The Golden Retriever has been for many years at the top of the ranking of our favourite dogs. The good character of the Goldie is recognised and appreciated all over the world, especially in the United States. Versatile at work, affectionate and sociable towards everyone, he is the perfect companion, at work and at home.
Key facts about the Golden Retriever
Access the rest of the content after the ad
Loading advertisement ...
Origins and history
Originally from Great Britain, the recognition of the breed is quite recent since it dates back only to 1931; but we know practically nothing of his history. Only legends are known: the most famous one says that in 1858 Lord Tweedmouth bought a couple of Caucasian Shepherds that he had seen working in a circus. Eventually, he kept only the golden puppies to fix the recessive personality of the parents. Another theory argues that the breed originated from the cross between a sandy-coloured dog from St. Hubert (Bloodhound), and a Tweed Water Spaniel that’s now extinct. Other authors still argue that the ancestor of the breed was a yellow dog born from a cross between this water Spaniel and a Flat-coated Retriever.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 8 - Retrievers - Flushing Dogs - Water Dogs
Section 1 : Retrievers
Physical characteristics of the Golden Retriever
Female : Between 20 and 22 in
Male : Between 22 and 24 in
Female : Between 53 and 62 lb
Male : Between 62 and 71 lb
The Golden Retriever’s coat can be any shade of yellow, ranging from cream to dark gold. Some white hair can be seen on the chest, but red or mahogany shades are forbidden.
Type of coat
The hair is mid-length.
The top-hair is flat or wavy with fringes and the undercoat is tight and provides good waterproofing.
The double coat, thick and silky, allows him to be very comfortable and perfectly protected in the water and against bad weather.
His eyes are brown, the edge of his eyelids are dark.
The dog looks balanced, powerful, sturdy and soft at the same time. A well-proportioned dog.
Good to know
In addition to being an excellent hunting, companion, and guide dog, the Golden Retriever is also used by search and rescue teams or by police units to detect drugs and explosives due to his unrivalled tracking capabilities.
Goldens are very well known for their "soft mouth", which enables them to grab a victim's arm without hurting them. In fact, it is said that Goldens can pick up raw eggs without even cracking them!
This dog has a pristine appearance and a superb personality! He is very close to his social group, and his big heart is set on making them happy and providing all the love that his companions need.
This dog is very playful and active, so he will be perfect to keep the children entertained. He will perform small and more ambitious tricks simply to amuse, entertain and attract the attention of all.
Games that are both playful and educational will be perfect to reinforce the obedience of this dog but also to strengthen the relationship that bonds him with his owner.
If his needs are respected and fulfilled and he is well educated, he will be a quiet dog at home.
However, it depends enormously on the breeding. Indeed, the strong success of this breed has sometimes led to the production of puppies whose weaker characters have managed to endanger the superior quality of this breed.
Watch out for Golden Retriever farms that favour quantity of pups over quality of dog.
He is versatile. This dog excels in many disciplines which reflects his great intelligence and adaptability. The abilities and personality of the Golden Retriever have even led him to become an excellent assistance dog for the blind and disabled.
The intelligence of the Goldie is recognised by the greatest scientists and specialists in cognitive behaviour. Indeed, a ranking based on instinctive intelligence, adaptive intelligence and intelligence at work placed this dog as the third most intelligent breed. Let us embarrass this modest dog no longer with talk of his tremendous intellectual capacity.
Even though he was naturally made to accompany hunters in the countryside, he needs some training to use him effectively for hunting.
The Golden Retriever dog will be particularly good at playing games, especially in water since this is an environment in which he performs with pleasure and skill.
Fearful / wary of strangers
By no means aggressive or reserved towards strangers, the Golden Retriever is sociable, friendly, and demands interaction with familiar and unfamiliar humans.
He is especially close to his masters and he demands attention, but all the same maintains a certain autonomy within his environment.
