Golden Retrievers are proud members of one of the most popular canine breeds worldwide. They got their start way back in 1865 in the Scottish Highlands. This wonderful breed was originated by a nobleman named Lord Tweedmouth. He purchased a puppy and named him Nous, who happened to be the only member of a litter of retrievers who turned out to be yellow rather than the usual black. Lord Tweedmouth bred Nous and Belle, a Tweed Spaniel, and produced several pups who turned out to be yellow like their father.
For further defining the breed, Bloodhounds, Newfoundlands, Red Setters, and especially Labrador Retrievers were added to the mix. And, the GoldenRetriever was born. In the 1920s, Goldens became an official breed by the AKC. Golden Retrievers are constantly ranked among the very best five canines in the U.S. for popularity. And, any Golden owner can tell you why that is, including:
- They have beautiful temperaments.
- They’re extremely good and gentle with all children
- They’re easy to teach, from basic training to more advanced moves
- They’re always reliable and trustworthy
- They’re very hard workers
- They’re well-suited to being assistance dogs
- They make excellent search and rescue dogs
So, here are a few things about Golden Retrievers that only their lucky owners seem to know:
1. Golden Retrievers are the All-American Dog
When depicting an all-American white picket fence lifestyle in commercials, TV, and movies, the family dog is generally a Golden. And, with all of the charisma, beauty, and intelligence that they have to offer, that’s really no surprise. Most people fell in love instantly with Goldens with the release of the movie “Homeward Bound”.
2. Golden Retriever Statistics
Goldens are the third most popular dog breed in the country.They are also considered to be the fourth smartest dog breed worldwide right behind German Shepherds, Border Collies, and Poodles. Actually, there are three types of Goldens, British, American, and Canadian. Each one varies in their size and color.British Golden Retrievers are lighter in color than the others and are also the most muscular. Americans have the thinnest builds and the thickest coats. Canadians are generally the tallest and have thinner darker coats.
3. A Heart of Gold to Match Their Coats
Besides having hearts of gold, Golden Retrievers have thick waterproof coats that are either straight or wavy. Their double coat gives them natural protection from both cold and heat. It shouldn’t ever be shaved unless it becomes a medical necessity. The fur on the front of his neck, back of his legs, and his belly will more than likely have some wavy hair and/or light feathering. Goldens come in every shade of gold from orange to cream and in fact, some breeders now sell white Golden Retrievers, however, they aren’t recognized by the AKC.
All Goldens’ fur will generally get a little darker as they grow up and they usually reach their true color when they’re around a year. If you look at the color of your puppy’s ears, you can usually get a good idea of what his or her true color will eventually be. In addition, his or her nose color can range from a brownish color to black and it can lighten a little bit as your pup ages from a natural loss of pigmentation. Golden Retrievers are also susceptible to what is called “snow nose”, which will cause little pink spots on their noses appearing in the wintertime and then disappearing when the weather gets warmer.Their beautiful water-repellent double coats have a tendency toward shedding seasonally, so brushing your Golden often or at least once per week is recommended for minimizing shedding.
4. Excellent Family Dogs
An extremely patient personality makes the Golden Retriever the optimum family dog. Golden Retrievers consistently work very hard to please and garner the most love possible. They are easygoing with kids and revel in spreading their doggy love around to the whole family. They’re definitely lovers, not fighters. They might not exactly be your very best choice if you’re looking for a guard dog, however, given that they just plain love everybody. Now, that’s not to say that they don’t make good watchdogs. Your Golden will bark his head off if your family or home is threatened. And, they generally have a nice deep loud bark that would scare off any intruder.
5. Bred to be Hunting Dogs
Golden Retrievers were initially bred for the intended purpose of being both pliable and exceptionally smart for use as hunting dogs.They make such excellent hunting dogs because their breeding included being easily trained for retrieving fallen birds, which of course, resulted in their name.Golden Retrievers are also often called ‘sporting dogs.’
6. Perfect Service Dogs
Their behavior and trainability make them perfect for both competing in shows and as service dogs. In addition, Goldens are used quite often on search and rescue teams due to their tracking abilities and a keen sense of smell. A number of organizations also use Golden Retrievers exclusively as their breed of choice for service dogs, including Assistance Dog International, Paws With a Cause, and Canine Companions for Independence. Their warm loving dispositions also make them the canine of choice as therapy dogs. And,Golden Retrievers can be trained for detecting epileptic seizures up to one hour prior to when they actually happen.
7. Golden World Records
A Golden Retriever named Charlie holds the Guinness World Record for having the loudest bark. It registered at a whopping 113.1 decibels. BTW, just for comparison sake, a chainsaw only registers at 110 decibels! And, there’s also another Golden Retriever who holds a Guinness World Record. His name is Augie and he holds the record for the max tennis balls held in a dog’s mouth at one time. How many? Well, that’s five regulation size tennis balls just like the ones they use at Wimbledon. Hey, maybe they should make him a ball boy. And, here’s something else that Goldens can do that should earn them a world record but hasn’t yet. They can do a little thing known as a soft mouth, where they can carry a fragile item like a raw egg in their mouths and never cause any harm to it. Wow, that’s pretty amazing!
8. What Golden Retrievers Love
Goldens instinctively love swimming and are always ready and eager for playing a game of fetch in the pool, on the beach or in a lake.They also love taking care of other animals and will even become good friends with cats. And, more than anything else in the world, Goldens love to be loved.
