Known for his lustrous, medium-length golden coat, this large retriever has a friendly expression with perfect symmetry and superb, flowing movement covering the ground with long, powerful strides. Adult males are 56-61cm in height and 30-34kg. Adult females are 51-56cm and 27-32kg.
Sir Dudley Marjoribanks (Lord Tweedmouth) took a liking to the yellow colour of the retriever and acquired a dog called 'Nous' from Brighton, England, in 1865 and used him on a Tweedwater Spaniel bitch, which was a liver-coloured retrieving dog. In 20 years of further breeding, and bringing in Labrador Retrievers, Red Setters and possibly a Bloodhound or two to improve scenting and add bone, the Golden Retriever dog breed was developed. In 1908 it was registered and shown as Golden Flatcoats until 1913, when the listing was changed to Golden or Yellow Retrievers until finally, in 1920, they took the name they bear today.
The Golden Retriever is a gentle dog with a level disposition, and usually adapts well to family life. They love to be involved in all matters, whether indoors or outdoors. They are foremost a retriever and will attempt to drag, pull or carry anything they can fit into their mouths. They also love water and care should be taken to ensure their safety when any form of water is nearby. Golden Retrievers are, however, worriers, and great care should be taken during training, ensuring sensitivity is maintained at all times.
As with many breeds, The Golden Retriever can suffer from various hereditary eye disorders, and hip and elbow dysplasia (joint conditions that can be painful and lead to mobility problems). Eye testing and hip scoring of dogs prior to breeding is therefore important.
Adult Golden Retrievers require a reasonable amount of exercise to keep them in peak condition. As puppies, do ensure they are not over-exercised or bone/joint problems may develop. A couple of hours of daily exercise should be sufficient for a fit adult, though this dog will happily accept more if you can offer it!
Large breed dogs, as well as having large appetites, benefit from a different balance of nutrients including minerals and vitamins compared to smaller-breed dogs. The Golden Retriever is prone to bloating and stomach problems; smaller, more frequent meals can help minimise this risk.
Because of the density of the coat, Golden Retrievers must be regularly groomed. The undercoat, because of its water-repellent nature, is extremely thick and must therefore not be allowed to mat, causing unnecessary suffering to the animal. Whilst the length of the coat attracts water and mud, this is easily cleaned off once the coat has dried.