Golden Retriever: The Complete Guide

Golden Retriever
All Pic Credits: Pixabay: Royalty-Free

People fond of pets usually fall in love with the company of a Golden Retriever, and it is because of their friendly nature and the beautiful, soft, feathery coat that they carry. The golden-colored coat of this breed gives it the name “Golden Retriever.”

You will be able to easily recognize this playful breed because of its broad head and eyes that are full of joy, curiosity, and intelligence. With their small ears, a straight snout and soft mouth retrievers also prove to be the perfect gundogs for their owners, especially during hunting.

Golden Retrievers are medium-sized dogs and have a strong muscular body structure. When a golden walks, they tend to have an agile and strong walk. To add to it, the long and feathery tail makes the walk of a retriever more graceful.

People who have the opportunity of interacting with this breed generally describe Golden Retrievers to be friendly, trustworthy, and outgoing pets. They love to please their family, and thus they are also considered to be easy and fun to train.

Even as a full-grown adult, a Golden Retriever will still often have puppyish behavior, which also makes it a fun company for all. Apart from having traits of a lovable family pet, Goldens also love to be in the outdoors and maintain high energy levels throughout the day.

Since these dogs are fond of activities like swimming and fetching, they prove to be a fun-loving outdoor companion, and this trait can also help the owners in staying fit, happy, and engaged in something positive.

Even with such great energy, Golden Retrievers are very disciplined and can be suitable as a guide dog for someone who is visually impaired. This is why Goldens have no trouble in field trials and are also praised for helping their owners in hunting activities.

Since Goldens have all these positive traits, it is not surprising that the Golden Retriever is amongst the top 10 famous breeds in the United States. However, it’s also necessary that you have thorough knowledge about this breed and their care requirements to ensure that that’s what you really want.

By the time you finish reading this guide on Golden Retrievers, you will not only be more aware of the characteristics of this breed but also be more sure about your decision to get one for your family.

Origins

Golden Retriever swimming with stick in his mouth

Scotland is said to be the place of origin for the Golden Retrievers. The crossbreeding started in the 19th century and took about 50 years to get the final results. The breeders were trying to create a perfect hunting dog.

Earlier, when guns did not shoot as far as today. Therefore, fetching the prey was easy. When hunting with guns that now have longer shooting ranges, prey such as birds would land off some distance away like lakes and streams that were often less accessible.

The hunting dogs of that time were also not always capable of easily reaching these spots. And this became the reason for the breeders to come up with a breed that was agile enough to help the hunters retrieve and carry the prey back in their mouth.

The breeding was initiated by Dudley Marjoribanks, who was Tweedmouth’s first Lord. The first breeding to achieve a better hunting dog was done with a Tweed Water Spaniel, which is an extinct breed nowadays, and a Yellow Retriever.

Crossbreeding carried on for another 50 years, and the final results were of a breed that was fond of water sports. It had a double coat, which made this breed a perfect hunting dog. Another reason which made this breed a popular pet among the masses was its soft, playful, and obedient nature.

The Golden Retriever became popular in the United States in the 1970s. Gerald Ford was the president of the United States at that time, and his golden named Liberty was the heart-throb of the citizens of the country.

Since then, the breed has been so popular in the United States that one can frequently spot Golden Retriever.

Three Types Of Golden Retrievers

two Golden Retriever standing

Even with the popularity of this breed, there is some confusion amongst pet lovers about the variety of Golden Retrievers.

There are three different varieties of Golden Retrievers, with the only distinction being their coat color. T

he difference is minimal and can only be seen in physical appearance. The other characteristics and temperament of the three Golden varieties are the same.

Canadian Golden Retriever

Canadian Golden Retrievers have short and thinner hair on their coat to the other two varieties of the Golden Retrievers. One can even notice that the Canadian Golden Retrievers are also not as feathery as the other two cousins.

The Canadian Goldens are slightly taller than the other two types, but not more than 2 inches to the max.

