golden retriever profile breed

Golden Retriever

A family favourite across the generations, the loyal and always smiling Golden Retriever is a regular feature of popular UK dog breed lists.

Golden Retriever Profile


Golden Retrievers are people pleasers and have adorned family homes across the UK for many decades, remaining one of the most popular breeds since their introduction. Quick to learn, adaptable, and reliable, it’s easy to see why this breed is favourite across the world.


The name gives us a hint into the breed’s origins, Retrievers were originally bred as gun dogs, retrieving game that their masters had shot down during their hunt. It during the mid to late 19th Century in the Scottish Highlands that the grandfather of the Golden Retriever, Dudley Majoribanks, the first Lord of Tweedmouth, was looking for a dog that was deft at retrieving waterfowl from rainy climates, rivers and marshes, which goes someway to explaining the Golden Retrievers love for water. 


To achieve this, Lord Tweedmouth used a range of traits already present in his Yellow Retrievers, which were established working dogs during the time. This breed was crossed with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, creating the long coated breed, as comfortable fetching waterfowl from marshes as it was in the family home. As time passed, additions to the original bloodline were added from the Irish Setter and Bloodhounds. 


The Golden Retriever was accepted as an official breed by the Kennel club 1903, however the name during that time was “retriever- yellow or golden”, but officially became Golden Retriever in 1920. Around 1910 the breed found a home in the US and Canada, which is where slight variations of the beed began to flourish in each region. The American variation of the Golden Retriever is smaller and less muscular than their British Cousins having a deeper, shinier and more golden coat. The Canadian Golden Retriever variations have darker and thinner coats but are taller than the two other breed variations.

Behaviour & Personality

  • Golden Retrievers are well known for their affectionate and supportive personality, one of the key reasons they are popular family dogs, rarely displaying aggressive or overly protective behaviour
  • Although originally bred as working dogs, the Golden Retriever is comfortable relaxing at home with the family, having a more calm disposition than Border Collies and other working dogs
  • They’re an intelligent dog so keep them active to engage their natural curiosity
  • These dogs love nothing more than pleasing their owners with task based activities, be that in a home or work environment
  • Golden Retrievers are an excellent choice for both first time dog owners and families, but ensure you give this breed enough interaction time each day. The breed is known to suffer from separation anxiety if left too long alone in the house


  • This breed has a luscious double coat, perfect for retrieving waterfowl in the wild and keeping relatively warm and dry underneath, however that does mean that the breed takes a fair amount of upkeep in the grooming department.
  • Golden Retrievers need frequent brushing, often daily, due to their excessive shedding, this keeps their coat and skin gleaming with healthy oils plus removes any shed hair that can easily get tangled up in that double layer coat
  • These dogs were bred to retrieve waterfowl, meaning a love of water is deep rooted into any golden retriever. Because of this, it’s common for retrievers to need regular baths due to mud and dirt on their coat, however it’s also important not to over bathe these dogs as it can cause an imbalance in their skin’s pH. Use specialised dog shampoo when bathing Golden Retrievers to minimise and skin issues from over bathing
  • It’s a good idea to take your Golden Retriever to be professionally groomed once to twice a year, this prevents any knots or tangles taking hold and causing infections
golden retriver breed cover

Exercise and Training

  • Golden Retrievers are former working dogs, meaning they are full of energy and love to be challenged. Ensure this breed is getting at least 2 hours exercise daily, some of which should be fairly rigorous and challenging for the dog
  • This is an intelligent breed, who excel as task driven work and play. Give your golden retriever plenty of mental stimulation each day involving toys, fetching and exploring new environments. If Golden Retrievers don’t get enough physical and mental exercise each day then unwanted, destructive behaviours can occur
  • Golden Retrievers respond best to positive reinforcement for training and can be sensitive to a firm hand or harsh vocal commands. These dogs perform exceptionally well at task based skills and learning, which is why it’s so common to find Golden Retrievers as assistant dogs for the blind or disabled. Teach these dogs a range of commands from a young age to keep them happy and engage


  • Gold Retrievers can live long happy lives, between 11-12 years with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. Sadly, cancer is the biggest killer of this breed, with around 50-60% of Golden Retrievers passing from this disease, the most common being hemangiosarcoma
  • Hip dysplasia is often experienced by these dogs, a hereditary disease that causes pain and walking difficulties, luckily this can be tested for with a dog DNA test
  • Elbow dysplasia is also common in Golden Retrievers, another hereditary joint affliction that can be tested for
  • Hereditary Cataracts (HC), but also Progress Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Multifocal Retinal Dysplasia (MRD) all of which can be tested for with a DNA test

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