The Golden Retriever: appearance, nature, care, diseases, price

The Golden Retriever is a cheerful, friendly, and people-loving dog. Anyone who turns its attention, in the choice of the first dog, in a conscious way or by chance, to a breed like the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, will never regret this decision and all the recommendations regarding the risks associated with the choice of a “wrong” breed or rather not suited to the owner’s personality and lifestyle, are of no particular importance because the balance and the “Breed” characteristics, that is, “typical”, of the Golden and Labrador are truly so extraordinary that it is very unlikely that an unsuitable or unsatisfied owner will be found.

Both the Golden and the Labrador are two breeds that transmit joy and energy while respecting a balanced behaviour, rich in emotional variants and with a marked intelligence and desire to interact with their human companion.

They have such a desire to interact with the human being and with an environment rich in stimuli that, perhaps, their wonderful attitude, in some cases, could also become their fragility compared to sterile environments and uninteresting tasks such as guarding warehouses or other types of isolated environments.

The Golden, like the Labrador, want to actively interact with their human Partner and be an integral part of its life and be part of its daily “routine”, they are dogs suitable for families, perhaps even with children, and who live in a context urban full of activities that can be done together.

Maybe they can also become excellent “alarm bells” but quite rarely they are also deterrents for their capacity for offense and aggressive expression.

This does not mean that they are dogs without their own personality, on the contrary, they have a lot of personality to sell but to this must be added qualities such as docility, intelligence, flexibility and adaptability, a great extrovert temperament, with an immense desire. to play and with a right temper, neither too hard to make them too stubborn and dull, nor too fragile to be always on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

The Golden Retriever has a natural predisposition to social work, such as rescue (especially nautical), but also pet therapy, particularly for the sick, the blind and the disabled.

The Origin of Golden Retriever

The origins of the Golden Retriever date back to the second half of the last century in Great Britain, where Lord Tweedmouth, a noble belonging to an ancient Scottish family, began to select the breed.

At that time, with the advent of repeating weapons, hunters needed a dog that did not invade the hunting field, but had the ability to memorize the position of the downed prey and subsequently return them.

The dogs used until then, mostly ancestors of the current setters, brought back only one garment at a time, for that reason, starting from the first half of the 19th century, the first Retrievers were selected.

Lord Tweedmouth began selecting dogs with good retrieval skills, trying to stare at the yellow coat. Fortunately for us, Lord Tweedmouth was a very precise person and throughout its life it wrote very detailed notes on the mating it made. Thanks to these writings it is possible to trace the origin of the Golden Retriever.

In 1868 Lord Tweedmouth crossed Nous, a yellow wavy Retriever, with Belle a Tweed Water Spaniel. From this mating four yellow puppies were born, which united on one side the golden coat of the slightly wavy father, and on the other the characteristics of the mother’s water dog. It is believed they gave rise to the Golden Retriever breed.

In the following years Lord Tweedmouth continued the selection of this line and subsequently introduced cross breeding with two black Retrievers, an Irish Setter and a Bloodhound. Lord Tweedmouth later gave some of its puppies to friends, and the popularity of this new breed slowly began to progress.

If today we are certain of the origins of the Golden Retriever, it is also due to the tenacity of Elma Stonex, of the famous affix “Dorcas Kennel”, who for ten years devoted time and energy to researching the origins of the Golden Retriever (previously a legend was circulating that this breed was descended from Russian circus dogs).

Back in 1913, the breed obtained its own Origins Book in the English Kennel Club with the name of “Golden or Yellow Retriever” and then, in 1920, it adopted the current name of “Golden Retriever”, the year in which the first draft of the standard by the Golden Retriever Club.

In 1960 the Golden Retriever was recognized as a new breed.

Golden Retriever: Character

The Golden Retriever is a cheerful, intelligent, lively, tender and sweet, polite and playful dog. Prized for its loyalty and faithfulness, it is suitable for both the guard and the company.

He loves people and caresses, and does not move one step away from anyone who bestows them on them; it is obedient and balanced, affectionate without being too intrusive, easily educated and adaptable to city life even in the apartment (in this case, however, be careful not to let them miss moments of outdoor activity, to allow them to give free rein to its energy).

