Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever
Probably one of the most recognisable and best loved dogs, the Golden Retriever is known for their lustrous, medium-length golden coat and ever-wagging tail. This large retriever has a friendly expression with perfect symmetry and superb, flowing movement covering the ground with long, powerful strides.
  • Dog suitable for non-experienced owners
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys vigorous walks
  • Enjoys walking more than two hours a day
  • Large dog
  • Some drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Non Hypoallergenic breed
  • Quiet dog
  • Not a guard dog
  • Great with other pets
  • Great family dog

Golden Retriever Facts:

Lifespan: 10 – 12 years

Weight: 27 – 34kg

Height: 51 – 61cm

Colours: The Golden Retriever comes in various shades of gold from light to dark

Size: Large

Kennel Club Group: Gundog


Family-friendly: 5/5

Exercise needs: 5/5

Easy to train: 5/5

Tolerates being alone: 1/5

Likes other pets: 5/5

Energy level: 5/5

Grooming needs: 4/5

Shedding: 5/5

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Scotland

The full history is slightly unclear in parts but it seems that once again, it was a member of the British aristocracy that can claim the foundations of this breed. Sir Dudley Marjoribanks (Lord Tweedmouth) took a liking to the yellow colour that was sometimes found in retrievers and so in 1865 he acquired a dog called Nous from Brighton. Nous was the only yellow puppy in a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers. He bred this dog to a liver-coloured Tweed Water Spaniel bitch called Belle who was an excellent retrieving dog. This produced four yellow puppies and in the following 20 years of further breeding, he continued trying to breed his idea of the perfect dog by bringing in Red Setters, other Tweed Water Spaniels, other retrievers and possibly even a Bloodhound or two.

In 1908 the breed was registered and shown as Golden Flat Coats until 1913 when the listing was changed to Golden or Yellow Retrievers.

Today Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular of all breeds - and some are still used as working gundogs.


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 long as they have been introduced to cats and other furries as a puppy, they will happily live with all other household animals.

The Golden Retriever will suit an owner or family who are active and love the great outdoors, and who want a friendly trainable large dog who needs lots of exercise and will join in with all activities with joy - and love everyone.

Health and Common Issues

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.

Exercise Needs

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!

Like many gundogs, they can easily become overweight if not given enough exercise - especially as they love their food!

Space Requirements

At heart this is a country dog that loves the great outdoors and long walks in the countryside. They can adapt to smaller spaces as long as they have a garden and plenty of daily exercise.

Nutrition and Feeding

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.

Grooming Golden Retrievers

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 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.

Training Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are great dogs to train - whether in obedience or more traditional gundog work - as they are smart and enjoy pleasing their owners. They need sensitive reward-based training to help them gain confidence and excel. As well as walking exercise, they excel in any games that use their natural retrieving abilities and love working with their owners.

Best Family Dog Breeds

The Golden Retriever is an ideal dog for families as they love everyone, are gentle and enjoys being involved in all activities. They’ll happily come along for car rides and go visiting as they’re highly social.

While many dogs are traditionally thought of as being good with children, all dogs and children need to be taught to get on with and respect each other, and be safe together. Even so, dogs and young children should never be left alone together and adults should supervise all interactions between them.

Did you know?

  • The Golden Retriever is one of the most versatile breeds and they can be found doing all kinds of jobs including, disability assistance, guiding, search and rescue, working trials, obedience and agility
  • One Golden Retriever worth mentioning is Bear – the first dog on the scene after the World Trade Centre disaster. He and his handler John Gilkey worked at the site for three months trying to locate people buried in the rubble
  • Golden Retrievers are said to have extremely soft mouths, so soft in fact that they can carry a raw egg in their mouth without cracking the shell
  • Due to their high intelligence and willingness to please, Golden Retriever’s are often used in films and TV shows, some famous ones include Buddy from Air Bud and Shadow from Homeward Bound
  • They are thought to be the 4th smartest dog breed in the world

Similar Breeds:



Border Collie


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What to consider next


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