There are countless ‘National/World Days’ that are celebrated each year. One such day is National Golden Retriever Day that’s celebrated every February 3rd! So for this week’s ‘Behind the Breed’, let’s take a look at these goofy and wonderful dogs.
Golden Retrievers are, like Labrador Retrievers, a part of the Sporting Group and like other retrievers, were initially bred to help hunters retrieve ducks and other waterfowl. A Scottish Lord is often credited with the creation of this breed in the late 19th century. Dudley Coutts Majoribanks, the first Baron Tweedmouth, once noted in 1868 that the meeting of a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever named Nous and a Tweed Water-Spaniel named Belle resulted in a litter of four yellow puppies! The Tweed Water-Spaniel breed is sadly now extinct but that breeding eventually led to the Golden Retriever.
They have a dense, shiny coat that, as you might expect, is usually golden in color. There are actually three different varieties of golden retrievers: American, English/English Cream, and Canadian. These varieties have very slight differences. English Goldens tend to be stockier than their counterparts and white in color; American Goldens are lean and have a thick, golden coat; and Canadian Goldens are lean with a thinner but still golden coat than the others.
- Five Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers [Animals of the Pacific Northwest, Feb 3, 2018]
In addition to the three varieties of Goldens, there are three officially recognized coat colors for this breed and dogs are placed into these categories by matching their coat to the color as closely as possible. The three colors are light golden, golden, and dark golden but there are some Goldens who are black, red, or even white! Black coats on Goldens either come from a recessive gene present in both parents or when you mix a Golden and Black Lab. The AKC does not accept a black coat in a purebred Golden showdog but for those who just want a family dog, these dogs would make great pets!
These dogs are one of the most popular dogs in the United States and are currently ranked number 3 in popularity by the American Kennel Club! Nowadays, Golden Retrievers are great family dogs and love to be around people. Because of their love of people, Goldens aren’t great guard dogs but do make wonderful companions! They’re often outgoing, trusting, very eager to please, and fairly easy to train! Goldens are full of joy and energy too, often keeping their playful, puppy attitude well into adulthood. Because of that, most Goldens will need exercise and enrichment throughout their life. If you love hiking, long walks, or other adventures, Goldens would be a great pet for you!
In addition to training, exercise, and enrichment, golden retrievers will also need regular grooming. Like other dogs, regular nail trims and dental care will help keep Goldens healthy; but this breed also has a fairly long, double coat and an intense desire to be outside and dirty! Those things mean that they need more grooming (like brushing and bathing) than some other breeds. For example, you’ll want to brush a golden retriever fairly regularly, as brushing their coats will help to get rid of dead hair and skin and will often prevent matting in their coats. Matting can happen though and it’s important to cut or brush out mats, as hair mats can get uncomfortable if left too long.
While golden retrievers do need lots of exercise, attention, and grooming, they are wonderful dogs and make great companions. If you love to hike or are active, a golden would make a great partner in those adventures!