Golden retriever

A popular gun dog used to search for shot game. It is an affectionate dog with well-developed intelligence. It is perfect for families with small children. It has same ancestors as Labrador Retrievers.

Energy level
Level of affection
Level of friendliness
female: 25—37 kg
male: 26—41 kg
female: 51—56 cm
male: 56—61 cm
require average time
Gives birth to
Gives birth to:
7—12 puppies
United Kingdom
in 1913
Life span
Life span:
12—14 years


Golden Retrievers are communicative and affectionate pets that do not get easily thorough loneliness. Constant interaction with people is very important for them. Without it, these pets might develop depression. Meanwhile, Retrievers know how not to be intrusive. If the owner is busy, the dog will calmly wait for him. Dogs of this breed like helping people: serve as guides, search for drugs and bombs, participate in rescue operations and treat depression. This breed was developed for living close to people.

Golden Retrievers get on well with other animals. Being dominant and starting conflicts is not about them. That is why it is pointless to use Retrievers for guarding purposes. These dogs see a friend in every person. Such job will only damage their psyche. Golden Retrievers like children. They will be protecting kids from danger and play with them. However, because of being large in size, the dog might accidentally hurt the child. For that reason, it is better to watch their games.

Despite having a high level of friendliness, Retrievers are great hunters. They were created to bring shot game. These dogs have great smell and eyesight, and they like water. These facts let them search for game birds in bushes. While hunting, Golden Retrievers behave restrained and patiently. Thanks to having long hair, they can swim in freezing water. This breed is perfect for people looking for a family and hunting dog.


Golden Retriever is one of the most easily trained dog breeds. However, it does not mean that they do not have to be brought up. Without it, they, just like any other dogs, will grow up into spoiled and disobedient animals.

The first thing you need to start working on with the dog is house adaptation. It is important not to let your dog`s cute appearance manipulate you. The pet needs to understand well what it is allowed to be done, and what it not. Otherwise, it will be very hard to teach an adult dog to do something in a different way.

By they time a Golden Retriever turns 3–4 months, it needs to understand basic commands. The first one needs to be «no». Because young pets like chewing on different things, «no» has to be a rule for them. Then, start working on other commands: «sit down», «lay down», «voice», «give paw», «come here». It is essential to praise your dog, as well as to give it treats, for successfully completing commands. If the pet does not listen to you, it is important not to beat it. It will only damage its psyche. Patience and love are key instrument for communicating with a Golden Retriever. The training process should take no longer than 15–20 minutes every day. If it is too long, the dog might lose interest to learning something new. If you do not manage to get on well with the dog, you can take it to a course of training.

It is important not to forget about dog`s socialization, and to teach it to walk on a leash. Take your pet outside and get it used to other animals, people and sounds. After the dog turns 6 months old, you need to help it get used to water by bringing the pet close to nature. If the dog was bought for hunting, start teaching it to search for game. Before the dog starts working with real game, it need to know how to bring similar-looking dolls. For this, throw something you made yourself to the dog and tell it to come to you and bring the doll, so that the dog can boast about its skills. After your Golden Retriever turns 12 months old, start working on the «apport» command, as well as developing endurance for hunting. Additionally, you can take your dog to special courses, where an experienced hunter will work on small details of this procedure with the pet.

Apart from hunting, Retrievers can be used for doing sports: dog-frisbee, flyball, freestyle, coursing and agility.


Golden Retrievers are large dogs. Their body is strong and muscular. Despite there is only one standard of the breed, there are 3 types of Golden Retrievers: English, American and Canadian. English pets differ by light coat color, large paws and a wide skull. American Golden Retrievers have an elegant posture and a dark coat color. Canadian ones have a thin body and the darkest out of the 3 types coat color.
Long and stiff, water-repellent, thick. An undercoat is present.
All shades of golden: from light-creamy to dark-brown. White hairs can grow on chest.
Big, but proportional to body length. It is of a convex form. The snout is elongated. There is a bump on the back of the head. 
Big and rounded, deeply set. Their color varies from brown to dark-brown.
Long and floppy. They are wide at the base, get thinner at the tip.
Of medium length, high-set and muscular. 
Straight and muscular.
Long and bushy. It is wide at the base, gets thinner down to the tip. It is located below the line of the back.

