Photo: Ellie Beals and David Skinner
The most glamorous of the retriever family, the Golden was developed in the mid-19th century by a Scotsman, Sir Dudley Majoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth. The romantic story that first unfolded concerned Sir Dudley visiting a circus and being so taken with a troupe of Russian sheepdogs that he bought them all. But when his breeding records were made public, they revealed the Golden was all sporting blood. It had been created by crossing the wavy-coated Retriever with the yellow Tweed Water Spaniel. The offspring were crossed with the Irish Setter and the sandy-coloured Bloodhound. Linebreeding finally created the Golden. It was first granted breed status in Britain in 1913. Among the most ingratiating of breeds, the Golden’s manners win friends for him wherever he’s seen.
As a family pet, especially with children, the breed has few equals. The Golden is noted for being friendly, reliable and trustworthy. In addition to being a gentle-mouthed retriever, the breed excels in obedience and shines as a guide dog for the seeing-impaired.
A powerful and active dog, the Golden does well in suburban or country environments where he gets lots of outdoor exercise, but keep him well-fenced for his own protection.
Strong and upstanding males measure from 23-24 in (58-61 cm) at the shoulder and weigh from 65-75 lb (29.5-34 kg). Females are somewhat smaller.
The dense and water-repellent coat lies flat against the body and may be straight or wavy. It is firm and resilient. There’s moderate feathering on the back of the forelegs and heavier feathering on the front of the neck, back of thighs and underside of tail.
It’s golden, of course, but in various shades of gold.
Regular brushing is the only grooming required outside of the occasional bath.