Golden Retriever

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Golden Retriever
Country of origin Britain

The Golden Retriever is a breed of dog, historically developed as a gundog to retrieve shot waterfowl and upland game during hunting.[1] As such they were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve game undamaged and an instinctive love of water.[2] Their intelligence and versatility sees them employed in a variety of roles including illegal drug detection, search and rescue, as hunting dogs and as guide dogs.[3] Its friendly, eager-to-please and patient demeanor has also made it one of the most popular family dogs (by registration) in the world today. [4]


[edit] History

The Golden Retriever was originally developed in Scotland at "Guisachan" near Glen Affric, the highland estate of Sir Dudley Marjoribanks (pronounced "Marʒbanks"), later Baron Tweedmouth. For many years, there was controversy over which breeds were originally crossed. In 1952, the publication of Majoribanks' breeding records from 1835 to 1890 dispelled the myth concerning the purchase of a whole troupe of Russian sheepdogs from a visiting circus.[5]

Improvements in guns during the 1800s resulted in more fowl being downed during hunts at greater distances and over increasingly difficult terrain. This led to more birds being lost in the field. Because of this improvement in firearms, a need for a specialist retriever arose as training setter and pointer breeds in retrieval was found to be ineffective. Thus work began on the breeding of the Golden Retriever to fill this role.[6]

Goldens excel at retrieving in water

The original cross was of a yellow-coloured Retriever, Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel female dog, Belle.[7] 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 pups; these four became the basis of a breeding program which included the Irish Setter, the sandy-colored Bloodhound, the St. John's Water Dog of Newfoundland, and two more wavy-coated black Retrievers. The bloodline was also inbred and selected for trueness to Majoribanks' idea of the ultimate hunting dog. His vision included a more vigorous and powerful dog than previous retrievers, one that would still be 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.[3]

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 recognized as a breed described 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 Honorable 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 co-founders of the GRCC were Cliff Drysdale an Englishman who had brought over an English Golden and Jutta Baker, daughter in law of Louis Baker who owned Northland Kennels, possibly Canada's first kennel dedicated to Goldens. The AKC recognized the breed in 1925, and in 1938 the Golden Retriever Club of America was formed.[8]

[edit] Appearance

[edit] British type

5 month old Golden Retriever

Some variations do exist between the British type Golden Retrievers prevalent throughout Europe and Australia,[9] and those of American lines and these differences are reflected in the breed standards. This type is bigger-boned, shorter, with a more square head and or muzzle and are generally slightly heavier. Males should be between 56–61 cm (22–24 inch) at the withers and females slightly shorter at between 51–56 cm (20–22 inch). Their weight, however, is not specified in the UK standard. The KC standard calls for a level topline and straight hindquarters without the slight rear angulation found in American lines.[10][11] The eyes of American line dogs tend to be set further apart than those of British lines and can appear to be slanted and triangular in shape by comparison. A Golden Retriever of British breeding can have a coat color of any shade of gold or cream; however, red or mahogany are not permissible colors. Originally cream was not an acceptable color in the UK standard; however, by 1936 the standard was revised to include cream. It was felt this exclusion was a mistake as the original "yellow" retrievers of the 19th century were lighter in color than the then current standard permitted. As with American lines, white is an unacceptable colour in the show ring. [12] The British KC standard is used in all countries with the exceptions of the US and Canada.[11] Some breeders of this type in America may import their dogs to improve bloodlines. The incidence of cancer among English bloodlines is significantly less than is seen in the American lines.

[edit] American type

An American Golden is lankier and less stocky than a British Type. A male should stand 22–24 inch (58–61 cm) in height at the shoulders, and females should be 21.5–22.5 inch (55–57 cm). They range in weight from 65–75 lb for males and 55–65 lb for females.[13] The coat is dense and water repellent, in various shades of lustrous gold, with moderate feathering. The gait should be free, smooth, powerful, and well-coordinated.[14]

[edit] Canadian type

The Canadian Golden Retriever is a newer type of Golden. Appearance is meant to be similar to the American type in height and weight, with a light coat color. Color is described as not as light as a British type, and not as dark as an American type.

Field line Golden Retrievers tend to be smaller and have a less dense coat than their conformation line counterparts, and they are usually darker in color.

[edit] Coat and color

Golden Retrievers vary widely in color.

As indicated by their name, their coat comes in light golden colors to dark golden colors. The coat is dense and waterproof, and may be straight or moderately wavy. It usually lies flat against the belly. The American Kennel Club (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. Therefore, "pure white" and "red" are unacceptable colors for the Golden coat.[12] The Kennel Club (UK) also permits cream as an acceptable coat color.[10] Judges may also disallow Goldens with pink noses, or those lacking pigment. The Golden's coat can also be of a mahogany color, referred to as "redheads", although this is not accepted in the British show ring.[10] As a Golden grows older, its coat can become darker or lighter, along with a noticeable whitening of the fur on and around the muzzle. Puppy coats are usually much lighter than their adult coats, but a dark dog a darker colouration at the tips of the ears may indicate a darker adult color. A golden's coat should never be too long, as this may prove to be a disservice to them in the field, especially when retrieving game.[14]

[edit] Temperament

Most Goldens need plenty of exercise, such as dog agility.
Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve from the water.

