There are few dogs in history more famous and easily recognized than the golden retriever. They’re our smiley, lovable, long-haired best friend from all the movies, TV shows, and more!
But it turns out they aren’t just cute and cuddly companions: They’re a breed with a rich, ancient history and full of fun facts.
Let’s take a fun, in-depth look at one of America’s most popular dog breeds!
Golden Retriever History Facts
- According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, the Golden Retriever breed has been around since the early 1830’s.
- They earned their namesake because they were originally bred for bringing back waterfowl shot by hunters out of the water.
- The breed was originally created by Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland to be his attractive, cheerful hunting companions. After all, he couldn’t possibly collect all of those birds himself!
- Tweedmouth got that distinctive long-haired golden look from mixing the Tweedwater Spaniel, a now extinct breed, with the Flat Coated Retriever.
- They used to call the breed the “golden flat coat” because of their distinctive coat, a feature they took from the Flat Coated Retriever.
- Later in their history, to further diversify the breed from the pack, Newfoundlands, Bloodhounds, Labrador Retrievers and Red Setters were introduced.
- The breed’s coat is designed to be relatively waterproof, making them great swimmers.
- Those coats come in two distinct layers, the upper, wiry one keeping water from penetrating the fluffy lower coat.
- Some urban legends say the breed originally came from a pack of Russian sheepdogs in a travelling circus. (That just an old wive’s tale, though.)
- The breed was made official in 1925 when they were registered with the American Kennel Club.
Interesting Golden Retriever Numbers
- Typically, a healthy Golden will weight between 55 to 75 pounds.
- They usually stand somewhere between 1 foot 9 inches tall and two feet, making them a great medium-sized dog.
- Goldens usually have a 10 to 12-year life span, making them great family dogs.
- The females are typically smaller than the males, only measuring up to about 21.5 to 22.5 inches and weighing in around 55-65 pounds.
- There are three different types of Golden Retrievers, the American, British and Canadian versions. Each one is different in a few subtle ways.
- American Goldens tend to have thin, dark coats and usually the thinnest of the three.
- Canadian Goldens usually have darker coats and are the tallest of the three options.
- British Goldens tend to be the lightest in color and are usually stocky and muscular.
- All three types of Goldens share the same head shape, with a broad, straight muzzle that comes to a well-defined stop.
- Interestingly, your dogs head shape could predict how long it’s going to live. Generally, dogs with sharper pointed faces and wolf-like features tend to live way longer than their flat-faced cousins.
Facts About A Golden Retriever’s Appearance
- Their special waterproof coat serves as natural protection and helps the Golden protect itself from both the heat and the cold.
- They should never be shaved or have their coats cut very short unless needed for a medical reason. (That coat is long and fluffy for good reason!)
- The fur along the underside of the dog’s stomach, on the back of its legs and from their neck onto their chest tend to be longer and more wavy than most of their other fur.
- Despite their name, Goldens actually range in shades. Some are a much darker, richer gold color, almost orange even, while others are much duller and muter yellow cream color.
- Some breeders are even selling white Goldens, even though they’re not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club.
- You can usually get a pretty good indication of what shade your puppy is going to end up being by checking their ears.
- Goldens tend to have their coats get darker as they age, usually getting their true color by about a year old.
- At about a year old, a Golden is considered full-grown.
- The same goes for your dog’s nose, which will start out naturally brown or black.
- As they get older, however, don’t be surprised if some of that pigment fades a bit.
- Goldens are even one of the few dog breeds that can get a condition called “snow nose,” causing pink spots to pop up during the colder months of the year.
Things To Know About A Golden Retriever’s Behavior
- Golden Retrievers are considered to be “sporting dogs” because of their storied history as hunting companions.
- Goldens are known for their kind, friendly, and confident demeanor, a selling point for their breed.
- Because of their extreme friendliness, Goldens aren’t the best choice if you’re looking for a serious guard dog. They’re more likely to roll over and drop their ball at an intruder’s feet than they are to attack.
- If you’re looking for a bright pup, a Golden is the way to go. They’re actually ranked the world’s 4th smartest breed.
- Goldens are super easy to train. They love pleasing their masters, taking instructions and learning new things.
- When you’re training your Golden, you’ll want to mix in hand signals and gestures since they’re smart enough to handle it.
- Golden retrievers tend to mature more slowly, meaning they’ll maintain that puppy-like attitude for 3 to 4 year.
- Golden retrievers are great family dogs, fantastic with babies and kids and get along great with other pets in the house.
- Because of how they were bred, a Golden is at its happiest when it has something to check on, whether its a toy, an older shoe, or something else!
- If you’re playing with your Golden Retriever outside of a fenced-in area, it’s best to keep them on a leash so they don’t bolt after a passing animal or vehicle.
- Because of how high-energy the breed is, Golden Retrievers make great playmates for other dogs.
- Goldens need, at a minimum, 30 minutes of play time per day to live their healthiest and happiest. You should probably plan for more!
- Despite how much Goldens love playing outdoors, they’re not great outdoor dogs. Leaving a Golden outside for long periods of time often can lead to major skins problems and environmental allergies.
