Golden Retrievers are classic family dogs in Germany and can be found in almost every park. The gentle dogs are closely related to the Newfoundland Labrador Retriever and, like their ancestors, love water in all forms. If you are looking for a weatherproof dog for long walks outdoors, you can find out everything you need to know about the even-tempered retriever here.
Identifying Features of the Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers already have their most distinctive distinguishing feature in their name: the structure of the soft, golden outer hair all over the body differs significantly from the rough and otter-like fur of other retrievers and water dogs such as the yellow Labrador Retriever. The head is slightly narrower than other retrievers – the dogs are known for their Golden Retriever smiles and their black lips are pulled wide, giving them an extra friendly appearance. Overall, with an average size of 56 to 61 cm for males and 51 to 56 cm for females and an ideal weight between 25 and 34 kg, they are more likely to be prescribed for strength athletes, but they appear significantly slimmer than Newfoundland water dogs or mastiffs.
The Golden Retriever in detail
- British, American, and Canadian-type Golden Retrievers are slightly different from each other and are adapted to their respective environments.
- Head: Broad with pronounced eyebrows and visible forehead furrow, muzzle appears strong, square, and massive.
- Ears: Long, floppy, reaching down to the corner of the mouth and tapering to a V-shape. They are thin and soft to the touch and covered in fine, medium-length hairs.
- Eyes: Wide apart but set straight ahead soft expression.
- Body: Strong, rectangular when viewed from the side, with well-angled hindlegs and straight, strong forelegs. Well feathered on belly and back of legs.
- Tail: Well feathered, rarely carried over the back.
Color and Coat Variations in Golden Retrievers
- The topcoat can be smooth or wavy, the strong feathering is important.
- All variations of Light Golden, Golden, and Dark Golden are allowed.
- Mahogany-colored dogs do exist, but the color is not approved for breeding.
- There are also cream-colored Golden Retrievers with very light fur.
- According to the FCI, a few white hairs on the chest are permissible.
The Story of the Golden Retriever
During the 19th century, hunting in Western-oriented countries changed: firearms became more accurate and efficient, allowing ducks and other birds to be shot at long range. The domestic and rather water-shy retrievers were not suitable for this type of hunting. In order to create a retriever that can fetch shot game both from the water and on land, various Spanish water dogs, English retrievers, and working dogs from Newfoundland were crossed into Scotland, which is rich in lakes.
Direct ancestors of the Golden Retriever
- Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct, formerly widespread in Scotland)
- St. John’s water dog (now extinct, direct ancestor and the Newfoundland)
- Irish setter
- Russian Tracker (or Yellow Russian Retriever)
Historical Tasks of the Golden Retriever
- The dogs can sit very still and wait for hours.
- They become active on command and use their scents to capture their prey.
- They bring wounded game undamaged to the hunter (sometimes still alive).
The Essence of the Golden Retriever: Serenity Personified
Golden Retrievers are extremely easy-going and well-balanced dogs that hardly get excited by anything. They are adaptable and easy to please – so the friendly and kind facial expression fits the animals’ lovable nature perfectly. Because of their calm and friendly nature, they are popular as family dogs around the world. They can easily be socialized with children, dogs, or cats and quickly take new family members or school friends to heart
Made for the water
The dog breed was bred for hunting in rivers, bogs, and lake areas. They love the great outdoors, like rolling in muddy puddles, and are excellent swimmers. Cold and rainy weather can hardly harm them. So you can confidently take your adaptable Golden Retriever fishing or hiking with you. Expect your dog to need bathing more often than clean companion dogs that don’t hunt. However, most Golden Retrievers do not mind, many even enjoy the regular shower.
Training and Keeping Golden Retriever Puppies
The dogs are very adaptable, have low demands, and are driven by a strong will to please. Golden retrievers can therefore be used in a wide variety of work areas. However, they are not suitable as guard and protection dogs – they would rather sniff out a burglar rather than bark or growl to drive them away. The basic requirement for a relaxed life with your dog is good socialization during the first 12 weeks of life. In the imprinting and socialization phase, puppies should get to know as many everyday stimuli as possible and get used to their future living and working environment.