Behavior Breed Lists What You Should Know About English Cream Golden Retriever

What You Should Know About English Cream Golden Retriever

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There are several misconceptions in the dog lovers community about the English cream golden retriever. Even avid fans of the American Kennel Club’s 3rd most popular dog have a difficult time telling the two apart further than the aesthetic differences. Yes, they do need to meet AKC standard if you want to show them.

In the sections below, we will take a closer look at what is also known as the white golden retriever. We’ll look at everything from its aesthetic and care needs to main differences with the standard golden retriever. But first, let us dive into where these doggies came from.

English cream retrievers: A brief history

English cream retrievers are a variety of the golden retriever breed that originated in England. It is known for its light golden-colored fur or cream-colored coat. Like their American counterparts, these dogs can be traced back to Scotland. They were originally developed from breeding between the Tweed water spaniel and the wavy retriever. The intent was for use as hunting aid dogs.

It is not until a few decades ago that this variety of retrievers made it to other parts of the world including the United States and Canada. Due to the differences in environment as well as breeding practices, major differences developed between all these variations over these periods of time. That is why there is so much misunderstanding about the English creams.

Bottom line, English cream retrievers are technically a part of the golden retriever breed.

What do cream-colored goldies look like?

Purebred retrievers come in golden, with various shades of brown, from bright yellow and golden hues to darker reddish-brown colors. Most kennel clubs around the world do not recognize white or cream as standard breed colors. This is where most of the confusion with English creams comes in. This has for a very long time been used as a marketing ploy by breeders to sell English goldies as unique dog breeds. As always, when looking for puppies for sale it is best to avoid puppy mills.

What many dog enthusiasts fail to realize is that cream colored goldies are not actually white or typical cream. They are just a very light shade of yellow especially at the base of the fur shaft. As the hair grows out, the fur appears paler giving them the whitish hue that they are known and loved for.

The coat type itself is more often than not thick with long, and straight fur.

Other than that these light cream beauties adhere to most of the breed standards for golden retrievers. Or at least, as far as aesthetics are concerned. They have the same athletic body. You’ll note the symmetrical features that the American and Canadian golden retrievers also have. However, they do not grow as large as the American type as we will see when comparing the key differences.

In addition to the body, the cream English golden retrievers also has the same head shape featuring a broad forehead, long muzzle, droopy ears, and proportional eyes. It is important to note, however, that the eyes on the cream options tend to be rounder than the more almond-shaped type seen with standard goldies.

English cream vs. American golden retrievers?

We have already established that the English cream goldie is the same breed as the American standard golden retriever. However, due to differences in where they were developed and breeding practices, there are several subtle differences that will help you tell them apart. Here are a few of the most important physical differences.

Coat color

This pretty much goes without saying. The English cream variety have very light colored coats that may appear almost white in the light. They typically get darker with age settling into more of a creamish, lighter colored yellow color.

The American golden retriever on the other hand is often darker in coat color. The American Kennel Club in particular recognizes varieties of golden fur including dark gold, light gold, and standard gold hues.

If you would like to find out more about the white golden retriever, please click the link here. 

Body and head size

The English golden retrievers are often smaller than those in America. The former measures between 20 to 23 inches in height but can go as high as 24 inches. The American golden retriever on the other hand is usually a visibly larger dog with average heights of 23 to 24 and even more depending on genetics.

On the other hand, when it comes to head size the cream variety often have broader skulls than regular golden colored retrievers.

General build

American and Canadian golden retrievers are noticeably more active and playful than the more docile English cream retriever. As a result, they tend to have leaner and more muscular body builds to support their athletic predisposition.

The English variety on the other hand is stockier which is made even more pronounced in comparison due to their shorter height ranges.


This is a very subtle difference that you may only notice if you are intentionally looking for it. The lighter doggies tend to have straight tails which are level with the inclination of the doggy’s back. Those on the darker golden retrievers have a more curved design with a slight upward curve.

Golden retriever sitting on the ground during daytime. Part of the "What You Should Know About English Cream Golden Retrievers" article.
Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash


Are the cream golden retrievers healthier than standard retrievers?