  • Energy: medium / high level. You need to do things to feel useful, go for long walks every day, and run outside every now and then.
  • Temperament: intelligent, with an innate ability for work, is affectionate, kind, dedicated and loyal. It is very docile, friendly and trusting. It is caring and confident.
  • Adaptability: high. It adapts to any type of residence, whether in the country or in the city, as long as it has continuous contact with its family.
  • Sociability: high. Devoted to its family, it gets along very well with children and the elderly. It is not suspicious of strangers.
  • Health: good. There is a case of hip dysplasia or eye problems.
  • Longevity: medium. Live between 10 and 12 years. You can see our article how long a dog lives .
  • Utility: versatile. Traditionally hunting dog, today it is dedicated more to company and utility, therapy dog, guide, detection of people or substances. It also serves for obedience and agility .
  • Movement: it is powerful, with a lot of thrust, long and free stride, without a tendency to lift the front legs. The limbs move in planes parallel to the axis of the body.

How do you relate to children?

The Golden Retriever is the quintessential dog for children. Thanks to its affectionate and protective character, it is the ideal companion for the little ones in the house.

She loves to spend as much time with children as possible, enjoying their company and sharing games and “adventures”. And it will always provide them protection in case of a strange situation.

Although it is convenient to educate the little ones that sometimes they must respect the animal’s space and that they must respect it at all times, as a living being that it is.

Ideal for children and the elderly, it is sweet and delicate, and it always treats them with exquisite care, but, despite this, it is not advisable to let a young specimen be walked by a child or an old man, since its fieriness and The desire to play, coupled with its great strength and drive, can lead to some unfortunate accident.

Can you live in a flat or apartment in the city?

It is a dog that adapts to all types of housing and population. As long as it has the daily possibility to walk, run around and play outside, it has no problem living in an apartment, flat or house (with or without a garden).

In the same way you can live in a country house or in the big city. But remember that it is a very sociable dog, so it will appreciate that every day it can see or be with more people or dogs to interact with.

Can you be left alone for a long time?

It is a well-behaved pet that has been used since childhood and can tolerate spending several hours a day alone. Although naturally, it is not the ideal situation for the animal.

Every owner of a golden should know that one of the most pressing needs of the breed, and that it must always try to satisfy, is that the dog wants to be in contact with its family the longer the better.

Otherwise, they can easily suffer from separation anxiety disorders, with the consequent development of behaviours that are abnormal for the breed, ranging from refusing to eat to adopting a fearful or aggressive attitude.

In addition, it likes to know that it is an important part of the family, integrate into their day-to-day life and feel that it has something to do. A bored specimen is always looking for some activity to kill time on its own, and it can become a ravaging animal or an expert garden tunnel digger.

How does it behave with other dogs?

Its sociable nature not only manifests itself with people, but it also coexists very well with other dogs regardless of the breed. It never looks for the confrontation or the fight.

They are not usually authoritarian or very territorial. Of course, although it has a lot of patience, it knows how to defend themselves when this is overcome. But always in the form of a warning. It is very rare for a Golden to initiate a canine trifurcate for no reason.

How does it act with other pets?

Regarding the relationship with other animals or pets that we may have at home, such as cats, rabbits, birds, etc., it tolerates their presence very well and gets to interact and even play with them.

But yes, save exceptional cases, only if you get used to it since childhood, since otherwise you can try to hunt them by instinct, with the consequent disgust.

How do you react to strangers?

The golden collector has no guardian instinct. It may bark when it senses that a stranger is approaching the house, but whoever looks for a guard dog in it is completely wrong.

Once inside the house, any stranger is its friend, and although it is not as open and devoted to strangers as with its family members, it does not feel any suspicion towards them and even at first it may even pay more attention to them than the rest.

And it never bites, except in response to a previous aggression or if the dog in question is not emotionally balanced.

What behaviour problems can it have?

The golden retriever does not usually have significant behaviour problems. And you may wonder, why is the Golden Retriever such a good pet?

The answer is in its origins. As it was originally a hunting dog, selected with the purpose of collecting the pieces that the hunter killed, especially the recovery of waterfowl, it was necessary to select specimens of balanced character.

In fact, it has to do the dirty work of hunting, without the show off of a setter or a pointer, so it does not need the courage or the spectacularity of the action of a catching dog.

Rather, you need to be calm and quiet to endure long hours of waiting with your driver, know how to react to shots and work without barking so as not to scare off the game.

On the other hand, you must have a good memory to remember where each of the pieces fell and thus be able to recover them in the shortest possible time once you are given the order to act. This quality or ability to mentally mark where each bird falls down is called marking.

In a sport such as hunting, in which the number of pieces collected as well as their state and presentation matters, the golden is required to have a sweet, soft mouth, capable of transporting both a grouse, a wild goose or a pheasant, without need to clench its jaws so as not to cause unnecessary damage to the part.

