Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States. It is a fabulous family pet and a highly capable working dog as well. They are known to be highly intelligent, sociable, beautiful, and loyal.
Based on a legend, Golden Retrievers were the direct descendants of Russian circus dogs that were purchased by a member of the English nobility named Sir Dudley Marjoribanks or later on known as Lord Tweedmouth. These dogs were taken to Tweedmouth’s Scottish estate called Guisachan, where they were used in hunting deer.
Since he was pleased with their skills, these dogs were bred and later an out-cross to a sandy-colored Bloodhound was introduced to reduce their size and improve their scenting ability. It was believed that Golden Retrievers were direct descendants of this out-cross breeding.
In the early 1950’s, Lord Tweedmouth’s original studbooks were made available and Elma Stonex had researched on these handwritten books which lead her to the publication of new information about the breed.
Based on the studbooks, Lord Tweedmouth purchased an unregistered Yellow Retriever named “Nous” in 1865 from a cobbler in Brighton. In 1868, after hunting the dog, he bred him to a Tweed Water Spaniel named “Belle”. This breed is now extinct but it was known for being eager retrievers in the hunting field which is a characteristic you can find in today’s Golden Retrievers. This breeding produced a litter of puppies whom all Golden Retrievers today are descended.
In 1911, the Kennel Club in England officially recognized the Golden Retriever as a distinct breed and they were classified as “Retriever – Yellow or Golden” during that time. Then, it was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.
In 1932, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed and today, it is the second most popular breed in the US.
Characteristics of Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers belong in the sporting group breed. Male Golden Retrievers can grow from 23 to 24 inches tall and can weigh from 65 to 75 pounds. Females on the other hand, can grow from 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and can weigh from 55 to 65 pounds. They usually reach their full height when they turn one-year-old and their mature weight when they turn 2 years old. They can live for 10 to 12 years.
They come in all shades of gold, from light to dark gold. But there are also some breeders who sell rare white Goldens, however, the AKC does not recognize them as a coat color for the breed. They shed moderately in the winter and summer, and heavily during spring and fall.
Golden Retrievers are known to be sweet and has a calm nature. They are also outgoing, trustworthy, and easy to train and they do not bark that much. They were bred to work with people and they are always eager to please their owners.
But just like other dogs, Golden Retrievers also need early socialization such as exposure to a lot of people, experiences, and sounds while they’re young. In fact, they hate to be alone, therefore, letting them socialize will help them grow up to be a well-rounded dog.
Aside from these known characteristics, Golden Retrievers are also used as therapy dogs, and they can also take care of other animals, even cats.
How to Care for Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers are generally healthy but they are also prone to certain health conditions that’s why caring for them is important. They can grow rapidly between the age of four and seven months which makes them susceptible to bone disorders. Therefore, you shouldn’t let them play and run on very hard surfaces at least they are two years old and their joints are fully formed.
Golden Retrievers are also built for action and they love to play outdoors and even go on a swim. That’s why if you love to jog or hike, they will be glad to go with you. In fact, some are even trained to be guide dogs. But their favorite game is catch, because true to their name, they love to retrieve.
It will be great to take them out to play for 20 to 30 minutes twice a day to keep them mellow when their back inside the house. Goldens are also naturally mouthy and they are happy whenever they have something to carry in their mouths such as a ball, toy, newspaper, and even socks.
Golden Retrievers are known to have a thick coat, meaning, they need a lot of grooming. To prevent tangling, you should brush them daily. They also need a bath at least once every month to keep them looking and smelling clean.
When it comes to feeding them, the recommended amount is 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry food a day which is divided into two meals. However, it will also depend on your adult dog’s size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level.
Golden Retrievers are indeed friendly, intelligent, and devoted pets. And they can be good hunters as well. No wonder they are one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States.