The golden retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S.—for good reason. They are simultaneously wonderful family pets—thanks to their friendly, tolerant attitude—and capable, intelligent working dogs. These sturdy, medium-sized dogs grow to about 55–75 pounds and typically live to be about 10–12 years old. Outgoing, trustworthy, eager-to-please, and easy-to-train, they are especially popular with families with young children. Goldens often maintain their fun-loving puppy attitudes and signature smile into adulthood.
Part of the sporting dog group, golden retrievers are active dogs that require at least an hour of daily exercise. They live up to their name; they love retrieving just about anything thrown for them. This makes them excellent hunting companions and skilled service dogs. They love to eat, run, spend time with their owners, and even participate in obedience and agility events.
|LIFE SPAN||10-12 years|
|BREED SIZE||large (61-100 lbs.)|
|GOOD WITH||children seniors dogs cats families|
|TEMPERAMENT||gentle friendly willful outgoing playful|
|BARKING LEVEL||when necessary|
|COAT LENGTH/TEXTURE||long medium|
|COLORS||cream gold / yellow|
|PATTERNS||saddle / blanket|
|OTHER TRAITS||easy to train, requires lots of grooming, tendency to chew, high potential for weight gain, loves water, good for first-time pet owners, strong loyalty tendencies|
Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord of Tweedmouth, developed golden retrievers in the mid-to-late 1800s. Although at one time a rumor indicated that golden retrievers descended from Russian sheepdogs, they were, in fact, bred in the Scottish Highlands. Marjoribanks bred the dogs for more than 50 years to create an ideal gundog—he was an avid hunter of waterfowl. Tweedmouth wanted a dog suited to the rainy climate and rugged terrain of the area, so he crossed his “yellow retriever” with a breed that is now extinct, the Tweed water spaniel. He also wanted the dog to be even-tempered in the home.
A golden retriever was first shown at the British dog show in 1908. The Kennel Club in England officially recognized the golden retriever as a distinct breed in 1911. At that time, they were classified as “retriever — yellow or golden.” In 1920, the breed name was officially changed to a golden retriever. The breed came to the United States, via Canada, around 1910 and was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1932.
Despite their popularity in America, the golden retriever has never won Best of Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. A golden named Daniel came close in 2020, but ultimately lost out to a black standard poodle named Siba, much to the dismay of his fans who started a tweet storm about the injustice. EW YORK, NY – FEBRUARY 11: Daniel, a Golden Retriever competes during the Best in Show during the Westminster Dog Show on February 11, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) | Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
- Considered one of the most beloved dog breeds, golden retrievers gained popularity with American families in the 1970s when President Gerald Ford had a golden named Liberty.
- Tucker Budzyn is currently the most recognized golden retriever on the Internet, with more than 3 million followers across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook.
- Golden retrievers are regulars on big and little screens. See them in television and film, including Full House, Homeward Bound, the Air Budmovies, and the Disney Buddy movies.
- Golden retrievers love tennis balls. Just ask this 6-year-old golden named Finley, who is the Guinness World Record holder for carrying the most tennis balls in his mouth at a time. He can hold six!