The breed first appeared in 1920. Its members instinctively love water. Their coats are naturally water resistant. They are intelligent, fun-loving and friendly gun dogs bred to retrieve wildfowl undamaged from water during hunting parties. They are golden retrievers. One of the world’s favourite breeds.
Golden retrievers make excellent hearing dogs for the deaf and guide dogs for the blind. They provide valuable support for search and rescue operations, can be wonderful for animal assisted therapy and have proved highly competent in detecting drugs and explosives.
The golden retriever is a long-haired breed and this can occasionally cause some owners concern when their goldens start to shed all over the house but if brushed regularly this effect can be minimised. The coat is one thing, but there are other issues to watch out for when considering this breed (but bear in mind that these points could apply to many medium sized, fun loving and intelligent dog breeds)
- They need a lot of exercise. An adult can need at least two hours a day some authorities claim (puppy bones are still growing and so their exercise should be minimal).
- When young, they jump up enthusiastically
- They have a tendency to chew on things and carry them around (quite endearing if it is their favourite toy – not so much if it is your sofa or expensive shoes!)
- You may notice a pungent, possibly unpleasant, doggy smell
You should note that, as with most established breeds, they do have some health issues. A survey of golden retrievers by the UK Kennel Club, found that more deaths were due to cancer than anything else. Also reported in the survey is an average age for how long a golden retriever may live (12 years and 3 months – the oldest recorded in that particular survey was 17 years and 3 months). Golden retrievers also quite commonly suffer from issues such as hip and elbow dysplasia.
And as if that wasn’t enough to keep you awake at night, other conditions include heart conditions and ligament rupture, epilepsy, cataracts and other eye conditions – but all breeds have some particular health issues associated with them don’t they?
For many existing owners, the enchanting personality of this family-friendly breed, far outweigh the potential health and other issues and the time they have together will be some of most rewarding.