Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

infoThe Golden Retriever is a medium-sized breed of dog. They were historically developed as gundogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds ... Read More

Golden Retriever
The Golden Retriever is a medium-sized breed of dog. They were historically developed as gundogs to retrieve shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties. As such, they were bred to have a soft mouth to retrieve game undamaged and have an instinctive love of water.

This sporting breed has a sweet, gentle, people-pleasing personality. A well-bred Golden Retriever does not have strong guarding instincts, so don’t expect him to protect your home from burglars. He will, however, make friends with them and show them where the treats are.

Cheerful, easy to train and eager to please, the Golden Retriever is what you see in the dictionary when you look up “Perfect Family Dog.” Goldens love everyone, especially children, and get along well with new people and strange dogs. They draw admiring looks – and usually loving pats – from almost everyone they meet. The Golden is an active dog who will retrieve a tennis ball until your arm gives out. The breed’s loyalty, intelligence and stable temperament have made them the darlings of the service dog world. Their smiling faces and sun-kissed coats have brought more than a few to movie fame, including a starring role in two “Homeward Bound” movies.

The Golden was developed to be a working retriever, and that means a high level of activity is a must for these dogs. They are best suited to life with active singles, couples or families in which someone is home during the day and will enjoy spending time with and exercising the dog. Goldens love, love, love their people, and they don’t do well as home-alone dogs. They will find their own (destructive) entertainment if no one is home to channel their energy through walking, jogging, hiking, swimming or playing fetch, plus brain games that will wear them out mentally.

Like many breeds developed to hunt, the Golden has diverged into different types – primarily the fluffy, teddy-bear Goldens of the show ring and the leaner, darker, smaller and less-coated athletes popular as hunting companions and dog-sports competitors. Each camp swears their “type” is the best. Dogs bred for looks only – and for the currently trendy near-white color – are anecdotally less healthy and some seem to sport a considerably un-Golden temperament, including problems with biting. Hunting and dog-sports lines may be a little too energetic for many families, but the traditional stable temperaments remain intact, and they may be healthier overall.

Goldens of both types are enthusiastic about exercise. If you aren’t an active person before you get a Golden, you will be afterward -- or you’ll suffer the consequences. Goldens get up every morning with one thought on their mind: What are we gonna do today?

Keep your Golden occupied by taking him for extended walks or hikes of at least an hour a day (or break it up into two or three outings), make him your jogging or running partner, or teach him to run alongside your bicycle. Take him swimming at your local lake or beach. He excels at all dog sports, including agility, obedience, flyball, rally, freestyle, dock diving and tracking. Being a therapy dog appeals to his love of people and satisfies his need to get out and do something. If you don’t have kids yourself, enlist the neighbors’ kids to throw tennis balls for your Golden to fetch. That can keep them busy for hours. Teach him tricks and acquire an assortment of puzzle toys to challenge his brain. Often, mental work is just as satisfying — and tiring — as physical exercise, although it can’t replace it entirely.

Now, all that said, it’s important to take it easy with exercise the first two years of a Golden pup’s life. His growth plates are still forming in those first two years, and hard exercise can damage them. Take him swimming, go for walks on grass or other soft surfaces and take easy hikes, but don’t start any jogging, bicycling, steep climbs or descents, or activities that require jumping until he has reached full physical maturity at two years of age.

Golden Retrievers are people-oriented, and if you expect your dog to live in the yard, don't get a Golden. Loneliness and boredom will lead to barking, digging and general destructiveness. Your Golden Retriever needs to live indoors as part of the family.

Other Quick Facts
The Golden has a dense, water-repellent double coat that comes in various shades of gold. Goldens shed heavily and require frequent brushing to keep the fur from flying.
Goldens typically have litters of six to eight puppies. Most breeders like to keep puppies until they are at least eight weeks old. This gives the puppies time to learn how to behave toward other dogs and gives the breeder time to evaluate the puppies’ personalities so she can place each one in just the right home. A bonus is that puppies of this age are more mature and more easily housetrained.

The History of Golden Retrievers
The Golden is one of the breeds created during the dog-loving Victorian era. The breeds in his background probably included a yellow retriever, the Tweed Water Spaniel, wavy- and flag-coated retrievers and a red setter. Dudley Marjoribanks, Lord Tweedmouth, is generally credited with producing the first dogs that were to become known as Golden Retrievers, but recent research into studbooks, old paintings and other sources suggests that dogs similar to the Golden Retriever, possibly a type of setter, existed before Lord Tweedmouth began breeding them at his Scottish estate, Guisachan. England’s Kennel Club classified the dogs as “Retriever — Yellow or Golden” in 1911, then changed the name to “Retriever — Golden” in 1920.

Golden Retrievers were first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1925 and were officially recognized as a breed in 1932. Since then they have established themselves as versatile companions, hunting dogs and working dogs. Goldens are found doing search and rescue, animal-assisted therapy, arson detection, drug detection and assistance work for people with disabilities. Their energy, enthusiasm and intelligence make them well suited to learning and performing almost any task.

Today, Goldens are among the most beloved of breeds and rank fifth among the breeds registered by the AKC.

Golden Retriever Temperament and Personality
Ask anyone about the defining characteristic of the Golden Retriever, and the answer you will always get is temperament. The hallmark of the Golden is his kind, gentle, eager-to-please nature. He craves affection and will seek it from strangers as well as his own family.

Goldens are adaptable and people-oriented, and those characteristics are at the top of the list of reasons people love them. Unfortunately, the breed’s popularity has meant that careless or clueless people have begun churning out Goldens without any attempt to maintain their sweet, gentle disposition. Shyness and aggression can be problems, leading to fear biting or unfriendliness toward people and other dogs.

Proper Goldens love everyone, but that love for people will often translate into jumping as a form of greeting. Basic, early obedience training is a must for these big, rambunctious dogs. Fortunately, Goldens are very easy to train, and a small investment of time when the dog is young will pay off when he's full-grown. He will readily sit on command, walk on a leash without pulling and come when called.

If not trained, socialized and exercised daily, the good-natured exuberance of Goldens – especially as adolescents and young adults – can be overwhelming, and even frightening to small children, despite the dog’s best intentions to be friendly. Choose a Golden as a family dog only if you are prepared to supervise kids and dog when they are together and make sure everyone plays nicely. It’s normal for puppies to chase and bite in play, so you need to teach a Golden pup how to act around kids, as well as teach the kids how to play properly with the dog.

Any dog, even a Golden, can develop obnoxious levels of barking, digging, food stealing and other undesirable behaviors if he is bored, untrained or unsupervised. And any dog can be a trial to live with during adolescence. In the case of the Golden, the “teen” years can start at six months and continue until the dog is two or three years old. Start training early, be patient and be consistent, and one day you will wake up to find that you live with a great dog.

The perfect Golden Retriever is a product of his environment and breeding. Whether you want a Golden as a companion, show dog, canine competition dog or all three in one, look for one whose parents have nice personalities and who has been well socialized from early puppyhood.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Retriever

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