Golden Retriever.jpg
Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-C: Retrievers and Waterdogs
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 65-75 pounds. Females: 55-70 pounds.
Height Males: 22-24 inches. Females: 20-23 inches.
Other Name(s) Golden Flat Coat
Breed Type Pure
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Golden Retriever

Breed Group Group 11: Gun Dog Breeds
Sub-group 11-C: Retrievers and Waterdogs
Origin Country Great Britain
Weight Males: 65-75 pounds. Females: 55-70 pounds.
Height Males: 22-24 inches. Females: 20-23 inches.
Other Name(s) Golden Flat Coat
Breed Type Pure
click here for FULL BREED STANDARD

Breed Spotlight

Origins

The modern-day Golden Retriever shares some history with the Flat-Coated Retriever and Labrador Retriever, which are all descendant of the now extinct Canadian landrace—St. John’s Water Dogs. During the 19th century, these dogs were brought from Newfoundland to England. There, these dogs impressed the English with their retrieving abilities and intelligence. Motivated by the English countrymen’s awe of the breed, the second Earl of Marlesbury founded the first breeding kennel for these types of dogs. Having noticed the St. John’s Water Dogs’ hunting and swimming abilities, as well as their good disposition, English sportsmen began using Retrievers to replace Pointers and Setters. Those imported from Newfoundland were considered the superior retriever. Although the yellow-colored coats would appear from time to time, the black Labradors and Flat-Coated Retrievers were more popular.

However, Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth, had taken a liking to the yellow coats and decided to develop a breed apart. In the late 1800s Lord Tweedmouth acquired a yellow Flat-Coated Retriever from which he started his breeding program. The yellow retriever was bred to the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, and offspring again crossed to more yellow Labradors, Irish Setters, and other light-colored retrievers, and reportedly, perhaps even a bloodhound. What Lord Tweedmouth eventually resulted in was what was known as the Golden Flat-Coated Retriever, a dog designed to be a perfect bird dog. He could retrieve upland game and waterfowl from the Scottish Highlands. The Kennel Club of England first recognized the breed in 1903, assigning the name of “Flat Coats-Golden” to the retrievers. The name of the breed was not officially changed to the “Golden Retriever” until 1920.

The first Golden Retrievers arrived in the United States in the 1920s. The American Golden Retrievers today vary slightly from the Golden Retrievers in England. In the United States, the Golden Retrievers are known for their rich Golden hues, lighter, and less-wavy coats, while English Goldens tend to be lighter in color, heavier in substance, and with slightly more wave.

Today, the charming demeanor and instinctive ability of the Golden Retriever make this breed one of the most popular and sought-after family pets in many parts of the world. The Golden Retriever is also associated with a variety of important canine services and duties. A guide to the blind, an aid to the elderly, an unrivaled hunting companion, and a loyal family member; these are just a few of the titles associated with this incredible and unique breed.

Breed Characteristics

Head: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, somewhat wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is broad, being as wide across the top (measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to the stop). It is slightly arched both from front and in profile. It is without extremes, or prominence of occiput or brow. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Eyes: Moderate to large in size and well-opened. They may be open-almond, open-oval, or diamond in shape. They range from medium to dark brown in color (the darker the better) in standard-colored dogs, but may also include amber to hazel in non-standard colors. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Narrow, almond, or obliquely set eyes are not preferred. Eyes should be free from any obvious health or structural issues including but not limited to entropion, ectropion, trichiasis, or distichiasis.
Ears: Moderate in size, broad, somewhat short, and set back on the skull. The base of the ears at the front edge is level with the eyes when in repose. The inner edge and tip falls close head, with the tip reaching no further than the jawline, or just covering the eye when held forward. The ears are never fly-away, long, overly large, or broken.
Muzzle: Strongly developed, broad, full, deep, and of a moderate size. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. There is only a slight taper of the muzzle from the broad base to the nose. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length and have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. Faded or brownish-black noses are permissible. Self-colored liver noses are permissible in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The chest should be as wide as an average man’s closed hand. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed.
Body: Well-balanced, close-coupled, solid, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually just above, level with, or below the level of the topline. It is never tucked or carried up over the back. Tails are medium in length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.
Movement: The movement of the Golden Retriever is true of a correct working dog. It should be effortless, efficient, and energetic. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.
Temperament: A Golden Retriever is considered an ideal dog for nearly any purpose. From assisting a sportsman in the field, to guiding the visually impaired, there aren’t many things that a Golden Retriever isn’t suited for. They are well-known for their high degree of intelligence, even-temperament, and friendly nature toward other dogs and people. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.
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Breed Standard

