Get to know the Golden Retriever
All you need to know about the breed
With their bright and bouncy demeanour, it’s hard to believe that the Golden Retriever was originally bred as a finely-honed gun dog. Today, they are rather better known for their loyal and faithful temperament, that lovely lolloping stride and their glorious golden coat. The Golden Retriever also has a playful, puppyish side to their personality, even as an adult.
That said, they do retain some of the qualities from their former hunting days. Known for their great sporting and working prowess, Golden Retrievers have excellent tracking abilities. As such, they are often utilised by search-and-rescue teams in the hunt for missing people. At the same time, their gentle temperament makes them ideal as guide dogs for the blind or visually impaired persons. They make good therapy dogs too.
One thing they definitely aren’t, however, is a watchdog. In fact, they’re more likely to wag their tails at an intruder than anything else!
Most of all, though, Golden Retrievers are perhaps best known as a cherished family pet. Great with children and other animals once trained, they form deep bonds with their human families – and the feeling is mutual. Along with German Shepherds and Labradors, Golden Retrievers are frequently cited as one of the three most popular breeds in the world.
In terms of their appearance, Golden Retrievers have a thick, water-resistant coat with a dense undercoat. This can vary in colour from a pale gold to a deeper amber shade and everything in-between. The one constant is that it is very thick, and built to withstand the elements. But this does mean it requires a fair bit of grooming. Golden Retrievers are also known for being quite a high-shedding breed.
With their hunting-dog background, Golden Retrievers do need a fairly high level of daily exercise too – whether that’s a walk, a jog or running after a ball. Retriever by name, retriever by nature, they like nothing better than fetching an object and bringing it back to you. So, if you can indulge your Golden Retriever in this, they’ll be your number one fan.
2 facts about Golden Retrievers
Things to look out for
From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Golden Retriever
Be sure to check their ears regularly
Among the more common afflictions that can affect the Golden Retriever is a condition called ‘otitis’ – otherwise known as ear infections. This is sometimes caused by an allergy and can be painful and itchy for the dog. In more serious cases, it can also result in hearing damage. As a result, ears should be checked weekly for any sign of infection and, in the event of anything unusual, your Golden Retriever should be taken straight to your vet. Professional examinations are also recommended at least twice a year.
They can also experience joint complaints
Like a number of other dog breeds, Golden Retrievers have a genetic predisposition to something called hip dysplasia – a condition in which the ball and socket become out of kilter. This can lead to pain and inflammation and also result in arthritis later on in the dog’s life. However, the condition can be managed, so have a chat with your vet about the options available. For example, if your Golden Retriever is carrying excess weight, this can magnify the condition, so it’s important that they have a carefully balanced diet. In severe cases, surgery can also be an option.
Be aware of any changes in their body
Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers can also be susceptible to several types of cancer – including lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma and mast cell tumours.
As early detection is key, it’s important to keep an eye out for any unusual symptoms, in particular any lumps and bumps, obvious pain or laboured breathing. Your Golden Retriever’s grooming sessions can be a good opportunity to give your dog the once-over. Unfortunately, if an internal organ is affected, it can be much harder to spot. So if your Golden Retriever seems a bit off-colour, refuses to eat or loses weight, have them checked. Comprehensive examinations with your vet are also recommended at least twice a year.
Caring for your Golden Retriever
Grooming, training and exercise tips