Golden Retrievers are sort of the all-American dog.
In fact, when depicting the white picket fence style of living in movies and commercials, the family dog is often portrayed as a Golden.
With all the charisma these beautiful and intelligent pups have to offer, I can’t say that I’m surprised. It was love at first sight for me when I saw the movie Homeward Bound as a child (admit it, you loved it too).
For those of you thinking about adding one to your pack – or for current Golden moms and dads – here’s 90 facts about this brilliant breed that will be sure to deepen your appreciation.
Once Upon A Time, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away…
1. The Golden Retriever’s breeding records begin as early as 1835.
2. These pretty pups were originally bred for retrieving various kinds of fallen birds for hunters – hence the name retriever.
3. There used to be a myth that Golden Retrievers were the product of a pack of Russian Sheepdogs in a circus that accidentally produced a Golden.
4. In actuality, Goldens were developed in Scotland by Lord Tweedmouth (nope, didn’t make that up) to be attentive hunting companions.
5. Lord Tweedmouth achieved the Golden as the result of breeding the now extinct Tweedwater Spaniel with the yellow Flat Coated Retriever.
6. Goldens used to be known as the ‘golden flat coat’ due to their lineage from the yellow Flat Coated Retriever.
7. To further define the breed, Newfoundlands, Bloodhounds, Labrador Retrievers, and Red Setters were also later thrown in the mix.
8. They are also exceptional swimmers.
9. Goldens were first registered by the American Kennel Club in 1925.
Goldens Across the Globe
10. Talk about a strange pairing! There’s actually a baby kangaroo in Australia named Dusty who thinks his mom is a Golden Retriever named Lilly.
11. Amazingly, a 10 month old Golden named Cody ate an entire lightbulb and passed it completely intact. Ouch!
12. The Guinness World Record for loudest bark is held by a Golden named Charlie at 113.1 decibels. (a chainsaw is 110 decibels…imagine waking up to that!)
13. Another Guinness Record holding Golden is Augie who holds the title for most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog – 5 regulation sized balls.
14. Goldens are popular pals among celebrities—Oprah, Adam Levine, Jimmy Fallon, Emma Stone, and Miranda Lambert all own a golden pooch.
15. The Golden Retriever even made it to the White House twice, as dogs of both Ford and Reagan.
16. Probably due in part to how easily trainable they are, Golden Retrievers are very popular in movies and tv shows. Some examples are Air Bud, Full House (Comet), Homeward Bound, and Duke from Bush’s Baked Beans commercials (roll that beautiful bean footage).
17. Those familiar with Shadow from the classic movie Homeward Bound will also recognize the recent true tail of Murphy. Murphy was a lost Golden Retriever who survived alone in the California forest for almost two years before returning to the site where Murphy was first lost.
18. Another inspiring true story is about a service dog named Kirsch. This studious pup received an honorary master’s degree in mental health counseling from prestigious Johns Hopkins University for attending all of his owner’s classes.
19. Looking for love and have a Golden? According to a study done in France, if a guy has a dog with him, he’s three times more likely to get a girl’s phone number.
20. Speaking of love…want to share your love of The Beatles with your gorgeous Golden? You’re in luck! The famous band included a whistle that is only audible to dogs in their song “A Day in the Life.”
That’s So Weird
21. No two Goldens – or two dogs for that matter – have the same nose print.
22. A Golden can run 20-30 miles per hour.
23. Golden Retrievers love water.
24. According to the American Kennel Club, the Golden retriever is the 3rd most popular breed.
25. Although Goldens are larger dogs, if they are exercised appropriately, they can actually do well in apartment living unlike some of the other large breeds.
26. Goldens can be trained to detect epileptic seizures up to 1 hour before they actually occur.
27. It’s no secret that the passing of a pet can be as hard to handle as the passing of a blood relative. Ancient Egyptians revered their dogs so much that they would shave their eyebrows, smear mud in their hair, and mourn aloud for days.
28. A Golden Retriever can exhibit something referred to as ‘soft mouth’ which is the carrying of an object in their mouths such as a raw egg without causing harm to the object. (with all those teeth that is a feat)
29. A dog’s urine can signal other dogs to its gender, age, health status, and even mood.
30. Part of the reason your male Golden will raise his leg when urinating on a tree or lamppost is to appear taller and more intimidating to other dogs. Some wild dogs in Africa will even try to run up trees to appear even larger!
31. Supposedly, the best dog for attracting a date is the Golden Retriever while the worst is the Pit Bull.
A Heart…and Coat…of Gold
32. The outer coat of a Golden is thick and waterproof and can either be wavy or straight.
33. Your Golden’s double coat serves as natural protection from heat and cold and should never be shaved unless for medical necessity.
34. The Golden Retriever’s fur on the underside of his belly, back of his legs, and front of his neck will likely feature a light feathering or wave.
35. Golden Retrievers can come in all shades of gold from cream to orange.
36. However, some breeders are now selling white Goldens. These are not recognized by the AKC.
37. Goldens usually darken a little as they grow, reaching their true shade at around 1 year.
38. Checking the color on your pup’s ears is a good way to have an idea of what their true shade will be.
39. Your Golden’s nose color will most likely be black or brownish black.
40. Nose color can lighten slightly as your doggy ages due to a natural loss of pigmentation.
41. Goldens are a breed susceptible to something called ‘snow nose’ that causes pink spots on the nose to appear during the winter months and disappear in the summer.
All Bark No Bite
42. Golden Retrievers are considered to be ‘sporting dogs.’
43. The temperament of the Golden is said to be the hallmark of the breed – kind, friendly, and confident.
44. Because Goldens are such friendly dogs, don’t count on them being great guard dogs. While they are good at alerting you of an approaching intruder, they’re more likely to befriend a burglar than bite them.
