Few dogs are as well-known and universally beloved as the Golden Retriever. This long-coated pup is legendary in hunting circles, as a caring family companion, and for their sensational looks in professional showing circuits. Chances are, if you haven’t owned a Golden yourself, you know a friend or family member that owns (or has owned) one of these majestic canines. Their bright eyes, happy and outgoing demeanor and general agreeability make them a fast friend to anyone happy to oblige with an affectionate head pat or belly scratch.
Consider yourself something of an expert in these hardworking, hunt-ready family dogs? They have a more intriguing history and a larger bag of secret tricks than their compelling puppy faces might suggest. Even if you’re already well-versed in this popular breed, you might not know these ten interesting facts about Golden Retriever dogs. Read on for more trivia and interesting tidbits about this beloved breed:
- Golden Retrievers are derived from a now-extinct breed: Goldens were created by breeding a Yellow Flat-Coated Retriever with the Tweed Water Spaniel, the latter of which has been extinct since the late 1900s. It’s from this now-defunct breed that Golden Retrievers get many of their iconic characteristics: the wedge-shaped skull, the feathered fur on the front legs but not the back legs, and feathered fur of their tails. These traits were originally developed in Tweed Water Spaniels to help them with navigating the demanding waters found near Scottish shores: the feathered fur helped make every “doggy paddle” count against the waves and current.
- Golden Retrievers are “soft-mouthed”: Rather than a strictly physical trait, the term refers to a dog with a disposition towards a unique behavior: namely, a tendency to pick things up softly and carry them gently. This is a particularly useful trait in a hunting dog, which (along with overall trainability) is excellent for retrieving downed prey. Once a hunter shoots an animal like a duck or hare, their Golden Retriever companion can be sent to fetch and carry it gently back, allowing the hunter to maintain their shooting position. This trait leads to one of the more unique facts about Golden Retriever dogs: some pups are so skilled at the soft-mouth behavior that they’re able to pick up and carry a raw egg in their mouth without breaking it. This trait is highly prized among owners that intend to use their Golden Retriever as a hunting dog – so much so that even a very young puppy might be examined for telltale signs they’ll exhibit the behavior.
- Golden Retrievers are a consistently popular US breed: These beautiful yellow-coated dogs are pretty much a mainstay in the top 3 popular breeds each year. In 2019, they sat in the #3 spot for popularity nationwide, third only to German Shepherds and Labrador Retrievers. Their affinity for being sweet, loving family dogs likely comprises a lot of their notoriety. While it isn’t exactly one of the facts about Golden Retrievers likely to make it into a research report, anecdotal stories about the breed’s loving, playful nature are legendary. The American Kennel Club (AKC) notes that their “puppyish” behavior never really fades away, even as they age – perfect for keeping up with the active, playful lifestyle of the youngest human members of the family.
- Golden Retrievers don’t mind “earning their keep”: Bred to be an obedient and intelligent hunting companion, Goldens are widely considered easy to train. The same traits that serve them well on the water or in the woods translate to the service industry, too. While German Shepherds are a more common sight in the back of a police cruiser, Goldens have sensitive noses that make them ideal to sniff out drugs and other illegal substances in cars, at airports, and elsewhere. They also work very well as “search and rescue” dogs while hunting for victims in natural disasters, and are the most popular breed for “seeing eye” service dogs used by visually disabled handlers.
- Golden Retrievers typically love the water: While even the most well-known traits of popular dog breeds will have exceptions, most Goldens love a good swim with their favorite humans. Not only do these playful dogs have a natural affinity for water and a strong build for swimming, but even their coat is also made to repel water. Their double-layer coat consists of a thick undercoat that keeps out the chill if they happen to hit the water in cooler months (just as their Scottish-coast-swimming ancestors did), and their long, flat outer coat that repels water and keeps it from seeping up against their skin. It’s not to say that a good drying shake-off won’t fling water everywhere, of course – just be sure to have plenty of towels on hand at all times!
- Goldens love to chew: Remember that “soft mouth” trait so prized by hunters? Well, the reverse of the coin is that a gentle carrier at “work” is also usually an avid chomper at “play.” That means that Golden Retriever pet parents should be prepared to give their pooch plenty of “approved” chew toys to spare their shoes, socks, and other household items. Thankfully, the eminently trainable nature of Goldens also means they’re easily diverted to chewable treats like bones, particularly when their human is nearby with a watchful eye. As with all breeds, puppies, and separation, anxiety-prone pups are most likely to take out their frustrations on the nearest loafer – so a little extra love, supervision, and high-quality natural dog treats can go a long way!
