Golden Retrievers: the ideal family dog?
Golden Retrievers are one of the best known and most popular dogs not only in the UK but across the world. Intelligent, easy to train with an even temperament, they make wonderful companions.
They’re active dogs that enjoy being part of a family. They considered one of the most intelligent dog breeds, which means they’re incredibly obedient and easy to train.
As well as being great family pets, many Golden Retrievers work as search and rescue dogs. They have an amazing sense of smell which makes them ideal for this role.
History of the breed
The breed was first created in the Scottish Highland village of Tomich in the 1868 by landowner Dudley Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth.
The Golden Retriever emerged after Lord Tweedmouth crossed a yellow wavy-coated retriever called Nous with Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel, on Guisachan Estate. He wanted a dog that was capable of swimming significant distances to retrieve wildfowl that had been shot.
Lord Tweedmouth’s breeding produced four yellow puppies. Later additions to the breeding stock included the, Irish Setter and Bloodhound. The resultant yellow Retrievers became popular towards the end of the 19th Century in the Border counties of Scotland.
They’re a member of the Gun dog breed which tells you that they were developed to assist hunters in finding and retrieving game.
The breed was recognised by the Kennel club in 1913 and the name Golden Retriever became official in 1920.
Temperament and characteristics
Golden Retrievers are friendly, intelligent and always eager to please. Their calm and good-natured temperament makes them great around children and other pets.
Golden Retrievers love being part of a family – it’s their ‘pack’. It’s one reason why they’re good around people.
Because they were originally bred to fetch game, they have a naturally gentle grip that’s called a 'soft mouth', this was ideal as they wouldn’t damage the birds they carried back in their mouths.
Golden Retrievers are very intelligent and it doesn’t take them long to learn new tricks or commands. They’re a great choice for any new dog owner as they rarely show aggression, love receiving praise and like to please their owner.
As their name suggests their instinct is to retrieve and this goes back to their hunting origins. They enjoy playing ball games like fetch and you can even train them to help you carry shopping bags or collect the post. They always want to make their owner happy!
When it comes to food, they have a big appetite and tend to gain weight if not exercised properly. This can be traced back to their breeding and the need to have lots of energy for their work as retrievers.
Golden Retrievers love to be active and are known to be great swimmers. They enjoy spending time in the water… and muddy puddles.
Their coat is dense and features a water-repellent outer coat with a thick undercoat, which insulates them against the cold. The upper layer is longer and lies flat, repelling water. This gives them a great advantage when it comes to swimming.
How to find Golden Retriever puppies
You should find a reputable breeder when adopting a puppy. You should always see your puppy with its mother and siblings before choosing.
The Kennel Club have a contact list of Assured Breeders. Each breeder on the list have agreed to follow good breeding practices and are inspected by The Kennel Club.
There are also lots of reputable breeders outside the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders list. Always do your research, and speak with family, friends, local vets, and breed clubs.
A breeder should be able to provide you with all the genuine paperwork and certificates for vaccinations, microchipping, worming and any other health test results.
Reputable breeds often have a long waiting list for adopting Golden Retrievers, so if you’ve set your heart on this breed, prepare to be patient.
Prices for Golden Retrievers can vary depending on which part of the UK you live in. Some of the most expensive Golden Retrievers can cost up £3,000 but on average you should expect to pay somewhere between £1,500-£2,500.
Golden Retriever insurance
In 2021, we insured nearly 5,000 Golden Retrievers at an average cost of £449.80. That’s fairly close to the average cost to insure all breeds of £421.60. For quite a large dog, it’s a pretty good average insurance price, reflecting that this is a healthy and popular breed with relatively few health issues.