Golden Retriever: The Ultimate Guide 2020
Are you thinking of buying a Golden Retriever & want to know all about the breed? Maybe you already own one and want to know about the common health problems or how to feed them. Well.... look no further as this is the Ultimate Breed Guide for Golden Retrievers that will cover everything to know about this amazing dog breed.
The Golden Retriever breed has always been popular among families and other dog owners, they are known to be smart, loyal, and are used in many different areas of work, such as service dogs, hunting dogs, etc. The Golden Retriever has always been a popular breed but their popularity grew after the well-known movie Marley&Me came out and gave us an inside view to what it was like owning a Golden Retriever.
Golden retrievers are used to having lots of space to run and play, Golden Retrievers used for hunting and as service dogs, this makes them unsuitable apartment living unless you're prepared to go for walks often and to play many rounds of fetch in the park. This has earned Retriever breed a low score of 2/5 stars for apartment living suitability.
The Golden Retrievers are not high maintenance when it comes to caring, but they do take time to mature. Thankfully, because of their intelligence, they are easy to train but you should know that they are very social animals with a high sensitivity level and a low tolerance for being alone. This is why you will often find that many other Retriever owners have more than one dog to keep their Golden Retriever company. They score 5/5 stars when it comes to sensitivity levels and low 1/5 stars for tolerating being alone.
Over the years the Retrievers coats have adapted to suit most weather conditions. Their top coats act as a buffer and are slightly water-resistant, their undercoat provides insulation that keeps them warm in winter and helps them keep cool in summer. It's because of this adaptation of their coats that the golden retrievers score 3/5 stars in with a tolerance for both warm and cold conditions.
Golden retrievers are known for their obedience, playfulness, intelligence, and being well mannered. They are a very active breed of dog who loves to be involved with whatever the family is doing and they hate to miss out on anything. Golden Retrievers are a very friendly breed and as such, they don't make very good guard dogs. You will find that if they do bark at strangers it would be to say hello and not as a warning.
Whether you are a first-time owner or you've always had a Retriever in your life one thing never changes. They take longer to mature than most dog breeds. Many owners compare the first two years of having a Golden Retriever to having a very energetic large toddler in the house creating havoc.
Health And Grooming Needs
The golden retrievers have a lot of energy to burn and they are happy to take part in any and all outdoor activities whether it is going for walks joining on hikes, playing fetch, or going for a swim! A bored golden retriever is a naughty golden retriever without enough exercise or toys to play with and chew, Retrievers form bad habits- like chewing up your couch.
Golden Retrievers are known for their long soft coats and to look and feel as silky as it does it will take some effort on your side to maintain it. Although you may be able to get away with a weekly brush, to keep the shedding down to a minimum, a daily brush is considered optimal. Thankfully because the Retriever is a very active breed, their nails tend to stay short, it was a strong good idea to trim nails once a month. A monthly bath helps to keep the ticks and fleas and other parasites under control, a good bath will help to soften their nails, making them a lot easier to trim.
Golden retrievers were originally bred as hunting dogs and as such have got a high metabolism, it's important to feed them the right balance of nutrients to make sure that they don't burn too much energy and end up being underweight, on the opposite end of the scale you also need to make sure that they are not getting too much food. Like with most dogs when they are fed too much and eat more than they should, they get overweight. Unfortunately, the Golden Retrievers are susceptible to obesity, luckily there are brands that cater to the Retrievers specific needs. Some of these top brands include the Blue Buffalo Wilderness High Protein, Royal Canin and Merrick Grain-Free dry dog food each of these has been tailor-made to suit the Golden Retrievers nutrient needs, the table below will act as a guide to help you understand how much to feed your Golden Retriever, going by weight and how active they are during the day:
Golden Retrievers are well known for their obedience and intelligence, and because of this, they are on top of the class in puppy training school. Golden Retrievers love to make their humans happy and would do anything for some head pats and their favorites treat. Unfortunately, Retrievers are not fond of leash training so it's a good idea to train them when they are young, too much pulling or tugging on the collar can lead to spinal and neck injuries. This is where the harness and lead combo would be best, the harness is more animal friendly and helps the owners peace of mind knowing that whenever their retriever pulls or tugs, the harness will not give you some extra control over their strength but it will also keep them from hurting themselves.
