Golden retrievers belong to the top ten most popular breeds in the United States. They are so popular that you probably even know a golden retriever or two!
What is it with these dogs that make them a favorite of many? Below are some of the basic facts you need to know about golden retrievers.
Golden retrievers: a history
According to history, golden retrievers were first bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century, back when wildfowl hunting was very popular among the Scottish elites. Back then, the existing retriever breeds were inadequate for retrieving downed game from both land and water. The original breeder, Lord Tweedmouth, sought to breed the perfect hunting companion—one that is vigorous and powerful with a super nose, an even temper, and a high capability to be trained. Thus, the golden retriever was born.
Golden retrievers are large and solidly built. Male golden retrievers are usually 23 to 24 inches tall and weigh 65 to 75 pounds, whereas female golden retrievers are usually 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 65 pounds. Most of them reach their full height by age one and their mature weight by two. Their coat is dense and water-repellent. Their color could be blonde, yellow, or gold.
Spotting a golden retriever is easy. Their luxurious coat and tall physique make them stand out.
Temperament: a gentle giant
More than their dense, golden coat, golden retrievers are highly popular for their temperament. They are characterized as “kindly, friendly, and confident.” They are calm, intelligent, and keen to please. These characteristics make them great companions at home. Also, they are patient with children. However, due to their trusting and gentle disposition, they make poor guard dogs. Unprovoked aggression or hostility towards other people and animals is uncommon among golden retrievers.
Golden retrievers are highly trainable. Their intelligence and eagerness to please make them excel in obedience trials. They respond well to upbeat and positive training styles. Their trainability coupled with their calmness and sociability is the reason why they are often used as mobility assistance dogs, guide dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
Health and lifespan
Golden retrievers usually live for 11 to 12 years. They are generally healthy but are prone to specific health conditions. The common health problems of golden retrievers include hip dysplasia, cataracts, subvalvular aortic stenosis, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and obesity.
Owners are advised to take their golden retrievers to the vet for yearly checkups.
Care and feeding
Golden retrievers are energetic and love the outdoors. They are especially wonderful jogging or hike companions. They also love to play fetch (continuing their origin as “retrievers”). Golden retrievers love having something to carry in their mouths, such as a soft toy, a ball, or a sock.
Keep them active with 20 to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise twice daily to keep them mellow once inside the home. Lack of activity may lead to behavior problems.
As for golden retriever puppies, watch out for when they reach four to seven months. This period is usually the time for rapid growth, making them prone to bone disorders. Owners are advised to keep their puppies from playing on very hard surfaces such as pavements until they are two years old and when their joints are fully formed.
The recommended diet for golden retrievers is two to three cups of high-quality dry food, divided into two meals a day. However, it should be noted that their dietary requirements vary depending on their size and activity. Be sure to keep an eye on their diet as these dogs are prone to obesity. Follow a consistent feeding schedule and avoid leaving out food all the time.
Did you make a right choice by taking home a golden retriever? YES! No doubt about it. Golden retrievers are golden. Their personality makes them the perfect pets to take home. They are loyal, fun-loving, gentle, and intelligent. And if you have kids and other pets, there is no need to worry as these dogs are highly sociable. Although like any other dogs, golden retrievers require some care, they are worth keeping.
We are so excited for you and your new Golden. You are definitely going to have a blast together, for sure! Congratulations!