Acceptable color differences have helped this adorable breed become one of the most popular dogs in the British Isles. The coat can vary from light cream to dark gold. A proud upright retriever, the Golden Retriever is alert, responsive to training and has proven to be a very amiable family companion with a great disposition through plenty of exercise. It will live happily with young and old. Developed in Scotland in the late 1800s, the breed has been an excellent shooting companion for many years. Even so, the Golden Retriever is happy to live in a loving home environment, and it will return the love and affection given to it. Although the breed is susceptible to genetic problems, including hip dysplasia, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy, much has been done to eradicate these problems through selective breeding. The situation has improved in recent years thanks to the efforts of responsible breeders and is still moving in the right direction.
Who should I buy my puppy from?
Never buy a puppy from a “puppy farm”. Attend local public fairs and talk to exhibitors. We are helpful and usually know who has puppies in the area. Contact the breeder and book a visit. See puppies and their dams in a home setting. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make sure both Sire and Dam have hip x-rays and have their eyes checked to make sure they don’t have any genetic issues related to our breed. Question the temperament of a breeder’s stock. Golden Retriever Breeders are very gentle and should have a temperament with no signs of aggression. If you have any doubts about your ability to choose a puppy, ask someone who has experience to accompany you.
Is a dog or a bitch more suitable?
It will depend on personal preference. Dogs do tend to be more loyal and loving, but they are also heavier and stronger. They do require more exercise than bitches and are more prone to wandering around if given the chance. Bitches are the milder sex, but they do have a season about every six months. This will last about three weeks, during which the bitch must be kept safely away from the male (unless, of course, you plan to mate, but if you have the time and experience this may be done at a later date).
How much exercise?
As adults, golden retrievers need regular exercise, at least twice a day. When you first get your puppy, there is no need for exercise as it will exercise itself while playing. In fact, at this stage, sleep is more important and the puppy should have his own bed where he can rest at any time. When the puppy is 6 months old, it is recommended to gradually increase the lead level until he is about 18 months old. It is important to emphasize that Golden Retriever puppies should not be overly exercised.
How big are they?
Dogs are a bit taller than bitches and are clearly more masculine. The withers (top of the shoulders) will grow to 22 – 24 inches in dogs and 20 – 22 inches in female dogs. Male dogs are also heavier than female dogs.
Are Golden Retrievers Good Family Pets?
The simple answer is “yes”. Golden Retrievers are great with children, although they do need their own space. They are kind, biddable, and very good company. They are used as guide dogs and PAT dogs for the blind, providing companionship and interest to the elderly and infirm.
All dogs require more or less training. It depends on what you expect from your pet. As a family pet, lead training, potty training and basic obedience are a must. This will ensure that the animal lives happily with its family and behaves in a manner acceptable to the public with whom he comes into contact. Most city agencies are reluctant to welcome dogs (with the exception of guide dogs), probably mostly due to the bad publicity unfairly given to our dogs, but some are also allowed to behave in ways that damage their reputation. In rural areas, dogs wider popularity in public places, shops, etc. In general, dogs should behave well in public, and owners must be prepared to clean up if their dog has an accident.
- Buy from breeder.
- Make sure you see Dam and Sire’s hip and eye certificates.
- Follow breeder feeding instructions.
- Give the puppy a break. Educate your children about this.
- Find a good vet. Ask the locals for advice.
- Make sure your dog is trained. Firm but kind.
- Keep in touch with breeders. We do wonder how our puppies are progressing.
- Never be afraid to ask for advice, everyone has to learn.
Golden Retriever Rescue
If you want to give your rescue dog a good home, please contact your local rescuer. Many dogs need to be rehomed for many different reasons, such as the death of an owner, a broken marriage, moving abroad, etc. Golden Retrievers generally settle well.