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Golden Retriever breed Info

The Golden Retriever is a relatively modern and very popular breed of dog. It was developed as a retrieving dog to use while hunting wild fowl. Today it is one of the most common family dogs as it is easy to handle, very tolerant and does not require very much from the owner(s), other than regular exercise, food and veterinary check-ups. It is often affectionately known as a Golden or Yellow Retriever. Golden Retrievers are usually compatible with people and other dogs. It will bark when startled but other than that it makes a poor watchdog due to its friendly nature. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people.

The Golden should be athletic, well balanced, and symmetrical. Its appearance should reflect its merry and outgoing temperament, and it should never look sulky or aggressive. This is a large breed very similar in appearance to the yellow Labrador Retriever, especially when young. The most obvious difference is the Golden Retriever's luxuriant coat.

The coat should be dense and waterproof, and may be straight or moderately wavy. It should not be silky, hard, or wooly. It must lie flat against the body. The AKC standard states that the coat is a "rich, lustrous golden of various shades", disallowing coats that are extremely light or extremely dark. This leaves the outer ranges of coat color up to a judge's discretion when competing in conformation shows. Judges may also disallow goldens with brown or pink noses, though these are very rare. The Golden's coat can also be what people call a 'mahogany' color, or what people see as 'redheads' in people. As a golden grows older their coats can become darker shades or lighter tints of brown, along with or excluding a noticeable whitening of the fur on and around the face.
23 to 24 inches (male); 21 1/2 to 22 1/2 inches (female).
70 to 75 pounds (male); 60 to 65 (female).
The breed was originally developed in Scotland, at "Guisachan", near Glen Affric, the highland estate of Sir Dudley Majoribanks (pronounced "Marchbanks"), later Lord Tweedmouth. For many years, there was controversy over which breeds were originally crossed; especially popular was a romantic story concerning the purchase of a whole troupe of Russian sheepdogs from a visiting circus. In 1952, the publication of Majoribanks' breeding records from 1835 to 1890 removed all doubt.

The original cross was of a yellow-coloured dog, Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel bitch, Belle. The Tweed Water Spaniel is now extinct but was then common in the border country. Majoribanks had purchased Nous in 1865 from an unregistered litter of otherwise black wavy-coated Retriever pups. In 1868, this cross produced a litter that included four bitch pups. These four became the basis of a breeding program which included Red Setter, sandy-coloured Bloodhound, St. John's Water Dog of Newfoundland, Springer Spaniel, and two more wavy-coated black Retrievers. The bloodline was also inbred and selected for trueness to Majoribanks' idea of the ultimate hunting dog. This vision included a more vigorous and powerful dog than previous retrievers but that would still be exceptionally good with people and thus gentle and trainable. Russian sheepdogs are not mentioned in these records, nor are any other working dog breeds. The ancestry of the Golden Retriever is all sporting dogs, in line with Majoribanks' goals.

Golden Retrievers were first accepted for registration by the The Kennel Club of England in 1903, as 'Flat Coats - Golden'. They were first exhibited in 1908, and in 1911 were recognised as a breed descrEMBED as 'Retriever (Golden and Yellow)'. In 1913, the Golden Retriever Club was founded. The breed name was officially changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.

The Hon. Archie Majoribanks took a Golden Retriever to Canada in 1881, and registered Lady with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1894. These are the first records of the breed in these two countries. The breed was first registered in Canada in 1927, and the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario, now the Golden Retriever Club of Canada, was formed in 1958. The AKC recognized the breed in 1932, and in 1938 the Golden Retriever Club of America was formed.
Typically, Goldens are fairly unruly as puppies. However, once they reach maturity, Goldens remain active and fun-loving while developing an exceptionally patient demeanor, as befits a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage are a size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for cool water. They are noted for their affection for people, and their tolerance of children. They are natural clowns, which characterizes them as great therapy dogs to use in hospitals or retirement homes. Most Goldens require lots of companionship to be happy. Due to their intelligence, they do well in obedience trials and make excellent assistance dogs. While they might not do quite as well in field trials as Labrador Retrievers, they are excellent hunters that are famous for their outstanding scenting abilities. However, many Golden Retrievers will not express their desire to "fetch" until adulthood.

The Golden Retriever loves to retrieve. Retrieving a thrown stick, tennis ball, or flying disc can keep a Golden occupied and entertained for hours, particularly if there is also water involved.

Today's Golden Retrievers fall into two groups: show dogs and field dogs. The Goldens in the show group are generally bigger boned, longer, and heavier. The champagne color and long flowing coat are highly prized in the show ring. On the other hand, field Goldens tend to be smaller, longer legged, and be a more reddish shade. These two strains derive from famous goldens from the 1960s. Gold Rush Charlie moved the show Goldens toward their present characteristics, while Holway Barty greatly affected the field group. Presently, many breeders are attempting to unite these two strains into the all-purpose Golden Retriever.
Points of Interest
Goldens are often very profitable to breeders, including puppy mills and backyard breeders. As a result of careless breeding for profit they are prone to many diseases, both genetic and otherwise. Hip dysplasia is very common in the breed, and when buying a puppy make sure its parents have healthy hips and have been examined by either the OFA or PennHIP. The diseases common in the breed include:

Hip dysplasia
von Willebrand's disease
Allergies particularly skin allergies
Various congenital heart defects, including Subvalvular aortic stenosis, and Cardiomyopathy
Progressive retinal atrophy
Various forms of Cancer

The breed's prominence and prevalence has produced high demand for purebred Golden Retrievers. As an unfortunate consequence, many Goldens are abandoned each year by owners who can no longer care for them. These dogs, many of which are old or in need of medical support, arrive in animal shelters. Puppy mills, large-scale commercial breeding operations sometimes shut down for their notoriously poor conditions, are another source of orphan Golden Retrievers.

In response, many volunteer organizations work to rescue, care for, and adopt abandoned Golden Retrievers. These rescue groups usually accept dogs from owners and establish agreements with local animal shelters to ensure that dogs will be transferred to their care rather than euthanized. Once rescued, Golden Retrievers are placed in foster homes until a permanent home is found. It is common for rescue groups to screen prospective adopters to ensure that they are capable of providing a good home for the dog.

Golden retriever rescue groups have relied heavily on the world wide web to raise funds and advertise rescued goldens to adopters. In 1996, breed enthusiast and rescue pioneer Helen Redlus founded Golden Retrievers in Cyberspace, a website that sold merchandise to fund rescue operations. Many local groups continue in this tradition, and rescue organizations can be found throughout the world.

Famous Golden Retrievers

Alex from Stroh Brewery Company ads
Air Bud
Marley, pet of Trey Anastasio
Brandon, companion of Punky Brewster
Shadow from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey and Homeward Bound II
Tugboat, pet of Tyler Hamilton
Liberty, pet of Gerald Ford
Duke, from Bush's Baked Beans commercials
Comet from Full House
Mel from Ginga Legend Weed
Speedy from The Drew Carey Show
J.D. from Dead Like Me
Shelby AKA Krypto from Smallville
Sun dance, from Adam Sandler's Click
Beauregard, from "The Family Martin"
Chase, mascot of the Trenton Thunder minor league baseball team
Riley, as seen on Flickr
Lucy, as seen on Blue Peter
Levi, as seen on Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye
Trixie Koontz a retired service dog, purported author of Life Is Good, and companion of Dean Koontz
Stogie from Mission Hill.
Special Talents
Hnting, tracking, retrieving, narcotics detection, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks.