Golden retrievers are really popular, ranking 3rd out of 196 dog breeds in the United States. This is according to results of the annual American Kennel Club (AKC) registration statistics, released on May 1, 2020. That’s not hard to picture, with their long and shiny coats, and easy-going demeanor.
Perhaps you’ve seen the white golden retriever on pet sites or gracing the covers of magazines. You may be wondering if they are the same breed. Are you ready and willing to discover how different are they compared to the golden retriever you see everywhere? Is it just about the coat? Reading this guide is essential to make you well acquainted with this pooch. It’s also referred to as the English cream golden retriever, aka labrador retrievers.
Part Of The Golden Retriever Family
First thing’s first: white gold retrievers are still golden retrievers. They share the name after all. However, you may find breeders occasionally modify the name—perhaps to convince the buyers that the breed is rare.
That’s where tags like “platinum”, “white”, or “European” come in, with references like “English cream golden retrievers.”
A rose by another name is still a rose, and the same applies in this case. This dog is part of the same breed. It comes in all kinds of gold shades, ranging from light to dark gold, and even white hair.
There are three varieties of the breed, including Canadian, American, and the English Golden Retrievers. The AKC breed standard states that the coat of the golden retriever is a “rich, lustrous golden of various shades”.
The Golden Retriever was originally bred to help with the hunting carried out by Scottish elite in the mid-19th century. Retrievers at the time could not satisfactorily retrieve downed wildfowl from both land and water. To rectify, they were crossed with the best water spaniels. The original cross was between “Belle”. a female Tweed Water Spaniel, and “Nous”, a yellow-colored retriever.
If you would like to read our in depth article about the English Golden Retriever, please click on this link.
Characteristics Of The Light Colored Retriever
It’s known for its relaxed temperament and highly intelligent nature. This is in line with the intelligence level of the broader golden retriever breed, ranking 4th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs book. According to the results shown in the book, the goldie was only outdone by the Border Collie, Poodles and German Shepherds, out of 138 dog breeds. This is particularly handy for those looking for a pet to have around right from its puppyhood days.
The popularity of the white golden retriever breed can be pointed to 3 main reasons:
These are incredibly friendly and loyal family pets—easy to have around both kids and adults. It’s especially patient with the children.
The English retrievers are calmer compared to the American golden retrievers. These tend to be more athletic and have lots of energy. With the temperament, training the English retriever will be easier. However, since they are really friendly, the goldens don’t shine as guard dogs.
Coat color does not determine the superiority of a breed’s health. For instance, there is no known evidence linking the coat color of the goldens to cancer rates, as Ronda Hovans explained in an article for the Golden Retriever Club of America.
However, there could be aspects with its ancestry that have an effect on the English cream golden retriever, compared to the American breed. Some statistics show that the English bloodlines tend to be healthier on average.
Note The Lifespan
Take the longer lifespan for instance. While the American Golden Retrievers have an average age of 10 years and 8 months the English Goldens clock 12 years and 3 months. Results from a 2004 British Kennel Club Purebred Dog Health Survey conducted for Golden Retrievers found that only 38.8% of goldens got affected by cancer.
Note that these numbers do not mean that the retriever is more immune to cancer, or that it will live out the whole dozen years. You can affect the health of the dog through the level of care you offer, ultimately nature and nurture do have an impact.
While the goldens are taken to be generally healthy, as a responsible breeder you should take the dogs for screening for conditions like elbow and hip dysplasia, ophthalmologist evaluation for juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, pigmentary uveitis and other eye conditions, plus routine cardiac exams for heart diseases like subvalvular aortic stenosis. Even pet owners themselves should routinely check the dog for signs of infections, and brush the teeth of the pet often.
The muscular bodies of goldens can be traced back to their origins as hunting dogs. The white gold retriever has a heavier and stockier build compared to its American counterpart, which is leaner.
Since the goldens are fairly sizable, and pack quite the power within their build, plenty of socialization will be required. This will enable your furry friend to properly adjust to both the family and community.
