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BREED SPOTLIGHT: Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers' friendly and devoted nature makes them an ideal dog for many different situations.

History of the Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever, affectionately known as the golden, is a dog originating from the Scottish Highlands sometime in the late 1800's. A Scottish nobleman, Lord Tweedmouth, developed the breed on his estate primarily for the purpose of hunting. The AKC reports that Tweedmouth wanted an excellent retriever who was suited to the Scottish available game, climate, and terrain. His original "yellow retriever" was crossed over the years with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, the Irish Setter, and the Bloodhound.

The golden retriever was registered with the AKC in the 1920s and quickly gained a certain popularity in the U.S. that it hasn't lost. It currently ranks as the third most popular dog in the U.S. behind the lab and the German Sheppard.

Traits of the Golden Retriever

The golden retriever is classified as a sporting dog, but it's eagerness to please and desire to work means it is frequently employed for service work, guiding, search and rescue, or as a pet for an active family.


As mentioned above, goldens are eager to please. This eagerness makes them easy to train and very obedient. They do need to be taught not to bite at an early age, since their desire to chew means that an untrained dog may be prone to biting people.


Goldens are very devoted to their owners.


Goldens are perhaps best known for their friendly, playful disposition who love human companionship. It's this friendly nature that makes them a great family dog.

Active and Energetic

These dogs are sporting dogs and thus very active and energetic. Their name may be a giveaway, but they love to retrieve objects.

Visual Characteristics of Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers are considered a large breed dog. They average around 22 inches in height and weigh anywhere from 55-75 pounds.

The golden is known for its long-haired, water-repellent double coat that is colored anywhere from light to dark gold. Golden puppies are usually lighter in color, but darken as they age. The Animal Planet recommends using a golden puppy's ears as a better indicator for the shade of coat it will carry later in life.

Goldens have an elongated muzzle, droopy ears, and the webbed feet characteristic of water retrievers.

Golden Retriever

Medical Issues of Golden Retrievers

Hip dysplasia is a common medical issue that affects golden retrievers and can cause lifetime pain and mobility problems. Many breeders will have their puppies evaluated for healthy hip structure. Ask if your potential puppy was evaluated before purchasing.

Goldens are also prone to lymphoma, a type of cancer. Their hearts, hips, thyroids, eyes, and elbows should be checked at every veterinary checkup to catch medical issues early.           

Since they're large breed dogs and meant to be active, golden retrievers can quickly become overweight if not given enough opportunities for exercise.  Extra weight on a dog makes them susceptible to diabetes and other potential health conditions.

The Breed for You?

One of the reasons golden retrievers are so popular is that they're adaptable to many situations. Goldens are friendly, easy to train, and very devoted. They do very well with children and thus make a great dog for families. Since they do like to chew though, they need early training to understand that human hands aren't chew toys.

They are a sporting dog with lots of energy and thus require daily exercise. If you're not able to commit to a daily walk or outdoor playtime, this may not be the dog for you.

Golden retrievers don't require regular grooming but their long coat does require frequent brushing to prevent matted fur.

If you're trying to find the best breed for you, be sure to browse the rest of the Breed Spotlight section of our Knowledge Center. When you've decided upon the perfect pet, Pet Super Store is here to offer you a wide selection of quality necessities, from dog car seats to training collars and underground fences. You can also stay atop the most current pet news with our Smarty Pets blog. Whatever your pet needs, Pet Super Store is here for you along your entire journey!