Murray River Retriever



Murray River Retriever is the only Gundog whose country of development is Australia! The breed gained official registration with ANKC effective from 1st Jan 2022.

Some of the earliest references have been traced back to early to mid-1800's.

Murray River Retrievers developed from1827 with the exploration of the Murray River system. Paddle steamers become the mode of transport for settlers who were trading between the three Australian States of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. Murray River Retrievers became watch dogs for the families who lived on paddle steamers, but the dogs’ main purpose was to retrieve wild ducks which provided food for the early settlers.

Average life span

When considering a dog, please realise that you are taking it on for its lifetime. The average life span is 11 to 15 years.


The Murray River Retriever is a friendly, self-confident, highly intelligent and inquisitive gundog with an outgoing nature.


The Murray River Retriever is a stockily built dog, rectangular in outline, with a strong, moderately broad head with a distinctive stop. He loves water and his distinctive webbed feet with feathering (hair) between the toes, (used for for swimming), are a hallmark of the breed The breed has medium to tight curls over the body and is a solid liver in colour. The coat is not shiny, rather having a dull appearance.

Size: Height: Males and Females 46-53cms (18-21 inches)

Coat and Care requirements

The coat is naturally oily but not harsh to the touch. It is sufficiently thick to protect the skin from cold water, when he is retrieving, as with any coated breed. Some regular maintenance is necessary, with bathing as required. Daily combing when shedding coat is recommended and less frequently otherwise. This breed will enjoy frequent exercise, spending time with the family, together with plenty of mental stimulation. Socialisation as a puppy is also strongly recommended.


All breeds have individual health issues. When speaking to breeders it is recommended you enquire about the breed’s health and what health testing the breeder does.


The Murray River Retriever is suitable for those who want an active and devoted companion, who will be part of the family. As with all dogs, young children and pets should always be supervised when together. The Murray River Retrievers are generally good with other dogs and cats, once acquainted, if socialised well as a puppy.

Dogs Australia activities

Conformation Shows, Obedience, Rally, Agility, Tracking, Retrieving and RATG (Retrieving Ability Test For Gundogs).


In conclusion

Now you know a little more about this breed. If you have decided this is the dog for you and wish to investigate further, please contact the Breed Club or DOGS NSW. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog events where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the breed and its needs. With any breed of dog, it is important to research and determine suitability for your lifestyle before committing to a puppy which will be a part of your family for many years to come.

Whilst many breeds are recommended for families, it is imperative that when children are with dogs they are supervised at all times. Basic obedience training is a vital part of dog ownership.

Link to Dogs Australia Breed Standard:

Murray River Retriever Association:

Image credit: Kerrie Afford Photography