- Goldens are incredibly social animals that need to be social with other pups as much as possible for them to live their best, happiest lives.
- Due to their innate sense of loyalty, Goldens will likely want to be with you at all times.
- A University of California study found that your Golden can even get jealous if you don’t spend enough time with them!
- Goldens can also get depressed and suffer from separation anxiety if they’re left alone for too long.
- A great way to give your pup some relief from separation anxiety is to give them a piece of clothing with your scent on it.
- If you know you’re going out of town for a bit, consider having someone house sit with your dog to keep them company.
- Maybe consider looking into a doggy daycare if nobody you know is free to hang out with your dog.
Golden Retriever Health Facts
- Goldens have a healthy appetite, so much so that they might end up suffering from obesity if their diet isn’t closely monitored.
- Other than stepping on the scale, you’ll need to consult with your vet if you think your Golden is getting a bit too chubby.
- Golden Retrievers can sometimes suffer from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, skin conditions, and various eye diseases.
- Goldens are quick growers when they’re young, so you’ll want to take them to the vet frequently to make sure their bones are strong and healthy.
- Because of those potential bone issues, you’ll want to save the heavy-duty play with your pup on grass instead of pavement.
- Some Golden Retriever owners look into the “slow grow” method, although it’s incredibly controversial in some circles.
- You’ll want to bathe your Golden about once a week or so, just to keep that long, silky fur as clean as possible.
- Dogs with folded over ears, like Goldens, are extra susceptible to ear infections. Make sure to keep an eye out and keep those ears as clean as possible.
- A Golden Retriever Club of America study showed that 61 percent of Goldens die from some form of cancer, a worrying trend. Make sure you take your pup to the vet often.
- Don’t give your dog chocolate or caffeine. Both will cause serious health issues.
- Make sure you keep grapes and raisins away from your pup. Both can cause renal failure.
- Also, you’ll want to limit the amount of onions, garlic and chives your dog gets to eat. If they eat too much, they can suffer from anaemia.
- Due to how much persin can be found in avocado, you’ll want to avoid letting your dog eat them.
- While it might be tempting, you’ll want to avoid giving your dog cooked bones of any kind to nibble on. They tend to shatter and can do some serious internal damage to their guts.
Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers
- A Golden Retriever can take up to 300-400 breaths per minute, which is pretty standard for larger breeds.
- Golden Retrievers are at their most active super early in the morning because of their history of waking up early to hunt.
- If you’ve ever wondered why your dog is twitching in their sleep, it’s because they’re dreaming just like humans!
- Golden Retrievers, like most other dog breeds, have a faster heart rate than smaller breeds. The average is somewhere between 60 to 100 beats per minute.
- Your Golden has around 1700 taste buds, way less than the average human with 9000!
- Goldens usually have around 6-10 puppies at a time, giving you a massive litter of pups!
- Your Golden’s sense of smell is up to 100,000 times stronger than yours.
- Contrary to popular myths, your Golden can see color!
- Goldens don’t just curl up in a ball to be adorable. They do it to keep themselves warm and protect the belly.
- Believe it or not, dogs actually have three separate eyelids. They have an upper and lower one, along with an extra membrane called the “haw.”
- Your Golden’s shoulder blades are not attached to the rest of their skeleton, letting them run at high speeds.
- Just like snowflakes, no two dogs have the same two noseprints.
- Goldens are a quick, athletic breed that can reach up to 30 mph on average.
- Goldens are the go-to choice for therapy, search and guide dogs all over the world.
- According to the American Kennel Club, the Golden retriever is the 3rd most popular breed.
- Despite being a relatively large breed, Goldens are great dogs for apartments or semi-small living spaces.
- Goldens can be trained to detect epileptic seizures up to a full hour before they actually happen, making them invaluable for people who suffer from them.
- They’re great support dogs for kids with disabilities.
- Ancient Egyptians loved their dogs so much that they would shave their eyebrows, smear mud in their hair, and publically mourn when they died.
- A Golden Retriever can exhibit something referred to as “soft mouth,” which lets them be able to hold a ton of stuff in their mouths without breaking it.
- Other dogs can tell its gender, age, health status, and even mood from your Golden’s urine.
- Part of the reason your male Golden will raise his leg when doing his business is to make himself look bigger to other dogs while he’s vulnerable.
- Supposedly, the best dog for attracting a date is the Golden Retriever while the worst is the Pit Bull.
- Goldens are a popular choice for movies because of how trainable they are.
- Goldens are a popular pick among celebrities and politicians, including both President Reagan and President Ford.
- Goldens aren’t especially drooly when you compare them to other, bigger dog breeds.
- They have a low tendency to snore.
- They have a medium tendency to bark, but will often get very excited and bark at their owners to play.
- They have a low tendency to dig, so you shouldn’t worry too much about your yard.
- Goldens have been as high as the second most popular dogs on the AKC charts in 1999.
- Studies suggest that Goldens are the sixth least likely breed in terms of aggression.
- Goldens have webbed toes to help them swim better.
- Because of their thick coats, Goldens are known to shed a lot.
- Goldens respond best when positive reinforcement is incorporated into training.
- Owning your Golden can make you happier and help you live longer!
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