Golden Retriever: Dog Breed Information
The golden retriever breed originated from the American dog. The first one was called “American Bulldog”. They were bred for fighting and they became very popular among the working class. Later it was discovered that these dogs could do well in other types of work too. So they started breeding them with other breeds such as the dachshund, pug, husky, bull terrier and others.
Today there are several different types of golden retrievers. Some of them have been used for hunting, some for police work, some are good guard dogs, some are good family pets and so on.
There are two main varieties of golden retrievers: the standard and the miniature. The standard variety is usually smaller than a pitbull or even a German shepherd. These dogs are generally not aggressive but they are still small enough to make them easy pickings for larger predators. The miniature variety is much smaller than the standard variety and they tend to be more docile. They may look like a cross between a chihuahua and a shih tzu.
The most common type of golden retriever is the American Staffordshire Terrier (or simply known as “Staffie”). This is the type you’re most likely to find as a pet or working at an airport, in a store or as a seeing eye dog. They are remarkably intelligent and easy to train. These dogs have a good temperament and can get along with children, other dogs and even cats. Though they were bred for fighting, they are now used for other types of work including search and rescue operations.
They are generally loving towards their owners but calm and aloof around strangers. Of course some of them are more protective than others. They will typically bark at strangers as a form of defense and they will instinctively try to defend their owners from intruders as well. These dogs can reach up to 70 pounds and their average lifespan is 10 to 12 years. They do shed and require grooming on a regular basis.
Golden Retriever Training
Like most breeds of dogs, golden retrievers respond very well to positive dog training techniques rather than intimidating or negative ones. If you have a golden retriever of your own then you know that they are probably naturally well-behaved and eager to please. Though these dogs are typically very gentle, they do require owners who are calm, confident and consistent.
The golden retrievers have a strong instinct to please their owners which means that they thrive on praise and positive attention. Most of them do not do well with harsh or cruel treatment of any kind. Owners need to establish themselves as the “alpha” of the pack early on so that they can avoid problems down the road.
Since they are very trainable dogs, they can also easily learn to differentiate between friendly and unfriendly people. This is an important quality for them as they tend to be trusting of strangers. Owners just need to be sure to supervise their dogs around unknown people or in situations where they might be uncomfortable.
Some of these dogs are natural born performers and love showing off for an audience. These are the types that can easily be trained to shake hands, sit up, roll over or even sing! Training classes are a lot of fun for these smart dogs and they will generally excel at them. They also enjoy tasks that keep them busy such as agility competitions, Frisbee competitions or searches.
Golden Retriever Grooming
Even though retrievers are known for their water resistant coats, they do still require regular grooming. Unless you want to spend your free time detangling a massive tangle of fur, you will need to brush your dog on a regular basis. Even if you have a professional groomer do it for you every few weeks, you will probably still need to take over the job at least once a month.
Ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection such as redness, swelling or a bad odor. Their teeth need to be brushed at least two to three times a week and their nails should be trimmed on a regular basis as well. Areas that are commonly prone to skin irritation due to rubbing should be properly identified and the dog’s hair should then be trimmed in those areas.
These dogs do shed most of the year but they typically go through heavy shedding periods a few times a year as well. There are several tools that can be used to remove dead or loose fur such as rubber bristled brushes, combs and even special brushes with fine metal teeth. It is important to start grooming your dog early and to do it often so he or she does not develop a fear of these sessions.
Golden Retriever Health Problems
It is very important that golden retrievers be fed a high quality diet specifically formulated for their breed. These dogs are particularly susceptible to bone, joint and heart problems so they need to be kept in prime physical condition. Giving them the proper nutrition and ample exercise can help to ward off a number of potential problems.
This is one of the breeds that is prone to develop cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) later in life. The PRA disease causes a permanent loss of sight and eventually becomes irreversible. It is considered an “elective” surgery to remove the lens of a dog’s eye which helps to slow down this disease but does not stop it entirely.
We do our best to keep our dogs free of fleas and ticks but accidents do happen. These little pests can cause a lot of skin irritation and even allergic reactions in some dogs. Some can even contract tapeworm from ingesting the parasite while grooming themselves.
If you are planning on taking your dog with you on vacation, be sure to check with the hotels or resorts beforehand to see if they have any special rules regarding pets. Many places have a “no pet” policy and this may be for several reasons. They may not want to mess with the hassle of cleaning up after your pet, they may be worried about people with pet allergies or perhaps they are just very pro-animal rights. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Even if they say no today, there is always a chance that they might say yes tomorrow.
Is A Golden Retriever Right For You?
There are very few people that actually need a dog in their life but this breed is not one of them. The retriever personality and loyalty makes them one of the best choices for a pet but it also makes them one of the worst if you don’t really have the interest or time to devote to them. Not every retriever is going to be the same and there are always exceptions to the rule but in general: you get out of this dog what you put into it.
Sources & references used in this article:
Golden Retriever uveitis: 75 cases (1994–1999) by JS Sapienza, FJ Simo… – Veterinary …, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Canine mesenchymal stem cell potential and the importance of dog breed: implication for cell-based therapies by A Bertolo, F Steffen, C Malonzo-Marty… – Cell …, 2015 – journals.sagepub.com
Hydrocephalus and hypertrichosis in Golden Retriever dogs by BR Jones, MR Alley, B Batchelor – 1996 – Taylor & Francis
Genetic variation in aggression-related traits in Golden Retriever dogs by AE Liinamo, L van den Berg, PAJ Leegwater… – Applied Animal …, 2007 – Elsevier
PNPLA1 mutations cause autosomal recessive congenital ichthyosis in golden retriever dogs and humans by A Grall, E Guaguère, S Planchais, S Grond, E Bourrat… – Nature …, 2012 – nature.com
Inbreeding depression causes reduced fecundity in Golden Retrievers by ET Chu, MJ Simpson, K Diehl, RL Page, AJ Sams… – Mammalian …, 2019 – Springer
Acetazolamide-responsive paroxysmal dyskinesia in a 12-week-old female golden retriever dog by E Royaux, S Bhatti, R Harvey, L Garosi… – Veterinary …, 2016 – Taylor & Francis