The golden retriever consistently tops the list of most loved family pets. Usually associated with children and suburban life, and, with their love of water and natural retrieving ability, the golden retrievers are also excellent companions to hunters.
The golden retriever was one of the top 10 breeds for the year 2008. Click here for the complete story on Top Dog Breeds of 2008.
History and Origin
Recorded history of the golden retriever dates to the early 1800s when the breed was a popular hunting dog in Scotland. As a rugged, middle-size dog, the breed was appreciated for the ability to hunt on land and in water. Sportsmen admired the dog's athletic ability and diligence while their families enjoyed the gentle, friendly nature of the pet. By the late 1800s, the golden retriever was well known in North America and was registered with the American Kennel Club in 1925.
Over the years, golden retrievers have become useful as guide dogs for the blind, deaf and other handicapped individuals because of their intelligence, trainability, well-rounded temperament, as well as their ability to get along well with people. They are trained as therapy dogs to comfort residents in nursing homes and emotionally disturbed children.
Appearance and Size
The golden retriever is a strong, middle-size dog with a moderately round skull and medium to dark brown eyes. The breed's ears are triangular and pendant (hanging) and fall approximately to the level of the jaw. The outer water-repellent coat is thick and soft although not silky. The undercoat is moderately dense. As the name of the breed indicates, the coat color is golden or a close shade of golden. Longer hair of a lighter shade, known as feathers, is present on the back of the forelegs and thighs, underbelly, front of neck and underside of the tail.
The adult golden retriever is approximately 21 to 24 inches in height at the shoulder and weighs about 55 to 75 pounds.
The golden retriever is a playful, affectionate companion with an amiable personality. If not for the dog's size, golden retrievers would be welcome lapdogs. Although not generally a boisterous breed, this pet will announce visitors.
Home and Family Relations
The golden retriever is an excellent family pet that is good with children and other pets. This breed is an appropriate choice for a first pet provided that the owner is capable of managing a dog of this size and strength.
The golden retriever is intelligent and highly trainable. In addition to being adept hunters, this breed has been trained to be companions for disabled persons including guide dogs for the blind. Golden retrievers have also carried out drug detection and search and rescue work.
Golden retrievers who hunt on land and are allowed to swim require special attention. Running in the woods can cause small foreign bodies such as burrs and other flora to become lodged under the eyelid or in an ear. The surface of the eye and the ear can become irritated and inflamed.
Golden retrievers also benefit from regular brushing, once daily if possible. Brushing helps to promote a shiny, healthy coat and decreases shedding. This is also an opportune time to find those nasty mats that can be painful for your pet. It is safest to let a professional groomer or a veterinarian remove large mats from your pet's coat.
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