Breed Popularity Ranking
Country of Origin
Devoted, playful, enthusiastic
The Golden Retriever, part of the sporting group of dogs, was originally bred as a hunting companion for retrieveing waterfowl, and continues to be one of the most popular family dogs in the United States. Affectionate, obedient, and loyal to a fault, the fun loving Retriever makes an ideal pet for the whole family to love.
The Golden Retriever is a bit longer than it is tall. Meanwhile, its strong, athletic build is accentuated by its well-developed hindquarters and forequarters. This gives the Golden Retriever a powerful, smooth gait. The Retriever is also characterized by its strong neck and a broad head. Its coat, generally found in various shades of gold, is dense and waterproof, and may be straight or wavy.
Personality and Temperament
The Golden Retriever is very playful. Not surprisingly, it lives up to its name as a great retriever, reveling in games of catch and carrying objects around in its mouth. And while it enjoys its active time outdoors, the Golden Retriever is calm indoors -- making it a great household pet for any type of family.
This breed is highly regarded for its love of human companionship. Faithful and obedient, the Retriever is also amongst the easiest to train. Its enthusiasm for learning new things and ability to quickly pick up on new commands makes the Golden Retriever a pleasure to train.
To encourage turnover over of the coat and minimize buildup of hair inside the house, it is best to routinely brush a Golden Retriever's coat at least twice a week. And though it is capable of living outdoors, the Retriever is at its best when kept indoors with the family. In addition, it is important for the Retriever to maintain a daily exercise routine, or take part in active games, so that it can spend its natural energy and relax comfortably during "non-playing" hours.
The Golden Retriever has a lifespan of between 10 and 13 years. Some of its minor health problems include hypothyroidism, sub-aortic stenosis (SAS), eye disorders, elbow dysplasia, mast cell tumors, and seizures. Osteosarcoma is also occasionally seen in Golden Retrievers. Other major health concerns for the breed include lymphoma, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), hemangiosarcoma, and skin problems. To identify these conditions early, a veterinarian may recommend heart, hip, thyroid, eye, or elbow tests during routine checkups.
History and Background
Lord Tweedmouth, often credited for the development of the Golden Retriever, lived along the Tweed River, north of the Scottish border, during the mid-19th century. There were already many retriever breeds used for hunting fowl and other game, but seeing further potential in the dogs, he sought to create a new breed which could combat the adverse conditions of the area.
To accomplish this, he crossed a Wavy-Coated Retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel. The result was four puppies with excellent bird-hunting abilities. Later, the yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever was cross-bred with Bloodhounds, black retrievers, setters, and Tweed Spaniels. This crossbreeding produced dogs with similar characteristics but with a distinct yellow flat coat. Some of these dogs entered the United States in the early 1900s with Lord Tweedmouth's sons, and in 1912, they were formally recognized as the Golden (or Yellow) Retriever. This breed has since gained much popularity in America.
Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1927, the Golden Retriever remains today one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.