This week in our series on Getting to Know Your Dog Breed we are featuring the Golden Retriever. The Golden is one of our most popular breeds, ranking #3 in the AKC list of Top Dogs.
Life expectancy: Life expectancy for a Golden is 10-12 years.
Size: Goldens are a medium to large dog ranging from 21-22.5” tall, with females weighing in around 55-65 lbs. and males between 65-75 lbs.
Color: It tells you right there in their name – “golden”, but there are a thousand variations and different shades of golden from an almost white to deep fox red.
Origins: The Golden Retriever finds it origins in the highlands of Scotland, developed by a Lord Tweedmouth. Tweedmouth, like many noblemen was a hunter and wanted to develop a reliable waterfowl retriever who would pay more attention to his owner and his job than the other dogs in the field.
He certainly succeeded and Goldens are very dedicated to their family and to the task at hand. They can be found not only as good hunting companions, but are also relied on for search and rescue, animal-assisted therapy, arson detection, drug detection and assistance work for people with disabilities.
Personality: Goldens are known for their sweet and loving temperament. They love people and are drawn to both family and strangers alike. Their friendly enthusiasm can be a bit overwhelming and they require sound training to develop good manners. Their energy, eagerness to please and intelligence make them well suited to learning and performing almost any task.
They are great with children and make wonderful family pets.
Health Issues: Due to their popularity, Goldens have been susceptible to over-breeding. This has lead to some genetic health issues in the breed. One of the most common is various forms of cancer. The cancer rate in Goldens is so high that the Morris Animal Foundation and the Golden Retriever Foundation have teamed up to do a major cancer study that will focus on Goldens. If you are buying a Golden puppy, be sure to question the breeder on the genetic make-up of the pup’s parents.
Being a larger, active dog, Goldens are also susceptible to elbow or hip dysplasia. They can also develop certain heart diseases, including subvalvular aortic stenosis, a narrowing of the aorta that carries blood away from the heart.
Their double coat sheds at least twice a year and requires a fairly high level of grooming care.
Fitness/energy level: Goldens are in the Sporting Dog category of the AKC and are fit, energetic and active dogs that require a fair amount of exercise and mental stimulation. Several 20-30 minutes session of exercise are essential to keep them in tip-top shape physical and mentally. Being retrievers, they love to play fetch and can often be found carrying their stuffed toys or a tennis ball around with them constantly.
Native foods for the Golden Retriever: Deer
Good foods to feed your Golden Retriever:
Grandma Lucy's, Goat
Halo, Hearty Surf N' Turf
Holistic Select, Adult & Puppy Health Salmon and Anchovy & Sardine Meal
Fun facts about the Golden Retriever:
Goldens are said to be the 4th smartest dog breed (in line behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds).
President Ford and President Reagan both had Golden Retriever pets while in office. Ford’s Golden was named Liberty and Reagan’s, Victory.
A Golden holds the distinguished title for the most regulation sized tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog at one time. That number is FIVE tennis balls and the title is held by Augie, a golden retriever owned by the Miller family in Dallas, Texas.