In addition to Labradors, Golden Retrievers are the dogs that come to mind when it comes to family dogs. Their intelligence, kindness, and beauty make them one of America’s most popular breeds. They are also perfect companions in hunting, but they also perform well in canine sports. In my article, I will write about this fascinating dog breed. I write about their training, their nutritional needs, their history, and all the important things you might want to know about these dogs.
- Height: 23-24 inches (male) and 21.5-22.5 inches (female)
- Breed Group: Sporting Dogs
- Weight: 65-75 pounds (male), and 55-65 pounds (female)
- Life span: 10-12 years
About Golden Retrievers In Brief
The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds. This is not surprising as they have a lot of good traits. They are smart, beautiful, loyal, and fit very well into any company. These make the Goldys really good family members.
Goldens are lively and love to play. They are late maturing types, they can retain their playful and slightly silly personality even in adulthood. These qualities are retained by many even in their old age.
Golden Retrievers were originally bred for hunting birds. Because of this, they need daily exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming, or other leisure activities are the best. It’s important to always have some work for them. They require that their intelligence and physical endowments are exploited.
In addition, it is extremely important that you involve your Golden Retriever in family life. They are great family dogs and love their “flock”. If you can’t provide your Goldy with this, it’s not worth getting such a dog.
Like Labrador Retrievers, this breed is not the best watchdog. Their personality is too positive. So if strangers go to your house, your Golden Retriever will be more likely to wag his tail than to bark.
History Of Golden Retrievers
For a long time, people thought that Golden Retrievers descended from Russian sheepdogs. Nevertheless, they come from Scotland, namely Sir Dudley Majoribanks’ (Lord Tweedmouth) Highland estate.
Tweedmouth bred lots of animals and tried to perfect them. He tried to breed and perfect the Golden Retrievers between 1835 and 1890. He sought to make these dogs talented waterfowl hunters with excellent noses and respect for their human companions. In addition, he wished they were loyal and even-tempered at home.
Tweedmouth took the Nous dog to Scotland and bred it into Belle (Tweed Water Spaniel). These dogs are now extinct, but they had the qualities of today’s Golden Retrievers (great retrievers, calm and loyal at home).
Descendants of Belle were bred with Wavy- and Flat-coated retrievers and a red setter. Tweedmouth kept mostly the yellow puppies, giving the rest to his friends. These dogs from Tweedmouth immediately caught attention because of their great hunting skills. Don of Gerwyn, a descendant of Tweedmouth’s dogs, won the International Gundog League trial in 1904.
In 1911, the Kennel Club of England officially recognized the Golden Retriever as a distinct breed. The official name Golden Retriever was given in 1920. The American Kennel Club recognized this dog breed in 1925, which is now the second most popular breed in the US.
Some Interesting Facts About Golden Retrievers
- The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1925 as the 78th breed.
- These dogs perform great in field trials, hunting, obedience. But they also stand their ground as guide dogs. They are also very good at sports.
- They were first shown in England at the Crystal Palace in 1908.
- Golden Retrievers are extremely popular in America. We can also meet them on TV shows like “Full House” or the “Air Bud” movie.
These dogs can work very well with humans. In addition, they are intelligent, sweet, and calm in nature. Of course, they need a good education and training to get the most out of themselves.
Golden Retrievers need early socialization (like all breeds). Exposing them to different people, animals, sounds, sights at a young age helps us to shape their personalities a lot.
Golden Retrievers are generally said to be healthy dogs. However, there are diseases to which this breed is prone. Probably not all of the following will occur at Goldy. However, you should definitely review this list. It is important that if you buy a puppy, go to a professional breeder. He will be able to show you the health clearances for your new dog’s parents.
- Hip Dysplasia: It is one of the most common inherited diseases in dogs. In hip dysplasia, the femur does not fit properly into the hip joint. Symptoms may include pain and lameness. At times, the dog will remain completely asymptomatic. In old age, hip dysplasia can also cause arthritis. X-ray screening for the disease is performed by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or the University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program. Dogs suffering from this disease must not be bred. If you are buying a new puppy, make sure the parents did not have hip dysplasia.
- Elbow Dysplasia: It is also an inherited disease that occurs mainly in large dogs. The three bones that make up the elbow grow to vary degrees, causing joint laxity. Like hip dysplasia, symptoms can include pain and lameness. Surgery is recommended for the problem and medication is used to treat the pain.
