Golden Retriever

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For other uses, see Golden Retriever (disambiguation).

Standing Dog

The Golden Retriever is a large-sized gun dog that retrieve shot waterfowl, such as ducks and upland game birds, during hunting and shooting parties.[3] They were named 'retriever' because of their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged due to their soft mouth. Golden retrievers have an instinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards. They are a long-coated breed, with a dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors, and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water. Golden retrievers are well suited to residency in suburban or country environments.[4] They shed copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and require fairly regular grooming. The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century

The breed is a prominent participant in conformation shows for purebred dogs. The Golden Retriever is popular as a disability assistance dog, such as being a guide dog for the blind and a hearing dog for the deaf. In addition, they are trained to be a hunting dog, a detection dog, and a search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its temperament has also made it the third-most popular family dog breed (by registration) in the United States,[6] the fifth-most popular in Brazil[7] and Australia,[8] and the eighth-most popular in the United Kingdom.[9] Golden Retrievers are rarely choosy eaters, but require ample (two or more hours a day) exercise.[10] The breed is fond of play but also highly trainable.

Characteristics


The Golden Retriever is a medium-large, strongly built breed with a dense, water-repellant wavy coat.[11] As a dog with origins in pedigree breeding, and owing to its widespread historical popularity, some regional variations have emerged in the breed; therefore, the three subtypes of the Golden Retriever reflect the typical variations in dimensions and coat. However, all Golden Retrievers are blonde, yellow, or gold in colour, and all subtypes are susceptible to the same health problems.

Bones

Coat and Colour


As indicated by their name, their coats occur in light golden to dark golden colours. The topcoat is water-resistant and slightly wavy, and sheds in small amounts throughout the year. The undercoat is soft and keeps the retriever cool in summer and warm in winter; it sheds in the spring and fall.[19] It usually lies flat against the belly. The Golden's coat should never be too long, as this may prove to be a disservice to it in the field, especially when retrieving game.[20] Golden Retrievers have mild feathering on the backs of their fore legs and heavier feathering on the fronts of their necks, backs of their thighs and the bottoms of their tails.[4]

The American Kennel Club (AKC) standard states the coat is a "rich, lustrous golden of various shades", disallowing extremely light or extremely dark coats.[21] This leaves the outer ranges of coat colour up to a judge's discretion when competing in conformation shows. Therefore, "pure white" and "red" are unacceptable, as is black.[16] The Kennel Club (UK) also permits cream as an acceptable coat colour.[14] Judges may also disallow Goldens with pink noses, or those lacking pigment. The Golden's coat can also be mahogany, referred to as "redhead", although this is not accepted in the British show ring.[14] As a Golden grows older, its coat can become darker or lighter, along with a noticeable whitening of the fur on and around the muzzle. Puppy coats are usually much lighter than their adult coats, but a puppy with darker ear tips may indicate a darker adult colour.

Dog 1 Dog 2 Dog 3 Dog 4 Dog 5 Dog 6

Temperament


The temperament of the Golden Retriever is a hallmark of the breed, and is described in the standard as "kindly, friendly and confident".[14] Golden Retrievers make good family pets, particularly as they are patient with children.[4] They are not "one-man dogs" and are generally equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them.[23] Their trusting, gentle disposition makes them a poor guard dog.[24] Any form of unprovoked aggression or hostility towards either people, dogs or other animals, whether in the show ring or community, is considered unacceptable in a Golden Retriever and is not in keeping with the character of the breed, nor should a Golden Retriever be unduly timid or nervous.[17][23] The typical Golden Retriever is calm, naturally intelligent and biddable, and with an exceptional eagerness to please.

Golden Retrievers are also noted for their intelligence. The breed ranks fourth in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs – following the Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd – as one of the brightest dogs ranked by obedience-command trainability.

Typical Golden Retrievers are active and fun-loving animals with the exceptionally patient demeanour befitting a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Adult Goldens love to work, and have a keen ability to focus on a given task. They will work until they collapse, so care should be taken to avoid overworking them.

Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage are a size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for water. Golden Retrievers are exceptionally trainable—due to their intelligence, athleticism and desire to please their handlers—and excel in obedience trials. They are also very competitive in agility and other performance events. Harsh training methods are unnecessary, as Golden Retrievers often respond very well to positive and upbeat training styles.[25]

Golden Retrievers are compatible with other dogs, cats, and most livestock. They are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people, calmness, and willingness to learn. Because of this, they are commonly used as guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.

Swimming Golden

Health and Lifespan


The average lifespan for a Golden Retriever is about 11 to 12 years.[28][29][30] The breed is susceptible to specific ailments, so pets should be taken to a veterinarian for yearly checkups.

