Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever puppies
(Photo: Ingrid Prats)

The Golden Retriever: Man’s Best Friend

By Michael Russell

The Golden Retriever is a popular breed of dog that was used as a retrieving dog while hunting wild fowl in the past. It is one of the most common dogs for families now as it is very tolerant, easy to handle and doesn’t require much from the owners besides exercise, food and visits to the vet. Though known to get along well with other dogs and people, they sometimes get human traits and then are not very fond of other dogs. Due to its friendly nature, Golden Retrievers are not good watchdogs. However, they are liked for their fondness of people.

Golden Retrievers are athletic dogs that are well balanced. They are a large breed, but are slightly longer than they are tall. Golden Retrievers have an outgoing temperament with a very luxurious coat. The coat is usually straight, waterproof and dense. Golden Retrievers do not have hard, silky, or wool-like hair. As they become older, their coats can become darker in color while the fur around their face whitens.

Golden Retrievers are about 22 to 24 inches tall but reach that height after only one year of age. After their second year, they maintain their weight at 60 to 75 pounds.

This breed of dog is quite active, but also very patient. Their history as dogs sitting and waiting for the catch during hunts may be the cause of this. They also enjoy cold water, which may also be a trait gained from their hunting past. Retrievers are affectionate towards people and are often used as therapy dogs because of this. Though they are intelligent, they require a companion to be happy which makes them great assistance dogs. Golden Retrievers also enjoy retrieving anything, from tennis balls to frisbees.

Golden Retrievers were grown in Scotland and come from a cross of a yellow dog, Nous and a Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle. They continued to breed as they were the idea of the best hunting dog. The idea was to create a dog that was not only powerful but gentle and affectionate towards people.

Unfortunately since they are often profitable dogs, many corrupt breeders don’t take care of them and they are prone to quite a few diseases. Hip dysplasia is a common problem in the breed, along with von Willebrand’s disease and cataracts. Potential owners should check to make sure that the parents of the dog had healthy hips as well.

Since purebred Golden Retrievers are in high demand, many are sadly abandoned by owners who no longer care for them. The dogs end up in animal shelters, but fortunately there are many organizations which try to rescue and adopt these abandoned Golden Retrievers. They are often placed in foster homes until a permanent home for them is found.

There are also quite a few famous Golden Retrievers, such as Comet from Full House, the star of the movie Air Bud, Liberty, President Ford’s pet and Speedy from The Drew Carey Show. Golden Retrievers are popular because of their caring attitude towards people and the wonderful companionship that they can bring to a family.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dogs

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