Behavior Breed Lists English Golden Retriever: In-Depth Guide To A Beautiful Race

English Golden Retriever: In-Depth Guide To A Beautiful Race

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The English Golden Retriever, with its shiny long coat and charming demeanor, is widely popular. The Golden Retriever actually ranks number two for American Kennel Club Registrations.

Let’s delve into what sets the breed apart, and answer common questions that pet owners and animal enthusiasts may have about the English goldie.

Also, don’t forget to read our in-depth article dedicated to the smaller variety of this breed, the Mini Golden Retrivers, easily one of the best quality dogs available.

History Of The Golden Retrievers

This breed first popped up in Scotland, having been bred in the late 19th century, from 1854-1894. The Wavy Coated Retriever and Tweed Water Spaniel were bred together by Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, Baron Tweedmouth of Guisachanm, with the resultant puppies being used as gun dogs because of their soft mouth grip.

This prevented the felled wildfowl like ducks and game birds during the hunting trips and shooting parties from being damaged. Retrieval of the shot game led to the namog of thesedogs as “retriever”.

Frequently Asked Questions About The English Golden Retriever

Is It Still A Golden Retriever?

Yes. The lighter-colored coat doesn’t change the dog, it’s still a retriver. It is simply a retriever whose coat color is a pale shade of gold. You can find these dogs being called “English cream golden retrievers” or “rare white golden retrievers”.

There are also occasional extra tags to the name like “platinum” or “imported”. But, regardless of the name, they are still golden retrievers. Currently recognised by American, English and Canadian authorities.

The United States defines the breed standard for the golden retrievers as having a rich and lustrous golden color of various. Canada has more room. The Golden Retriever Club of Canada states it has accepted a broad range of colors for the goldens, from cream to the darker coppery gold.

The UK follows a similar line of thought, accepting the golden retriever to be one that has any shade of gold or cream, as long as it’s not red or mahogany.

Worth noting is that the AKC doesn’t officially recognize the cream-colored goldens yet. It takes registration for dark golden (080), golden (code 093) and light golden (code 119) retrievers.

You may find breeders registering the white goldens in the light golden category, which is not accurate. This is of particular concern when you’re purchasing one, where you should watch for higher price markups.

It will be unethical for the breeder to charge you extra saying they’ll pass the AKC registration tests.

Do they have less shedding?

While there will be less hair being strewn all over the house, this does not mean that the English Golden Retriever sheds less compared to the American counterparts.

The retrievers have similar rates of shedding, loosing more hair over the Spring and Fall. You will need to brush your pooch regularly, at least two times every week.

How long do European goldens live?

They have a lifespan of 10-12 years. This is generally the same as other similar-sized dog breeds. For instance, the average lifespan for German shepherds is 7-10 years, and Labradors range between 10 and 12 years.

The oldest golden retriever is August “Augie”, who is currently 20, having been born on April 24th 2000.

While there are slight genetic differences, the color of the coat does not make this retriever healthier than the American golden retriever. The health depends on the care that the pet is given by the owner.

Temperament Of The English Golden Retriver

This is an ideal pet for children, as they are well-behaved, playful and really loyal. People pleasers, these retrievers are easy to be around. They are intelligent as well.

In Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, the golden retriever breed ranks 4th, coming in after the Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds. This performance means that your pooch can learn new commands really fast.

In this regard, it’s recommended that you and your pooch take some training classes. Not only do they improve communication with you and your dog but they also provide a great opportunity for socializing and bonding with your furry friend.

The English golden retriever is an active breed, and have a natural liking for water- so don’t be surprised to see your pooch jumping into nearby ponds or rivers without a thought.

Exercise is Essential

The goldens need plenty of exercise, so you should take them for some walks every day. Make plans to pass by the park and play some fetch and chase, or do it in your yard. You can even enter your pet into dog sports.

They are amiable with other animals as well, even when you introduce a new pet into the house later in Fluffy’s life. He will quickly adapt to the new family member.

When you bring them back into the house, they tend to be calm. You won’t have to worry about them wreaking havoc in your home, which makes them great family pets. Even though the dogs are large, they are gentle, and not prone to accidents.