- A Golden Retriever has called the White House home: Arguably the fanciest dog house in the entire country, the hallowed halls of the president’s residence have also served as doggie romping grounds. Two presidents – Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan – both had Golden Retrievers of their own. While President Reagan’s pup Victory lived primarily on his ranch with his stable full of horses, Ford’s dog Liberty (and later, Liberty’s puppy Misty) lived in the residence itself. Liberty proved to be such a fan favorite that a rubber stamp of her paw print had to be made in lieu of the real deal. The sheer volume of requests and letters for the Presidential pooch’s “signature” made the ink-and-blot method too cumbersome for Ford’s daughter – and of course, his popular pooch.
- Goldens and movies go great together: The mild temperament of the breed is cited time and time again as one of the reasons it’s so well-liked. Hollywood, in particular, loves the Golden Retriever breed, as they tend to be calm and easy to direct onset, particularly at the hands of a professional trainer. The success of dog-centric franchises like Air Bud, with over 12 movies and counting, as well as classics such as Homeward Bound, Old Yeller, and 2017’s hit A Dog’s Purpose relies heavily on the stage presence of this sweet, agreeable breed. While CGI special effects are used in almost every modern movie, the ability of the Golden to “hit their cues” with reliable precision is a director’s dream: in short, they make excellent co-stars.
- Golden Retrievers need regular grooming: It comes as no surprise that the long, luxurious golden coat these dogs are known for needs a little TLC, but sometimes first-time Golden owners are surprised by their fur volume. Golden Retrievers are not hypoallergenic, which means they may not be the best dog breed for people who are sensitive to pet dander. In addition to their outer coat strands naturally shedding and being replaced, the fluffy undercoat will leave fine hairs stuck to furniture, clothing, and even fellow pet siblings. This can be especially trying for owners with darker-colored carpeting or furniture, as the light, downy fur forms a visible layer after a while. You can keep this shedding to a minimum with a healthy diet, frequent at-home brushing, and regular appointments with a professional groomer. A pet-specific vacuum certainly won’t hurt, either!
- Goldens have special nutritional needs: That tendency to chew and mouth their toys translates to the food bowl as well, where they’ll often overeat without a pet parent regulating portions. Kibble diets are an excellent choice for this dog breed since dry food allows for more exact measurement and works well in “slow feeder” bowls. A precisely-formulated kibble such as LucyPet grain-free dog food also helps to avoid food allergies, keeps pooches feeling fuller for longer, and even contributes to a healthy, lower-shedding coat. When paired with annual vet wellness checkups, a balanced diet with a high-quality kibble is the best way to proactively defend against some common health issues in older Golden Retrievers, such as hip dysplasia.
Premium Dog Food: A Recipe For Health
Did you know where these beautiful dogs originally came from, or the behaviors that make them so distinctive? While these fun facts about the Golden Retriever breed cover how far these dogs have come, there’s still so much more to be written as these canine companions bound into the future. Cherished by families, hunters, the AKC, and international organizations alike, the Golden is a perennial favorite among dog breeds and households alike.
For aficionados of this breed of dogs and families who have welcomed Goldens into their hearts and homes, knowing which dog food to choose may prove to be elusive with so many brands touted as ‘healthy’. Consider Lucy Pet dog food kibble and treats, as our high-quality natural ingredients take the guesswork out of providing premium nutrition for your dog. Free from artificial flavors, chemicals, fillers, and dyes, our line of nutritious Golden Retriever dog food is backed by science and was developed by the highly-acclaimed nutritionist Dr. George C. Fahey, so you can feel good about what you’re feeding your beloved fur baby. Combine your affection, training, annual vet visits, and our premium pet food, and you’ve got a recipe for a happy and healthy dog – and many great memories to be made with your faithful companion.
- “Golden Retriever.” American Kennel Club (AKC.org), (no publish date), https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/golden-retriever/. Accessed December 11, 2019.
- Zodokai. “The Golden List – Golden Retrievers in Film.” Letterboxd.com, (no publish date), https://letterboxd.com/zodokai/list/the-golden-list-golden-retrievers-in-film/. Accessed December 11, 2019.
- Greenwood, Arin. “Science Explains Why Golden Retrievers Are Awesome.” Huffpost.com, December 12, 2014, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dog-breed-genetics-personality_n_6304642. Accessed December 11, 2019.
- OConnell, Rebecca. “10 Friendly Facts About the Golden Retriever.” Mental Floss.com, November 9, 2015, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70744/10-friendly-facts-about-golden-retriever. Accessed December 11, 2019.
- “Tweed Water Spaniel.” Wikipedia.org, (no publish date), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweed_Water_Spaniel. Accessed December 11, 2019.
- Are Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic? https://www.lucypetproducts.com/blog/are-golden-retrievers-hypoallergenic
- A Helpful Guide Best Food for Golden Retrievers: https://www.lucypetproducts.com/blog/a-helpful-guide-best-food-for-golden-retrievers