The Golden Retriever is classified as a large dog breed. They possess a strong build and a dense double layered coat with water repelling properties. There are three main sub-types of the breed being the; British, American & Canadian variations. Although the main characteristics are common throughout the three sub-types, there are some minor differences between the three.
WHY WAS THE GOLDEN RETRIEVER CREATED?
This golden coated dog breed was originally used by hunters to retrieve WATERFOWL, i.e. shot birds that would have fallen into the water. The soft mouth made these dogs ideal to retrieve these birds without damaging them. This retrieving capability and the golden coat have earned them the iconic name of the golden retriever.
GOLDEN RETRIEVER CHARACTERISTICS
The golden retriever is one of America’s favorite dog breeds!! But what makes it so highly sought after? The golden retriever is an all rounder excelling at every aspect. This is what makes many choose this loyal companion.
COAT AND COLOR
As the name implies, the typical golden retriever coat ranges from light golden to dark golden shades. The coat is composed of a water resistant and slightly wavy topcoat and a soft undercoat that insulates against heat and cold. The topcoat sheds in small amounts all year round while the undercoat sheds during spring and autumn.
As goldens grow older the coat may change slightly. It may get slightly darker or lighter along with whitening of the muzzle fur. Puppies tend to be much lighter than adults while puppies with darker ear tips may develop slightly darker adult coats.
The breed's temperament is what makes it one of the most sought after. It is described as "kindly, friendly and confident" in the breed standard. The typical golden retriever is intelligent, calm and has an eagerness to please. A typical golden is active, fun and loving. Adults love to work and will focus on a given task. Golden Retrievers thrive on praise and positive reinforcement methods of training work best for this breed. Goldens are also typically very well mannered around other dogs and thrive in social settings like dog parks.
THEY LOVE WATER
This breed loves water, they will just dive in. Although you do find an occasional golden retriever who is not that fond of the water, the vast majority have an instinctive drive to just plunge in!
This love of water, coupled with their great stamina and capacity to learn, made the breed a perfect fit for water rescue scenarios.
The Golden retriever is a dog that is eager to please. He will do anything to make you happy. This is the one of the main characteristics that makes the breed so trainable. This training ability makes the breed a very popular choice for guide dogs, sniffer dogs and pet assisted therapy companions.
GOOD FAMILY DOGS
The golden retriever is the classical family dog. The breed obedience, playful character, intelligence and excellent behavior around children make them an ideal family dog. With their joyful character and their sometimes quirky personality, a golden retriever can just be what the family needs to be complete. The breed needs regular exercise in order to be happy and flourish.
THEY LOVE TO EAT!
Most goldens love to eat and subsequently gain weight if not exercised properly. Excessive weight gain is a problem for any dog breed but especially so for this breed in particular. Excessive weight puts more work on the hind legs thereby accelerating and worsening the complications of potential hip Dysplasia. So as a rule, never overfeed a dog, especially a golden!
PRONE TO HIP DYSPLASIA
Due to the large size, the golden retriever is prone to Hip Dysplasia. This condition results from the abnormal development of the hip ball socket. There are degrees of Hip Dysplasia ranging from mild to severe. In it severe form, hip Dysplasia can cause crippling of the dog's hind legs along with painful arthritis. Hip Dysplasia is a genetic trait but can be worsened by environmental factors. Those who wish to buy a golden retriever should always do so from reputable breeders. A reputable breeder will mate dogs responsibly and perform the necessary veterinary examinations of the parents and puppies. Hip Dysplasia can be avoided by keeping your golden active with running, walking and swimming. Dogs with strong leg muscle mass are less likely to develop Dysplasia. Try to discourage excessive jumping as the jarring on the hip joint can accelerate the onset of Dysplasia. Consult your vet about supplements that might also delay or prevent Hip Dysplasia in your Golden Retriever. For more information about Hip Dysplasia, check out our previous blog post about this condition.
The average lifespan for a golden is around 11 to 12 years. The breed is prone to certain breed specific diseases so it is advisable to set up regular veterinary checks.
GROOMING AND MAINTENANCE
Although the breed is quite robust, there still has to be a moderate amount of grooming. In general you do not need weekly visits to your groomer but an occasional good brush will be beneficial. However during shedding, frequent brushing is recommended. The fur inside the ears must be very frequently monitored and trimmed accordingly as it may retain humidity and create room for infection.
So in a nutshell, the Golden Retriever is an all around good breed. A family dog that does well with children and other dogs. Goldens are gentle dogs with great stamina that makes them thrive in active families. This makes it one of the most popular dog breeds in America. Golden Retrievers are prone to Hip Dysplasia and other diseases so ensure that you make annual visits to your vet, especially for senior dogs. Encourage physical activity and consult your vet for any recommended dietary supplements and ensure that your dog's weight is within guidelines. Golden Retrievers typically respond very well to social stimulation in a dog daycare environment. For more information about the Golden Retriever, check out the Wikipedia page about the breed.
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