And it must be resistant, strong, agile, quite fast and be endowed with a coat that protects it from inclement weather and the cold waters of the lakes of Scotland or the north of England.

Despite the fact that all these characteristics, achieved thanks to years of work and selection, have made the golden an excellent hunting assistant, today this dog is almost more appreciated as a family and companion dog .

Golden Retriever characteristics

The first standard for this breed was written in 1913, but as breeds evolve and change over time, modifications have been made to reach the current pattern.

In this sense, the modern golden retriever has more bone and substance than its ancestors, and is a symmetrical and balanced dog, strong, alert, confident and accommodating.

Let’s see in detail its physical characteristics and the breed standard :

Physical characteristics of the Golden Retriever

In the body structure of the Golden Retriever, it  stands out that it is a dog with a figure that denotes harmony, since all its parts are in good proportion to each other.

The skeleton, strong and robust, is covered by good musculature. Well balanced anatomy, it has a short, strong and muscular back. The upper back is horizontal and the ribs are deep and well sprung on the chest.

As it is a young breed of dog, created relatively a few years ago, what has been sought in it is, above all, that it be a balanced animal, and that is given precisely by its body structure.

Being a dog destined for long working hours, its structure pursues the greatest functionality and the greatest economy of effort. Its main function is to collect the knocked down pieces and take them to the hunter, therefore, to do it with the least effort.

It has a goodstrong and long neck, which is inserted into the shoulders in such a way that it allows them to lower its head without touching its shoulder blades and, of course, without having to bend its arms, which would increase the effort.

Also, the front angles are good so you can cover enough ground when traveling and keep a steady pace.

When the canine moves with the loaded piece, the economy of effort causes the excess weight to be distributed throughout the body, so as not to cause injuries or premature fatigue, so the rear angles are good but not exaggerated, and the rear limbs they are strong.

This allows the dog to have enough thrust at all times and makes it, together with a good level back, to better support the work in the hardest moments.

Its rectangular body structure is also given by its ability to resist work, it contributes, among other things, to its better performance in the water, since it is thus easier for it to maintain a hydrodynamic posture.

As a working dog, even if it is not used for its original purposes, it must always be kept in good physical condition.

Golden Retriever breed standard

  • General appearance: with a harmonious and proportionate structure, it is active, powerful and with collected movements. It is well built and its expression is kind.
  • Size: large.
  • Height at the withers: between 56 and 61 cm for males and between 51-56 cm for females.
  • Weight: between 26 and 32 kg for males and between 25 and 27 kg for females.
  • Body: it is a dog with a clearly rectangular body structure , since its length exceeds the height at the withers.
  • Head: proportionate and well shaped, strong without being heavy. The skull is broad, without being coarse, and is well attached to the neck.
  • Muzzle: powerful, wide and deep, with a length similar to that between the stop and the occipital bone.
  • Nose: it is usually black in color although it is not unusual for it to discolor.
  • Eyes: medium in size, well separated from each other and dark brown in color, with the edge of the eyelids also dark pigmented.
  • Ears: medium in size, set approximately at the level of the eye line, hanging over the cheeks and well covered with hair.
  • Nose-frontal depression (stop): it is well defined.
  • Jaws: they are strong and with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite.
  • Neck: it is muscular, without dewlap and quite long.
  • Forelimbs: erect, they are endowed with good bones. Their shoulders are oblique and they have long shoulder blades. Their forearms and arms are long and fit well under the body.
  • Hind limbs: they are strong and muscular. The legs are long and the knees , the joint between the femur, the patella and the tibia is very well angulated. The hocks are set quite low and are parallel to each other.
  • Feet: the feet of the golden retriever are round, the so-called “cat’s feet”, and they have strong, muscular legs with good bones.
  • Tail: implanted and carried to the level of the back, reaches the hock; It is shaped like a saber. This dog does not usually carry it curled up. It is well covered with long fringed hair.
  • Color: the coat of the golden retriever can be presented in any shade of gold or cream, without reaching red or mahogany. Some specimens have white hairs on the windowsill.
  • Hair: the coat is double-layered, the undercoat is dense, dense and very waterproof, and the outer coat is smooth or wavy, semi-long, with good fringes on the legs, tail and chest, and of any gold or cream color. .

Golden Retriever Puppies

If you are reading this informative review on this breed of dog, it may be because you are considering adopting or purchasing a golden retriever puppy .

If this is the case, we think that first you should know and take into account a series of aspects so that you can know if this is the right pet for you, for your family and vice versa. For instance:

The education of the golden should be started already in the first weeks of the puppy’s life. At this time, known as imprinting, all the behavioural patterns and habits acquired by the dog remain permanently “imprinted” on them and it will hardly ever forget them.