Behaviour of the Golden Retriever
He is not a dog made to stay alone long hours. He needs to be accompanied and stimulated regularly.
Life outdoors or in a kennel does not serve him well; this dog needs to live in the family home.
Easy to train / obedience
The Goldie is very easy to educate since he will want and need to please his master. Due to his docile nature, he will be eager to learn if the methods employed are respectful of the principles of positive education.
Education should be initiated in puppyhood. Throughout his first 20 weeks of life, his brain will be super-busy. He will need to learn and be stimulated so that his natural abilities develop.
Instinctively, the Retriever puppy will look for a person to count on, which is a role that his owner should fill in order to guarantee the beautiful balance of this breed.
This dog will not be an excessive barker; he will, however, raise his voice in excitement or frustration. A good education and proper handling of his daily needs will help to control this aspect of him.
Tendency to run away
This adorable companion is not the runaway type as he prefers to stay with his own.
Pay attention all the same to the puppy whenever he goes outside in the garden. He may get bored so he might attempt to escape in order to fulfil his interests and answer the demands of his spirit.
The Goldie reaches maturity late, so destruction may be a common thing. Nevertheless, a good physical and mental workout along with a firm and coherent education can keep this aspect of his character in control.
Greedy / Gluttony
A greedy fellow, the Golden Retriever loves to request food and treats. This is an asset for the education process but stay vigilant so as to avoid him becoming overweight.
To avoid the dog's gluttonous behaviour during mealtime, rations can be offered two times a day and/or in an anti-gluttony bowl.
Bonus tip: For dogs that tend to eat very quickly, their daily ration can be hidden around the garden. This allows the dog to eat less quickly and to stimulate his sense of smell!
This dog will greet with pleasure and cheerfulness not only guests but also intruders. This is an advantage and a disadvantage, depending on the expectations of the dog's owners.
This Retriever is particularly suitable for a first adoption. Docile, affectionate, playful, loyal and sociable, he is the perfect companion dog. He adapts beautifully to all lifestyles and various family structures.
It will, of course, be necessary to learn about the physical conditions of the chosen breed to be sure that the Golden Retriever puppy is balanced and in accordance with the official standard of the breed.
Access the rest of the content after the ad
Loading advertisement ...
Is the Golden Retriever right for you?take the test
Golden Retriever in a flat
He is sporty and active in nature; this dog will need space to flourish properly. A life in the countryside with a garden and a nearby water point will be the ideal living conditions for this great swimmer.
However, his adaptive intelligence allows him to live in the city, for instance in an apartment, if his needs for physical spending are fulfilled.
Need for exercise / Sporty
The Golden Retriever needs daily walks and another energy spending session to be perfectly balanced physically and mentally.
Long walks with the possibility of swimming should be offered to him as regularly as possible.
This dog excels in many disciplines: hunting, agility, tracking, obedience, races, etc. All of these activities can be offered as leisure.
Travelling / easy to transport
The size of this dog will hinder his accessibility to some transport, but his need to be with his master and his adaptation skills allow him to be able to travel without too many constraints.
Golden Retriever and cats
His very sociable personality makes him a dog that can coexist with a cat. This agreement will be accentuated especially if the two animals grow together.
Pay attention all the same to the possibility of aggressive reactions from cats that could injure the dog, especially in the eyes and snout.
Golden Retriever and dogs
He is not a fighter. This dog will often get along very well with his peers, with whom he will like to spend time and energy.
Socialisation during puppyhood will enable him to acquire and strengthen his canine codes of conduct.
Golden Retriever and children
Sweet, attentive, friendly and jovial, these dogs make wonderful family pets.
Be careful that young children respect the tranquillity and nature of this dog. Ground rules will have to be put in place to ensure the safety of everyone and to make cohabitation harmonious.
Golden Retriever and the elderly
All the qualities and the good personality of this exceptional dog make him appropriate for life with older people.
However, the latter will have to be sufficiently dynamic and ready to support the physical needs of this dog.
