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Other Names: Goldens
Dog Group Kennel Club: Sporting (AKC) Gundog (KC)
The Golden Retriever has a friendly and intelligent expression, and are very well suited as a family dog.
The Golden coat is dense and water-repellent with a good undercoat. The outer coat is firm and resilient and can be straight or wavy. The legs and tail are feathered with longer hairs. Colour is rich and lustrous in various shades of gold. Although the colour may shade to cream on some parts of the dog’s body, particularly with the lighter-coloured dogs.
Weight: 60 – 80 lbs
Average Life Span: 10 – 12 Years
Golden Retrievers are active, well mannered, loveable, friendly, reliable and trustworthy. Sweet and gentle towards children, and good with other animals the Golden excels as a family companion. They enjoy being part of family life and do not like to be left alone for long periods of time. The Golden is very aware of the moods of its owner, and responds with a sensitivity that is extraordinary. They do not make good guard dogs. Important to note is that goldens take a while to mature and settle down. Be prepared for puppy like behaviour for up to 5 years.
Golden retrievers are easy to train due to their intelligence and willingness to please. They do have sensitive natures so training must be gentle and positive but consistent. Early socialization and puppy classes are important for the Golden puppies who must learn to calm their natural friendliness to other dogs and their excitement for greeting people
Golden Retrievers shed a fair amount and should be groomed weekly with a firm bristle brush or comb. Their feathering must be trimmed occasionally. Ears should be checked and cleaned regularly. Bathe as needed.
Golden Retrievers are very active so need long daily walks and the opportunity to run freely. Owners must have time to commit to give the large amount of exercise this breed requires. Golden Retrievers love to swim and should be allowed to do so whenever possible. Care should be taken by owners to ensure safety in the water.
Golden Retriever Health Issues
Bloat (gastric torsion), though not a hereditary condition, frequently affects many breeds including the golden retriever. This is a very serious condition. When a dog bloats, the stomach can turn and block, causing a build up of gas. Unless treated quickly, bloat can be fatal. Signs of bloat include futile attempts to vomit and to salivate. Bloat, which may lead to cardiovascular collapse, usually occurs when exercise too closely follows eating. The incidence of bloat may be lessened by feeding adult dogs twice a day and, of course, by allowing a dog time to digest before taking him for a run in the park.
Hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint resulting in a poor fit between the head of the femur bone and the hip socket. This condition can be alleviated by surgery, at some cost to dog and owner. Because dysplastic dogs often produce dysplastic puppies, buyers should ask if both the sire and the dam of the puppy in which they are interested have been rated clear of hip dysplasia. Do not take yes for an answer without seeing a certificate, and ask for a copy to take to your veterinarian.
Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD) – is an autosomally (not sex-linked) inherited bleeding disorder with a prolonged bleeding time (somewhat similar to haemophilia in humans) and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. A DNA test for vWD is now available. Carrier-to-carrier breedings, in theory, will produce puppies that are 25% clear, 50% carriers, and 25% affected. Ideally, only clear-to-clear or clear-to-carrier should occur, so that no puppies will be affected. Not all dogs that are vWD affected will have severe bleeding problems, but they ARE at risk whenever they need to have surgery or have an accident. Some unlucky affected dogs will actually bleed out from a needle stick or minor wound.
Cataracts:As with humans, dogs can get cataracts, but the presence of cataracts in young dogs, called juvenile cataracts, have a hereditary foundation. Cataracts are diagnosed by means of an ophthalmoscopic exam. If the dog is in good health, cataracts can be surgically removed with usually good results.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): is a family of diseases all involving the gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed by a retinoscopic exam or by means of an electroretinogram (ERG). Early in the disease, affected dogs become nightblind and lack the ability to see in dim light; later on daytime vision also fails. As their vision deteriorates, affected dogs adapt to their handicap very well, as long as their environment remains constant. Certain breeds are affected early in life, whereas in other breeds, PRA develops much later in onset.
Allergies: in dogs usually involves the skin but can also involve the ears, nose and other parts of the body too. Allergies are common in the Golden retriever. The reasons can be many and it is difficult to pinpoint the underlying causes. Often it is a question of a reaction to some food or additive to the food formulation. Flea bites are a major problem with many dogs. When confronted with skin allergies, first, check for flea bites. Dogs are very sensitive to them and often mutilate their bodies by chewing the area, trying to get some relief. The best allergy test is intradermal skin testing, which is usually done by a veterinary dermatologist. It is possible to test for inhalant allergies using blood testing, but this is not yet considered to be as accurate as skin testing.
Golden Retriever History
Golden Retrievers were “developed” in Britain during the 1800’s. Believed to be included in the formation of the Golden Retriever breed are the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, the Newfoundland, the Irish Setter and avariety of water spaniels.The need for a hunting dog that worked equally well in woods, marsh, or river bends and with a keen nose to locate the birds was in demanded in the late 1800s The need for this type of retriever was a concern to Sir Dudley Majoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth at Inverness, in Scotland. Lord Tweedmouth takes credit for the development of the Golden Retriever with his vision for a pure yellow retriever dog. The Lord purchased a yellow coloured puppy, whose litter mates all possessed black wavy coats, from a Brighton cobbler in 1865. This yellow colored puppy was named Nous, and was later bred to a Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle. Lord Tweedmouth kept one female from this breeding, and gave away the rest. For twenty years he would line breed any yellow pups produced by this one female, named Cowslip, and her litter mates, and any yellow pups produced by subsequent offspring. In the early 1900s this yellow dog had become quite popular in Great Britain and was known as the Golden Retriever
Early golden retrievers ranged from medium gold to dark gold to a “copper” gold. As the golden retriever developed and became more popular in the show ring, the lighter colours, seen in today’s Golden Retrievers, emerged. Today Golden Retrievers range from cream to dark gold with the lighter colours seemingly more preferred by many than the darker colours of the original Golden Retrievers.