The golden retriever originated in Scotland in the late 1800’s by Lord Tweedmouth. Tweedmouth and other British lords wanted a dog that was not only an effective hunting dog, but also one that was pleasure to watch. The first golden retriever was a cross of a yellow retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel female. The Tweed Water Spaniel breed is now extinct but it was common in those days. The pups from this littler became the basis of a breeding program that included the Irish Setter, the Bloodhound, the St. John’s Water Dog of Newfoundland, and wavy-coated black Retrievers.
Golden Retrievers were first accepted for registration by the The Kennel Club of England in 1903, as Flat Coats – Golden. They were first exhibited in 1908, and in 1911 were recognized as a breed described as Retriever (Golden and Yellow). In 1913, the Golden Retriever Club was founded. The breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.
The first golden retrievers were registered in Canada in 1927 and in America in 1925.
There are several different types of golden retrievers:
British type – the muzzle is generally wider and shorter. They also have shorter legs and a deeper chest. Males should be between 22 – 24 inches and the females at between 20 – 22 inches. A Golden Retriever of British breeding can have a coat color of any shade of gold or cream; however, red or mahogany are not permissible colors.
American type – an American golden is less stocky than a British type. The male should stand 22-24 inches and the females should be 21 – 22 inches. They range in weight from 65 – 75 lbs for males and 55 – 65 for females. Their fur is shades of lustrous gold.
Canadian type – The Canadian golden retriever is a newer type. Appearance is similar to the American type but their coats are not as light as a British type and not as dark as an American type.
Golden retrievers are known for being kind and friendly. Their trusting, gentle nature makes them a great family pet but not a great guard dog. The typical retriever is calm, intelligent, and has an eagerness to please. They are great with children, adults, other dogs, cats, and most livestock. Retrievers are commonly used at guide dogs because of their friendliness and teachability.
The average golden will live for 10 to 12 years. They do very well in small living areas of at least 500 sq. feet as long as they are taken for long walks every day.