The price of a Golden Retriever varies depending on his origins, age and gender. An average of £1000 is to be counted for a dog registered with the Kennel Club.
The average monthly budget ranges between £35 and £45. This includes food and care.
Maintenance of this dog’s coat is not difficult but it still requires regular brushing, especially for dogs with wavy fur.
The fur can easily become tangled due to his regular activities, so daily brushing will sometimes be necessary.
In addition, special care will have to be given to his drooping ears so as to avoid and/or prevent any infections.
This dog sheds regularly and even more heavily during moulting periods, especially in the spring.
Nutrition of the Golden Retriever
Whether it is dry (biscuit), raw (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) or homemade food, the feeding of the Golden Retriever must be adapted to his age, weight, level of activity and physical condition.
He is sensitive and prone to obesity so it will be necessary that you carefully measure the daily rations of this great glutton.
One or two meals should be offered at fixed hours, in a raised bowl if possible to ensure better digestion.
The quality of the dog food is important, especially in the first few months of the Golden Retriever puppy's life. It will be necessary to favour a rich diet to promote the healthy development of this dog.
Health of the Golden Retriever
The lifespan of this dog can be up to 12 years.
Strong / robust
The Golden Retriever is a sturdy dog that has a good lifespan. According to several surveys, few dogs fail to reach the age of 10 years. These dogs are therefore strong and resistant.
He is rather durable, but it will still be necessary to offer him fresh water and to renew it regularly during hot weather. He also needs a place to rest in the shade.
The thick undercoat of this dog and the waterproofness of his coat allows him to withstand the weather, but be careful of freezing temperatures.
Tendency to put on weight
Since he is friendly and cheerful, we often tend to please this dog by giving him some treats here and there. However, it is important to be vigilant because the Golden Retriever is particularly sensitive to becoming overweight and could quickly suffer from obesity.
Contrary to common misconceptions, "chubby" dogs are not healthy dogs. Adjusting daily rations is of prime importance to maintain a good physical condition and to avoid excesses.
- Predispositions to cancers (hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, osteosarcoma, localized mastocytoma)
- Hip and elbow dysplasia
- Progressive retinal atrophy/Degeneration Ocular Allergies
- Ear infections
- Skin diseases (dermatitis, vitiligo, furunculosis, folliculitis, ichthyosis)
- Hepatitis by copper toxicosis
- Risk of "broken tail" if the tail is not dried well after water contact
Frequently asked questions
Are Golden Retrievers good family dogs?
Golden Retrievers are arguably the best family dogs in the world! They are friendly, gentle, patient, playful - making them excellent companions for kids. This doesn't mean that you should fully trust your dog alone with your children, though. Make sure you always supervise interactions between them.
Find out how to introduce your dog to your baby!
What is bad about Golden Retrievers?
Golden Retrievers may not be for everyone. Though they are incredibly well-tempered, they need a lot of exercise. A happy Golden is outdoors 1-2 hours a day! Golden Retrievers are also very heavy shedders, so if you're a fan of cleanliness, they may not be the breed for you. Finally, their biggest fault might be that they are predisposed to a variety of health issues, and often are taken away from us sooner than we'd like.
Find out what you can do to prevent health issues in your pet.
Is the Golden Retriever a healthy breed?
Goldens are not an unhealthy breed, but they're not a particularly healthy one either. Over-breeding due to their popularity has lead to many health issues making their way into the breed's genetics. This causes them to suffer from health problems ranging from cancer to hip dysplasia. The best way to preserve your dog's health is to get your puppy from a reputable breeder registered with the Kennel Club, and then to give your dog the best possible diet, mental, and physical stimulation as possible!
Find out what kind of food is best for your pet.
Are Golden Retrievers big barkers?
No, Golden Retrievers are a relatively quiet breed. In fact, they’re not very good watch dogs, and they’re terrible guard dogs, since they tend to love everyone, even strangers!
Find out why dogs bark.