The socialization, which begins right from when your pet is a puppy, includes supervised playtime with the kids and other pets if applicable. Plus, meetups with visitors to your home, and strangers outside the home. It should be conducted while taking regular walks or visiting the dog park.
All breeds of golden retrievers will respond well to positive training and reinforcement, where treat-based training is the preferred strategy.
Shedding and Grooming Requirements
Golden retrievers have a high maintenance coat. If you’re looking for a dog whose grooming you can overlook, then this is not the breed for you. There’ll be lots of shedding involved.
However, this does not mean that it is an uphill task. All you need are the right tools, and the daily grooming will turn out to be a lovely bonding moment for you and your pooch.
Golden retriever coats have a thick, double layer. The top layer is coarse and water-repellent, while the lower layer is thick for insulation.
Both layers will be shed periodically, to keep your furry friend dry, warm and healthy.
White gold retrievers typically have less hair. There are no guarantees regarding less shedding compared to the American golden retriever. In fact, all retrievers have the same rate of shedding, which increases over Springtime and the Fall.
What To Look For When Buying A White Gold Retriever
First, you’ll want to get an ethical and reputable breeder. In short a good breeder. He or she should adhere to conditions such as those set out in the GRCA Code of Ethics, governing everything from their engagement with others, their responsibilities to the golden retrievers, and meeting AKC requirements on record keeping. Be wary of breeders advertising their golden puppies as rare or platinum, or other fancy tags to show that the breed is difficult to find.
Keep in mind that, underneath the light cream or pale coat, the white golden retriever is still a golden retriever. Even the whitest goldens will have some hints of gold on the coat. They may not be visible while it’s a puppy, but they still show up as the dog gets older.
Having a white golden retriever does not make it better than the darker bloodlines simply because of the color. The quality and temperament of the dog will depend on the care that it is given.
When comparing the temperaments with darker-coated goldens, there is only anecdotal evidence to go by, not scientific studies. These personal accounts tend to show that the white golden retriever has a more laid-back personality.
However, regardless of the color of the coat, you can rest assured that the Golden Retriever is one of the friendliest breeds that you can bring into your home. This is also one of the reasons why it is a top choice for service dogs and therapy dogs.
When checking out the different options provided by the breeder, ask for the results of the required health tests carried out on the parents. In fact, if you’re getting a white golden retriever puppy, you can spend some time with the parent dogs.
The price of the white golden retriever will depend on the gender and birth order, the size and markings on the pup, plus whether you’re more interested in getting family dogs for your home, or “show” pets to participate in events organized by kennel clubs.
Should You Get A White Golden Retriever?
This is really a decision that only you can make. However, note that getting a dog is a commitment. They are social creatures, who want to be with their families. Being a pet owner will include engaging them in activities on a day-to-day basis.
This ranges from house and outdoor training, putting time and effort to make the pet feel like part of the family, and proper behavior while engaging new people on your tours together. Chaining your dog outside for most of its life with minimal human contact is both mentally and physically cruel. It leaves the pet stuck alone, with barely anything to do all day, every day.
So, before you take the step of getting that pet, be ready to supply sufficient dog food, exercise, train, and groom them, and meet their medical care needs. Actually, reputable white golden retriever breeders take the extra step of interviewing prospective buyers to determine that their home environments and individual personalities will be good for the pups.
Think Before You Give
Keep this in mind as well when you want to gift a white golden retriever to a friend or relative. That happy family ad played on TV commercials after a person has received a dog as a Christmas gift may not end up being the reality for the pooch.
The recipient may not be ready for the responsibility. Being ready to deal with messes that are created in the house and ensure that the pup is fed and watered is essential. Equally, your friends will need to consider walking requirements, training, and healthcare demands. Offering a gift certificate instead is a practical approach, now a common route taken by dog rescue organizations and humane societies.
The recipient then chooses the dog that will suit their lifestyle and personality, and when to bring the pet home at a time that will be convenient for his or her family.
If you found this article interesting, you will probably also enjoy our in-depth article on the mini-version of this adorable family, the mini golden retriever in-depth guide to the race.