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GOLDEN RETRIEVER FACTS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOST POPULAR DOG BREED

Posted By Jérémy ADJOVI-BOCO, 19 July 2023

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Golden Retrievers are one of the most loved dogs worldwide! Their success started in the '80s and '90s as they wowed the crowds with many qualities! They quickly became family dogs and the Retriever star.


The origins of the Golden Retriever breed

Unlike the Labrador Retriever, whom they resemble greatly, there is no consensus on the exact origin of the Golden. One hypothesis is that the Golden Retriever originated from multiple crosses made by Scotsman Lord Tweedmouth; that's why many believe they come from the United Kingdom.

Lord Tweedmounth made these crosses as early as 1865, between a yellow Retriever called "Nous" and a now-extinct breed, the Tweed Water Spaniel.

However, it wasn't until 1911 that the first Golden Retrievers as we know them were created and promoted by a certain Mrs. Charlesworth.

Two years later, the Golden Retriever was considered a proper breed and adopted its definitive name in 1920.

 

Two Golden Retriever puppies with light and dark golden coats.

 

Golden Retrievers are among the friendliest dogs

The Golden Retriever's popularity has not declined since the '80s, and for a good reason: this breed has numerous qualities! It's the third favorite dog in the USA!

Above all, you can't help but admire their gentleness and friendliness, making them perfect family dogs. Goldens are incredibly kind to small children as well as the elderly. They will give you unconditional trust and are extremely intelligent!

In addition, Goldens will go above and beyond to show you they are men's best friends! Over time, we carefully selected this breed to be affectionate, reliable, and kind. These characteristics are an integral part of the perfect Golden Retriever, so much so that Goldens will be disqualified by the AKC (American Kennel Club) if they prove fearful or aggressive.

 

Educating a Golden Retrieve takes love and gentleness because of their sweet temper

 

Golden Retrievers have the sweetest soul, and they need to be loved dearly and handled with much gentleness. And because of their gentle temper, you should think about training your Golden as an educative process and not strict training.

They are very delicate dogs, anxious to please you, and they will do everything in their power to make you happy!

Also, they can quickly adapt to any lifestyle, as long as you give them lots of love and affection. They will be your best traveling companion, eager to follow you around and always watching over you!

They can live in small spaces as long as you give them regular access to the outdoors. And ideally to green spaces as they love to sniff tracks, run and swim: they will be happier if they have regular access to large green areas.


A Golden Retriever waiting for his treats.

Did you know Goldens are outstanding working and mediating dogs?

 

On the one hand, the golden retriever's loyalty and outstanding learning skills make them ideal for family life. But they are also flawless friends to children, older people, and people with disabilities.

You might not yet know that they are incredible mediators. Indeed they are impeccably balanced, attentive, and receptive to emotions; these qualities make them perfectly capable of establishing bonds with dependent people.

On the other hand, Goldens are especially working dogs, and therefore you will often see Golden Retrievers working as rescue dogs at sea or in the rubble.

Finally, they can make for wonderful hunting dogs if you enjoy such activity.

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The physical characteristics that define the Golden Retriever breed

 

The AKC describes them as a harmonious, well-proportioned, active, powerful dog with a robust constitution and a gentle expression.

Golden Retrievers are qualified as large breed dogs, measuring about 23 to 24 inches for the males against 21 to 23 inches for the females.

The Golden Retriever is perfectly proportioned 

 

When you look at them, you will see their well-proportioned and well-chiseled head with a broad skull and a harmonious head attachment with the neck. The nose should preferably be black! And their eyes are usually dark brown with dark eyelid rims.

Their ears are medium-sized, set at about eye level, giving them a loving and caring look when they stare at you.

Golden Retrievers have a well-proportioned body, a horizontal topline, robust, muscular, short loins, and a deep chest. Their expressive tails reach the hock and wag joyfully when they are happy or excited!

The particularities of the Golden Retriever's coat

In Golden Retrievers, the coat is an essential characteristic of the breed: it can be of any shade of gold and cream but never with hints of red or mahogany. However, your Golden can have some white hair on the chest.

