The Golden Retriever was originally evolved as a gundog by Lord Tweedmouth in Scotland for retrieving shot game on land and water. He mated a good looking yellow Flatcoated Retriever to a Tweed Water Spaniel and bred from the offspring, out crossing at times to the Irish Setter, black Flat Coated Retriever and back to the Tweed Water Spaniel. These dogs were given to his friends and family and they were recognised as being good workers, who looked good and were biddable, the characteristics which the breed still aims for.
The Golden Retriever is defined by its coat which can be any colour from pale to dark golden but never white or red. They are a dog for all needs and can happily be a fireside pet or a proficient and biddable working dog. They have excelled in all aspects of the canine world and if given the opportunity will ‘throw themselves’ into any activity.
They are a breed which needs a medium amount of maintenance to keep the coat in good condition and they need regular exercise. They are easily trained and benefit from basic obedience as they can be strong powerful dogs when fully grown. Their intelligence also means that without boundaries being set they will soon ‘train’ their owners. Their lovely expression is also set to melt the heart and this can be used as just a ploy to get their own way – so beware.
Golden Retrievers can have the hereditary conditions of Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia and Eye conditions such as Hereditary Cataract and PRA. Responsible breeders will have tested any breeding stock for these problems through the Kennel Club/ BVA schemes before mating the dogs and will be able to show you the parents’ certificates when you go to buy a puppy. Hips and Elbows are scored when the dogs are over a year old and the range of score in hips are from 0-53 and the score for each hip is added together to make an overall score, whereas in Elbows each elbow will be graded from 0-3 and a score given for each elbow and the overall score is the highest elbow score. The breed average in hips at the present time is approximately a score of 18 in total.
There is current research into other eye conditions and DNA tests being developed for some eye conditions, the gr-PRA1 test has just become available.