There are a few tips and tricks to help your Golden Retriever training go smoothly:
Like children, Golden Retrievers learn well through playing games. To keep your Retrievers interested and involved during each training session using a happy tone of voice rather than a stone one, retrievers react well to positive reinforcement.
Remember that Golden Retrievers are sensitive to your tone of voice, having patience is key when training Retriever puppies. In the beginning to keep their attention keep the tasks small and the rewards big, this will make them more eager to please in the future and make learning bigger tasks easier as well.
During training, Golden Retrievers are highly motivated by food and often by play. So after completing a task by favorite reward would be either favorite treats or by getting to play with their favorite chew toy. Play rewarding specific behaviors with treats you are teaching your Retriever to love learning, my teaching your golden retriever to be an enthusiastic learner you are making training sessions more fun.
When training your golden retriever clicker training is recommended as it is extremely effective and used worldwide to train all kinds of breeds. Using the training method it can help you communicate very clear feedback when your dog does get something right.
Many Retriever owners do not use the clicker method they have found that voice training is just as effective when used consistently make sure that the “no” is stern and the tone used for rewarding good behavior is light and playful
To help your golden retriever complete their training more effectively it helps to make it a part of a daily routine for instance make them sit before they receive their breakfast and dinner. repetition is key making a part of your daily routine for making it feel more natural for your retriever during your training sessions
If your Retriever is part of a pack and part of your family it is good to be sure that they are in good terms with each member. It's important to encourage each member of the family to practice the basic skills with your Retriever including sit, down, off, stay, and come.
This will help you to avoid an issue that many owners have with large dogs of only listening to one person, listening to different members of the family will create a more well-rounded and well mannered golden retriever
All members of the family must agree to the same set of rules for the house for your dog. consistency is key the dog will understand better and maintain their Behaviour when they know where they stand and keep your guidelines consistent. It is ok for the older members of the family such as parents to start the training of basic commands first and then, later on, show the children how.
The Different Types of Golden Retrievers
When looking at the different types of Golden Retriever, it’s easy to get confused. When looking at these Golden Retrievers the only difference between them is on a physical level and not in their temperaments or health.
These physical differences have naturally emerged through breeding and the Retriever adapting to their environments. There are 3 “main types” of Golden Retriever that will be covered, the Canadian Golden Retriever, the British Golden Retriever, and the American Golden Retriever.
1. Canadian Golden Retriever
The Canadian Golden Retriever looks slightly different from the other two in that their coats are slightly thinner and shorter and they are generally taller than the other two types of Golden Retriever. Some are measured up to 2-inches taller than their cousins.
2. British Golden Retriever
The British Golden Retriever has similar long, silky, creamy coats and is the height as their American cousin. They don’t have any difference in temperaments either, you’re probably asking how are they different?
It’s a slight variation but still noticeable enough to tell them apart, the British Golden Retrievers have a broader skull and more powerful chest. They will also have rounder and darker eyes, most likely to help them with the reflection of the sun off the snow in winter.
3. American Golden Retriever
The American Golden Retrievers are lankier and less muscular than their cousins, and their coats are slightly darker than the British Golden Retriever. Their eyes are another strong indication of the American Golden Retriever, they are slightly lighter than their British cousins and they are shaped differently, their eyes are triangular or slanted instead of the standard rounded shape.
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized breed that was bred to fetch waterfowl after being shot down during shooting and hunting parties. This is thought to have originated in Scotland in the mid-19th century, the peak of wild bird hunting. Scotland is well known for its wet marshlands and needed a dog who could retrieve the downed game from both land and water and at the time the Russian Retriever was not well suited for water retrieval. They decided to cross their two best-hunting dogs, so they crossed the Retriever with the best water spaniels, the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, to get the best of both worlds, and we could say that they succeeded! The new cross-breed became the one that we all love today, the Golden Retriever.