And surprisingly, unlike the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever does not have a liver-chocolate coat!

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Here are the three standard Golden Retrievers colors and their registration code :

  • Dark Golden (080)
  • Golden (093)
  • Light Golden (119)

Looking closely at a Golden, you will notice that the coat is flat or wavy and always long. The Golden's undercoat is tight and waterproof, which comes with no surprise as they love swimming! If you are already a proud pet parent to a Golden, you know this coat requires weekly maintenance to avoid excessive shedding!

Noteworthy: The American Golden Retriever differs from its British counterpart by being slightly larger and darker and having a more delicate coat.

 

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The diseases that Golden Retrievers are more likely to have due to racial predispositions

 

If you read our other articles, you will know that all pure breeds have certain "predispositions" to specific diseases. This fancy word means that the population naturally tends to show more particular conditions.

Golden Retrievers are well studied

 

Like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers are very popular, so they are studied thoroughly, and their predispositions are well known.

If you read articles on less popular breeds, you might have a lesser number of predispositions. But keep in mind that the less popular the breed, the less studied they are, and therefore there will be fewer discoveries and fewer predispositions reported. Breed predisposition shouldn't be confused with the breed being fragile.  

Finally, remember that racial predisposition means a statistically higher risk for disease in some breeds than others. But more importantly, predisposition does not mean that the disease will necessarily occur.

 

Golden Retrievers can have painful joint disoeders and other chronic illnesses

 

For example, golden retrievers are predisposed to locomotor disorders, such as hip dysplasia or elbow dysplasia—the latter causes lameness in young dogs and is likely hereditary.

They can also be predisposed to many tumors and cancers. These cancers include fibrosarcoma, hemangiosarcoma, histiocytic sarcoma, mastocytoma, etc.

It is not uncommon for them to have skin disorders. Thus, about 30% of Goldens are affected by ichthyosis of the dog in a more or less critical way. Ichthyosis is very rare in dogs and results from a genetic mutation. The mutation prevents the outer layer of skin from developing correctly. If present, it is usually located on the flanks and under the armpits. As a result, you will see that the skin is rough and covered with thick, greasy flakes that stick to the hair. Thankfully, a DNA screening is possible.

 

The Golden Retriever and breed predispositions

As seen earlier, Goldens are well studied, and we know probably most, if not all, their predispositions. For example, another condition you can find in Goldens is atopic dermatitis, an allergic phenomenon characterized by itching from a very young age.

Additionally, various disorders can affect their eyes, including cataracts, retinal detachment, and glaucoma.

Also, heart problems, hypothyroidism, or convulsions are sometimes reported.

 

 

Owning a Golden Retriever will bring you joy for many years

 

The number of affections we described shouldn't alarm you as we emphasize that they result from numerous studies on the Golden Retriever.

Therefore, though your Golden could get these diseases, it is not a fatality. Furthermore, you will be excited to learn that they usually live long, happy lives. Indeed with some love and care, your Golden can live up to 14 years!

The golden is one of the five most popular breeds in the USA. Their extraordinary versatility and loving character allow them to adapt to many environments and tasks. We have no doubts they will win you over!

 

 

Author: Dr. Jeremy

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), MS

Meet Jeremy, a passionate veterinarian and co-founder of Jope, with a decade of experience—7 years in the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industry and 3 years as a veterinarian. Passionate about enhancing the well-being of pets, Jeremy's mission is to provide practical, evidence-based advice and products that support pet parents and their furry companions. His favorite breed, the Australian Shepherd, holds a special place in his heart for their playfulness, cleverness, and beauty.

Join Jeremy on an insightful journey through the world of pet health and discover how science and compassion come together to improve the lives of pets.

The content presented here is for informational purposes and reflects Jeremy's own opinions, expertise, and experience. It is not intended to replace professional veterinary consultation, diagnosis, or treatment. For personalized advice and care for your pets, always consult with your veterinarian.

 

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