You must be aware that it is an animal that needs to take walks and exercise, and especially to play a lot when they are puppies. You must be sure of being able to offer your future pet all this to avoid unwanted behaviors.

A dog that lives in a city and cannot easily access the free air or open spaces, will appreciate that its master points them out in sports activities such as obedience or agility, in which it excels.

From the first days, under the authorization of the veterinarian, it must be accustomed to living situations in which it has contact with other people, other dogs or animals and gets used to street noises. This way it will not be a fearful or introverted adult dog.

Adoption of a Golden retriever

If you decide to adopt a Golden Retriever you can do it in a shelter or animal shelter. Usually, these centres host animals that have been abandoned and are eager for a new one to adopt and care for them.

They are usually very grateful dogs and they are very friendly and affectionate pets with the whole family. In short, a faithful friend for life.


If you decide to buy a golden retriever puppy, it is appropriate that you do it in a golden retriever breeder specialized in this breed and that offers all the sanitary and legal guarantees.

We advise you to visit it, talk to the owner of the kennel and ask all the questions you have, and request that they show you the documentation of the puppy. Similarly, it is the right place to buy a pedigree golden, if you so desire.

Golden Retriever education and training

Regarding the education of the Golden retriever, to say that it is an easy and adaptable breed, it can be perfect for the most novice owners, but they must know how to channel all their talents responsibly, without abusing the animal, since the golden always gives up the position of superiority to the humans around them.

On the other hand, Golden retriever training is easy, just start from the first day, taking advantage of the most normal routines (hygiene, walk, meals, sleep) to gradually introduce rudimentary obedience exercises that later make it very easy to tackle bigger commitments.

Apart from that, the cases in which rebellious attitudes or unsociable behaviors develop are exceptional. These are due to the fact that, despite its sweet and helpful character, it can be a bit stubborn and if it is always allowed to get away with it, it comes to think that it is the one who makes the decisions in the house.

This breed is very well adapted to modern life and can live perfectly in an apartment, a townhouse or a country house. It is, of course, a sporting, hunting breed, which implies that it has high exercise needs that must be met on a daily basis.

Long walks are the basis of its work but it is also good to give them the opportunity, from time to time, to run freely through open and safe spaces: mountains, fields, limited areas of some parks, and even the beach or the river. , where it also enjoys a lot.

And if you want to exercise your muscles and fitness to a higher level, you can train them to participate in agility or even obedience competitions, in which it stands out thanks to its intelligence and its desire to always please its master.

In fact, a golden retriever can be dedicated to almost anything , as its talent for work is excellent: it can hunt, track, collect, run, jump and swim, so it is easy to find an activity that meets its physical needs and, incidentally, that it balances its temperament, turning it into an extraordinary animal.

What are Golden Retrievers used for?

The Golden Retriever is a pointing dog, retriever, is a swamp hunter and is also prized as a companion dog. It is used in civil protection, for rescue during avalanches, building collapses and, thanks to its natural predisposition for water, especially in nautical rescues.

It is also an excellent guide dog for the blind and the elderly and has a suitable disposition to help people in difficulty and is in fact widely used in pet therapy.

Golden Retriever Diet

The Golden Retriever has a critical growth period ranging from 2 to 4-5 months of age . During these months the puppy doubles its weight and reaches half the weight it will have as an adult. An excessively energetic diet  can further accelerate growth causing damage especially to the still weak bone and joint structures, favoring the so-called orthopedic diseases of development (DOD). Excess calcium and phosphorus also alters ossification processes by damaging the growth plates and joints. It is therefore necessary to be very careful with mineral supplements which must absolutely not be used if a complete feed is used.

It is therefore of fundamental importance to try to obtain a regular , harmonious and smooth growth .

The rule of thumb is to choose an appropriate puppy food . 
But what should we look at when choosing kibble?

First of all, the energy content  which must not exceed 380 kcal per 100 grams. The proteins must be of animal origin, so make sure they are specified (lamb, beef, fish, egg, etc …), and should preferably not be below 25%. As far as fats are concerned, it is better not to exceed values ​​of 12-14%; the important thing is to make sure that essential fatty acids  (Omega 3 and Omega 6), essential for growth, are present. The feed must be very digestible and therefore the fiber must not exceed 2.5-3%.Then we must check that the content in calcium and phosphorus is correct: calcium should be around 1-1.2% while phosphorus should be around 0.8-1%.

As an adult, it eats about half a kilo of food a day divided into two rations.