English Golden Retrievers (British Golden Retrievers)

English Golden Retrievers have the same coat as a regular Golden Retriever with a slight variation of cream color against the golden color. While comparing them with their Canadian cousins, you will only see the slight difference in the size, with the English variety being slightly smaller.

When the comparison is made with the American Golden Retrievers, there is hardly any difference. The coat and the size are almost identical. To differentiate, you will have to take a keen look at the skull and forequarters.

The English Goldens have a stronger build, and the skull is broader. You can also notice that the eyes of the English Goldens are darker and rounder.

American Golden Retriever

The physical structure of the American Golden Retriever is lanky and not as muscular as the other two varieties, but has a long and wavy coat like English Goldens. There is a slight difference in color.

American Goldens have a dark golden-colored coat. American Goldens have slightly lighter eyes than the English Goldens, and the shape is not round but of slant or triangular shape.

 

Most people opt for English and American Goldens, however, there is not much difference in all three varieties of the Golden Retrievers. In a nutshell, a Golden Retriever as a pet is athletic, playful, loving, caring (especially towards kids), and loves seeking attention.

Find out more information about these retrievers in our post Types of Retrievers.

Appearance

Every breed of dog is distinguished by their appearance, primarily color, coat, and ear, and of course, the size. For someone planning to pet, a Golden Retriever should be aware of the overall physical characteristics that set them apart from other medium size dogs.

Golden Retrievers have got this name due to their ability to retrieve birds during shooting and hunting due to their soft mouth, and of- course, the golden color.

The appearance of a dog can be described based on its size, height, weight, body structure, and the quality of the coat. So you must understand how to choose a healthy Golden Retriever puppy for your family and let it grow to its full potential, we have further provided the details of its appearance.

Most Golden Retrievers are golden in color with variations of Dark, Light, and Cream that marks their individuality.

Size, Height, Weight

The normal weight of a Golden Retriever puppy can be around 14 to 16 ounces. For natural growth and nourishment, it should be allowed to stay with its mother for about eight weeks. When the puppy is ready to come home with you, it should weigh around 10 pounds, which is considered healthy.

Sometimes your puppy can be the runt of the litter, and even though people often have more affection towards the runt of the litter, one should be aware that they are more prone to falling sick and to fatal conditions like fading puppy syndrome. To avoid such unwanted circumstances, make sure you are keeping a check on the weight of your pup.

As per owners of this breed, a healthy golden weighs around 30 pounds when it is 4 months old, and when it turns around 8 months, you should expect it to be around 50 pounds or a little heavier.

You can expect your Golden Retriever to be a full-grown dog by the age of 1½ years or 2. In terms of height, they keep growing until the age of 2, and they gain their proper weight by the age of 1.

A full-grown male can weigh somewhere between 65 to 75 pounds, while a female’s weight will range between 55 to 65 pounds.

A full-grown male golden can be 23″ to 24” tall and female’s height will be around 21.5″ to 22.5”. By the time they reach their full-grown bodies, they can be put in the size category of medium to medium-large size dogs.

There can be differences in the size, weight, and height of Golden Retrievers, depending on their genetics and where they have been bred. Though this difference is not much, and a healthy golden can be big enough to give you the perfect cuddles and hugs.

Coat

The Golden Retriever breed gets its name from its golden coat, and the coat is the reason for its gundog quality too. The Golden Retrievers have an outer coat, which is water repellent, and beneath it is a dense undercoat.

On the underbody and the behind of front legs, you will be able to see fur feathers. On the tail, the back portion of the thighs, and chest, the feathering is heavier.

The coat can either be straight or wavy and in terms of color, there are many shades of gold. Apart from the gold shade, many breeders are also known for breeding Golden Retrievers with white coats.

This is one of the rarest colors in this breed, but they are not recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Golden Retriever’s coat is as beautiful as it is long and wavy, but because of this, it will certainly shed, and the owners will have to adapt to regularly finding dog hair on their clothes and also around their house.

For some people, this can be an issue, but if you are in love with this breed, you will not mind grooming them on a regular basis, and that will also help you avoid having dog hair everywhere.