45. Goldens are the 4th smartest dog breed in the world.
46. Trying to train your Golden? Try adding hand signals and gestures in conjunction with spoken commands. This makes the process even easier.
47. Goldens mature slowly (much like my husband) and retain the personality of a puppy until 3-4 years old.
48. Goldens are considered full grown in height by age 1 and weight by age 2.
49. Golden Retrievers are very gentle and great with kids. However, they are large dogs and tend to get a little excited so keep an eye out for your furbaby accidentally knocking over your other baby.
50. Since Goldens are bred to retrieve, they are usually happiest when they have something to carry in their mouths such as a newspaper, ball, or old shoe.
51. Also due to this instinct, when being exercised outside of a fenced in yard Goldens need to be kept on a leash to avoid them becoming distracted and running away after an animal.
52. Goldens who have very little human contact in the first few months of their lives do not typically make good pets. Make sure if purchasing your Golden from a breeder to go with a reputable one who as properly socialized their dogs.
53. Having a strong pack mentality, the Golden will often feel the need to remain close to you at all times.
54. A study done at the University of California has found that dogs can get jealous if they see their pet parent giving love to someone or something else.
55. Goldens shouldn’t be left alone for longer than 7 hours as this breed is particularly susceptible to separation anxiety and depression.
56. Leaving your pup with a piece of clothing that has your scent on it is a good way to avoid this anxiety during long hours from home.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Vet Away
57. Goldens have an average lifespan of 10-12 years.
58. They need daily exercise and benefit from at least 30 minutes of jogging, a game of fetch, or simply free time in the yard.
59. However, they don’t make very good outside dogs. Goldens can develop skin problems, thunderstorm anxiety, and other environmental allergies.
60. Goldens love to eat and are at risk for becoming overweight. Make sure to feed your pupster in regular intervals rather than leaving an unlimited supply of food out.
61. Other than weighing, there are two ways to tell if your Golden is overweight. First, when looking – you should be able to see a waist. Next, when you place your hands on his back with your fingers spread downward, you should be able to feel (not see) his ribs without having to press very hard.
62. Some of the health risks associated with Golden Retrievers are hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, skin conditions, and various eye diseases.
63. Goldens grow very rapidly between 4 and 7 months, because of this they are more susceptible to bone disorders.
64. For this reason, it is important not to let your pup run and play on hard surfaces like pavement until at least two years old. Grass is fine.
65. There is also a ‘slow grow plan’ that is a little controversial but some pet parents swear by.
66. Goldens should get baths at least once a month and sometimes more frequently depending on their lifestyle.
67. Dogs with folded over ears like the Golden are prone to ear infections since the fold provides a warm dark environment for bacteria. Make sure to keep an eye out for redness, discharge, and odor.
68. A study done by the Golden Retriever Club of America revealed that 61% of Goldens die from some form of cancer, making cancer the biggest threat to this breed. Make sure to keep your pup up to date on vet visits.
69. Chocolate and caffeine are very bad for your doggie. They can cause violent illness and even death if ingested.
70. Another food to keep an eye out for is grapes (and raisins) which can cause renal failure.
71. Also limit exposure to apple and pear seeds as they contain traces of the poison arsenic.
American, British, Canadian…The ABC’s of Golden Retrievers
72. Male Golden Retrievers reach 24 inches tall at the shoulder and can weigh up to 75 pounds.
73. As with most dogs, the female of the breed is smaller than the male. They typically reach heights of 21.5 to 22.5 inches to the shoulder, and weigh between 55 to 65 pounds.
74. There are actually 3 types of Golden Retrievers—American, British, and Canadian— and each varies in color and size
75. British Goldens are the lightest in color and most muscular.
76. Americans Goldens have the thickest coats and are built the skinniest.
77. Canadian Goldens have thinner darker coats and are usually the tallest of the three.
78. An interesting study suggests that the shape of your Golden’s face can actually be a sign of how long he will live. In general, dogs with sharp, pointed faces resembling wolves typically live longer than dogs with flat faces.
79. In Goldens, the skull is broad with a straight muzzle that tapers slightly to a well-defined stop.
Bet You Didn’t Know…
80. A panting pup can take 300-400 breaths per minute. For comparison, they normally take around 30 breaths per minute.
81. Golden Retrievers are at their most active at dawn and dusk likely due to being bred to get used to the early morning light for hunting. This is knowns as being crepuscular.
82. If you notice your golden guy or gal twitching during sleep it’s a sign he or she is dreaming. Dogs even have the same Rapid Eye Movement as humans.
83. A large breed dog such as the Golden Retriever has a heartbeat of between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
84. Your Golden has around 1700 taste buds. For comparison, you have around 9,000 and poor kitties only have 473.
85. Goldens usually have around 6-10 puppies per litter.
86. Good luck hiding that McDonald’s bag from your Golden when you walk in the door, his sense of smell is up to 100,000 times stronger than yours.
87. Don’t let anyone tell you your pal he can’t see in color. He can! Although, colors are much less vivid.
88. It isn’t only for cuteness that your Golden curls up at your feet when sleeping. Your pup curls up in a ball in order to protect their abdomen from predators.
89. Dogs actually have three eyelids. They have an upper and lower like we do, and an extra membrane called the “haw” or nictitating membrane that keeps the eye lubricated.
90.Your Golden’s shoulder blades are unattached to his skeleton to help with running.
Now, quit messing around and go watch Air Bud! It’s still awesome even if you are significantly older than when you first watched it.