The Golden Retriever is an all-round athletic breed that thrives on both work and play. A charismatic addition to the family, the Golden goes well with almost any potential owner willing to have fun at full throttle.
The story of the golden was developed in Scotland in the mid-19th century as a hunting dog to find birds for hunters. It’s an action-packed story. The first Baron Tweedmouth (aka Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, a founder of the breed) cultivated the breed’s strong swimming and recovery skills. Though bred for hard work, gentle mouths were also expected from the early golden ones. They had to carry birds without causing harm. After all, people wanted to cook a whole bird, not pieces of birds.
Golden Retriever enjoying life
These days, Goldens love to hunt, hike, swim, and hunt balls. The Golden is an adorable family dog and, above all, an athlete. They make a living from sports like dock diving, flyball, agility, rallying, and scent work. Many Goldens also improvise homemade games. Most of these sports involve sticks, balls, and almost certainly water (not to mention mud!). Bred for human work, Goldens are also avid and successful students of obedience.
Even though Goldens are all-rounders, they are unlikely to do the watchdog duty. The bark of a golden is usually more of a greeting than a warning. The breed is not sold under the concept of alien danger. Most play with anyone who throws a ball! Goldens usually view new dogs as potential playmates, not rivals. Some Goldens hunt cats, but mostly playfully.
Search and rescue heroes
“With their strength, perseverance, drive and excellent noses, Goldens can be excellent partners in the search field,” says Susannah Charleson, K-9 search specialist and author (Where the Lost Dogs Go: A Tale of Love, Search, and the Power of Reunification, 2019). “Many Golden are sensitive to those in need and easily switch roles from finder to comforter. They reassure those who have found them in ways that human rescuers often cannot.”
Gold trained in search and rescue show great perseverance. “We weren’t looking, but my partner, Gambit, recently pulled me across a parking lot to call attention to an unconscious woman in a car,” says Susannah. “He picked up the smell of something that bothered him and led me to a woman who had collapsed in her vehicle after training.” The woman was bad when the paramedics arrived, but she survived. “Without Gambit’s determination, the woman might not have been found in the car before the daytime temperature hit three-digit numbers,” explains Susannah. “The determination of the golden can be lifesaving.”
Works of love
Goldens are ideal as dogs for physical support, guide dogs for the visually impaired, search and rescue dogs and hearing dogs for the hearing impaired. The golden learns quickly and tries to please.
The gentle golden makes a reliable family dog. However, as teenagers they tend to play pretty rough. A classic “whoops” for a golden youth jumps on little human playmates or knocks them over. The breed appreciates large spaces in which to run, but (if exercised regularly) can thrive in apartments as well. Her adaptability is just as well known as her kindness.
Golden Retriever facts
Weight: Males, 65 to 75 pounds; Females, 55 to 65 pounds
Lifespan: 10 to 11 years
Coat: Dense, double-coated. Straight or corrugated outer jacket. The undercoat offers soft warmth.
Colour: Many shades of rich gold; not noticeably dark or light
Maintenance: Regular brushing keeps the coat clean, beautiful and matt-free.
Spill: The Golden’s coat stays healthy by shedding old hair. Leave the vacuum connected!
Who advertises ?: Many Goldens make a woo-hooing noise when they’re happy or excited. Some advertise with music.
Best for: Active singles and families. Beginners and seasoned owners alike.
Equipment: Get balls and water toys for his active lifestyle.
Possible health problems: Hemangiosarcoma; Hip dysplasia.
Suggested Racial Quote: Choose Happy
Read on: The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study