If you are wondering how much grooming a Golden Retriever will need, then the truth is brushing them on a daily basis is very important. If that is not possible for you, then at least once a week is a must, or the coat of your golden will be full of tangled hair. Even bathing them once a month is important if you do not want them to smell and look untidy.

The people who are fans of this breed do not see the grooming as a task, but more as a fun activity as these dogs are so affectionate and love participating in almost every activity with their owners.

Temperament

Stating that a Golden Retriever is a good family pet would be safe. A good family pet needs to be intelligent, playful, and obedient, and Goldens possess all these qualities.

A healthy Golden Retriever will always be willing to go for a walk, and since they have a well-mannered temperament, you will not have to worry about them getting involved with the pets of other owners on the walk.

Another good thing about the Goldens is that they keep the puppyish behavior even after they have reached a certain age. This is why they are always the center of attraction in the family and loved the most by kids and teens.

Most of the time, Goldens are happy, and they appear to be smiling too. One can often see them wagging their tail and encouraging you to play with them or give them some cuddles. With this information, people often come up with few questions, and some of the most common of these queries have been answered further.

Are Golden Retrievers High Maintenance?

Golden Retrievers possess all of these amazing qualities which is why it is no surprise they are among the most famous breeds in the world. But that also means they are also more maintenance than many other breeds in the canine family.

Their coat needs regular grooming, and that makes them higher maintenance, but they do need more than grooming. Since Goldens are social by nature and love attention, they will need someone to keep them company.

 

Can Golden Retrievers Be Left Alone?

If you are planning a family vacation and own a Golden Retriever, you will either have to make arrangements to take your golden on vacation or contact a dog shelter service provider that can take care of it while you are away.

We suggest you go with the 1st option as the Goldens are close to their owners and can feel extremely sad when they are not around. It’s safe to say that taking your golden on vacation will make them happy and your trip more fun and memorable.

 

Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Dogs?

From what you have read so far, one can be sure that Golden Retrievers are great family pets. They love activities that involve exertion, are obedient, and have a very affectionate nature.

They are very happy around the kids, but since they are a medium-large size breed, there can be a chance that a full-grown adult may push a child by mistake.

Their high energy levels can also cause injury, so the owners should take the responsibility of understanding this and taking appropriate precautions by supervising them when they are playing with small children.

A Golden Retriever will never be annoyed by the noises of children, but the owners should make sure that they teach their kids on how to approach any dog or another pet at home. If the kid playfully hurts the pet, a reflex action from the other party can cause an injury.

If you have other pets in the family, you need not worry about the temperament of the Goldens. They love the company of other pets and see them as their family.

It is safe to conclude, Golden retrievers are perfect family dogs, but if you are expecting them to be good guard dogs also, you are mistaken. The Goldens are very friendly and welcoming towards any person coming to their home.

They do bark but never be mistaken to consider it as a protective bark. On the contrary, their bark has a very friendly and cooperative tone.

Golden Retriever’s Training

No matter what breed of dog you have as a pet, apart from being affectionate towards the family, you will also like it to be well mannered and trained to understand your command.

If your pet is not well trained, you might have to feel embarrassed when you take it on a walk, and it starts misbehaving or even more serious such as attacking the pets of other people.

An untrained dog can even create chaos at your home and destroy things, and that includes your shoes too. Training your pet is essential, and that can be done by the master or with the help of a professional dog trainer.

Whether you want to take professional help or do it yourself, there are a few things you should be aware of when training a Golden Retriever.

 

At What Age Should You Start Training A Golden Retriever Puppy?

Golden Retriever chasing ballThere is a debate amongst breeders, whether a Golden Retriever puppy should start with its training at eight weeks when you get it home, or after 6 to 7 months of age.

The traditional work dog trainers suggest not starting the training for at least six months as a minimum. They suggest that the puppy should be allowed to be a puppy for a duration of 6 months.

They came up with this approach because, in training, there are times when the dog is punished, and treating a puppy of fewer than six months like that, seemed to be cruel.

There are a number of gentle training methods that you can practice at home by yourself, which will help you in developing a deeper bond with your golden.

