Dog Breeds Cat BreedsPet Names Dog TrainingForumPet Health

BACK to Dog Breed Listing


Family gundog, retriever
Life Span 10-13 years
Avg Size of Male: Height: 23 - 24 inches, Weight: 65 - 75 pounds
Avg Size of Female: Height: 21.5 - 22.5 inches, Weight: 55 - 65 pounds
Original Function: retrieving, assistance, obedience
Overall Rating (out of 5)
Overall a happy, friendly, and energetic dog, the golden retriever loves to be with its family. It does especially well with children, though its overwhelming affection may be a bit much for very young children. This dog also does very well with other pets. However, it is not suggested as a companion for an elderly person due to its high energy level.

The Golden Retriever is a very popular breed of dog. It was developed as a retrieving dog to use while hunting wild fowl. Today it is one of the most common family dogs as it is easy to handle, very tolerant and does not require very much from the owner(s), other than regular exercise, food and veterinary check-ups. It is often affectionately known as a Yellow Retriever or a Golden. Golden Retrievers are usually compatible with people and other dogs. Golden Retrievers typically bark when startled, but their friendly nature generally makes them poor watchdogs. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people.

Physically, this breed matures in about two years, but mental maturity usually takes three years or more, keeping a very puppy-like nature for a long time. This dog is capable as a watch dog, as it tends to bark at the approach of strangers. However, it is not a good guard dog: it is just too friendly. The golden retriever must be around people a lot in order to be happy. It is a very sociable and lovable dog, which can be entertained for hours simply by tossing a stick or a ball for it to retrieve. This dog requires much of the owner's time and attention. If given this kind of love and affection, the golden retriever makes a perfect addition to the active family.


Typically, Goldens are fairly unruly as puppies. However, once they reach maturity, Goldens remain active and fun-loving while developing an exceptionally patient demeanor, as befits a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage are a size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for cool water.

They are noted for their affection for people, and their tolerance of children. They are natural clowns, which characterizes them as great therapy dogs to use in hospitals or retirement homes. Most Goldens require lots of companionship to be happy. Due to their intelligence, they do well in obedience trials and make excellent assistance dogs. While they might not do quite as well in field trials as Labrador Retrievers, they are excellent hunters that are famous for their outstanding scenting abilities. However, many Golden Retrievers will not express their desire to "fetch" until adulthood.

The Golden Retriever loves to retrieve. Retrieving a thrown stick, tennis ball, or flying disc can keep a Golden occupied and entertained for hours, particularly if there is also water involved.

Today's Golden Retrievers fall into two groups: show dogs and field dogs. The Goldens in the show group are generally bigger boned, longer, and heavier. The champagne color and long flowing coat are highly prized in the show ring. On the other hand, field Goldens tend to be smaller, longer legged, and be a more reddish shade. These two strains derive from famous goldens from the 1960s. Gold Rush Charlie moved the show Goldens toward their present characteristics, while Holway Barty greatly affected the field group. Presently, many breeders are attempting to unite these two strains into the all-purpose Golden Retriever.


The double coat of the golden retriever does not have a tendency to mat, but to keep it in good shape, brushing with a firm wire brush about twice a week is suggested. Be sure to pay close attention to the denser undercoat. Use dry shampoo on a regular basis and bathe when necessary. The golden retriever is considered to be an average shedder. Daily exercise is very important to this breed. It loves to play and run. It is not suggested for apartment dwelling, and it does best in a home with a yard in which to play. The golden retriever is moderately active when indoors as well. Long daily walks and the chance to run, retrieve, and play is essential to the physical and mental health of this playful dog.


Goldens can be very profitable to breeders, including puppy mills and backyard breeders. As a result of careless breeding for profit they are prone to many diseases, both genetic and otherwise. Hip dysplasia is very common in the breed, and when buying a puppy make sure its parents have healthy hips and have been examined by either the OFA or PennHIP. The diseases common in the breed include:

Various forms of cancer, the most common being hemangiosarcoma, followed by, lymphosarcoma, mastocytoma, and osteosarcoma.
Various skin diseases, with allergies(often leading to acute moist dermatitis or "Hot Spots") being most common. Others include seborrhea, sebaceous adenitis, and lick granuloma.
Hip dysplasia
Elbow dysplasia
Patella luxation, osteochondritis, panosteitis, and cruciate ligament rupture are also common in the Golden.
Various heart diseases, especially subaortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy are major problems in this breed.
Cataracts are the most common eye disease in Goldens.
Progressive retinal atrophy
Retinal dysplasia
Ear Infections
Cushing's Disease
Diabetes (occasionaly)
von Willebrand Disease
Autoimmune hemolytic anemia
Myasthenia gravis
Laryngeal paralysis
Liver shunt


The origin of the golden retriever is well documented. In the 1800s, Lord Tweedmouth lived along the Tweed River north of the Scottish border. Some claim the breed began prior to Tweedmouth's time on the estate with Sir Dudley Majoribanks (pronounced "March-banks"). Tweedmouth kept handwritten breeding records of the golden retriever from 1835 to 1890. Apparently, he bred a yellow wavy-coated retriever named Nous with a Tweed water spaniel named Belle. Nous was the sole yellow retriever in a litter of black pups. The retriever was bred from the small Newfoundland and the Labrador, while the Tweed water spaniel, which is now extinct, was a retrieving dog with a liver-colored, curled coat. Nous and Belle produced a litter of four bitch pups which proved to be talented upland bird dogs. Subsequently, crosses were made with such breeds as Tweed spaniels, setters, black retrievers, and a bloodhound. At first, what we know today as the golden retriever was considered to be a flat-coated retriever of a yellow variety. It didn't become recognized as a separate breed until 1912. The golden retriever evidently came to America around 1900 by way of Lord Tweedmouth's sons to the family's Texas farm. There is some confusion over the date that the AKC recognized the breed, ranging in time from 1925 to 1932. While this dog was valued for its hunting capabilities, it later became popular as a show dog and a pet. The golden's quick learning skills have made it a diverse worker used as a guide dog, therapy dog and service dog for the handicapped. This breed is often used in narcotics detection thanks to its exceptional tracking abilities. To this day, the golden retriever remains in the top ten most popular dogs in the United States.






Copyright " - Find Your Perfect Pet" 2006