Dudley Marjoribanks, later known as Lord Tweedmouth, purchased “Nous” from a cobbler near the town of Brighton in southern England in 1865. The only yellow puppy in a litter of black Wavy-Coated retrievers was whelped in 1864. Lord Tweedmouth was keenly interested in the breeding of quality livestock as well as dogs. His interest in retrievers stemmed from the personal desire to develop a superb retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain, and type of available game. In 1868 and 1871, breedings of Nous to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed now extinct), resulted in several yellow pups that became the foundation for a distinctive line of yellow retrievers. These pups were then bred with water spaniels, an Irish setter, Labrador retrievers, and a couple more wavy-coated black retrievers.
It was only in 1903, that the Golden Retriever was accepted for registration by The Kennel Club and 5 years later were allowed in dog shows, but it was only in 1911 that the Golden Retriever was recognized as a breed of dog.
With such a popular breed, it’s not surprising that when people want to find their perfect companion, they turn to many Golden Retrievers mixes. Some of the most popular crossbreeds are the Australian Retriever, the Golden Cocker Retriever, and the Gollie, below we will have a closer look at each of these:
The Australian Retriever is a mix between the Golden Retriever and the Australian Shepherd, With both parent breeds being working dogs, the Australian Retriever has good herding instincts but they are friendly and loyal dogs and very easy to train. The Australians Retrievers, or Aussies, have a coarse coat that can either be slightly wavy or straight and stiff. They come in various colors and shades with combinations of colors including black, blonde, brindle, brown, golden, and merle. These energetic and affectionate dogs are usually well built with a broadhead.
Aussies are very intelligent and loyal dogs, they are very loving towards their owners and families and are very good with children. They are energetic and playful but can be quite possessive over their family members. While they are not known to bark a lot, Australian Retrievers make good watchdogs and are very easy to train.
Golden Cocker Retriever
This crossbreed is normally small to medium in size and is the result of mixing the Golden Retriever and the Cocker Spaniel, like both parents the Golden Cocker is sweet and intelligent. The Golden Cocker has many different coat colors, they are sometimes referred to as a mystery puppy, as breeders cannot be certain what they will look like until they have fully matured.
Despite a history of hunting companions in both parent breeds, this mix is much more suitable as a family pet due to their loyalty and friendliness. Golden Cocker Retrievers usually have no problems getting along with kids. This is a gentle and playful mixed breed that will happily play with your children.
The Gollie is the result of mixing Golden Retrievers and the Border Collies, and like both their parents these dogs are loving, clever, and energetic. Gollies or Golden Collies generally have a serene and gentle personality, with a tolerance for children, they make great family companions but need space to run, play, and get rid of all their extra energy.
Gollies are a medium to a large-sized dog with a long, straight coat that is prone to getting tangles, they are often golden in color but can also be white, black, and brown. Gollies tend to be leaner than their Golden Retriever parent, they have an athletic silhouette, basically a streamlined Golden Retriever. Due to the amount of fur they have in their coats, the Gollies require regular grooming sessions, it usually needs to be brushed from nose to tail about three or four times a week, during the shedding season, this will increase daily as these dogs can shed a great deal.
Golden Retrievers can be a great family dog for an active family because of their high energy levels, but also their calm natures and intelligence. They can be easy dogs to train and can make good first dogs for new dog owners, they can be trained to be gentle with all members of the household. As much as the Golden Retriever is patient, keep in mind that patience only goes so far, make sure everyone in the household knows to be kind and gentle with them as well.
Golden Retrievers are very social animals, they form close bonds with their families, this includes other pets and children. They are playful, yet gentle with those smaller than they are. Golden Retrievers are intelligent and patient, and they love to be involved with whatever the family is doing. Keep them active and make sure they feel a part of the pack and you’ll find yourself a great companion you can trust with your children.
