What is a Golden Retriever?

Sheri Cyprus

A Golden Retriever is a dog breed developed in Great Britain for retrieving birds during hunts. Golden Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs with a golden, medium-length coat. The coat may be a creamy golden color or a stronger shade of gold. Today, Golden Retrievers are popular as family pets as well as show circuit and service dogs.

Golden Retrievers have a yellow-colored coat.
Golden Retrievers have a yellow-colored coat.

The Golden Retriever is a top dog breed in obedience competition circuits as it tends to train well. Theses dogs, often called Goldens, are said to be a people-pleasing type of dogs. Goldens are often used for service dogs such as seeing-eye guide dogs for the blind. They also make good drug-scenting dogs for law enforcement purposes and are excellent as bird retrievers both on land and in water.

Golden retrievers train well and are top dogs in obedience competitions.
Golden retrievers train well and are top dogs in obedience competitions.

A people-oriented breed, the Golden Retriever doesn't usually like to be alone. Goldens are known to be gentle with children and other dogs. Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise and should run every day as well as have a daily walk. The Golden Retriever breed tends to gain weight easily, so care must be given as to the type of diet and amount of food given.

Skin allergies are common in Goldens and regular bathing is not usually recommended. Regular brushing is important for a Golden Retriever, however, and care must be taken to keep the undercoat from becoming tangled. Golden Retrievers may also be born with eye defects and/or develop hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia refers to hip joints that aren't formed properly and this condition is fairly common in many larger dog breeds.

The history of the Golden Retriever traces back to England in the late 1900s. Lord Tweedmouth, also known as Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, bred a Tweedwater Spaniel female dog with a golden-colored dog. He kept detailed records of the breeding development. Twenty years of breeding Spaniels, Labrador Retrievers and Red Setters led to the development of the Golden Retriever. It was first registered as the Golden Flatcoat in 1908, but by 1920 the breed was known as the Golden Retriever.

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