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Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, also called "Golden" for short, is the second most popular breed in the United States. One of the most common family dogs worldwide, they are prized for their sociability, high tolerance and compatible natures. Originally developed in Scotland, by Sir Dudley Majoribanks, the GoldeN' lineage was a subject of controversy for many years. Upon the publication of Majoribanks' breeding records in 1952, it was discovered that the original cross occurred in 1868, between Nous, the only yellow pup in a litter of black wavy-coated Retrievers, and a Belle, a now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. From this breeding, four females were produced, and they became the basis of a breeding program which incorporated lines from Red Setters, Bloodhounds, St. John's Water Dogs, Springer Spaniels and two other wavy-coated black Retrievers, with the goal of creating a more vigorous and powerful dog that retained its existing good nature, gentleness and trainability. Today, there are field lines, which are lean, longer legged, and have more reddish coats, and show lines, which are bigger boned, longer and have blond, flowing coats.

Other Names Body Type Personality Coat Health Concerns

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AKC Group: Sporting

Breed Club: Golden Retriever Club of America

Rescue Club: National Rescue Committee

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Body Type:

  • A larger breed, males tend to weigh between 65 and 75 pounds as adults, with females weighing 60 to 70 pounds
  • The Golden has the presence of an athletic, capable dog and should be slightly longer than high, with solid bodies and bone structure


  • Goldens enjoy high energy activities throughout their lives
  • Generally speaking, Goldens experience a longer than average puppy phase, lasting until 2 or 2 1/2 years of age, during which they can be fairly unruly. However, once they reach adulthood they mellow out, while still retaining their fun-loving way of life
  • They are natural clowns, entertaining everyone with their antics, which makes them particularly good candidates for therapeutic dogs
  • Because of their high intelligence, they often compete in obedience trials and are frequently trained as assistance dogs
  • Patient and tolerant of children and their games, they make an ideal family pet


  • Their coat can be either straight or slightly wavy, but must be dense, waterproof and lie flat against the body
  • Their color, according to AKC standard, is a rich, lustrous golden of various shades, and can range from white-blond to mahogany, and everything in between

Health Concerns:

  • The average life expectancy of a Golden is 12 to13 years
  • Unfortunately, due to their extreme popularity, they have been indiscriminately bred by individuals seeking profit, which has resulted in some genetic health problems
  • Some more frequently occurring concerns are: Hip Dysplasia - for this reason, hip scores are strongly recommended before breeding or purchasing a Golden. Von Willebrand's Disease - a hereditary blood clotting disorder. Cataracts - an opacity in the lens of the eye, can usually be treated, and sometimes, operated on. Epilepsy - recurrent seizures, to varying degrees, which can usually be controlled by medication
  • Allergies, seasonal or year round, usually manifest in skin and can be treated topically, with medication or allergy desensitization injections.
  • Congenital Heart Defects, including Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis and Cardiomyopathy, may be treated with medication, or in some cases, surgery
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy - a genetic, bilateral, progressive vision loss, resulting in blindness, with no treatment
  • Eye Defects, including Entropion, Ectropion, Trichiasis, Distichiasis, treated medically or surgically, depending on severity.
  • Hypothyroidism - treated medicinally
  • Cancer - various types
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