- Cataracts: It is practically the same disease that occurs in humans. Cloudy spots appear on the eyepiece, which can grow over time. This phenomenon can occur at any age. In many cases, it does not cause vision impairment, however, more severe situations may exist. Cataracts are most often surgically removed. Dogs with this disease are not usually bred. Breeding dogs should be examined by a veterinary ophthalmologist.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy: It is a family of eye diseases. The retina gradually deteriorates. In the first stage, the dogs will be night blinds. Later, they will see worse and worse in daylight. Most dogs can live with this if we ensure that their environment remains the same.
- Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis: This is a serious heart problem. In this case, the connection between the left ventricle and the aorta is too narrow. This can cause fainting or worse, death. Your veterinarian will be able to recognize the problem and find a solution to it.
- Osteochondritis Dissecans: This condition develops when the joints do not grow properly. It most often occurs in the elbows or shoulders. The joints will stiffen and the dogs will be unable to bend their elbows or shoulders. “Growth formulas” and other high-protein foods can contribute to the problem. The condition can be detected as early as four months of age.
- Allergies: Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are also prone to allergies. These can be extremely diverse. If you notice any signs of these (skin irritations, paws licking, face rubbing, indigestion) then consult your veterinarian.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: This disease greatly interferes with the ability of the blood to clot. Symptoms may include excessive bleeding after injury or surgery, nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and internal bleeding. There is no effective cure. The only treatment option is a blood transfusion from the blood of healthy dogs. Dogs with the disease can usually live a normal life. Research is currently underway to discover the right cure. Because Von Willebrand’s Disease is hereditary, these dogs should not be bred.
- Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus: This is a life-threatening condition often called bloating. It is quite common in large, deep-chested dogs. Golden Retrievers are such dogs. Bloating occurs in dogs that eat once a day and quickly, drink plenty of water with food, or train or exercise immediately after a meal. The stomach fills with air and twists. In this case, the dogs cannot vomit the air and proper blood flow is also impeded. As a result, blood pressure drops critically and dogs are in a state of shock. Symptoms include a distended abdomen, excessive drooling, restlessness, lethargy, weakness, rapid heart rate, and retching without throwing up. If you notice these symptoms in your dog, be sure to see your veterinarian.
- Epilepsy: It is also a known disease in humans that causes periodic seizures. Your veterinarian will be able to help you with treatment, but he will need to know the severity and frequency of the seizures.
- Hypothyroidism: This disease causes abnormal thyroid function. It is responsible for conditions such as obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, hair loss, and various skin diseases. Proper diet and medication can help with this problem.
- Hemangiosarcoma: It is a dangerous form of cancer. It develops in the lining of blood vessels and the spleen. Elderly and middle-aged dogs are most at risk.
- Osteosarcoma: This is a bone cancer that is unfortunately common in Golden Retrievers.
Feeding and nutrition
2-3 cups of food a day are the generally accepted amount for feeding. It is important that this applies to dry food. Be sure to choose high-quality products.
The exact amount, of course, depends on many things. The dogs’ age, size, physique, and activity matter. When it comes to humans, it is not possible to clearly determine the number of calories required per day. The same is true for dogs. If you train a lot with your canine, he can eat more than if he rests at home all day.
The quality of the product is also decisive. A good quality Golden Retriever dog food may have more nutrients (and calories) so less is needed per day. If you want to be sure, ask your vet for advice and monitor your puppy’s weight. You may want to divide the daily food into two parts.
In addition to measuring body weight, you may want to use an eye test or hands-on test to determine if your dog is obese. First, if you look at him, you have to see his waist. Then place your hand on his back. A dog’s ideal weight is when his ribs are not visible, but they can be easily palpated with your fingers. If that’s not the case, then your Golden Retriever probably needs more exercise or less food. If his ribs are too visible, you will need to give him more food.
Goldys grow extremely fast between the ages of four and seven months. Make sure you buy the best quality Golden Retriever puppy food. They have exactly as many calories as such a puppy needs. This way you can avoid possible bone disorders.
Coat and grooming
Golden Retrievers have special fur. This is a double coat breed. The outer coat is dense and water repellent. The undercoat is thick. The fur can be straight or wavy. In addition, there is some feathery effect on the back of the front legs, underbody, chest, back of the thighs, and tail.
In terms of color, Golden Retrievers occur in all shades of gold, from dark to light. There are breeders who sell white Goldys. However, the American Kennel Club does not recognize this color as the color of the breed.
This breed sheds vigorously in spring and fall, less so in winter and summer. You need to get used to a lot of dog hair if you buy such a dog.