Note: Be careful when you get a Golden Retriever puppy, because the breed can suffer from hip dysplasia : so go to serious and competent breeders.

Golden Retriever health and diseases

If we talk about the health of the Golden Retriever, we must emphasize that it is a fairly healthy dog, with a life expectancy above average. You can live peacefully for 10 to 12 years.

However, as it is very popular, its extensive and often uncontrolled breeding has led to the appearance of some pathologies or diseases that have become widespread in the breed, such as hip dysplasia and certain eye conditions.

These and other diseases can be prevented, and for this the first step is to acquire the puppy from a serious, responsible breeder who takes great care in choosing its players, using only those who are free from the most common diseases.

Apart from these precautions, it is enough to visit the veterinarian to complete the routine check- ups and vaccinations that are the basis for good protection and long-lasting health, since the first vaccines, while still a puppy, help to build a strong immune system, essential to be able to face any possible illness.

The veterinarian must also monitor the dog’s weight, since it is a very gluttonous breed and has a tendency to gain weight , as well as the condition and cleanliness of the most sensitive areas: eyes, ears and mouth.

Likewise, it is interesting to follow an internal and external deworming program adapted to the conditions of the place of residence. In principle, these routine visits for periodic medical control are enough.

But you always have to go to the vet when you detect a sudden change in the way the dog is or acts:

  • Excessive inactivity.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Agitation.
  • Signs of pain.
  • Temperature rise

Prevention and prompt action are essential for the good health of the Golden Retriever.

Specific care of the Golden Retriever breed

The most important thing that an owner should know regarding the care of the Golden retriever, is that the coat of this breed and taking care of the undercoat is essential.

Since it allows the dog to withstand the most extreme temperatures, both cold and warm, and to be able to dive into very cold waters without any problem. And another fundamental aspect of the breed is the presence of good fringes, especially on the tail.

How to brush a Golden Retriever

The first step in the grooming of the golden is a good brushing, which, routinely, should be done at least once a week, although the frequency of shedding must be increased.

As it has a double coat, the undercoat is first worked separately with a rake or a king coat type tool to help eliminate dead hair and avoid the appearance of knots, and then the covering coat is approached with a metal bristle brush to the body and neck.

Finally, the fringes, legs, hands, feet, head, face and ears are brushed with a soft card, and the fringes of the tail are brushed with a metal comb. Brushing should always be done before bathing.

How to bathe the Golden Retriever

You must use a suitable shampoo, which gives shine and body but does not affect the natural texture of the coat. It spreads well on wet hair and is left on for a few minutes before rinsing.

You can use a conditioner afterwards. Once bathed, the dog is properly dried; either in the sun, or with a dryer or air ejector, but always with the precaution of brushing the hair every little bit to prevent it from curling or forming knots.

Foot, leg and chest arrangement

With the golden already clean and dry, proceed to the proper arrangement First the nails are cut and the feet are groomed by cutting the hair that grows between the pads with small scissors to facilitate a compact appearance.

With the same scissors, the excess hair is trimmed from the toes to shape the foot and accentuate its rounded appearance. Then, with a card and a comb, the fringes of the front legs are combed and levelled with scissors to give a more compact and regular appearance to the legs seen in profile.

The hind legs proceed in the same way, trimming the excess hair from the hocks to the foot. Next, in the most labor-intensive part of the grooming, the chest area is cleaned and flushed, where the golden tends to develop a large tuft of hair (in some places, such as the United States, that hair is not trimmed).

Dead hair is first removed with a rake and then, working from the bottom up with thinning scissors (double serrated), it is trimmed from the inside to trim excess hair.

Finally, the result is equalized using scissors to sculpt (simple serrated) and even a blade and a trimming stone , but never a hair clipper, since the idea is that the result is as natural as possible.

Head, body and tail arrangement

On the head, the excess hair is discharged from the ears with thinning scissors and, with smooth ones, the fringes are shaped. Mustaches and eyebrows can also be trimmed for a cleaner appearance.

Then, for the body, the dead undercoat is removed with a rake, thus reducing the undulations of the superficial hair, and if necessary it is lowered with the scissors to thin out some areas, such as the shoulders, and with the scissors to equalize the fringes from under the body.

To finish, the hair on the tail is combed and stretched well using a card and a metal comb, and, with scissors, the fringes are trimmed to give the tail a saber-like appearance. With smooth scissors, a final touch-up is given and the golden is ready. All this according to the arrangement indicated by the breed standard .

What is the price of Golden Retriever

The price of the Golden Retriever varies between $1000 and $2000.

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