Breeds 101

Golden Retriever


Relaxed but responsive, calm but alert, sensible and serene, the Golden Retriever is in many ways the ideal family companion.

Records reveal that this gentle breed was developed in the late 1800s by crossing a light-colored Flat-coated Retriever with the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Lord Tweedmouth, who wanted a Golden Retriever suited to the Scottish terrain and climate, is credited with the breed’s beginnings.

Golden Retriever is affection-demanding, multi-purpose, easy-to-train and attractive breed. It is now even more popular in North America and Scandinavia than in its native Great Britain. Bred to retrieve waterfowl, it is especially patient with children.
Different breed lines have evolved for different purposes. One variety works as a gundog, another has developed for use in field trials, while the largest line is devoted to the show ring and family life. A fourth breeding line has produced dogs that are trained exclusively as assistants for blind or disabled people.

Popularity has unfortunately produced inherited defects in some lines, such as allergic skin conditions, eye problems, and even irritable snappiness.

Size: Medium; females 211/2 to 221/2 inches, 55 to 65 pounds; males 23 to 24 inches, 65 to 75 pounds.

Color: All shades of gold, from pale to rich reddish gold.

Temperament: Friendly, devoted, and obedient; eager to please as a family companion, with excellent rapport with children. Active and boisterous; needs exercise and activity.

Energy level: Medium to high; field lines higher than show lines.

Best owner: Active, social family in suburban or rural home.

Needs: Daily physical and mental exercise (games, retrieving, obedience), human interaction, fenced yard, twice-weekly brushing.

Life expectancy: 10 to 14 years.