9. What Goldens Don’t Like
Goldens are well-known for becoming very sad and often even depressed if they’re left alone for extended periods of time. That’s why, according to experts, they should never be left for more than seven hours at a time. So, if you can’t take your Golden with you, enlist the help of a friend or neighbor to visit, play, and give him or her some love and maybe even some exercise. Don’t have a friend or neighbor available? Just look online or in your local phonebook for a service to take care of it for you. There are generally plenty of them in any area of the country. This condition is also called separation anxiety and if you leave a piece of clothing with your scent on it for your Golden, it can help with alleviating his or her anxiety when you have to be away from home. Goldens also don’t like being outside dogs and they can end up developing serious skin problems, environmental allergies, and especially thunderstorm anxiety.
Golden Retrievers need lots of positive healthy exercise for preventing the possibility of putting on excess weight, as well as their tendency toward becoming bored and unhappy. In addition, plenty of exercise can help Goldens to preserve their large frames and muscle-tone. Keeping them in good shape requires a number of long brisk strolls or even some jogging daily. And, a few games of fetch or even swimming some laps in the pool with you could also go a long way toward keeping your Golden Retriever healthy and active. Overall, Goldens need daily exercise and they can benefit from 30 minutes or more of jogging, playing fetch, or just enjoying some free time in the yard.
11. Love Music?
Beatles song lovers can share their love of the famous British group’s music with their Golden. Did you know that they put a whistle in the “A Day in the Life” soundtrack that is only audible to dogs? Maybe they should’ve called it“A Day in the Life of a Dog”. What kind of music does your Golden like to listen to? We’re pretty sure it expands well beyond The Beatles but it sure seems like Goldens have great taste.
12. Celeb & Even Presidential Golden Owners
Country star Miranda Lambert has a Golden named Waylon named after the late great Waylon Jennings. They’re also popular pet choices among other celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon,Emma Stone, Oprah Winfrey, and Adam Levine. And, both President Reagan and President Ford had Golden Retrievers as White House first pets when they were in office.
13. Golden Stars
Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular casting choices for starring in TV shows and movies based on the fact that they are so easily trained. From “Homeward Bound” to “Air Bud” to “Full House”, and even Duke from the commercials for Bush’s Baked Beans, Goldens are big stars in their own right. “Roll that beautiful bean footage.” This all makes too much sense as not only are they great looking on camera but they can be easily trained.
14. True Stories of Goldens
Just like Shadow in “Homeward Bound”, a Golden named Murphy got lost in California and somehow survived in the forest all alone for almost two years. He eventually returned to the site where he was first lost. Here’s another true story that is truly inspirational. It’s about a service dog whose name is Kirsch. He received a mental health counseling honorary master’s degree from the very prestigious Johns Hopkins University after he attended all of his owner’s classes.
15. Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places?
Well, according to a recent French study, a man who is accompanied by a dog is three times as likely to acquire girls’ phone numbers. And, Goldens are considered to be the number one chick or hunk magnet for getting dates while Pit Bulls are the least popular. So the next time you are single and want to use a prop that none of those “how to get girls or guys” manuals tell you, consider a Golden Retriever.
16. Large Dog, Small Space
In spite of their large size, if Goldens are properly exercised, they can actually do quite well even when living in an apartment. This is not necessarily true of many other large breeds who don’t handle it well. Our Golden, whose name is Emma, lives in a small apartment with us and, as long as she gets her walks, she’s quite content.
17. Young at Heart
Golden Retrievers mature slower than some other breeds, retaining their adorable puppy personalities until the age of three to four years old. They are considered to be full grown in height at one year old and in weight by the time they’re two years old. All that having been said, they usually remain young at heart for their entire lives. Our 12-year old Emma is still young at heart and loves every single one of her hundreds of fuzzy squeaky toys. In fact, if we don’t bring her home a new one every time we go to the grocery store, she pouts like a baby. OK, so maybe she’s a little spoiled but we prefer to call it “well-loved”.
18. Watch That Weight
Golden Retrievers do love their food and therefore can be at risk for being overweight. Be sure that you feed your Golden at regular intervals. Don’t just leave unlimited supplies of dog food out where he can tend to overeat. Besides weighing him or her, there are two methods for telling if your Golden Retriever is overweight. First, when you look down from above onto your dog’s back, you should be seeing a waist. Then, when placing your hands on his back, spread your fingers downward and you should feel his ribs even though you can’t really see them. I have also found that adding canned no salt added french style green beans to Emma’s food helps keep her weight in check and she loves them, too. She also loves boiled carrots. Many people don’t think that dogs love veggies but they really do and they’re good for them just like they’re good for us. But, always remember, no corn.
19. Health Risks
There are a few health risks that are associated with Golden Retrievers. They include hypothyroidism, hip and elbow dysplasia, skin conditions, and some eye diseases. They also have a tendency toward growing quite quickly between the ages of four and seven months, making them more susceptible to disorders of the bones. That’s why it’s very important not to allow your Golden Retriever pup to run or play on any kind of hard surface like pavement until he has reached the age of at least two years old. Running and playing on the grass is OK though.
20. Size Matters
Male Goldens usually end up reaching 24-inches in height at the shoulders. They can also weigh as much as approximately 75 pounds. List the majority of other dog breeds, females tend to be smaller than males and usually reach a height of 21.5 to 22.5 inches at their shoulders, weighing somewhere between 55 and 65 pounds.