The Golden Retriever is an immensely popular dog, occupying a place in the top five of all dogs registered with the Kennel Club for some years. He is a dog who conveys an ideal of honest companionship and affectionate, loyal family dog.
He was developed during the 19thC by Lord Tweedmouth in the Border Country between England and Scotland; a yellow Wavy-coated Retriever was mated to a Tweed Water Spaniel and the resultant four yellow puppies formed the basis of the breed. They were initially known as Yellow Retrievers and were registered and shown as Flatcoats, being defined only by colour until 1913. They took the name of Golden Retriever in 1920.
As is clear from his name he was bred to be a retriever, but his temperament and intelligence suits him to other roles. He takes easily to being a guide dog, has a nose good enough to make him a police sniffer dog and is a happy obedience competitor, all in addition to being a very useful dog in the field. However his really outstanding success is as a family dog; the Golden Retriever is kind and loyal, he makes a wonderful companion dog, good with children, welcoming to visitors and decorative too!
Sadly, his popularity has led to some poor temperaments, which is totally atypical. Whenever a breed becomes popular some people are tempted to breed, for profit, from stock who are really not good enough, whether by reason of hereditary physical defects, lack of quality or unreliable temperaments. Those with memories long enough will remember the syndrome "cocker rage" which was a result, probably, of injudicious breeding. In the past few years, in our boarding kennels, we have twice been confronted by very aggressive Golden Retrievers; they were both nervous-aggressive, but when a dog tries to bite you their motivation is not something you concern yourself with. The message is that a puppy of any breed, however reliable it is by reputation, should be assessed for temperament, together with its mother, before agreeing to buy.
The adult Golden Retriever can be quite substantial at up to 61cm and weighing 80lbs; he should look powerful and kind with a coat in any shade of gold or cream, never red or mahogany. The coat is either flat or wavy with plenty of feathering and a dense water-resistant undercoat. It is important to check the pedigree; a dog which has FT (Field Trial) Champions in his pedigree is likely to be a much more active dog than one with Sh (Show) Champions. If it is a quiet and undemanding adult you are looking for then one who has been bred with the show bench in mind will be your best bet. He will, though, as a youngster be very demanding of your time and attention, so make sure you can devote enough of your time before acquiring one of these lovely dogs. And remember that swishing tail can clear a coffee table in seconds!
Everyday grooming is quite straightforward; a pin brush for the feathering, slicker brush for the body coat, particularly when he is moulting. Avoid bathing unless absolutely essential as it removes the natural weatherproofing; this is not just a cosmetic consideration because the result is that he gets wet easily and the coat can easily become saturated and take a lot of drying. A delightful dog, he is a lovely addition to the family.
To read the Kennel Club Breed Standard for the Golden Retriever click here.
Golden Retriever Breed Clubs
- BERKSHIRE DOWNS & CHILTERNS GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs Morrell 01635 31685
- EASTERN COUNTIES GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs B Webb 01223 842358
- GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mr C Donahue 01270 763849
- GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB OF NORTHUMBRIA Mrs A C Byrne 01207 544367
- GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB OF SCOTLAND Ms McGugan 01655 760394
- GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB OF WALES Mrs Prosser 01685 371761
- MIDLAND GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs J Ryder 01663 734159
- NORTH WEST GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs S Baldwin 0161 3680310
- NORTHERN GOLDEN RETRIEVER ASSOC Mr S Spratt 01522 811556
- SOUTH WESTERN GOLDEN RETRIEVER SOCIETY Ms F Coward 01425 653146
- SOUTHERN GOLDEN RETRIEVER Society Mrs A Stephenson 01276 473320
- ULSTER GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Miss E Fearon 01247 455513
- YORKSHIRE GOLDEN RETRIEVER CLUB Mrs Kathleen Greenwood 01943 46487
Golden Retriever Rescue and Rehoming
Contact the Breed Club. They should be able to give you information about hounds requiring homes and procedures for re-homing; if you are in the unfortunate position of having to re-home your own Retriever, please go through breed rescue. They will not be judgmental and are best able to find the right permanent home for your dog.
If you are looking for a puppy contact the Breed Clubs and the Breeders listed and visit the puppyfinder website where there is a great deal of information on hereditary conditions. If you are a Breeder and wish to advertise your puppies puppyfinder is an excellent showcase.