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Golden Retrievers: Spotlight On A Very Good Boy

February 1, 2024

Did you know that the Golden Retriever is one of America’s most popular pets? Fido even has his own day this month, which was on the third. Golden Retrievers are not only adorable, but also fun, loving, and loyal. They definitely deserve to be celebrated! In fact, Golden, Colorado, celebrated by hosting a gathering of Goldens on February 3. (This may be one of the cutest events of the year.) A local Salem, VA veterinarian discusses these lovable pups in this article. 

Golden Retrievers: Basics

Fido is a medium-sized dog with a huge heart. Males can grow up to 24 inches tall and weigh 75 pounds, while females can reach about 23 inches tall and weigh 65 pounds. Fido usually lives between 10 and 12 years. However, even in his golden years, he may still act like a puppy.

There are actually three kinds of goldens: British, American, and Canadian. As you can probably guess, they are all adorable.

Golden Retriever History: Fido’s Family Tree

Sir Dudley Majoribanks, one of the developers of Fido in Scotland, kept detailed records that have provided us with ample information about the breed’s lineage. These records were published in 1952. They confirm that back in the 1860s, Majoribanks crossbred a Flat coated Retriever named Nous with a Tweed Water Spaniel. There is some uncertainty surrounding Nous’ origin, with various rumors claiming he was purchased from a Russian circus trainer, a cobbler, or a gypsy. However, what we do know is that he was bred to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel from the “Ladykirk” breeding line. Their offspring became the foundation for the ongoing breeding process, which also involved Red Setters, Labrador Retrievers and Bloodhounds. This ultimately led to the creation of the beloved and obedient Retrievers we know today. 

Do Golden Retrievers Make Good Family Dogs?

Yes! Fido is often chosen as a family pet, due to his patience with children. Golden Retrievers also get along well with cats and other dogs. They are typically very easy to train, in large part because they are so eager to please. Because they require so much exercise, they’ll do best in a house that has a yard. (Given the option, Fido would also politely request a pool.)

Golden Retriever Coats

There is a downside to the beautiful coat of Golden Retrievers: Fido will try to share it with you, and will politely distribute it, well, everywhere. In addition to brushing your pet regularly if you don’t want fur all over your house, you won’t need to bathe your dog very often. Dental care and nail trimmings should also be done regularly.

What Is A Golden Retriever Temperament Like?

There’s a reason Fido is so popular in America, and it’s not hard to understand why. These dogs have incredible temperaments. They’re loyal, loving, affectionate, and good with kids as well. The breed standard even mentions their cheerful demeanors. Early records even noted that their tails often move in a “merry” fashion.

Golden Retrievers Vs. Yellow Labrador Retrievers: What Are The Differences?

Fido bears a striking resemblance to his close companion, the Yellow Labrador Retriever. The two pups share many similarities in terms of size, appearance, and temperament. It’s pretty easy to mistake one for the other! Goldens boast longer fur and slightly longer ears and noses. As far as career choices, both breeds excel in various fields, with Goldens commonly serving as service or therapy dogs and Labs excelling in search-and-rescue and police work. 

What Do Golden Retrievers Do Well?

With their intelligence and strong obedience, it’s no surprise that Goldens excel in various dog sports and activities, such as obedience, agility and tracking, and in many jobs, such as police work and search-and-rescue. Fido also has a talent for hunting. As his name suggests, he is a natural at playing Fetch. These cute canines also love swimming. 

Their only weakness is being watchdogs: they’re so friendly they’re more likely to greet a burglar and beg for belly rubs than to chase them away.

Are Golden Retrievers Healthy?

In general, Goldens are quite healthy. Some lines, however, are prone to certain health issues, such as allergies, skin conditions, and eye problems.This is mostly due to irresponsible breeders, who were more interested in taking advantage of Fido’s popularity to turn profits than adhering to quality standards. (This may explain why there are a small percentage of Goldens who aren’t as cheerful as the rest of the family.)

That all said, Goldens are susceptible to a few health issues, like any breed. It is fairly common for these pups to develop hip and elbow dysplasia. Fido is also at risk of subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS), a life-threatening heart condition. Certain cancers are also not uncommon in the breed. You might want to consider enrolling your canine pal in pet health insurance if you’re considering getting one. Tests recommended by the National Breed Club include hip, elbow, and eye evaluations, and a DNA Test for Neuronal Ceroid Lipofuscinosis 5 (Golden Retriever) (NCL, NCL5).

Last but not least, some Goldens can be prone to ear issues.The floppy ears of Goldens create a warm, damp environment, in which bacteria can thrive. These guys need to have their ears cleaned regularly. Consult your Salem, VA veterinarian for more information.

Golden Retrievers: What Do They Love Most?

We can’t officially poll our furry patients, but we have a pretty good idea what Fido would say.

In no particular order, here are the results:

  • Bacon
  • Belly Rubs
  • Playing Fetch
  • Swimming
  • Treats
  • Playing
  • Toys
  • Parks
  • Ear Scritches
  • Weekends
  • Weekdays
  • Naps
  • Bacon
  • Car Rides
  • Squirrels

Golden Retrievers: How Active Are They?

Like many other pups in the sporting breed group, Goldens tend to have high levels of energy. It’s important to keep Fido active by giving him plenty of exercise and playtime. If not, he may become overweight. (His love for snacks isn’t much help, either.) 

Ask your Salem, VA veterinarian for personalized advice on your pup’s workout routine. Due to the risk of hip dysplasia, you may be advised to avoid activities that put too much strain on his joints and hips. Therefore, you may need to discourage Fido from jumping or standing on his back legs excessively, especially during his puppyhood. As Fido ages, he may become less active and turn into a couch potato, so it’s crucial to make sure he stays active and gets enough physical activity.

Are There Any Pros And Cons To Owning A Golden Retriever?

There are far more pros than cons here. These pups are not only friendly and intelligent, but also keen on pleasing their owners, making them ideal family companions. They excel in various tasks and are overall joyful and endearing.

There are only a few minor downsides to owning one of these fantastic dogs. Firstly, they have a tendency to shed excessively. Additionally, although they’re classified as medium-sized, many landlords may not allow them due to their larger size. Lastly, it’s worth noting the potential health concerns mentioned earlier.

In Conclusion: The Golden Retriever is a very popular dog with some wonderful qualities. Friendly, playful, and obedient, these pups make outstanding canine companions. 

Do you have questions about your dog’s health or care? Contact us, your Salem, VA animal hospital, today. We are dedicated to offering the best care around.

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