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33 Facts About Golden Retrievers

Written by ADAPTIL Expert, published on April 18, 2023

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These lovely, medium to large size dogs with their shiny golden coats are well known as making great family pets. They're also loyal assistance dogs and accomplished search and rescue dogs.

The Golden Retriever ranks as one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia and Canada.

The History of The Golden Retriever

1. Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, the 1st Baron of Tweedmouth in the mid 1800s, can be given the accolade of developing the Golden Retriever breed after adopting Nous, a yellow Retriever dog.

2. There are various tales about the heritage of the Nous; these vary from being purchased from a circus trainer in Brighton, or that he was bought from a cobbler.

3. Until Marjoribanks started developing the Golden Retriever from his Scottish estate Guisachan, only black dogs were thought to be 'fashionable'. Non-black dogs were often disposed of.

4. In 1868 Nous was mated to a Tweed Water Spaniel bitch named Belle, and it was from this original mating, a number of years later, that the foundation stock of the Golden Retriever breed was developed.

5. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to assist with the hunting of waterfowl.

6. The breed was first accepted for registration by 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 described as Retriever (Golden and Yellow).

Golden retriever running in long grass

Their Coat and Appearance

7. Golden Retrievers have a water repellent topcoat and soft undercoat.

8. You can find them in a variety of 'gold' shades ranging from a dark red gold, to a pale cream colour.

9. Golden Retriever coats usually get darker as they get older. However, their eyes and nose may lighten or turn grey a normal part of their ageing.

10. In the colder months of the year, pink spots may develop on their nose called snow nose. This is due to the breakdown of an enzyme (tyrosinase) which produces a pigment.

11. If you would like an indication of what colour a Golden Retriever puppy will be in adulthood, take a look at their ear colour this will give you a good clue!

12. The long feathery hair on their tail starts to develop from about 3 months of age, and on their legs at about 1 year old.

Their Nature and Temperament

13. These affectionate dogs are seen as even-tempered, intelligent and adoring of human company.

14. They are gentle, playful and often happy to get along with people and other dogs. They should however, still be socialised as puppies, as all dogs require this.

15. Golden Retrievers are known as natural athletes that need to be kept physically and mentally active with plenty of walks and playtime.

16. They are eager to please and easy to train and, as such, make great assistance/service/therapy dogs.

17. They are always puppies at heart and are said not to mature as quickly as other breeds, instead maintaining their youthful exuberance for longer!

18. They have large appetites so care should be taken not to overfeed them, especially with treats.

19. As retrievers, they like to carry things around in their mouth; they have a 'soft' mouth as they have been bred to collect game without damaging it.

Golden retriever being groomed outside

Taking Care of Your Golden Retriever

20. As well as giving them lots of love and attention, keep your Golden Retriever in tip-top condition by brushing them regularly. You may want to do this more frequently during their shedding seasons in the Spring and Autumn/Fall this is when their coats are naturally getting ready for the heat of the summer or the cold of the winter.

21. The undercoat keeps them warm or cool depending on the weather and should not be trimmed

22. Golden Retrievers are very intelligent dogs and thrive on training with lots of physical and mental activities, like scent training. Make their training fun for you both with positive reinforcement methods.

23. As they love company, early socialisation classes will enhance their friendships with humans and dogs alike.

24. Golden Retrievers need a minimum of 2 hours of exercise a day and they love to swim. If you are lucky enough to live close to a beach, your Golden Retriever will probably make the most of running along the beach and jumping into the sea to cool off. They will also be just as happy jumping into a river or lake but remember to always check that these are safe to swim in before you let them loose.

Famous People with Golden Retrievers

25. We are not alone in our love for these beautiful dogs US Presidents are particularly fond of them!

  • Ronald Regan and his Golden Retriever, Victory, loved to spend time together on their ranch.
  • Gerald Ford's Golden Retriever, Liberty, gave birth to a litter while living in the White House.
  • Oprah Winfrey has had 3 Golden Retrievers over the years, Luke, Layla and Gracie though sadly she lost Gracie in an accident, aged 2 years.
  • In 2013 Adam Levine introduced his new puppy Charlie, while appearing on NBC's The Voice.
  • Diane Keaton famously serenaded her Golden Retriever, Reggie with the line How much do I love you? from the famous 1932 song How deep is the Ocean.

Famous Golden Retrievers

26. As they are easy to train, Golden Retrievers have found themselves as great movie characters over the years, including:

  • Parker from The Art of Racing in the Rain (2019)
  • Beau from Wargames (1983)
  • Shadow from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
  • Fluke from the movie Fluke (1995)
  • Bud from Air Bud (1997)
  • Brinkley from You've Got Mail (1998)
  • Mud and Rosebud from the Air Buddies film series (2006)
  • Dug from Pixar's animated movies Up and Dug's Special Mission (2009)

More Interesting Golden Retriever Facts

Golden retriever assistance dog

27. Finley the Golden Retriever from the US can hold 6 tennis balls in their mouth (beating another Golden Retriever who was the previous holder with 5 balls) and broke the record in 2020!

28. Charlie from Australia has the loudest bark recorded at 113.1 decibels

29. The first image uploaded to Instagram was a Golden Retriever. In 2010 Kevin Systrom uploaded a photo of a Golden Retriever puppy sitting next to a taco stand in Mexico.

30. Golden Retrievers called Bretagne and Riley worked on search and rescue after the September 11 terrorist attack in New York City.

Health Points

31. When adopting any puppy or dog, it is important that you check that the dog parents have been screened for hip and elbow dysplasia.

33. Golden Retrievers seem to be at greater risk than other breeds of contracting cancer, so it is important that they receive regular veterinary checks.

33. Because they love water, their ears may be predisposed to problems and should always be dried and carefully checked on a regular basis.

There is nothing to dislike about a Golden Retriever, but just like any dog they may on occasions become anxious, so it's important you are aware of how to comfort them in stressful situations. Using an ADAPTIL Calm Diffuser will help your dog stay calm in situations like staying alone, when there are loud noises, visitors or when they're frightened for another reason.

Golden retriever puppy in autumn leaves


Following our expert tips will help to ensure your bond with your dog goes from strength to strength.

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