Golden Retrievers are heavily muscled, with a dense coat and a heavily feathered tail. These highly-trainable sporting dogs have a confident, eager and alert personality - and need constant attention to be happy. Gentle and loving, the Golden Retriever makes a good family pet.
Country of Origin:
The Golden Retriever originated near the English-Scottish border.
Male Golden Retrievers range from 23 inches to 24 inches. Female Golden Retrievers range from 21.5 inches to 22.5 inches.
Male Golden Retrievers range from 65 to 75 pounds. Female Golden Retrievers range from 55 to 65 pounds.
Golden Retriever colors range from gold to cream.
Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent coat. Their coat requires a twice-weekly grooming.
The Golden Retriever is a devoted, responsible dog breed. Gentle and easy to train, this sporting dog enjoys retrieving and is superb with children.
The Golden Retriever is susceptible to skin allergies, thyroid problems, cataracts and other eye problems and hip dysplasia.
The expected life span of the Golden Retriever is 10-13 years.
Golden Retrievers are active dogs that need daily outdoor exercise and human contact. As the Golden Retriever is a very energetic breed, they do not do well in apartments, or as a companion for the elderly. Eager to please, Golden Retrievers enjoy learning new tricks and especially enjoy games that involve retrieving.
The Golden Retriever is in the Sporting group.
Related Dog Breeds:
Liberty, the First Dog during the Ford administration. Comet, the Tanner's dog on the TV show Full House. Duke, the dog who wants to give away the secret recipe on the baked beans commercial. Buddy, of Air Bud fame. What do all of these dogs have in common? They are all Golden Retrievers, one of America's most popular dog breeds.
When you think of a family dog, probably the most common image that pops into your head is that of a Golden, but did you know that the dog was originally bred to be a gun dog? With a water-repellant coat, they love the water and are great at retrieving waterfowl who have fallen into a lake after being hunted. Their soft mouths ensure that the bird will not suffer any damage (other than that inflicted by the hunter).
Versatile Working Dog
The intelligence, versatility, and work ethic of the breed has made the Golden Retriever a popular choice not only as a hunter and companion animal, but also as a search and rescue worker, a drug detector, and an assistance animal. "Hoop", a retriever who lives with Lisa Towner in Utah, is a therapy dog. In a typical day's work, he may assist stroke patients in their physical therapy, and visit with patients on the children's ward, helping them forget about the pain that brought them to the hospital. He also travels to schools.
Hoop, a Golden Therapy Dog
Evan Gruber, a board member of the Utah Veterinary Medical Association says, "It's amazing how much animals can add to the therapeutic process. They give unconditional love, and patients will open up and respond to animals in ways they never will with humans." The Utah VMA recently inducted Hoop into the Utah Animal Hall of Fame and proclaimed him the Animal Companion of the Year.
A Good-Natured Attitude Is Contagious
The Golden's friendly, accepting attitude is contagious, as reflected in Hoop's fan mail: "Hoop has inspired me to feel better toward lots of people. When he comes to my class he is always happy…Hoop has enriched, inspired, and contributed to my life." If you've never been around a Golden Retriever, you might not realize what a wonderful personality they have. Their temperament is actually part of what judges look for when Golden Retrievers are shown. Any sign of unprovoked aggression towards people or other animals is considered a serious fault.
Search And Rescue
The typical Golden is very intelligent and eager to please, which makes them wonderfully suited to search and rescue. Hasty, a dog who lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado is trained to find people buried by avalanches. In training, a member of the search and rescue team is "buried" in a snow cave six feet below the surface. Hasty's job is to locate the survivor and dig a hole to enable him to breathe fresh air until rescuers arrive.
Valuable and Effective K-9
Austin, a police K-9, lives in Austin, Texas. He is trained to search for missing people, dead or alive, including those lost in aircraft crashes, hikers, and seniors who wander away due to Alzheimer's disease. Experts estimate that a dog trained in search and rescue can be as effective as 20 - 30 trained human searchers, due to the dog's exceptional hearing, night vision, and sense of smell. Once a search dog is trained, he is worth at least $25,000, depending on the specific skills of the dog. In light of this expense, many K-9 unit police cars are outfitted with special equipment to protect the dog and keep him comfortable. For example, if the car's computer detects carbon monoxide, it automatically rolls down the windows and pages the dog's handler to return to the vehicle.
Golden Retrievers are moderately active dogs and require room to play. They are good at common dog games, such as catching a Frisbee or tennis ball. This may be troublesome during the puppy stage, as you may not want your slippers retrieved at 3 am! They are also highly skilled at agility, making them a favorite at contests throughout the country. Because of their love of water, care must be taken if you take your dog boating with you. He is liable to end up in the water, having the time of his life!
The average lifespan of a Golden is 10 - 13 years, although some dogs have been known to live as long as 19 years! (This is definitely not the norm.) Because Golden Retrievers are so popular, they have become a favorite of breeders who often see them as a cash cow. Careless breeding has resulted in several genetic diseases including hip dysplasia. When you are interviewing a breeder, make sure the puppies' parents have been checked by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) or by PennHIP (Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program) for any signs of hip disease. Both of these X-ray based diagnostic protocols should be well known by a reputable breeder, and he should be able to certify that his studs and bitches have been checked.
Consider a Rescue Golden
Because of their relatively long lifespan and because they are often over-bred in puppy mills, Goldens seem to have a high orphan rate. Dogs are abandoned because the breeder cannot sell an older dog, or because a family adopts the dog, then finds out they don’t have room for him or can't afford to keep him. If you are considering adding a Golden to your family, check out rescues and shelters for abandoned dogs, in addition to interviewing reputable breeders. If you are not planning to breed or show the dog, you will not need registration papers, and you can often get a Golden at a lower price from a shelter or rescue organization because the dog's heritage may not be authenticated.
Other Health Concerns
The leading cause of death for Golden Retrievers is cancer, accounting for over 60% of the breed's fatalities. Other common diseases include cataracts, cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart muscle, making it inefficient at pumping blood), joint diseases, and skin allergies. The skin allergies may be manifested by acute moist dermatitis, more commonly known as "hot spots". These spots may arise after grooming. They first appear as a small red, crusty area, but spread quickly if not treated. Hot spots are quite painful for the dog. He will spend a great deal of time "worrying" over the area until it is healed. The medication stings when you apply it, but causes the area to scab over. Eventually, the fur grows back over the spot when it is completely healed.
You Can’t Go Wrong With a Golden Retriever
Whether you are considering getting a dog as a companion, a hunting assistant, or to train for agility competitions, search and rescue, or assistance, you can't go wrong with a Golden Retriever. The kind, friendly, and confident breed is a natural at almost any task.