The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. The breed’s friendly, tolerant attitude makes him a fabulous family pet, and his intelligence makes him a highly capable working dog. Golden Retrievers excel at retrieving game for hunters, tracking, sniffing out drugs, and as therapy and assistance dogs. They’re also natural athletes, and do well in dog sports such as agility and competitive obedience
For many years, there was a legend that Golden Retrievers were descended from Russian sheepdogs bought from a circus. In fact, the breed was developed in Scotland, at the highland estate of Sir Dudley Majoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth.
Tweedmouth, like many gentry of his day, bred animals of all kinds, trying to perfect different breeds. Tweedmouth's breeding records from 1835 to 1890 show what he was aiming for with the Golden: A talented retriever — Tweedmouth was an ardent waterfowl hunter — with a superb nose, who would be more attentive to his human hunting companion than the setters and spaniels used at the time for retrieving. He also wanted the dog to be loyal and even-tempered in the home.
Tweedmouth took Nous home to Scotland, and in 1868 and 1871, bred him to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel. Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct) were known for being eager retrievers in the hunting field, and exceptionally calm and loyal in the home — characteristics you'll find in today's Golden Retrievers.
Nousand Belle's descendants were bred with Wavy- and Flat-coated retrievers, another Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red setter. Tweedmouth kept mostly the yellow puppies to continue his breeding program, and gave others away to friends and relatives.
Not surprisingly, Tweedmouth's breed first attracted attention for their skills in the hunting field. One of the most well-known was Don of Gerwyn, a liver-coated descendent of one of Tweedmouth's dogs, who won the International Gundog League trial in 1904.
The Kennel Club in England officially recognized the Golden Retriever as a distinct breed in 1911. At that time, they were classified as "Retriever — Yellow or Golden." In 1920, the breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever.
The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1932. Today, the Golden Retriever is the second most popular breed in the U.S.
- Personality: Intelligent, friendly, and devoted.
- Energy Level: Very Active, This dog is active and energetic, and needs daily exercise.
- Good with Children: Yes 100% Agree
- Good with other Dogs: Yes 98% Agree
- Cooperation for Training: Yes 99% Agree
- Time Alone: 51% Agree
- Shedding: Seasonal
- Grooming: Occasional
- Trainability: Eager To Please
- Height: 23-24 inches (male), 21.5-22.5 inches (female)
- Weight: 65-75 pounds (male), 55-65 pounds (female)
- Life Expectancy: 10-12 years
- Barking Level: Barks When Necessary
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Golden Retrievers shed profusely, especially in the spring and fall. Daily brushing will get some of the loose hair out of the coat, keeping it from settling on your clothing and all over your house. But if you live with a Golden, you’ll have to get used to dog hair.
Golden Retrievers are family dogs; they need to live indoors with their human “pack,” and shouldn’t spend hours alone in the backyard.
Golden Retrievers are active dogs who need 40-60 minutes of hard exercise daily. They thrive on obedience training, agility classes, and other canine activities, which are a great way to give your dog physical and mental exercise.
Although they’re gentle and trustworthy with kids, Golden Retrievers are boisterous, large dogs that can accidentally knock over a small child.
Goldens love to eat, and will quickly become overweight if overfed. Limit treats, measure out your dog’s daily kibble, and feed him in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Because the Golden Retriever is so popular, there are many people breeding Goldens who care more about making money out of the demand for puppies than in breeding happy, healthy dogs. To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they’re free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
- The first registration of a Golden Retriever by the American Kennel Club was in November 1925
- Golden Retrievers are used successfully in field trials, hunting, obedience, and as guide dogs for the blind.
- Golden Retrievers were first shown in England at the Crystal Palace show in 1908, and were listed as Flat Coats (Golden).
- Goldens are among the most popular breeds in America and are familiar faces from numerous media spots, including the movie “Air Bud” and the TV Show “Full House.”
With his friendly temperament and striking golden color, this breed is both beautiful to look at and a joy to own. While Goldens can adapt to virtually any living situation, they need considerable daily exercise to maintain physical and mental fitness. Your Golden should never be allowed to run free. Time spent in the companionship of people indoors can and should be complemented with time spent on daily walks or playing in a secure fenced area. Without the companionship of people and adequate exercise, your Golden may display behavior atypical of the well-cared-for pet and family member. Basic obedience training is an essential part of responsible dog ownership. It will make your dog a better companion and will help establish a stronger bond between the two of you. Your Golden wants nothing more from life than to please you.
Approved by Dog breed Experts
Energy & Size
Devoted Friendly Intelligent
Loyal, Curious, Famously Funny, Fearless out of all proportion to their size.
AKC Dog Ranking
most popular dog breed