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7 Amazing Things That Make Golden Retrievers Unique

A golden retriever smiling at the camera

Why are Golden Retrievers so popular? Well, maybe because they are adaptable, adorable, affectionate, energetic, playful and smart. They love their people and can’t get enough time with them. So if you are looking for that ideal family dog–look no further than a Golden Retriever.

1. A Unique History 

Bred as a working dog in Scotland, back in the 1800s, the golden colour was at first thought as a drawback. At the time, people thought that black-coated dogs were more popular and most thought that they were better hunters. But these dogs with their golden fleece proved them wrong. 

While popular lore says that they were the descendants of Russian circus dogs, that isn’t exactly true. “On a walk with his son in Brighton in 1865, [Dudley Coutts] Marjoribanks came across a wavy-coated dog named Nous. Belonging to a cobbler who had gotten him from an employee of a local nobleman to settle a debt, Nous had black parents but was himself gold-colored.” [1

2. A Golden Coat of Different Shades

Not all Golden Retrievers are the same colour. American and Canadian Golden Retrievers tend to be darker, while English tend to be lighter. But don’t be surprised if yours is a little creamier or a little redder. Those are both common variations. Want to make a guess at the colour of your Golden Retriever’s adult colour? Take a look at their ears. The ear colour of a pup is a good predictor of the colour your dog will have as an adult.

3. Golden Retrievers Were Bred to Work

Hunting was a popular pastime of the 19th-century aristocracy, and they needed dogs to help them find and retrieve game. Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth, gets most of the credit for developing the breed. He “got that distinctive long-haired golden look from mixing the Tweedwater Spaniel, a now-extinct breed, with the Flat-Coated Retriever.” [2] They were great swimmers and could run all day. 

Marjoribanks’s breed was perfectly suited for hunting waterfowl back in the 1800s and is perfectly suited for families with an active lifestyle today.

4. Modern Work for Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are some of the best service dogs today. Many of their hunting skills can be put to use, and they are great around people in a variety of circumstances.

Golden Retrievers are used by many police and search and rescue units. They are easily trained and great at following directions. Their great sense of smell helps them to find and follow trails.

Due to their temperament and their love of pleasing their people, they make great service dogs. They are calm and gentle, plus they rarely get agitated in crowds.

5. Golden Retrievers & Water

An underwater photo of a golden retriever

You might be able to take the water out of the Golden Retriever, but you’ll have a hard time getting the Golden Retriever out of the water. They are rarely happier than when they are dog paddling around a pond or lake.

They Simply Love Water

When you go for your first few walks with your Golden Retriever, don’t be alarmed if they make a beeline for the nearest body of water. They are great swimmers and rarely get to spend as much time as they would like in a pond or stream.

But beware, this love of water extends to a love of mud and puddles, so if you aren’t careful, you might need to give your furry pal a bath when you get home.

Golden Retrievers Coats Are Made to Repel Water

Golden Retrievers have two coats–inner and outer. Between the two, their skin will remain warm and dry even on cold, dreary, drizzly days. This also helps them to maintain body heat when they are swimming in cold water. You might not like a long walk in the cold rain, but your doggo won’t notice the inclement weather at all.

6. Easy to Train

Few dogs are easier to train than Golden Retrievers. They are among the brightest breeds, so they catch on quickly. And they are highly motivated by food, so a small, healthy reward will encourage them. 

And don’t forget that they love their people. A bit of praise, a scritch on the head or a pat on the back is all it takes to get their tails wagging!

7. Golden Retrievers Have Golden Hearts

You’ve probably seen the videos of a Golden following behind a kitten or even a fawn. While they don’t often get the opportunity, Golden Retrievers are known for their ability to nurture and bond with other animals. This shouldn’t really surprise you, though, they are one of the friendliest breeds you will find.

You and Your Golden Retriever

When you bring your forever friend home, you need to remember a couple of things about the breed. 

What’s the Best Diet for a Golden Retriever?

Feed your doggo quality dog food. Meat should be the first ingredient, and avoid giving them food that has artificial flavors, colours or preservatives. You can use a food calculator to determine the amount of food given to them daily. 

Generally, it is best to give them two meals a day and try to avoid feeding them just before you give them a good workout.

They love to eat so don’t overfeed. Remember to include treats as part of their daily allotment of calories, and since they can have sensitive stomachs, do your best to avoid table scraps.

Account for Their Active Needs

Golden Retrievers are bright and active, so you need to make time for them every day. Two or more walks a day is a good start. They also love to play–squeaky toys, ropes, balls, flying discs and hide and seek are all great ways to give them exercise while stimulating their curiosity. They simply love attention and companionship from their favorite human.

Aren’t Golden Retrievers Worthy of Their Golden Coats and Reputations?

A Golden retriever laying in a field of grass

Worth their weight in gold, both as workers and companions, a Golden Retriever will be a wonderful and loving addition to your family. They will return every bit of love and affection that you give them tenfold. So, still want that perfect medium-sized dog? Look at a Golden Retriever. You will be glad that you did!

[1] Golden Retriever History: Behind the Breeds Unfashionable Past

[2] 101 Golden Retriever Fun Facts