Golden Retriever breed – Facts and traits

With their kind expression and cheerful demeanour, it’s no surprise that the Golden Retriever makes it into the list of top 10 most popular breeds in South Africa. They are lively, trustworthy and demonstrative, and therefore quite forgiving of mistakes made by an inexperienced owner.
Many Goldies retain the silly, playful personality of “puppiness” into their old age (making them slow to mature), while with others this tends to phase out between the ages of 3 to 4 years.
Prepare yourself for muddy paw prints and towels in the laundry, because Goldies adore water and cannot resist playing in a mud puddle or swimming pool!

The beautiful Retriever was originally bred in the 19th Century by Lord Tweedmouth, who bought a yellow retriever puppy and called him “Nous”. In 1868, Nous mated with a water spaniel called “Belle” and had three beautiful small yellow pups, starting a new era of the amazing Golden Retriever that we know and love today. Lord Tweedmouth kept a stud book with all the recorded matings, the original of which can still be viewed in England today. The breed was initially named the “Golden Flat-Coat” and only later were they given the name Golden Retriever.

Goldens exude great charisma and enjoy pleasing their owner, which makes them easy to train and obedience training a very rewarding experience. Goldens often excel in competitions too. They are highly intelligent, affectionate, well-mannered dogs. Originally bred to retrieve game during hunting season (known as gun dogs), today the Golden Retriever excel in many areas such as agility, obedience, guide and assistant dogs. Self-assured, devoted and gentle with children, it’s no surprise they are such a popular family dog. Since Goldies are highly energetic, they will need a lot of space for play and exercise, which is why they do not do well in apartments. Be aware that they may become destructive and over-exuberant if they lack their daily mental and physical exercise.

Goldens are friendly towards everyone (including other dogs) and do not make good watchdogs, although they will bark loudly when a stranger approach. Leadership will need to be enforced for this breed to remain happy in his/her home. They need firm but gentle training.

The Golden Retriever is a beautifully solid, medium sized dog. They have a black or brownish black nose and the skull is wide with engaging dark brown eyes. The teeth meet in a scissors bite and the snout is straight with a well-defined stop. The ears hang down close to the cheeks. The tail is thick at the base, with feathering along the underside. The coat is dense with a firm, straight or wavy outer coat and is water-resistant. The colour of their coat varies from creamy rich to golden. Golden retrievers have a double coat that will shed from time to time, therefore they will need regular grooming.

Golden Retrievers are very active dogs and will require 40-60 minutes of regular (daily), hard exercise. Since they thrive on obedience training, agility classes and other canine activities, this is a great way to fulfil their physical and mental exercise requirements. They also enjoy retrieving balls and other toys. Goldies can have the tendency to chew on objects, but this can be kept under control by providing them with a box filled with toys. They can carry things around in their mouths, keeping them entertained. Goldens love to eat, but will quickly become overweight if you overfeed them. Manage their weight by limiting treats, measuring their daily meals correctly and feeding them regular and timed meals. Avoid leaving food out that they have access to all the time.

BreedGolden Retriever
CountryGreat Britain
Average Adult heightMales 56 – 61 cm, Females 51 – 56 cm
Average Adult weightMale 25 – 45 kg, Females 25 – 35 kg
Life Expectancy10 – 12 Years
Exercise requirements40 – 60 minutes of hard exercise, daily
Similar BreedsLabrador Retriever
Rescues in South Africa

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