Golden Retrievers are known to have genetic disorders and other diseases. Hip dysplasia is common in the breed; when buying a puppy, the pedigree should be known and be examined by the OFA or by PennHIP for hip disease. Obesity is also common in the breed because Golden Retrievers love to eat. Puppies should eat about three cups of food a day and adults three to five cups, depending on the food and how active the dog is.[19]

Puppies Young Dog

Common Health Problems


The average lifespan for a Golden Retriever is about 11 to 12 years.[28][29][30] The breed is susceptible to specific ailments, so pets should be taken to a veterinarian for yearly checkups.

Golden Retrievers are known to have genetic disorders and other diseases. Hip dysplasia is common in the breed; when buying a puppy, the pedigree should be known and be examined by the OFA or by PennHIP for hip disease. Obesity is also common in the breed because Golden Retrievers love to eat. Puppies should eat about three cups of food a day and adults three to five cups, depending on the food and how active the dog is.[19]

Running Dog

Grooming


Golden Retrievers require regular grooming and occasional baths.[4] Their coats shed somewhat during the year, but are known to shed profusely twice a year. They also need to have their ears cleaned regularly, or ear infections might occur. While shedding is unavoidable, frequent grooming (daily to weekly) lessens the amount of hair shed by the animal. Severe shedding resulting in bald patches can be indicative of stress or sickness.

Groomed Golden

Activities


The Golden Retriever's eagerness to please has made it a consistent, top performer in the obedience and agility rings. Its excellent swimming ability makes it proficient at dock jumping. A natural retrieving ability means it is also competitive in flyball and field trials.[5]

The first three dogs ever to achieve the AKC Obedience Champion title were Golden Retrievers; the first of the three was a female named 'Ch. Moreland's Golden Tonka'.[35]

Since Golden Retrievers are so trainable, they are used for many important jobs, such as guide dogs for blind people, drug or bomb sniffing at airports, or helping to rescuing people from earthquakes and other natural disasters.[19] This breed is also used in water rescue/lifesaving, along with the Leonberger, Newfoundland and Labrador Retriever dogs.[36]

Dog Jumping

Origins and History


The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century.[3][5] At that time, wildfowl hunting was a popular sport for the wealthy Scottish elite, but the existing retriever breeds were inadequate for retrieving downed game from both water and land. Retrieving from both land and water was necessary because the hunting grounds of the time were pocketed with marshy ponds and rivers. Consequently, the best water spaniels were crossed with the existing retrievers, resulting in the establishment of the breed today known as the Golden Retriever.[37] The Golden Retriever was first developed near Glen Affric in Scotland, at "Guisachan", the highland estate of Dudley Marjoribanks, 1st Baron Tweedmouth.[38] The breed is thought to have originated from the now-extinct Russian tracker dog.[39][40]

Improvements in guns during the 1800s resulted in more fowl being downed during hunts at greater distances and over increasingly difficult terrain, leading to more birds being lost in the field. Because of this improvement in firearms, a need for a specialist retriever arose, as training setter and pointer breeds in retrievals was found to be ineffective. Thus, work began on the breeding of the dog to fill this much-needed role.[23]

The original cross was of a yellow-coloured retriever, 'Nous', with a Tweed Water Spaniel female dog, 'Belle'.[41] The Tweed Water Spaniel is now extinct, but was then common in the border country. Marjoribanks had purchased Nous in 1865 from an unregistered litter of otherwise black wavy-coated retriever pups. In 1868, this cross produced a litter that included four pups; these four became the basis of a breeding program which included the Irish Setter, the sandy-coloured Bloodhound, the St. John's water dog of Newfoundland, and two more wavy-coated black retrievers. The bloodline was also inbred and selected for trueness to Marjoribanks' idea of the ultimate hunting dog. His vision included a more vigorous and powerful dog than previous retrievers, one that would still be gentle and trainable. Russian sheepdogs are not mentioned in these records, nor are any other working dog breeds. The ancestry of the Golden Retriever is all sporting dogs, in line with Marjoribanks' goals. The Golden Retriever was active and powerful and had a gentle mouth for retrieving games while on hunts.[4][full citation needed]

Organisations other than clubs are dedicated to Golden Retrievers, such as breed-specific adoption sites. One such organisation is the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland, which in August 2013 assembled 222 Golden Retrievers at the historical home of the first Golden Retrievers.[42]

Dog Playing With Tennis Ball

References


  1. http://cdn.akc.org/GoldenRetriever.pdf
  2. http://www.fci.be/Nomenclature/Standards/111g08-en.pdf
  3. "Sporting Breeds: Golden Retriever"