The Golden Retriever was developed in 19th century Scotland to be a strong and swift hunting dog, retrieving wild birds on land and water, even in extreme wet and cold conditions.
Today, the breed excels in sports, such as Agility, Obedience and ﬁeld trials and is the ideal family dog with its friendly and fun-loving personality.
The Golden Retriever should be a balanced dog, with symmetrical and pleasing features. Known for its kindly expression, the breed has dark, alert eyes that are capable of expressing a range of emotions.
The Golden Retriever is a strong, powerful dog and this is reﬂected in the appearance of its body: a properly proportioned example of the breed will have a balanced torso, with a wide chest, sloping but strong backline and low, well-sprung ribs. It has a large, muscular tail that extends all the way to the hock.
The Golden’s head is a beautiful feature, with a kindly expression, dark brown eyes and a melting, soft look that is difﬁcult to resist. The coat of the Golden is also distinctive: any shade of gold or cream, neither red, nor mahogany.
The coat has a dense, water-resisting undercoat and is either ﬂat or wavy, with feathering on the chest, front legs, hind legs, belly and tail.
The Golden Retriever is kind, gentle and conﬁdent, as well as affectionate with people and other pets. It is a devoted and loyal breed with a beautiful temperament and an aim to please. It wants to be around its family all the time and will not be happy if left outside for long periods.
The Golden Retriever is intelligent and responds well to training. The breed thrives on structured training programs and is a top performer in Obedience and Agility trials. Because of its friendly nature towards strangers, as well as friends, it is not suitable as a watchdog.
Golden Retrievers are a low maintenance breed.
A puppy free from hereditary disease, apart from unforeseen accidents, will grow into a hardy dog.
The Golden Retriever has a ﬂat or wavy coat with a dense, water-resisting undercoat. It sheds throughout the year, with two heavy moulting stages during that time. Daily brushing can help reduce the amount it will shed and prevent matting, which can lead to skin irritations.
The Golden Retriever is adaptable and can easily ﬁt into any situation due to its kind nature. The breed is happiest when it is accepted as a valuable member of the family.
The active Golden Retriever needs regular exercise, such as a daily walk and, if possible, a run. The breed also loves swimming. If it does not receive regular mental and physical stimulation, particularly as a puppy, it can become destructive.
The Golden Retriever makes a wonderful companion for the elderly, people with disabilities and families with children. However, like with any dog, supervision is important when around children.
It’s important to regularly check the breed for hotspots, as it is prone to getting them from painful and irritating ﬂeabites or allergies. Like all dogs, the Golden Retriever requires regular tick, ﬂea, intestinal worms and heartworm treatments. Consult your veterinarian on treatment options. Desexing and vaccination against diseases, such as the deadly parvo virus and highly infectious kennel cough, are also important to discuss with your vet.
Common hereditary problems include hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), elbow dysplasia, hereditary cataracts and sub aortic stenosis.
Words: Jacquie Dixon (December 2012)
Now you know a little about the Golden Retriever, you may think that this is the dog for you. Before you make a decision, please make contact with the breed club or your State controlling body for purebred dogs. They will be able to give you information about available puppies and also suggest dog shows where you can see the breed and speak to breeders. In this way you will gain a better perspective of the Golden Retriever and its needs, and whether this breed would suit your lifestyle.