Note that the breed is prone to health conditions affecting other dogs, such as cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism and cataracts.

Hunting Instincts

The goldens also like being useful. Remember that they were originally bred for hunting, and Fluffy will be happy to carry out little jobs around the house—like bringing you the paper, or fetching the slippers.

When he gets this done, shower him with praise. Get him some chew toys as well. Firstly, it helps your furry friend fight the boredom when nobody is around, and will also keep him away from your shoes.

Golden Labrador Retriever opened mouth on green grass. Part of the "Your In-Depth Guide To The English Golden Retriever" article.
Photo by Orlando Tapia on Unsplash

The smooth temperament and smart nature of the English cream golden retrievers makes them a popular breed for service and therapy dogs. They are patient and loving, while still strong and big enough for the requirements of service dogs.

Retrievers were originally bred  as hunting dogs. The same skill set makes them excellent at search and rescue dogs.

Taking Care Of Your English Golden Retriever

Given that it has pretty long hair, you’ll need to invest in quality grooming equipment. Goldies shoud be brushed a few times a week, and given a thorough bath once or twice a month. It can be more, depending on the outdoor activities that you do.

Bath time is likely to be essential after you’ve experienced adventures in the woods. Note that overbathing your dog is actually bad for the furry little bud. This is because it leads to issues like Atopic dermatitis.

Selecting the  right shampoo is important when you bath your dog only. Choosing one that has been formatted for use on dogs with sensitive skin is essential.

Pay particular attention to the ears. In fact, you should clean them each time you brush your pet. Gently wiping with a warm and damp cloth will do.

Consider Grooming Services

You can also occasionally take them to the local dog stations, or for a treat at the professional groomers. They may even include spa sessions for your pooch. Brush the teeth routinely as well, to keep the dog having a fresh and minty breath.

While they shed all through the years, the English goldens will have two major “blow-outs” per year. Here they shed the undercoat, growing a new one.

During this time, you will need to groom your dog daily, using a shedding brush or glove as needed to prevent a huge mess from forming in your home.

For the feeding, be keen on the amount of dog food that you are providing your pooch. Just like other golden retrievers, this one is not really fussy about the particular type of food, choosing instead to gobble up anything that you provide her with.

If you leave Bella with lots of food, she will chow it all down, making it easy for her to put on weight. Here, you want to achieve the optimal balance of diet and exercise.

For the treats, go for the healthier options like dog-safe veggies and fruits, as opposed to those that are high calorie concentrations. It’s recommended that you pay a visit to your vet to determine the proper diet that is suitable for your dog.

What You Should Know When Buying An English Golden Retriever

First, ensure that you’re ready for the responsibility that comes with owning a dog. It’s not just about fun walks and photogenic pictures.

This dog breed requires time and money  to ensure their dietary and health requirements are properly met. The same case applies to those cases where you want to give one of your friends a gift of an English Golden Retriever puppy.

Ensure that they are okay with you bringing a pet into their lives. Better yet, get them a gift certificate from animal shelters and dog rescue centers. These allow the holder to redeem the gift certificate for a dog once they are ready to bring one home.

Tips to keep in mind as you look for an English goldie:

  • When it comes to the attributes, look through information like the bloodline, temperament, and good structure, comparing them with the breed standards of your region. The breeder should provide you with a complete health history of the pup, plus show you the performance of the dog in hunting and obedience tests. Be wary if any periods of time are missing.
  • Note that the English goldens are particularly sociable, so they like playing and getting a lot of attention. You should be ready to commit to this when getting one.
  • Ask the breeder to let you socialise with the puppy you’re intent on buying, and also watch how the puppy socialises with those in its environment—both people and dogs.
  • Good breeders don’t just hand over their golden retriever puppies without carrying out an interview of the owners.The breeder has a responsibility to ensure the home of future owners will be a good fit for the pup they want to purchase.
  • Claims that cream-colored goldies are healthier or more valuable compared to the darker goldies are invalid. The same is true of those pushing the purchase because the breed is “rare”. It’s recommended that you engage with ethical breeders, adhering to standards stipulated in the Code of Ethics of the GRCA (Golden Retriever Club of America).


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