Alongside the famous Labrador, the playful and affectionate Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States and around the globe. Developed at the Guisachan estate in Scotland in the mid-1800's by Sir Dudley Majoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth, the Yellow Retriever is a result of crossing the rare fawn-coloured specimens of Wavy-Coated Retrievers with Irish Setters, Curly-Coated Retrievers, Tweed Spaniels, Bloodhounds and a variety of working crosses descended from early Newfoundlands and imported St.John's Water Dogs, as well as some Caucasian Ovcharkas acquired from a Russian travelling circus. The original incarnation of the Tweedmouth Retriever was too large and slow, reportedly posessing a sharper temperament than desired, but through careful selection and introduction of friendlier breeds, such as the Labrador Retriever and the Springer Spaniel, the breed's creator managed to produce a superbly resilient, driven and good natured working dog. This new bloodline was a great success for Lord Tweedmouth and the Golden Retriever became a prized gundog of the demanding British hunters in the 19th century, who valued it for its trainability, physical strength, swimming ability and willingness to work for long periods of time in all weather conditions. The breed's beauty and gentle nature also made it a popular pet and competitor in field trials in the early 1900's.
After being successfully shown in 1908, the Yellow Retriever became considered to be more than just a colour variant of the Flat-Coated Retriever breed and in 1911 it finally received its own separate recognition. Although the Golden Retriever already existed in large numbers in America since the turn of the century, when it was first introduced to Texas by Lord Tweedmouth's descendants, it wasn't until 1932 that the breed was officially accepted by the AKC. American hunters and urban families were enamoured with the Golden Retriever and this lovely dog has been an universally loved companion pet throughout the 20th century.
Adored worldwide for its pleasant personality and intelligence, the Golden Retriever has unfortunately suffered the fate of many popular breeds and, thanks to irresponsible overbreeding, has become riddled with health problems. There are many poorly bred examples, some with unstable temperaments and behaviour issues that are seriously damaging the breed's legendary reputation. However, a number of committed and responsible breeders are working hard to retain the traditional physical and personality traits of this wonderful dog and there are still some quality bloodlines to be found. As is the case with some other working breeds, there are different strains and types within the Golden Retriever breed, such as the original hunting bloodlines, the popular Show type, as well as the strains developed for service work, and of course, the dogs bred for companion life.
An easy moving breed, the Golden Retriever loves plenty of excercise and enjoys an active lifestyle. Its trainability and even temperament make it an ideal family companion and children's playmate, but this breed still requires early socialization and a sufficient ammount of mental stimulation in order to avoid problems associated with boredom, oftentimes resulting in destructive and obsessive behaviour. The Golden Retriever is a very energetic and agile dog, deep-chested, strong-legged and athletic. The head is fairly broad, with a powerful muzzle and jaws.
The moderately long coat is rich and dense, needing regular grooming and upkeep. The solid colour ranges from very light cream to almost reddish shades. Average height is around 23 inches.