Joy and loyalty wrapped in sunshine is the perfect description of the Golden Retriever, a top dog for families, handicapped owners, and obedience competitors. The Golden lives to learn, to generate smiles, to romp with the children, and to please his owners. He's a bundle of canine cheer without an unkind bone in his body."
--Dog Owners Guide, the online magazine for all pets and show dog owners
The Wonderful World of Goldens
The Golden Retriever originated in the Highlands of Scotland in the late 1800s and owes its development to Dudley Marjoribanks, (later known as Lord Tweedmouth), who was interested in breeding the ultimate sports dog.
In 1865 he purchased "Nous" from a cobbler near the town of Brighton in southern England. The only yellow puppy in a litter of black Wavy-Coated retrievers, Nous was whelped in 1864. Marjoribanks took this young dog with him to Guisachan, his estate in Scotland, to join his kennel of sporting dogs.
Marjoribanks' goal was to develop a superb retriever suited to the Scottish climate, terrain and type of available game. To that end, he bred Nous to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed now extinct), which resulted in several yellow pups that were to became the foundation for a distinctive line of yellow retrievers. Nous and Belle's descendants were combined with wavy and flat-coated retrievers, another Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red setter. Marjoribanks kept primarily the yellow puppies (and a few blacks) to continue his line.
A few Golden Retrievers, as we know the breed today, made their first appearance at dog shows about 1906, shown as "Retriever- Wavy or Flat Coated" in classes for those "of any other color".
The breed was officially recognized by The Kennel Club in 1911 as "Retriever- Yellow or Golden" and finally, "Retriever- Golden" in 1920. Early Golden Retrievers had appeared in Canada and the U.S. some years before their official recognition by either the Canadian (1925) or the American Kennel Club (1932).
From the first, the Golden Retriever has been a premier worker. His biddability and calm, sensible demeanor has earned devotees in many areas.
The physical and mental traits that make the Golden Retriever such a useful hunting companion also fit him for modern activities such as obedience competitor, tracking dog, show dog, guide and assistance dogs, search and rescue, and many other modern activities.
The Golden needs moderate daily exercise to maintain health and condition. His coat needs some grooming, and he does shed the soft undercoat.
Although he is wonderful with children and eager to please, the Golden Retriever should receive obedience training as early socialization and puppy classes help the young dog curb natural friendliness and exuberance for greeting people.
Training should be gentle and consistent, but never harsh. Owners need to be firm, though, since the Golden Retriever is a powerful animal that thinks it is a lapdog.
The Golden's natural inclination for friendliness can get it into trouble with other dogs and neighbors. Because the Golden Retriever requires a lot of attention, it may not be suitable for people with busy lifestyles.
The Golden diet should be a premium food, and owners must be careful not to overfeed. Many veterinarians and breeders recommend adult food of less than 25 percent protein instead of puppy food after three months of age. Owners must also guard against overweight in these dogs that often make a science of begging treats and table scraps.
It is not uncommon to hear veterinarians remakr, "Well, a skinny Golden--you don't see that every day!"