BREED GROUP 11: Gun Dog Breeds

Proportions: Somewhat off-square to rectangular in body proportions, with length of the body, measured from the point of the forechest to the point of the rump being just slightly greater than the height at the withers. The ideal body-height-to-length ratio is between 5:4 and 10:9. The body is well put together, with sturdy substance and medium bone. Males should appear masculine, being more substantial in size and mass, while females should appear more feminine and slightly less substantial. Neither should lack overall type.

Head

General Appearance: Mesaticephalic skull-type, moderate in size, somewhat wedge-shaped, and in proportion to the rest of the body. The topskull is broad, being as wide across the top (measured in front of the ears) as it is long (from occiput to the stop). It is slightly arched both from front and in profile. It is without extremes, or prominence of occiput or brow. The head is clean-cut without excess skin or wrinkle.
Expression: The expression is gentle, lively, intelligent, and attentive.
Stop: The stop is well-defined, or moderate, but should be less than 90 degrees between the topskull and muzzle.
Skull: The ideal muzzle-to-skull ratio is 1:1 to 5:4, with the topskull being approximately equal to, or slightly greater in length to, the muzzle.
The ideal muzzle-to-skull axis is parallel or may be slightly convergent.
Muzzle: Strongly developed, broad, full, deep, and of a moderate size. The plane, or bridge of the muzzle, is straight. There is only a slight taper of the muzzle from the broad base to the nose. Upper and lower jaws are equal in length and have good bone substance, appearing strong and well-developed, never appearing snipy or weak.
Lips or Flews: Lips are slightly thick, but clean and fit tightly over the teeth and jaws. They should never appear loose or pendulous.
Nose: The nose is well-pigmented and black. Faded or brownish-black noses are permissible. Self-colored liver noses are permissible in non-standard color varieties. The nostrils are well-opened.
Cheeks: Some padding of the cheek is present. The cheeks should not appear chiseled or coarse.
Dentition and Bite: Forty-two strong, clean, white teeth. Bite may be level, scissor, or reverse-scissor. Contact must be made between the top and bottom incisors. Missing or broken teeth as a result of routine work is not to be penalized.
Eyes: Moderate to large in size and well-opened. They may be open-almond, open-oval, or diamond in shape. They range from medium to dark brown in color (the darker the better) in standard-colored dogs, but may also include amber to hazel in non-standard colors. The eye rims are well-fitted and well-pigmented. The eyes are never bulging. There should be sufficient bone in the surrounding orbital sockets to protect the eyes. Narrow, almond, or obliquely set eyes are not preferred. Eyes should be free from any obvious health or structural issues including but not limited to entropion, ectropion, trichiasis, or distichiasis.
Ears: Moderate in size, broad, somewhat short, and set back on the skull. The base of the ears at the front edge is level with the eyes when in repose. The inner edge and tip falls close head, with the tip reaching no further than the jawline, or just covering the eye when held forward. The ears are never fly-away, long, overly large, or broken.

