The History of the Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever is considered as one of the most popular breeds, especially in the U.S. It may be one of the largest dogs, but don’t let the canine’s size intimidate you. It’s otherwise friendly, enthusiastic, playful, obedient and highly trainable. It’s affectionate to almost all sorts of people – be the children, adults and even disabled ones, making the Golden Retriever the perfect guide dog. As a general rule, this breed of dog is a gentle giant and suitable for homes even with little kids.

So, have you ever been curious even once about how this wonderful dog breed came into existence? Keep reading and you will find it out.

The Golden Retriever got its name for its ability to retrieve items (game for instance) while keeping them intact and undamaged as it carries them to its master. They are mostly used by hunters, police/customs, trackers, etc.


The dog was first originally bred during the 19th century Britain, particularly in Scotland. A mix of other dog breeds came into the development of the Golden Retriever, among them Tweed Water Spaniel (which is now extinct), the Irish setter, the Newfoundland and other spaniels that had the ability to adapt to water.

During those times, game hunting (or wildfowl hunting, or whatever you call it) was a popular sport of the wealthy Scottish aristocrats, but their main problem was not finding a suitable dog breed to retrieve drowned fowl back to land. Guns and other firearms improved during that century, meaning more chances to successfully shoot and kill game at greater distances. Unfortunately, many of the game birds being shot landed on more obscure terrains or got drowned in the water.

That’s why the cross-breeding of “ancient” retrievers and water spaniels was implemented in order to achieve the one desired breed, the Golden Retriever. Baron Tweedmouth (Dudley Marjoribanks) is credited with having successfully developed the first Golden Retriever breed, as he had large kennels on his estate. He also took his Retriever to Canada in the early 1880s, registering it as “Lady” with the American Kennel Club. (In 1927 the breed and its name, Golden Retriever, were first registered in that country)

When the breed was fully developed, it was first introduced in England as the Flat-Coated Retrievers (according to the registration of the Kennel Club). Its water-repellant coat made the dog suitable for tracking downfallen and downed game birds. The first color of the first retriever, as you might expect, was golden. However, nowadays, the color can range from a light golden to a darker, almost brown golden color. All variations are acceptable, but the most prized is the original golden color.

Golden Retrievers were primarily used for hunting, but during the 1920s they began to be also exhibited as show dogs. In 1925, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed; since then the Golden Retriever has been one of the most popular American dog breeds, ranking on the national favorite doggie list at #3 at the moment. There have been clubs formed by devoted and responsible owners of this widely lovable breed, most notably the Golden Retriever Club of America.


The History of the Golden Retriever 2

As mentioned above, the Golden Retrievers are known for their ability to retrieve items without damaging them and being a helping hand for humans. They are muscular and sturdy dogs of medium size, having a lustrous gold coat, which gives the breed its name. It features short ears, friendly behavior, broad head with intelligent eyes to find things, and of course, a straight muzzle, which is the breed’s hallmark.

If one’s finding a dog that is trustworthy, reliable, eager-to-please, and outgoing, he should consider getting a Golden Retriever for himself. Even if they become adults, puppyish behavior never leaves them, which is a good thing in them being family dogs. As compared to other breeds, Golden Retrievers are easy to train because of their friendly nature and they are good in following commands of the owner as well. For this breed that is built to retrieve waterfowl for hours, swimming and fetching are just something very easy for them.


Golden Retrievers are normally medium in size: the males usually weigh about 65 to 75 pounds and are 23 to 24 inches tall, while females weigh 55 to 65 pounds and are generally 22 to 23 inches tall. They need 1 year to gain their full height (max) and 2 years to reach their mature weight.


Golden Retriever is a breed that loves action and can’t sit idle for several hours. You shouldn’t go against their nature – take them outside, play with them, toss a ball in the ground and they will be more than happy to get it for you; want to hike or jog? They will love to join you. If you walk or jog regularly then take them along – a 20 to 30-minute walk will help them be mellow when they are inside the house. Lack of such activities can lead to behavioral issues as well that are hard to change once they reach maturity.

Just like other retriever breeds, they love having something in their mouth to play with – you can get them a toy to chew on; these toys will also help them in changing teeth (when they are 3 to 6 months old), entertain and keep them busy (when left alone at home). However, a smelly sock would also be a fun plaything for them (if it doesn’t disgust you).

Little golden retrievers require special care when they are between the age of four and seven months because this is the period when they grow very rapidly. One should avoid letting them play on hard surfaces like pavements until they are at least 2 years old and have their joints fully formed. Anyhow, it is completely fine for them to play on soft areas like grass or a carpet.

Interesting Facts about Golden Retrievers

  • The first-bred dogs in the mid-1800s weren’t much good at retrieving from both land and water, which was the foremost requirement from them. They were then crossed with the Water Spaniel breed to gain these qualities; hence Golden Retriever breed was made.
  • US presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford had Golden Retrievers as pets in their office
  • Their average lifespan is 10 to 12 years
  • They have two-layer coating; one is for keeping them cool/warm throughout the seasons and the other one is water-resistant and wavy
  • Due to their extreme keen sensing ability, they are used as sniffing dogs by the police
  • They make great therapy dogs because of their friendly behavior and innocent looks
  • They can take care of other animals as well including cats
  • When sad or depressed, anybody can easily see it on their face due to their expressions
  • The reason why they do not make good security dogs is that they can only bark loudly on strangers, and once approached by them in a nicer way, they become friendly
  • Just because they can be easily trained, they are a popular choice to star in movies