Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever: Breed Profile, Health, and History


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The Golden Retriever. Where to start? Between their endearing nature, great work ethic and soft and luscious fur, they’ve a lot going for them. These pups are great companions; soft and gentle cuddlers who will easily get along with the whole family. How could you not hold them in high regard!

We’ll dive into the Golden Retriever breed, what they love and hate, and find out their history and health risks.

Where Golden Retrievers originated

Goldens originated all the way from the Scottish Highlands, where they were used primarily as hunting dogs.

These Scots needed a dog that could retrieve birds while hunting, specifically from water as ponds and marshes were so common. As their guns improved over time they needed their Retrievers to be able to bring back birds from further and further away.

It was the idea of the 1st Baron of Tweedmouth, Dudley Marjoribanks, to cross a Tweed Water Spaniel with a yellow-coloured Retriever. The four pups were then bred with other breeds including the Irish Setter, Bloodhound, St John’s Water Dog, and black Retrievers.

He kept detailed records throughout the later years of the 19th century, showcasing the goal of developing a dog with a soft mouth for retrieving game that was also strong and active. And so, the Golden Retriever was born.

A golden retriever closeup

Golden Retriever physical appearance

Golden Retriever males grow to around 60cm tall and weigh about 30kg. Their female counterparts are around 3-5cm shorter and 5kg lighter.

Their coat is water-repellent and either wavy or flat with a gold to cream colour. One of the most attractive features of this breed is the feathering on the neck, legs, thighs, underside and tail.

Golden Retrievers boast a strong and broad head with small ears, but they sit quite high on their head and hang cutely to below their jaw line.

Golden Retrievers will generally live to around 10 to 13 years old. As with any dog breed, routine pet care, exercise and a good diet is all-important for longevity. Our recommendation is to ask your vet about your dog’s health, diet, and lifestyle to take a proactive approach.

Being a good pet parent also means regular check ups with your vet. Plus, did you know this also helps contribute to improved vet mental health?.

Goldens’ personality and character

The Golden Retriever is a playful doggo, and they’re great with children. (Read about the benefits of children growing up with pets). These canines are gentle and easy to get along with and will get along well with other pets and strangers.

Goldens love to play, probably because fetch is what they were born to be good at. They require daily exercise or play – even a nice walk will get all that energy out. Is yours only a pup? Find out how to teach your puppy to walk on a lead here.

You’ll see they’re eager to please, which is probably why they respond so well to positive enforcement for dog training. You’ve probably seen a Golden used as seeing or hearing dogs, but interestingly enough where Golden Retrievers really shine is in emotional support roles.

They’re not big on barking and they lack guard instincts, so don’t count on them to make good watchdogs. Instead, these soft and gentle pups make brilliant therapy dogs. You’ll often find them working their magic in care facilities and hospitals.

Here’s 6 fun and interesting facts about Goldens we bet you didn’t know!

A golden retriever on a rock outside


Golden Retrievers aren’t the most easy-care of dogs, but if you keep the care regular you can easily stay on top of their grooming needs.


Golden Retrievers have long luscious fur, and this comes at a price. Their thick undercoat and a water-repellent outer coat shed moderately most of the year and quite heavily in the spring and autumn. They should be brushed daily and will probably need a bath once a month. There’s no way around it, you can expect to live with plenty of dog hair with a Golden Retriever.


You need to keep your Golden’s nails trimmed around once or twice a month to make sure they don’t start splitting. Their nails splitting can cause foot problems and cause them a lot of pain.

Oral hygiene

Brushing a couple of times per week will keep their teeth and mouth clean. Read our article about dog teeth cleaning and dental hygiene to find out how to do it.


Because of their cute, droopy ears, they’re more likely to have ear infections. Make sure to clean their ears during their baths and be the best pet parent by checking them often.

Living with a Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is one of the friendliest dogs around. They love being part of the family and are incredibly sociable. Because of this they don’t do so well in an outside kennel or being left alone for long periods.

Best part is, if you’ve got a family, Golden Retrievers are great with children. They’re not aggressive and are very playful, so they’ll happily meet the demands of younger family members. But, like most large canines, they may knock over objects or children accidentally.

Golden Retrievers are very active dogs and require exercise daily, like playing fetch, or going on walks or swims. If that’s not up your alley, see our tips for exercising dogs without walking. Golden Retrievers get along well with other dogs so take them to the dog park to socialise.

These pups love carrying things around in their mouths, as they were bred for. Make sure you have toys or chew bones to satisfy their little oral fixation. Steer clear of rawhide – read our ‘is rawhide dangerous for dogs‘ article to find out why.

A golden retriever puppy

Golden Retriever health risks

Sadly, while the Golden Retriever has everything going for them, they’re prone to health problems as they get older (more so than other dogs).

They’re prone to conditions such as:

  • Elbow and hip dysplasia
  • Eye issues such as glaucoma, degenerative blindness and cataracts
  • They’re also more susceptible to cancer than many other dog breeds

Another thing to keep in mind is that they’re prone to obesity. But this can be avoided with plenty of exercise and a sensible diet. Easier said than done though when looking into those soulful eyes at the dinner table.

With all this in mind, it’s worth mentioning that having a good dog insurance plan will really help with the bills involved in a wide range of vet visits throughout your Golden’s lifetime. Be the best pet parent you can be by keeping your furbaby healthy so you can focus on trying to keep up with your energetic best friend!

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