Body and Tail

General Description: Well-balanced, close-coupled, solid, and of good substance. The body is never racy or refined. Width at forequarters is approximately equal to the width at the hindquarters.
Neck: Moderate length to allow for proud head carriage, strongly muscled with a slight arch. The neck tapers smoothly from the deeper and broader body toward the head. The neck is clean-cut, without excess skin, throatiness, or dewlap.
Chest: Deep, broad, but never wider than deep. The chest should be as wide as an average man’s closed hand. The brisket extends to the point of the elbows. The forechest is well-developed.
Topline: Straight and level from withers to croup. The back is broad, strongly muscled, and straight, yet supple. The loin is taut, flat, and level. The back is never swayed or roached.
Croup: Gently sloped, never flat or steep.
Underline: Slight tuck up present. The underline is taut and firm, without any indication of sagging or excess weight.
Ribs: Long, well-sprung, well-laid-back, oval-shaped, never barrel-chested or slab-sided.
Tail: Set neither high nor low on the croup, thick at the base and tapering toward the tip. Carried in accordance with the dog’s mood and energy level, usually just above, level with, or below the level of the topline. It is never tucked or carried up over the back. Tails are medium in length, with the tip of the last vertebrae extending to the hock joints when held down. The tail may be straight or gently curved.

Forequarters and Hindquarters

Forequarters: Forequarters are always in balance with the hindquarters. Forequarters are well-angulated with well-laid-back shoulder blades. Shoulder blades are approximately equal in length to the upper arm and forearm.
Elbows: Elbows are close to the body. The point of the elbows is approximately half the dog’s height at the withers
Forelegs: Frontal View: Straight, of good muscle, moderate bone, and parallel to one another.
Side View: The forelimbs appear straight with strong pasterns.
Pasterns: Never weak or broken.
Hindquarters: Upper thigh and lower thigh are equal in length, strong, sturdy, of moderate bone, and well-muscled.
Rear View: When viewed from the rear, the rear pasterns are parallel to one another.
Side View: Good angulation will allow the rear toes to align with the point of the rump or within one to two paw-lengths behind the point of the rump, with the rear pasterns remaining perpendicular to the ground and parallel to one another.
Stifle Joint: Well-angulated with a good bend to well-let-down rear pasterns.
Angulations: Angulation of hindquarters is always in balance with angulation of forequarters.
Feet: Oval to round, compact, with well-arched toes and tough pads.

Coat

Skin: Well-fitted, yet supple. The skin should never obstruct the outline of the dog.
Coat Type: Dense, resilient, water-repellent outer coat that may be flat or wavy, lying close to the body. Undercoat is dense and soft. Moderate feathering throughout body, heavier feathering on neck, forming ruff, front of chest, back of thighs, and tail.
Coat Color or Pattern: CKC recognizes two color varieties of the Golden Retriever breed: the standard color and nonstandard color variety.
Standard coat color variety: Any shade of gold or cream is permissible. Feathering may be somewhat lighter than the body coat. Graying and whitening of the face or body from age is not a fault.
Non-standard coat color variety: White Gold, English cream, Blonde Gold, Platinum Gold, Red Gold, Rose Gold, Mahogany Gold, Mahogany

Movement

The movement of the Golden Retriever is true of a correct working dog. It should be effortless, efficient, and energetic. The characteristics of healthy structure are evident: when moving away, the forelegs and rear pasterns should remain parallel to one another. When viewing movement from the front, the forelegs should remain parallel, with elbows and paws moving neither in nor out. From the rear, the back pads should be visible when the rear legs are extended. As speed increases, the forelimbs and hindlimbs will converge to the center line of gravity. From the side, the topline should remain firm and level. Good reach of movement in the front allows the forepaw to extend out in a line with the nose. The width between the forefeet when extended should be approximately equal to the width between the hindfeet when extended, indicating balance, good reach, and good drive. Dogs that exhibit any sign of breathing or locomotive difficulty shall be disqualified from the show ring.

Temperament

A Golden Retriever is considered an ideal dog for nearly any purpose. From assisting a sportsman in the field, to guiding the visually impaired, there aren’t many things that a Golden Retriever isn’t suited for. They are well-known for their high degree of intelligence, even-temperament, and friendly nature toward other dogs and people. Any unprovoked aggressive or fearful behavior toward people is incorrect for this breed.

Faults

All dogs should be in proper healthy condition, free from disease or defect. Any departure from this description is considered a fault. Unless altered, all male dogs should have two fully descended testicles.