The origins of the Golden Retriever dog go back to the nineteenth century. At that time Setters and Pointers were often trained to retrieve and do other work. It was not until 1840 that dog breeding enthusiasts decided to make a new breed which would only be used to find and bring back wounded and dead game. The aim was to create a dog with brains, first-rate nose, tender mouth, stamina, but with less disposition to hunt than Setters and Spaniels. It was believed that the best retrievers were bred from a cross between the Setter and the Newfoundland, Labradors and the Water Spaniels known for their remarkable ability to retrieve game from the most inaccessible places.
The systematic yellow line-breeding in Scotland laid the firm foundation of the Golden Retriever as a breed. The first Golde Retrievers were exhibited under the name of "Flat-coats, Golden" in England in 1908.
The early Golden Retriever dogs were bigger, often longer in leg, with a heavy ear. These Golden Retriever dogs were noted for excellence in water and for delightful disposition and trainablity. When the breed standard had first been drawn up by the Golden Retriever Club (UK) in 1911, cream had been excluded as a permissible color, and in the 1920's light-coloured dogs were not popular. Color tended to be darker, and light ones were frowned on by some judges until 1936 when the Golden Retriever breed Standard was altered to include cream and shades of gold and cream.
The first Golden Retriever, born from British parents, was registered in the United States with the American Kennel Club in 1925. Canadian and American Champion speedwell Pluto, owned by S.S. Magoffin, was one of the great pillars of the Golden Retriever breed in North America. He was the first Golden Retriever to win a Best in Show. His record also included two Sporting Group Firsts. The Golden Retriever Club of America held its first licensed field trials near the Ozaukee Country Club. Stilrovin Nitro Express (Nite), owned by Ralph G. Boalt, became the first Golden Retriever dog to win top honors in the first year of open competition. Since 1945, specialty shows have been introduced that include conformation judging, field trials, obedience trials and tracking. Working certificate tests are held for those Golden Retriever owners who wish their dogs to compete in hunting stakes but who do not have the time or interest to pursue field trials.
Whoever it was that wrote about a dog being man's best friend must have had a Golden Retriever in mind. This very social breed does very well with children also. Don't mistake the size of this dog for being a great watchdog. The Golden Retriever has never met a stranger it didn't like. Their pleasant personality is one reason Golden Retrievers are trained to work with the blind.
The Golden Retriever is reliable. He learns quickly and remembers fully, learning anything a patient owner can teach him. He is an easy going, almost imperturbable pet at home, perfect for children to romp with. Once he learns his place, he keeps it. The Golden is sturdy enough to protect himself against children's abuse and even-tempered enough to take rough handling in his stride. In general, he is an excellent watchdog. The Golden Retriever is a supreme family, service and sporting dog, because his intelligence, beauty, loyalty and steady nerves are all integral characteristics of the breed.
Type and Conformation
Type and conformation are closely related, yet each has distinct meaning and importance in the overall picture. Type, in a broad sense, is what separates one breed from another in shape, size, use, performance, and temperament. For example, Alaskan Malamutes are sled dogs built to pull; Fox Terriers are dogs bred to run into earth and flush a fox out of its burrows. Golden Retrievers are primarily swimming dogs used by hunters to recover game in water and upland fields. In a more limited sense, type applies to the specific traits of an individual dog as an example of its own breed, such as expression, character, coat texture, or color. Conformation has to do with body structure, i.e. how the bones, muscles, and ligaments fit together to best accomplish a specific function.
To be really outstanding, a purebred dog must possess good type as well as a sound conformation. Most have moderate degrees of both, some are strong in one quality and weak in the other. A golden retriever might display good type through a beautiful head, a lustrous coat and an outgoing personality, but his feet might be badly splayed. Every judge has his preferences. The improvement of the Golden breed depends on the ability of breeders to recognize and promote good quality.
In conformation, the body of a mature Golden Retriever should have more length than height to allow room for the ribs to extend well back and provide free action. Variation in movements, as observed in field trials, are the results of differences in conformation which relate basically to angulation and balance. Balance in Golden Retrievers has to do not only with the proportions of head size, neck, depth of chest and the ratio of the body to legs, but also to the angulation on both ends. Angulation is the bend in any or all of the joints and their influence on efficiency. If the front fails to match the rear, the Golden Retriever will not move properly.
Golden Retriever Temperament
Intelligence, loyalty, friendliness, trustworthiness, devotion and responsiveness are qualities among others that seem unique to Golden Retrievers and that won its ever-growing popularity as a great family and therapy dog.
Typical is the Golden that lives for his family, befriends the cats and neighborhood dogs, plays with the children, and waits for the arrival of the school bus with remarkable punctuality; that welcomes guests with paw shake, yet stands his ground with detachment at the arrival of suspicious strangers. Tipical is the Golden Retriever that takes treatment in the veterinarian office with unquestioning tolerance; that patiently and prowdly allows visitors to view newly born pups. Typical, too, is the Golden Retriever that guides his blind owner in assignements where initiative and common sense are of primary importance.
As a breed, Golden Retrievers are not intended to be watchdogs, but they possess a keen awareness of the unusual. Most Golden Retrievers will alert their owners by barking or showing signs of uneasiness. Signs of aggressiveness should not be tolerated, and any tendency to growl at other dogs should be disciplined on the spot. Shyness should be avoided.
Other Names: Golden
Country of Origin: Great Britain
FCI Classification: Group 8 Retrievers, Flushing Dogs and Water Dogs. Section 1 Retrievers. With Working Trial; AKC Classification: Sporting Group
Size: Medium-Large (23-24 inches at the shoulders)
Colors: Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only are permissible.
Litter Size: 8
Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Waterproof, dense undercoat coat requires weekly brushing and combing to prevent matting.
Personality: Friendly and intelligent with a desire to please. Excellent choice for a family with children. Beauty in motion.
Social skills: Golden Retrievers are generally good with other animals.
Suitability for Children: The Goldens love children.
Exercise Needs: Golden Retrievers should be exercised about 90 minutes every day.
Train Ability: Golden Retrievers are easily trained. Early training is recommended to curb the overly friendly nature of Goldens.
Health & Behavioral Issues: For the list of Golden Retriever health issues, visit Golden Retriever Health Problems