What do the following have in common- Full House, Air Bud, Famous Five, Homeward Bound and Up? They all had a golden retriever as the dog in them. Who doesn’t laugh at every cute antic of Doug, from Up? Or is awed by the faithful adorable companionship when The Five solve mysteries? That is the power that a golden retriever is blessed with. Its very appearance is appealing to one and all, from the youngest to the oldest. These large sized bundles of joy can credit their allure to their thick glossy coats and the charm that they exude every time they come bounding up to you. Their strong built is rarely a deterrent to its appreciation.
Originally trained to be gundogs, this breed gets their name from the occupation of retrieving hunted prey undamaged that formed a part of their job description. The breed originates from Scotland and has an instinctive love for water. One can often see them running and playing with their owners on beaches. But at the same time, they have the tendency to roam, which means that although they require diligent outdoor exercise (2 or more hours per day), and are well suited for suburban or country environments, one needs to be extra careful to keep them fenced in. Ranging from 21-24 inches in height and 27-34kg in weight, this breed is available in various shades of gold or cream. They are endowed with 2 coats of dense long straight or moderately wavy hair. The inner coat keeps them warm in winters and cool in summers, while the outer coat lies flat against their body and protects them from water.
Its intelligence makes it easy to train and versatile. It can be trained as a guide dog, a hunting dog or even an active member of search and rescue teams because of their talent to sniff out and detect unusual smells. The dog’s cordial and friendly temperament makes it an extremely popular family dog, but the same gentle behavior makes it unsuitable as a professional guard dog. They are not picky when it comes to eating habits and is also playful in nature, which makes it a favorite among the young children. Their loyalty and caring temperament is an added bonus especially as guide dogs.
There are 3 basic varieties in Golden Retrievers based on their size and weight. The British are heavier and stockier in built. The American Golden Retriever is lankier and taller than its British counterparts, but retains the thick coat. The Canadian variety has a thinner and is the tallest amongst all. The Canadians have darker colored coats compared to the other two. In general, the golden retriever’s outer coat sheds in small amounts throughout the year, while the inner coat is soft and helps it to adapt according to the weather. Their coat should not be kept too long, as that could lead to frequent tripping while playing or retrieving game.
Golden Retrievers are the most common breeds in conformation shows. They are scrutinized mainly on their coat color as only certain shades are deemed acceptable at such events. Colors like white, red and black are considered unacceptable. Rich, lustrous golden of various shades or even cream are considered among the ideal coats for a golden retriever. With age the coat tends to lose its luster and fades in color. One might even spot white patches. The coat of the puppies is also lighter than its adult color, although there is not a drastic difference. The color of the nose is also a factor of judgment for Golden Retrievers at dog shows. These events gain formidable audience when it is time for the breed to display their talents. Fetching, running through hoops, jumping over hurdles are just some of the contests. This is fueled by their agile, competitive nature.
This breed has an average lifespan of ten to twelve years. Their kind confident and friendly nature makes them equally amiable towards familiar and non-familiar people and animals alike. They are extremely gentle and trusting, so any form of aggressiveness is unacceptable in dog shows, but at the same time they are not supposed to be feeble, timid or nervous. They are exceptionally calm with a constant eagerness to please others, which makes them susceptible to being overworked if proper care is not taken. They are biddable, eager to learn and have the ability to focus and sit quietly for hours. They have the ability to scramble in and out of boats with unusual ease.
The breed loves to eat. Obesity, kidney failure, hip dyslexia, cataracts and other eye diseases, cancer and other genetic diseases are common in them. Before buying one must know the pedigree. Allergies, skin diseases and excessive shedding are some of the common problems seen in the breed. Regular grooming can reduce shedding and prevent bald patches. One must also make sure to keep them active all year round. A healthy, happy dog has a significantly reduced tendency to most diseases, although in some cases they may be unavoidable due to age and genetics, but a healthy, happy Golden Retriever will surely succeed in keeping you healthy and happy.