The temperament of the Golden Retriever is a hallmark of the breed and is described in the standard as "kindly, friendly and confident".[10] They are not "one man dogs" and are generally equally amiable with both strangers and those familiar to them.[6] Their trusting, gentle disposition therefore makes them a poor guard dog.[15] Any form of unprovoked aggression or hostility towards either people, dogs or other animals, whether in the show ring or community, is completely unacceptable in a Golden Retriever and is not in keeping with the character of the breed and as such is considered a serious fault. Nor should a Golden Retriever be unduly timid or nervous.[14][6] The typical Golden Retriever is calm, naturally intelligent and biddable, with an exceptional eagerness to please.

Golden Retrievers are also noted for their intelligence, and can learn up to roughly 240 commands, words and phrases. The Golden Retriever ranks 4th in Stanley Coren's The Intelligence of Dogs, being one the the brightest dogs ranked by obedience command trainability. These dogs are also renowned for their patience with children.

By the time they reach maturity however, Goldens will have become active and fun-loving animals with the exceptionally patient demeanor befitting a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Adult Golden Retrievers love to work, and have a keen ability to focus on a given task. They will seemingly work until collapse, so care should be taken to avoid overworking them.

Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage are a size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for water. Golden Retrievers are exceptionally trainable—due to their intelligence, athleticism and desire to please their handlers—and generally excel in obedience trials. In fact, the first AKC Obedience Trial Champion was a Golden Retriever. They are also very competitive in agility and other performance events. Harsh training methods are unnecessary as Golden Retrievers often respond very well to positive and upbeat training styles.[16]

Golden Retrievers are compatible with children and adults and are good with other dogs, cats and most livestock. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people, calmness, and willingness to learn. Because of this, they are commonly used as guide dogs, mobility assistance dogs, and search and rescue dogs.[3] They are friendly and tend to learn tricks easily.

They are also known to become excellent surrogate mothers to different species. Kittens and even tiger cubs from zoos are well taken care of by golden retrievers. In some cases, a retriever may produce milk for its adopted even though it may not have been pregnant or nursing recently.

[edit] Health

A golden retriever at 15 years old.

The median life span for Golden Retrievers is approximately 10 to 12 years. They do very well in small living areas of at least 500 sq. feet. While the breed is recognized for its vitality, many retrievers are susceptible to specific ailments. A responsible breeder will proactively minimize the risk of illness by having the health of dogs in breeding pairs professionally assessed and selected on the basis of complementary traits.

Breeding Golden Retrievers can be profitable for puppy mills and backyard breeders. As a result of careless breeding for profit, Goldens are prone to genetic disorders and other diseases. Hip dysplasia is very common in the breed; when buying a puppy in the US the parents should be examined by the OFA or by PennHIP for hip disease.

[edit] Common diseases

[edit] Other diseases

[edit] Activities

A Golden Retriever Dock Jumping

The Golden Retriever's eagerness to please has made them consistent, top performers in the obedience and agility rings. Plus with their excellent swimming ability they are great at dock jumping. Their natural retrieving ability also sees them excel in flyball and field trials.[5]

The first three dogs ever to achieve the AKC Obedience Champion title were Golden Retrievers; the first of the three was a female named Ch. Moreland's Golden Tonka.[21]

[edit] Famous Golden Retrievers

Gerald Ford and Liberty in 1974 in the Oval Office

[edit] References

  1. ^ Sporting Breeds: Golden Retriever. Animal Retrieved on November 30, 2007.
  2. ^ "Enter The Golden Retriever". Retrieved on December 7, 2007.
  3. ^ a b c Classification: The Versatile Golden Retriever. Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  4. ^ AKC Dog Registration Statistics. Retrieved on December 7, 2007.
  5. ^ a b Golden Retrievers: History. Retrieved on November 30, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Golden Retriever Extended Breed Standard: Origin of the Breed. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
  7. ^ Golden Retrievers: Everything You Need To know.
  8. ^ History. Golden Retriever Club of America. Cool Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  9. ^ ANKC Golden Retriever standard. ANKC. Retrieved on December 16, 2007.
  10. ^ a b c d KC Golden Retriever standard. UK Kennel Club. Retrieved on November 30, 2007.
  11. ^ a b American and British Golden Retrievers – the same breed? Brighton Retrieved on December 8, 2007.
  12. ^ a b White Golden Retrievers Golden Retriever Club of America. Retrieved on January 27, 2008.
  13. ^ <>
  14. ^ a b c AKC Golden Retriever standard. American Kennel Club. Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  15. ^ Canada's Guide to Dogs: Golden Retriever. Retrieved on December 17, 2007.
  16. ^ Golden Retriever. Retrieved on September 16, 2008.
  17. ^ a b The Golden Retriever Club of America, National Health Survey: 1998-1999 (PDF). The Golden Retriever Foundation. Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  18. ^ a b c Acquiring a Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever Club of America. Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  19. ^ a b c d Golden retriever. University of Prince Edward Island. Retrieved on February 4, 2007.
  20. ^ Project Outline: Golden Retriever Hemophilia A Study 2004-2005. Golden Retriever Club of America. Retrieved on February 7, 2007.
  21. ^ Golden Retriever Did You Know? Retrieved on December 7, 2007.
  22. ^ Rudd's family a haven of support for Oppostion Leader. Herald Sun. Retrieved on December 3, 2007.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Golden Retrievers with Celebrity (Moms and Dads)
  25. ^ Even Your Dog has a Blog Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
  26. ^ "Trixie's Monthly Columns". Retrieved on 2007-08-01. 

[edit] External links

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