Golden Retriever

This Family Dog Tops the Most-Wanted List

With their ever-present smiles, wavy blonde fur, and joyful prance, the golden retriever has long been one of America’s favorite dogs. Perhaps it’s their family-friendly demeanor and golden looks that helps keep this breed in the Top 5 of all registered dogs in the U.S.
Golden retriever puppy

It’s no surprise to learn the golden retriever owes its beauty and lineage to royalty. Sir Dudley Marjoribanks of Scotland is cited as the man who helped develop the dog by breeding a spaniel with a short-coated retriever in the mid-1800s. Today, the golden retriever is classified by the American Kennel Club as a sporting dog, popular with hunters for its soft mouth and eagerness to retrieve in water.

Over time, the golden retriever evolved into two breed standards: the American and the English. Typically the American retriever is taller and less stocky than its English counterpart. Fur coloration also varies from cream all the way to a russet gold. 

True to its name the golden retriever loves to fetch. It’s not uncommon to be greeted by a golden with a favorite toy stuffed in its mouth. Known for its intelligent mind, the breed can learn more than 200 commands with training and encouragement.

Last year, at the AKC National Obedience Invitational Champion, the winner was “Dream,” a golden retriever owned by Billy and Dee Dee Anderson of Redwood City, Calif.

The American Kennel Club lists the golden retriever as the fourth most registered dog in the U.S.

Families find their affable, gentle behavior ideal for homes with children. The American Kennel Club lists the golden retriever as the fourth most registered dog in the U.S., with its counterpoint Labrador retriever taking first place, followed by Yorkshire terrier and German shepherd.

Golden retriever
  • At www.YouTube.com, more than 7,800 posted videos feature golden retrievers.
  • The average golden retriever lifespan is 10-13 years.
  • In 2007, the AKC National Obedience Invitational Champion was “Dream,” a golden retriever owned by Billy and Dee Dee Anderson of Redwood City, Calif.
  • The first three dogs ever to achieve the AKC Obedience Champion title were golden retrievers.

According to Dr. Ross D. Clark’s “Medical & Genetic Aspects of Purebred Dogs,” golden retrievers are known to develop the following medical conditions:

Golden retriever
  • Cataracts: This familial problem has become recognized as a dominant trait may not become visible for a year or more.
  • Hotspots: A common diagnosis for golden retrievers, this surface bacterial infection is caused by self-induced trauma due to scratching.
  • Allergenic skin disease: The golden retriever’s dense, heavy undercoat predisposes them to external parasites and matted, dirty-hair coats that can cause scratching. Regular, vigorous brushing can help prevent this from occurring.
  • Food allergies: Goldens are susceptible to inhalant allergies and are at a higher risk of developing allergies to food.
  • Hypothyroidism: An increased breed incidence has been reported in golden retrievers.
  • Subvalvular aortic stenosis: This heritable heart defect is common in golden retrievers.
Knowing what medical conditions are common for your pet will help you recognize potential symptoms in their early stages. Remember: your veterinarian is your best resource for your pet’s well-being.