Basic Care

Golden Retrievers require medium amount of time to be groomed. Their thick hair has to be brushed twice a week. During the molting period — in spring and fall — every day, using a furminator and a slicker. These pets molt a lot. Apart from molting, hair of Retrievers does not smell nice. It needs to be washed in a special solution of: a glass of vodka and a glass of water, 2 teaspoons of vinegar concentrate and a teaspoon of salt. Mix all this and apply it to dog`s hair.

Retrievers need to be given a bath once a month, using shampoos and conditioners for longhair pets. After the procedure, use a hairdryer. Apart from getting their hair washed, Retrievers can get haircuts. It needs to be done following the direction of hair growth — it is better to start from the neck and go up. Wipe your pet`s paws after each street walk. Check its eyes and ears once a week and clean them when needed. If there is dirt in dog`s ears, it needs to be taken away using wipes and boiled water. Wipe pet`s eyes using cotton pads, soaked in chilled tea leaves. You should clean your dog`s ears once in 10 days with a special brush and a zoo-paste. As an alternative, you can give your pet treats that help clean up teeth. 

Golden Retrievers need to be fed with either high-quality dry or natural food. Dry food of premium quality contains vitamins and minerals, needed for your dog`s health. If you choose to feed your dog with natural ingredients, 50% of the diet needs to be filled with not greasy meat — beef, mutton, rabbit meat and turkey. Additionally, you can give your dog offals. Count pet`s daily dose of products following such formula: 10–20 kg of meat equal 1 kg of pet`s body weight. Apart from meat, feed your dog with: grains — buckwheat and rice; stewed vegetables — pumpkin, carrot, cabbage, turnip and beet; fat free dairy products — cottage cheese, kefir and sour milk. Dry and natural food can change one another. However, it is important not to mix them into one portion. A puppy under the age of 4 months needs to eat 5 times a day, under 6 months — 4 times a day, under 8 months — 3 times a day, then — twice a day (in the morning and in the afternoon).

For comfortable life, Golden Retrievers need constant interaction with people and physical exercises. They can live both inside and outside. It is crucial not to enchain dogs of this breed. Remember that it is not a guard dog. Walk the pet for at least 60 minutes twice a day.

Health and Illnesses

Golden Retrievers can live up to 14 years if treated well. Their health is strong. However, there are some hereditary health problems that can affect dog`s life: hip dysplasia and retinal atrophy.

Hip dysplasia is a congenital disorder that might lead to loss of ability to walk. It develops because of disrupted formation of the acetabulum, which head of the femoral bone is located in. When acetabulum forms in a right way, they work together and let the dog walk. However, when acetabulum becomes flat, head of the femoral bone gets dislocated and starts rubbing against the joint, destroying its structure. Because of it, the pet feels pain while walking. It is impossible to cure dysplasia. However, its development can be slowed down, if treatment is offered in time.

Retinal atrophy is a hereditary health problem that affects retina of both eyes and leads to blindness. It develops because of destruction of cells, that are responsible for accepting light rays, in the retina. It is impossible to cure retinal atrophy.

Von Willebrand’s syndrome disrupts blood clotting. It develops due to poor secretion of a protein, responsible for destruction of thrombi. It leads to constant spontaneous bleeding.
Apart from hereditary health problems, Retrievers are prone to obesity. Because of being overweight, pets might suffer from arthritis, heart disorders and abdominal bloating. That is why it is crucial to control your dog`s diet and to train it physically.

History of the Breed

Golden Retrievers appeared due to love of hunting of British aristocrats. In the 19th century, hunting, especially shooting ducks and swamp game was a popular way to spend time. Gentlemen would meet every week in forests and swamps, competing in who was better hunter and had a better rifle. There were enough breeds in the hound family, however, pets that were able to swim and get through swamp thickets were in deficiency. 

A Scotish lords and hunter Dudley Majoribanks is believed to be the founder of the breed. In 1858, he visited a show in circus. One of performing dogs amazed him with its skills and intelligence. It was a Russian Shepherd. Finally, he bought the dog from director of the circus and began the breeding work. Thanks to the fact that Dudley was making notes about the process, it is now known which breeds were used for creating the breed of Golden Retrievers: Tweed Water Spaniels, Labradors, Bloodhounds and Straight-haired Retrievers. He only used dogs of golden and red colors for that purpose.

A dog handler, named Elma Stonex, found lord`s notes in 1920. By that time, Golden Retrievers were already accepted by English Kennel Club and gained much popularity in Europe, the USA and Canada. In 1954, International Kennel Union officially recognized the breed.