GOLDEN RETRIEVER 101! Everything You Need To Know About The Golden Retriever
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Where does the Golden Retriever come from? Despite their extraordinary popularity as family pets, these dogs have been bred as highly skilled working dogs. Their fascinating history begins in the Scottish Highlands. During the late 1800’s, a certain Lord Tweedmouth developed this breed into the reliable hunting companion that it still is today. The Golden Retriever’s original job was it to retrieve waterfowl: The Retriever would run, or swim, towards the bird shot down by the hunter, then gently grab it and deliver it to its owner. Over the centuries, this very capable gundog breed was developed into the lovable dog we know today. However, the actual name “Golden Retriever” was only coined in the early 20th century. In its outer appearance, the modern-day Golden Retriever is a large dog with a strong, yet well-balanced and symmetrical body. Breed standards describe the Golden Retriever as a (quote), “symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident.” These dogs’ beautiful long, lustrous golden coats come in various shades, ranging from a light cream-colour to a deep, rich gold. What is their temperament like? These beautiful dogs come with an immensely kind and gentle nature. Combined with their extraordinary adaptability, these character traits make the Golden Retriever a perfect choice for families with young children. Golden Retrievers are very social and agreeable – not only towards their human family, but also towards visitors, other dogs as well as other pets in the household. Whilst this natural kindness does not necessarily make them the best guard dog breed, they still are rather large dogs, who can be taught to sound an alarm, should there be any suspicious activity going on. Potential burglars will usually prefer not to try their luck in a house guarded by a large, barking dog. These loving and faithful companions are generally happy and joyful dogs, with a puppy-like enthusiasm and eagerness for life. You can see and enjoy these character traits even in older Golden Retrievers. How intelligent and trainable are Golden Retrievers? Golden Retrievers are easy to train, intelligent and always keen to please their owners. These striking dogs excel not only as gentle pets and hunting companions – they can do far more: Golden Retrievers have gained worldwide recognition as Service Dogs, SAR Dogs, Therapy Dogs and Guide Dogs for blind people. Their high adaptability to different roles also makes Golden Retrievers perfect Service Dogs for people who suffer from impaired hearing and/or impaired mobility and who need a reliable Assistance Dog by their side at all times. As search and rescue dogs, they are one of the most well-suited breeds on the planet. This fact is due to their extraordinary trainability as well as their versatility both on land and in water. Mountain Rescue Teams quite often use Golden Retrievers to locate and save avalanche-victims. Working side by side with their handlers, Golden Retrievers have helped save countless human lives in the field of search and rescue. Are Golden Retrievers healthy dogs? In terms of their health, they are fairly robust and can live up to around 10 – 12 years. However, they still suffer from a number of potential health problems common in large dog breeds, most prominently hip- and elbow dysplasia. They also quite often fall victim to cancer and epilepsy, as well as hernias. Therefore, it is advisable to only buy your Golden Retriever puppy from a reputable breeder who performs pre-breeding health testing as a matter of course (in other words, a breeder who performs health-checks on both parents of your puppy). And who provides you with a health certificate for your puppy. How much exercise does the Golden Retriever need? Like their Scottish ancestors, the Golden Retrievers we know today still are superb working dogs with a high affinity to water. They are fairly energetic and need quite a lot of exercise – at least 2 hours a day, in the form of walks, runs, playtimes and some obedience training sessions. Therefore, if you want to enjoy the company of a well-rounded, fully contented and healthy Golden Retriever, you have to get, and stay, active yourself. Goldies excel in all kinds of canine sports and activities - such as agility, dock jumping, tracking, obedience training, retrieving objects on land and in water, swimming and even diving. Of course, the energetic canine athletes are equally happy to accompany you on any activity in the Great Outdoors – for example jogging, trail running, hiking or cycling. What are their grooming requirements? There is no doubt about it: The characteristic beautiful long coat of the Golden Retriever is a joy to look at. However, should you decide to share your home with a Goldie, you might see these lovely Golden hairs not only on your dog, but everywhere in the house. The reason for this phenomenon is that Goldies shed all year round – not only during the “normal” shedding season in spring and autumn. For this reason, Golden Retrievers require regular grooming. That means you should brush them once a day throughout the year and multiple times a day during shedding season. Usually, a simple pin brush and an undercoat rake suffice to keep their silky coats from developing mats and tangles. However, if you want to be optimally equipped for the next shedding season, I highly recommend you invest in a Furminator for long-haired breeds.