, they may not seem to be overweight, but it can lead to all sorts of issues.
If your Golden seems to be portly or rounded, you could hold its sides and check for its ribs; if you cannot feel the ribs properly, then it means that the dog has put on more weight than is needed.
You need to reduce the food and cut off all treats and stop any feeding of crumbs at the table so that the weight comes down. Increase the activity and keep the weight down so that other issues such as diabetes or other metabolic disorders do not occur.
As a Golden Retriever owner, you need to ensure that there is a routine check-up at the vet, a balanced diet, adequate grooming, and enough daily exercise. This can keep many health issues at bay, and you can enjoy the companionship of your dog for a long time.
Golden Retriever History
The Golden Retriever is supposed to have originally been found at the Scottish estate of Lord Tweedsmouth in the 1830s.
Bred as a gun dog, the Golden Retriever was used in hunting and shooting parties to retrieve waterfowl, ducks, and other game birds that were shot by the hunters.
In those days, waterfowl hunting was a popular sport of the Scottish elite, and the birds would have to be retrieved from both land and water.
The existing retriever could not effectively get the birds out of the water, and this led to many birds going missing in the marshland and swamps.
There was a need for a retriever that could retrieve the fowls from both land and water. This led to retrievers being bred with water spaniels so as to combine both qualities.
It is believed that the Golden Retriever was first bred by having a retriever with golden mane mate with Tweed Water Spaniel, which is now an extinct breed.
It is believed that the father was ‘Nous,’ and the mother was ‘Belle’ who were matched to produce the first litter of Flat-Coated Retrievers, which were initially the first Golden Retrievers.
They were not initially accepted as a distinct breed and were rather classified as retrievers. In 1920 the breed name was given distinct recognition.
The Golden Retriever was recognized as a retriever and became favorite due to its good nature and sturdy body and retrieving capabilities.
All Golden Retrievers are yellow, blonde, or golden in color. There were 3 types of golden retrievers that became the eventual subtypes – American, British, and the Canadian Golden Retriever.
- Heavy Duty
Golden Retrievers are an absolute delight to have as pets and companions. Their unconditional love and caring natures combined with calm strength and innate power can make anyone a fan of this breed. Understanding the characteristics and taking the right care is important to ensure that your Golden Retriever lives happily and remains in good health for a long time.