The moment you bring your Golden Retriever puppy to your family, it will start observing and learning things from you. There are many other advantages of starting the training at the age of 8 weeks.

Such as the puppy will learn faster at this age, but the owners should make sure that any more demanding forms of training are avoided until the age of 6 months.

Are Golden Retrievers Easy To Train?

Many people who are interested in bringing a Golden Retriever to their home often are concerned about how easy it is to train them. It is actually fun and fairly easy to train Goldens.

You will be pleased to know that the first three winners of the AKC obedience champions were the Golden Retrievers. The Goldens are extremely eager to please their masters, and this makes it easy and fun to train them.

Watch Golden Retriever Professional Dog TrainingTips:

Health

As an owner of any dog breed, it is your responsibility to be aware of how to keep your dog healthy. All dog breeds have various health issues, and there are different remedies and precautions for them.

Your dog will communicate any health issues by signs in its behavior and body language. It will be your responsibility to understand the signs and take necessary actions for your dog.

What Are The Problems With Golden Retrievers?

The Golden Retrievers, in general, are a healthy breed, but some health conditions can cause suffering or even reduce their life- span. A good breeder will never hesitate to show you the health certificate clearances of both parents of your puppy.

The Health clearance certificate assures you that your puppy is not prone to the health conditions that are sometimes found in Goldens.

 

The most common health issues that a Golden Retriever can have are:

All these diseases are hereditary, but if the parents of your puppy did not have these health issues, you could safely assume that your golden is also healthy. This is why it is stressed that you should buy a puppy from a certified breeder, where you get to see the certificate of health clearance of both the parents.

Life Expectancy

A healthy Golden Retriever is expected to have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years. You should take care of both the physical and mental health of your pet with routine vet check-ups and identifying your dog’s behavior.

Golden Retriever, when mixed with other breeds, tend to have mixed characteristics, thereby preventing the common illness that Golden Retrievers are more prone to.

Learn more about some of these mixed breeds and their related information:

How To Care For A Golden Retriever

It is important that you understand how you should take care of your Golden Retriever to keep it healthy and strong for many years.

Feeding Requirements

Usually, it is recommended that a golden should be fed two times a day. The diet should be of quality dry food, and only 2 to 3 cups of it should be divided into two meals of the day.

Golden Retriever pups eating

Though all this can vary on the basis of the activity level, size, metabolism, and age of your golden.

The best way to gauge if you’re feeding too much is by watching your dogs weight regularly and if it starts gaining excessive weight then cut back on the meal portions.

Find out more about recommended food options for Golden Retrievers.

How Often Should You Bathe A Golden Retriever?

Bathing your golden at least once a month should be done without fail. Since they shed hair, brushing the coat regularly is also important.

How Much Exercise Does A Golden Retriever Need?

The Golden Retrievers are full of energy and love to be outdoors. If you do and give them regular opportunities to exercise and utilize their energy, they can start gaining excess weight.

Giving them a 20 to 30-minute exercise 2 times a day will be enough to keep them healthy and fit. Make sure not to skip this routine, or you might even see a change in the temperament of your golden.

How Much Does A Golden Retriever Puppy Cost?

A healthy Golden Retriever puppy can cost you from $500 to $3000. The price difference can be because of the reputation of the breeder. We recommend that you buy your puppy from the best breeder in your location to ensure that you get the most healthy addition to your family.

Some additional items to purchase consist of dog food, treats, toys, bowls, bedding, and a leash. You will also have to spend on vaccinations and other preventative medical care.

If you are not training the puppy yourself, the services of trainers can also cost you a good amount of money. People who love making their pets look stylish and trendy will have to spend more on grooming products too.

Summary: Why Should I Get  A Golden Retriever?

If you are a person who is fond of animals and can appreciate the love these puppies have for us, having a Golden retriever in the family can be a blessing.

You get the perfect company in Golden Retrievers, as they are obedient, affectionate, energetic, and extremely intelligent.

The Golden Retriever is not just an aesthetically good looking dog breed, but with their friendly nature, they are meant to be a part of a perfect family.

 

 

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