There are only two pure breed golden retrievers recognized by most of the kennel clubs and associations; the English golden retriever and the American golden retriever.
Though there may be other references like the European golden retriever, the English golden retriever is really the pure breed in most cases. In fact the American golden retriever has minimal subtle differences from the English type which I like to call the ‘original’ golden retriever.
The golden retriever as a breed was first developed not in England, but Scotland around mid 1800s. You may perhaps be wondering why it was not named after its country of origin, so do I. Lord Tweedmouth is credited for developing this breed primarily for hunting, reportedly from a cross of the water spaniel and the bloodhound.
It was used for retrieving the birds that were shot during the then increasingly popular duck hunting spot in both the fur and feather and water retrievals. This was because of their characteristics like being good swimmers, their waterproof coats, and very high intelligence levels.
Though it was developed to fill a need, it is one of the most popular pets in the world over two centuries later. It is now available across the globe as a pure breed or as a cross.
The English golden retriever is slightly heavier and shorter, has a blockier forehead, a slightly wider muzzle than the American type. It has a deeper chest, a shorter tail, and a less hairy and firmer coat which is predominantly light cream or any of the lighter shades of gold color.
This further became a key characteristic which enabled the golden retrievers to traverse the rugged and wet terrains to retrieve the birds. It is now a stunning spectacle of the golden retriever that every owner loves to brush and rub.
Perhaps its most endearing qualities include its warm temperament and versatile nature that have made it quite popular as a family pet and even assistance for the handicapped. Its relatively high intelligence has made it a top choice for a rescue dog, drug sniffing dog, tracking and hunting companion and of course an excellent show dog.
It has a knack for banging the obedience and conformance awards in several competitions. One of the kennel associations beautifully and accurately describes the English golden retriever in the ‘general appearance’ category in this manner;
“A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy or long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and displaying a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident…”
I recently saw a UK kennel club cum British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee report about the health of the English golden retrievers. I thought it was quite impressive that just shy of 20% of the golden retrievers had run out the clock or died of age related complications. Cancer took up the largest chunk of deaths, about 39% of all the deaths.
So it really is correct to say that every other golden retriever breeds are really a variation of the English golden retriever.
Kevin Taylor is a Golden Retriever Trainer and breeding enthusiast, and enjoys helping others get started in this amazing hobby by sharing information about the English golden retriever
His newest book,”The Ultimate Golden Retriever Training & Care Guide,” teaches Golden Retriever owners and trainers everything they need to know about training and caring for their Golden Retriever. http://www.goldenretrievercentre.com