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When you imagine a faithful family dog, does the fluffy face of a Golden Retriever come to mind? These intelligent, active, affectionate dogs make ideal four-legged additions to many families, which is probably why they're one of America's most popular dogs. Read on to discover what goldens are all about!
"These intelligent, active, and affectionate dogs make ideal four-legged additions to many families."
Breed of The Month: Golden Retriever
An Overview of the Breed
The Golden Retriever belongs to the sporting dog group, and is known for their athletic prowess and desire to please. Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl, goldens have taken on many different jobs in the modern era, including service and therapy, search and rescue, and drug and bomb detection. These eager to please pups make them easy to train and the perfect working dog.
There are three main types of Golden Retrievers, American, English, and Canadian, which look relatively similar to the amatuer eye. While they come in all shades of gold, from light cream to almost red, the American Kennel Club recognizes three different coat color variations: light golden, golden, and dark golden.
History and Background
Golden Retrievers might seem as American as apple pie, but their story actually began in 19th-Century Scotland. In 1865, Dudley Marjoribanks, Lord Tweedmouth, bought the only yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever in a litter of black puppies. He later bred this dog, named Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel, now extinct, to create the Golden Retriever we know and love. This first true golden went by the name of Crocus.
In developing the breed, Lord Tweedmouth sought to create a superior retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain, and available game. The dog needed to be able to retrieve on both land and water and bring the game back unharmed. They were bred to have soft mouths, a powerful gait, a flat coat, and expert swimming abilities.
By the 1870s, Scottish gamekeepers had found work for these new companions as gundogs. In the early 20th Century, they began appearing in dog shows. The Kennel Club of England first recognized the breed as "Retriever - Yellow or Golden" in 1911, then as "Retriever - Golden" a few years later. In 1925, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed, paving the way for it to become one of the most popular dog breeds in the United states.
Golden Retrievers stand 21 to 24 inches tall and weigh 55 to 75 pounds. They sport a double coat of straight, medium-length hair with floppy ears and straight, broad head. Let’s be real, is there anything cuter than golden retriever puppies?
Their dense, waterproof coat is perfect for retrieving on land or in water. The breed comes in three basic color ranges: Light Golden, Golden, and Dark Golden.
As a sporting dog, they are known for their athletic build, boundless energy, and strong desire to perform a task and please their handler. Their soft mouths make them ideal for retriever waterfowl, or gentle play with family members.
If you want a "Velcro dog," you want a Golden Retriever. They'll follow you everywhere because they love spending time with humans. They show great affection and a stable temperament that makes them good around children. They even have enough energy to keep up with the average kid!
What’s bad about golden retrievers? Don't expect them to be the world's greatest security dog. While they do bark , their love for human connection may result in them greeting strangers with a big kiss and request for a belly rub or back scratch.
Along with their seemingly endless energy and happy demeanor, goldens are known for their native intelligence and loyalty. These qualities make them eager to please their handler and relatively easy to train with a little work.
Caring for the Breed
Golden Retrievers need 30 minutes of exercise twice a day, not just to keep them in good shape but also to help burn off the excess energy that might make them too rambunctious. As a retriever, goldens will literally play fetch as long as allowed. If you love to jog, run, or walk as part of your daily routine, you'll have a new exercise partner!
Golden Retrievers need training to become happy, well-behaved family members. But you're in luck there, too, because these super-smart dogs learn fast. You might want to start with leash training, though. They will chase after birds, squirrels, and other creatures if they don't know how to behave on a leash.
Nutrition can make a big difference in your Golden Retriever's health. Like any dog, this breed will get chubby unless you feed it sensible meals. A "couch potato" needs to stay between 989 and 1,272 calories per day. If the pup lives an active life, it should get 1,353 to 1,740 calories. Ask your vet whether your pet can also benefit from nutritional supplements.
Grooming your dog every six weeks, along with weekly brushing sessions, can help you manage that thick coat. Check the toenails every couple of weeks to see if they need trimming.
Potential Health Issues
Any dog can experience health issues, including Golden Retrievers. This breed has a relatively high cancer rate, with up to 56 percent of female deaths and 66 percent of male deaths caused by the malignant forms of this disease. Golden Retrievers can also be bothered with circulatory, heart, and lung problems.
Similar to other sporting dogs, goldens are prone to joint issues, like arthritis and hip and elbow dysplasia. With proper breeding, weight management, and treatment, severe cases can be avoided. It’s always a good idea to take extra care of a golden’s joint by adding nutritional joint support, like glucosamine for dogs, to their diet.
Their dense double coat makes a great potential home for bacteria, pests, parasites, and debris. These invaders could pose a problem because these dogs can have trouble with allergic reactions to fleas, ticks, mites, mold, and dust. Regular baths with a dog shampoo will help keep their coat free of irritants. It’s also a good idea to provide extra skin and coat support by adding an omega 3 for dogs to their diet.
Goldens can also run into trouble with cataracts, thyroid problems, bloat, and ear infections. It’s vital to schedule regular wellness checks so a vet can catch these issues early.
Not every breed of dog can swim well, but Golden Retrievers are highly capable swimmers. Why are golden retrievers so good at swimming? Their strong hind legs, water-repellent double coat, webbed paws, and rudder-like tail help them excel at swimming.
Since receiving AKC recognition in 1925, Golden Retrievers have regularly placed near the very top of the rankings as one of the most popular U.S. dog breeds.
They are considered to be the 4th smartest dog breed behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.
Not just good for waterfowl retrieving, goldens also make great therapy dogs, guide dogs, and search-and-rescue dogs.
Famous Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers have moved in some high-flying circles, including the White House. President Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty, made a cute and friendly addition to the First Family in the 1970s.
Bretagne was a famed search-and-rescue dog who aided the rescue efforts of major hurricanes like Katrina, Rita, and Ivan and was deployed to Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. She was the last known surviving dog that responded to Ground Zero.
Pinkie took the Best in Breed title at the Westminster Dog Show, only to grow even more famous for her "adoption" of a trio of tiger cubs.
Golden Retrievers to Follow on Instagram
Tucker currently rules Instagram with an unmatched 2.2 million followers.
Marty and Murphy are a hilarious Canadian duo. Marty is known to sing a tune or two.
Chelsea can be found chillin by the pool, or in it, most of the time. Let’s just say water is her second love behind food.
Maui shares his adventures with Rubi the Corgi.
What to Expect From Golden Retriever Ownership
If you adopt a Golden Retriever, you can expect many happy years with a loving, active, friendly companion. Just do everything you can to keep up with it! Give it lots of personal attention, exercise, and the right portions of nutrients, and you can't go wrong with this golden-haired beauty!
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