Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Group: Sporting Group

Origin: Great Britain


    – Males: 23 to 24 inches (58-61cm) at the withers
    – Females: 21½ to 22½ inches (55-57cm)


    – Males: 65 to 75 lbs
    – Females: 60 to 70 lbs

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Breed Profile

The Golden Retriever is eager, alert and self-confident with a kind expression and an outstanding character. He is extremely friendly, reliable, trustworthy and devoted. Any signs of aggression toward other dogs or people, nervousness or hostility are uncharacteristic of the breed. The Golden is NOT a guard dog but a “people dog”. He thrives on human companionship and must be allowed to interact with people. This is a dog who is completely devoted to his family, always happy and forever trusting and forgiving. Being a Sporting breed, he is active and energetic and, therefore, requires a fair amount of exercise including daily walks, running, and free play time.

As with many of the Retriever breeds, the Golden matures slowly, both physically and mentally. At one year of age, he will have reached his full height but will continue to gain weight for the next year or two. Mentally, the Golden will remain a puppy up to the age of two or three and many maintain their playful personality throughout their lives.

As a Sporting breed, the Golden is a wonderful hunting companion, tracking dog, and field trial competitor. His gentle nature and reliable temperament also make him an excellent candidate to work as a guide dog for the blind, assistance dog for the disabled, therapy dog, as well as working in search and rescue, avalanche rescue, drug detection, and others. He is also successful in the show ring, as an obedience competitor, in agility and, of course, he is a remarkable family companion.

The Golden’s coat, one of the distinct characteristics of the breed, is dense, water repellent and lies flat against the body either straight or wavy. He should have moderate feathering on the back of the forelegs with heavier feathering on the front of the neck, back of the thighs and underside of the tail. His colour is a lustrous golden of various shades.

A Word of Caution: In part due to the popularity of the breed, the Golden Retriever is, unfortunately, at risk of irresponsible breeders attempting to cash in. If you are considering the purchase of a Golden Retriever puppy, be especially selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see Things You Need To Know Before You Adopt a Golden Retriever Puppy as well as the articles on the General Information page.)


A Brief History of the Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever was developed in the late 1800’s in the Highlands of Scotland largely by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks (later known as Lord Tweedmouth) who had purchased a yellow, wavy-coated male Flat-Coated Retriever born amidst a litter of black pups. This dog was bred to a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed now extinct) in 1868 and 1871 which resulted in several yellow puppies that became the foundation for the distinctive line. In time, through outcrosses with the Flat-Coated Retriever, the Irish Setter and another Tweed Water Spaniel, the breed evolved into a hunting companion with excellent scenting abilities, used to retrieve wildfowl on land and in water. By 1911, the Kennel Club (U.K.) recognized the breed as the Yellow or Golden Retriever and, in 1920, the original “Yellow” was dropped and the breed became officially known as the Golden Retriever. The American Kennel Club first registered the Golden Retriever in 1925 and the Canadian Kennel Club soon followed when it recognized the breed in 1927.

Over the years, the Golden Retriever has become one of the most popular breeds. Based on Canadian Kennel Club and American Kennel Club registrations, the Golden Retriever is the third most registered breed in Canada and the U.S., behind the Labrador Retriever and the German Shepherd Dog.

For a more detailed look at the history of the Golden Retriever, see:


Health Issues

Golden Retrievers, as with other breeds, are susceptible to some health problems, some of a genetic nature, others viral. The Health Concerns document includes information on some of the known health related issues found in the breed.

If you are considering the adoption of a Golden Retriever puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. This should include, among others, hip x-rays to exclude hip dysplasia and eyes should be checked to see that they are normal and PRA clear. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Additional Health Resources:


Grooming Information

Golden Retrievers shed a little throughout the year with heavier shedding twice a year (Spring and Fall). Brushing should be done at least weekly and more so during the heavy shedding periods. In addition, the hair around the feet pads, the ears and tail should be trimmed monthly.


Training Resources

The Golden Retriever is intelligent and always eager to please so basic training is generally not difficult. However, he does require consistent discipline, should be handled carefully with a firm but gentle hand, and always using positive reinforcement methods.

  • Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

  • The Absolute Golden Retriever Guide — Discover The Secrets Of Adopting, Training And Raising A Healthy And Energetic Golden Retriever.
  • The Wonderful GoldenAs versatile as he is beautiful, the Golden Retriever is a dog of many talents. Not only is he a wonderful companion but he is depended on in so many ways… Read More
  • Things You Need To Know Before You Adopt a Golden Retriever Puppy
  • Is That A Labradoodle? — A must read article regarding “Doodles” and “Poos”. These are not “exotic new breeds”. This is being included in the Golden Retriever breed section because of what is known as the Goldendoodle — the cross of a Poodle and Golden Retriever. Again, this is not an exotic new breed.
  • Live, Love & Laugh with Golden Retrievers
    — Honoring our Golden Teachers, Healers, Heroes and Friends
    This site was created to recognize and celebrate the wonders of the Human-Golden Bond. All aspects of Golden living are explored and every service field and humanitarian effort that our Golden gems are responsible for, with respect to enhancing persons’ lives, is highlighted.
    Note: This is a beautiful site of over 1000 pages dedicated to the Golden Retriever — A must see!
  • Clubs, Sports & Activities — For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
  • Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.


From Service Dog to SURFice Dog

Watch surf dog Ricochet’s journey from Service Dog training to surfing with quadriplegic surfer, Patrick Ivison, to fundraising for charitable causes.

A heartwarming and inspirational video. (Click the play button to watch it here.)

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Spotlight: Meet the Golden Retriever

Breed Listing

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