Another common misconception when it comes to cream goldies is that they are healthier than standard retrievers. This stems from the fact that they have a life expectancy of about 12 years compared to the 10 to 11 years that American golden retrievers live.

While the lighter golden retrievers have been known to live longer, they are not necessarily disease free and in fact suffer most if not all health issues that affect their American companions. Here are some of these diseases.


This is the leading cause of cancer among golden retrievers. However, studies have shown that English cream retrievers are less likely to develop and/or die from cancers than the American variety. However, it is still enough of a threat to necessitate regular checkups for early diagnosis.

Hip dysplasia

This is as a result of abnormal formation of the hip joint socket. With time, this affects the retriever’s mobility and could even result in arthritis and lameness if it is not properly managed. It’s important to verify if their parents suffered from hip and elbow dysplasia.

Ear infections

The long droopy ears on an English cream may be endearing but they can be problematic for the dog. If there is moisture trapped in or around them, the dark and warm environment promotes growth of germ colonies that could cause ear infections. In very serious cases, this could affect hearing or even result in meningitis.

Dental infections

As with any other golden retriever variety, these doggies tend to suffer from several dental health issues. These range from tartar buildup to halitosis. However, it is infections like dental caries and gingivitis that cause the most trouble for the dogs.

Eye problems

These dogs are unique in that they are vulnerable to developing cataracts even while juveniles. This is known to cause early onset blindness. Other eye issues they have include progressive retinal atrophy and uveitis.

Heart diseases

These are often associated with old age and include cardiomyopathy and aortic stenosis. However, there are cases where the fluffy, cream doggies develop heart issues at a very early age as a result of congenital malformation.

What is the temperament of English cream goldies?

While most stereotypes about English cream golden retrievers are unfounded, the belief that they are friendlier than standard gold retrievers is actually true. This is one of the reasons why they are so popular as service dogs.

Let us look at some of the other temperament features you have to look forward to.


These doggies are gentle both in their mannerisms and physically. This makes them perfect for family pets especially where there are young children involved.


Both male and female cream goldies are known for being very nurturing not only with their pups but anyone they consider family. This protective nature is one of the reasons why they are so popular especially in pop culture.


If you do not want to deal with an aggressive dog then this variety of golden retriever would be ideal for you. They are quite docile and rarely launch attacks even when they feel threatened. However, they have been known to take on more aggressive stances when protecting those they love from obvious threats.

Clingy and affectionate

These are the kind of dogs that will follow you everywhere around the house and always insist on cuddles despite their large size. They are therefore really awesome to keep as companion pets and emotional support dogs.


The English golden retrievers may not be as active or athletic as their trans-Atlantic counterparts but they are always up for some play time. They generally prefer to play outdoors but if you are creative with your game ideas, you could keep them sufficiently entertained and stimulated even indoors.


They get along with everyone including strangers. This makes them great family dogs but eliminates any chances of success having them as guard dogs, it definitely comes in handy if you have many guests over or go on outdoor adventures with your furry best buddy.

How to take care of a cream colored retriever

Cream colored English retrievers are pretty low maintenance. However, you have to establish a good care routine to keep them happy and give them the best chance at having a long and healthy life. Here is a checklist on what you need to do for your cream pooch.

  • Invest in high quality dog food.
  • Brush their fur 2 to 3 times a week to deshed and detangle.
  • Find 30 minutes to 1 hour every day to play with them.
  • Start training early to curb any stubborn tendencies.
  • Keep up with your vet visit schedule to pick out any life threatening illnesses on time.

Are cream golden retrievers expensive?

A typical golden retriever puppy will cost you about $500 to $2000 from a good breeder. Cream varieties on the other hand tend to be more expensive costing $3500 or even more per puppy. This is because many breeders market them as different from regular golden retrievers including claims that they are healthier which is not always the case.

If you want a fair deal on an English cream golden retriever puppy or adult, find a reputable breeder or try your chances with shelter adoptions.


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