The Golden Retriever is a very popular breed of dog due to its intelligence, trustworthiness and friendliness...
by Carol Levy
It is the eyes of these dogs that gives the truth to the stereotype that these animals are friendly and intelligent. Luminous and brown they say 'welcome' to any comer - showing the trusting nature of this dog as well as its trustworthiness. The AKC first registered this dog in 1925. As with other breeds it did not start out life as a Golden Retriever. The Golden's ancestors include, among others, the Tweed Water Spaniel, Irish Setter, Bloodhound, Springer Spaniel, Newfoundland, St. John's Water Dog and other various retrievers and spaniels.
It is a fairly large dog, typically 55 - 65 pounds for the female, 65 - 75 for the male. He stands at a height of 23-24 inches in height not including the neck and face. The female is only slightly shorter at 21 1/2-22 1/2 inches.
The retriever, like most of its fore-bearers, is a hunting dog; it is ever alert to its owner and intended target when out in the field; happy to retrieve a duck or a ball.
It's shining gold coat is perfect for a hunter. It is not only dense but also water-repellent - just right for jumping in the lake to play or work.
The Golden Retriever does does shed, but does not need a lot of hair maintenance. 20 - 30 minutes per week brushing the medium long coat should keep him looking good.
You will not mistake this breed for any other.
The skull is broad and its muzzle straight. The ears, although somewhat short are long enough to be pulled forward and cover the eye. They sit behind and above the eye ending at close to cheek level. They fall floppily to each side of the face. The head is atop a neck of medium length gradually melding into the strong, laidback shoulders. The body is muscular, the back straight and somewhat sloping downward at the tail end.
The tail is a perfect ending to a beautiful animal. Long and straight, the animal will wave it in joy in many circumstances, showing once again its lovely temperament.
This magnificent animal can be used as a work dog and when used as such takes its work very seriously.
Golden Retrievers are able to be trained to be part of the human animal team in the areas of drug and arson detection.
The friendliness, loyalty and ability of this dog breed also allows them to be used as therapy dogs, helping the hearing, sight and physically impaired as well as those with emotional disabilities such as social phobias.
Austin is a perfect example.
He is a 3 year old Golden Retriever who serves with the Austin, Texas police. His duties span a wide array including advanced tracking, area, disaster, evidence and cadaver search.
Austin also searches for missing children and adults and in fact, is able to be lowered from helicopter when necessary in articularly risky and rugged areas. The training involved with getting him to the point where he is able to be successful in these areas has not impaired his friendly, natural Golden retriever personality. When Austin has downtime from his business activities he goes to schools to give safety demonstrations as well as visiting hospitals and public events as a police ambassador.
A well cared for animal should have a life span of 9 - 15 years.
Unfortunately he is prone, as are most of the sporting breed, to problems of hip and elbow dysplasia. This lack of stabilization of the joint (s) can be something that makes the dog only slightly lame to completely disabled as he ages.
Another hereditary disorder associated with the breed is Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis, a heart problem wherein the aorta has a narrowing. It can be so small a defect as to be undetectable. It is a disorder seen more often in the larger breeds..
The golden also may have a tendency towards cataracts or a less serious problem of the eyelashes or eyelids where turning inward. This may cause discomfort for the dog but is not of a serious medical concern. All three however are indications that the specific animal should not be considered for breeding purposes.
If you do want to breed your dog you can expect a large litter, the average number of puppies being 8.
All in all this is a very sociable, pretty and noble animal that is well worth the investment in time, cost, and love.
Golden Retriever Club Of America.
Austin Police department. K-0 search and rescue.
http://largedogbreedz.com/large-dog-breed-director y/golden-retriever/golden-retriever-origin-and-histo ry.html
Canine Inherited Disorders Database. August 18, 2003.
PetPlanet.co.uk Ltd. 2006