Golden Retrievers are prone to various forms of skin problems, often involving the skin within the ear, this can be caused by trapped grass seeds, parasites, or allergies. This leads to what is known as Otitis, simply meaning inflammation of the ear canal. Otitis causes an extreme itch in the ear, you’ll notice your Retriever shake its head and constantly scratch it, it can be treated with medication, however, if Otitis is caused by allergies the treatment will be for the rest of the dog's life.
There are three types of seizures in dogs: reactive, secondary, and primary. Reactive seizures are caused by the brain’s reaction to a metabolic problem like low blood sugar, organ failure, or a toxin. Secondary seizures are the result of a brain tumor, stroke, or trauma. If no other cause can be found, the disease is called primary, or idiopathic epilepsy. This is often inherited from the parents and occurs commonly in Golden Retrievers, the signs will appear between 6 months and 3 years. Lifelong medication is recommended to help keep seizures under control if your dog has a seizure you need to carefully try and prevent them from hurting themselves, but don’t try to control their mouth or tongue. It won’t help them, and they may bite you accidentally.
Horner's syndrome is a common disorder of a sudden loss of stimulation of the nerves of the eyes and area surrounding the eyes, this can be caused by trauma, eye infections, or eye disease. It can be treated with medication but with most cases, it’s shown to heal itself within 6 months.
Golden Retrievers are prone to Hypothyroidism, this happens when the body doesn't make enough of the thyroid hormone. There are warning signs of hypothyroidism such as dry skin and coat, hair loss, weight gain, or behavioral changes. This can normally be treated by hormone replacement pills that are to be taken for the rest of their lives.
Golden Retrievers can develop lumps and bumps in the layers of fat, skin, and muscle that cover their bodies. These might be warts, cysts, lipomas, or tumors, such as mast cell tumors. Mast cells are normal skin cells that help dogs respond to trauma and damage by releasing histamine. Sometimes, these cells can duplicate themselves into a serious type of tumor called a mast cell tumor. They vary widely in size and shape, but mostly take the form of a solid lump within the skin. Lipomas are benign (non-cancerous), slow-growing fatty lumps that can also be found under the skin.
Depending on the sizes and where they are, surgery would be needed to remove them.
When vets talk about Dysplasia they are referring to how the joints fit together, Hip or Elbow Dysplasia means that these joints aren’t fitting perfectly together. Over time this will cause arthritis, you can notice this when you see your Retriever showing any lameness or stiffness when walking and getting up. Keep in mind that overweight dogs may develop arthritis years earlier than those of normal weight, arthritis is treatable through medication, and in extreme cases, surgery may be required.
Golden Retrievers can also suffer from the cruciate disease, where the cruciate ligament, which crosses inside the knee joint, slowly frays and gets weaker and eventually snaps. At the moment there is no clear cause of this disease, though some studies show that there is a strong genetic link. A clear sign of the cruciate disease is sudden lameness and inflammation around the joint. Surgery would be the recommended treatment, and in most cases, the dogs lead a happy healthy lifestyle.
The Golden Retriever may not be high maintenance when it comes to grooming, but a regular routine is important. When you groom your Retriever it gives you the perfect opportunity to get them a full check, look for any lumps and bumps, inspect their ears and makes there are no signs of infection, check their nails and make sure they aren’t too long, you should also check their teeth and make sure that their gums are healthy.
A weekly brush of the Golden Retrievers helps to keep their shedding to a minimum and helps to strengthen your bond with the dog. They love to be petted, a weekly groom would be like an extreme petting session for them.
A bath every 6 weeks is ideal for the Retriever, a good bath will get rid of any parasites, ticks, or fleas that may be in their coats, the bath will also help soften up their nails to make trimming easier. Make sure to dry their coats properly though, Golden Retrievers have a double coat that normally helps keep water off their skin, and when it’s completely wet it traps the water in.