The Golden Retriever breed is a very beautiful and popular dog breed; beautiful because of the different shades of gold that its coat can sport, ranging from a very light (almost white) yellow, to a very deep (almost brown or mahogany) gold, and popular because of its mild mannered attitude and its love for attention, affection and physical activity. Another reason why the Golden Retriever is very popular is because it is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world, able to learn upwards to 200 commands, both verbal and nonverbal. Golden Retrievers have been used as bomb dogs, retrievers for hunters, blind seeing-eye dogs and a companion for the old and the infirm.
Compared to other dog breeds whose origins go way back to ancient times, Golden Retrievers are relatively young, with the breed having been “developed” around 100 years ago. Professional breeders theorize that the breed descended from a mix of different types of water spaniels, such as the Irish Settler, the Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct), the Flat-Coated Retriever, and the Newfoundland. History also tells us that a man by the name of Lord Tweedmouth had a direct hand in the development of the breed. He wished for a dog that was even tempered, well suited to family life and very loyal, but at the same time, was athletic, had retrieving instincts and loved the water. As a hunter, he wanted a dog that would accompany him during fowl hunts and retrieve the fowl that he had shot, often times the fowl would land in the water. The Golden Retriever’s coat was bred into the breed especially for the purpose of shedding water and keeping the dog warm. Notice that the breed has two types of coat, the outer, more coarsely-haired coat, and a softer undercoat. The coarse hairs act like a raincoat, repelling water away from the body before it reaches the undercoat. When the dog is submerged in water, the softer undercoat acts like an insulator to keep the dog’s core temperature from dropping.
When the established breed became popular in Britain, more and more people who were visiting at the time, took them back to their native countries. However, most other countries did not hold hunting in such high regard as the British, and so the Golden Retriever slowly transformed from a hunting dog into a family and companion dog.
Back in Britain, the breed was first entered into shows during 1908, and in 1913, was given separate breed status. It wasn’t until 1920 that the Golden Retriever breed was considered a breed in its own right because before then, the golden retriever was only called a “retriever”, with the coat color having no consequence. After it was granted separate breed status, more and more people started to get to know and love the Golden, and it quickly became popular as both family pet and hunting companion. It is even known to be a great obedience and service dog. Truly a breed that you will love!