The Golden Retriever is quite a new breed that originated in the mid-19th century. It was developed in Scotland and England, where it was used mainly for hunting. It is an excellent hunter breed because of its medium size and astounding sense of smell, which enabled it to follow both game and water birds.
There are three varieties in this breed, British, American, and Canadian. The British variety is stockier than the American variety. It is heavier and has a thicker coat. In the British variety, males should be between 22 to 24 inches (56 to 61 cm) tall and females should be between 20 to 22 inches (51 to 56 cm) tall. In the American variety, males should be between 23 to 24 inches (58 to 61 cm) tall and females should be between 21.5 to 22.5 inches (55 to 57 cm) tall. The weight for both breed varieties should be between 65 to 75 lbs (30 to 34 kg) for males, and between 60 to 70 lbs (28 to 32 kg) for females. The coat of the Canadian variety is finer and darker than the American variety.
The double coat is dense and wavy. Coat colors can vary from light to dark-golden. The topcoat helps the dog repel water. This coat sheds a little throughout the year. The undercoat is soft. It keeps the dog warm in winter and cool in summer. This coat sheds only in spring and fall season. The eyes of the British breed are round and dark, whereas those of the American breed are slanted. Ears are dropped. Tail is bushy and has feathering. The nose is brownish black and the eyes are dark-brown in color.
This dog has a great personality. It is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Not only is it a wonderful family pet, but it is also popularly used for hunting and in dog shows. It is very loyal, gives unconditional love, and is a joyful company. It is extremely playful and active. It gets along very well with kids, and is also an excellent watchdog. It has a loud bark. However, due to its friendly nature, it does not make a good guard dog.
This breed absolutely loves water. It loves to take baths either in water ponds or 'mud pools'. It has wonderful manners and is extremely friendly. In fact, it is so sociable that it hates to be left alone. It basks in attention and needs unconditional acceptance. It may fall sick if left home alone for long periods of time. This dog wants to be around its owners as much as possible, so it's best to get one if you are able to stay at home for a long time or if you have children who will play with the dog.
It loves outdoor activities such as hiking or long walks. It likes taking part in family activities and becoming involved in what everyone is doing.
Like the German Shepherd, Beagle, and Labrador Retriever, this breed makes an excellent drug detection dog. Generally, dogs trained for detecting drugs are chosen for their urge to sniff things out, their compatibility, perseverance, and willingness to cooperate with humans and work for long time periods. Being playful and energetic, Golden retrievers love doing things for which they can be rewarded with treats or be allowed to play with their favorite toys, sniffing things out being one of them. Regardless of the breed, many such drug detection dogs may come from animal rescues and shelters. They have been taken either due to their destructive behavior at home, or because the owners can't give them time. Since the Golden Retriever needs a lot of physical and brain activities in order to be happy, drug sniffing turns out to be suitable for it.
This dog is generally extremely curious and very intelligent. According to some researches done by experts at the Auburn University's Veterinary School, dogs with a heightened sense of smell are able to sense a few molecules of odor for every billion air parts. This ability can be compared to humans being capable of locating a certain sand grain in a beach section of 30 square feet. Apart from sniffing out even small quantities of illegal substances, drug detecting dogs are also capable of separating different smells. Thus, just for comparison, humans can detect the odor of a pizza, while a drug detecting dog can differentiate the different smells of that pizza--flour, pepperoni, cheese, onion, tomatoes, mushroom, etc.
This breed is susceptible to genetic illnesses, hip dysplasia, mast cell tumors, congenital eye defects, heart problems, Von Willerbrand's disease, skin allergies, and obesity. Thus, a watch should be kept on your dog's diet, and he/she should not be overfed. The life expectancy of this breed is 10 to 12 years.
The Golden retriever is a perfect family dog, and is also of great service as a sniffer. All in all, an excellent companion and lifelong friend.