You will need to do a lot of grooming if you want such a dog in your house. Brushing at least once a week is recommended. Of course, you should do it more often, even on a daily basis. Your Goldy needs a bath once a month, but it can also be more frequent if the situation requires it. This way you can keep your fur healthy and clean.
You should brush your dog’s teeth two or three times a week. This way you can avoid tartar buildup and remove unwanted bacteria. With daily brushing, you can prevent gum disease and bad breath.
If your Golden Retriever is living an active life, he may be able to wear his nails down naturally. However, if this does not happen, you may want to trim his nails once or twice a month. If you hear your pup’s nails clicking on the floor, it means they are too long.
There are blood vessels in the nails of dogs, so you should not cut them too short. If you are unsure if you are doing it right, go to a professional groomer. But there are grooming tools that facilitate these processes. Examples are dog nail grinders. Nail grooming is much easier and safer with these tools. If your dog is afraid of grooming, gradually introduce him to these tools. You can also seek the advice of your veterinarian.
Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infections. After all, fold-over ears favor the growth of bacteria and fungi. Signs of this may include redness and bad smells. Especially after bathing, you should check your dog’s ears. Wipe them out with a cotton ball that you dip in an ear cleaner designed for this purpose. Only clean the outer ear, do not poke the ear canal.
These grooming activities are worth starting as early as the puppy age. So your Goldy will get used to brushing, nail trimming or grinding, or paws handling. Look in his mouth regularly. Always use positive affirmation and praise on such occasions. Some treats may also come in handy. So grooming can also be a good experience for you and your dog.
When grooming, always watch for any sores, rashes, or signs of infection. Watch your dog’s skin, nose, eyes, mouth, and feet. The eye should not be red. If you follow these tips you will notice potential health problems in a timely manner.
The Golden Retriever is a sporting breed, so it needs quite a lot of exercise. If we do not provide this for these dogs, they may exhibit bad behavior. The Goldens love running, bike rides, or hunting trips. In addition, they perform very well in canine sports such as agility, obedience, and tracking.
Before you engage in any strenuous activity with your dog, consult your veterinarian for advice. After all, you don’t want these sports to have a negative effect on your dog’s bones and joints.
It is worth starting early socialization, and puppy training classes. After the age of seven weeks, carefully expose your Golden Retriever to a variety of situations, people, and animals. It promotes his development and makes him properly well-adjusted and well-behaved.
Puppy training classes are an important part of socialization. In addition, during these lessons, the owner learns to recognize and correct bad habits.
Obedience training is also important as it further shapes behavior and strengthens the bond between the dog and the owner. Otherwise, these dogs are quite intelligent, loyal, and outgoing, meaning they respond well to training.
Behavior With Children And Other Pets
Golden Retrievers are no accident one of the families’ favorite dogs. They are very kind and get along very well not only with people but with kids as well.
However, as they are large animals, in a sense it is worth being careful. Teach your children how to approach dogs. They need to know how to touch and caress them. Both parties need to know each other. No matter how pious an animal is, it should never be left unattended with children.
Tell your kids not to disturb the dogs while eating. Anyway, early socialization helps a lot in this, and Goldens can be taught very well how to behave near children. They can be the best friends in the family.
These dogs can get along well with other animals too. They enjoy the company of other dogs and can be friends with cats, rabbits, and other animals through proper training.
As you can see, these animals are wonderful creatures. It is no coincidence that they are one of the most popular dogs in the world, as in addition to being beautiful, they have a lot of positive qualities. With the right attention and training, you too can get the most out of your Goldy.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Golden Retriever
- What are the 3 types of golden retrievers?
At first glance, every Golden Retriever may look the same. However, based on color, we distinguish three varieties: golden, light golden, and dark golden. By the way, there are three types of this breed: English, Canadian and American.
- Are Golden Retrievers good house dogs?
Golden Retrievers are excellent pets with lots of good qualities. They can be the best friends in the family. They are kind, even-tempered, intelligent and affectionate. They are playful, but also gentle with kids and other pets. However, if you want a bloody watchdog, this breed may not be the best choice for you.
- Are Golden Retrievers lazy?
Golden Retrievers are calm by nature. Because of this, they may often seem lazy, but they are not. They have a great need for exercise, which if not provided, can lead to bad behaviors.
- Are male or female golden retrievers better?
Females are much more independent, stubborn and more territorial in nature than males. In addition, females are more dominant and show more alpha behavior. Of course, with proper training, you won’t get in trouble with a female Golden Retriever.