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16 Interesting Golden Retriever Facts: Origins, Appearance & More

Written by: Chantelle Fowler

Last Updated on April 10, 2024 by Dogster Team

16 Interesting Golden Retriever Facts: Origins, Appearance & More

According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers are the third most popular dog breed.1 So, whether you are reading this because you’re thinking of adopting one or already have one, you’re in great company. This breed is not only beautiful but exceptionally smart, with an unbeatable temperament.

If you’re looking to learn more about Golden Retrievers, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to find interesting facts about this stunning breed.

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The 16 Facts About Golden Retriever

1. Golden Retrievers Were Developed in Scotland

Golden Retrievers were created in the 19th century in Scotland by Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, a Scottish businessman and politician. He wanted to create an ultimate breed of Retriever, so he acquired a Flat-coated Retriever and the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel to mate. This pairing was unique as, in theory, it would provide a robust hunting dog capable of navigating both water and land. The litter from this pairing was considered the world’s first Golden Retrievers.

golden retriever outdoor
Image Credit: Melanie Mai, Pixabay

2. There Are Three Types of Golden Retrievers

There are three different colors for Golden Retrievers as well as three different types. The three colors for this breed are golden, light golden, and dark golden. The three types of Golden Retrievers are the English, American, and Canadian. Canadian and American Goldens have a similar build, but the Canadian type has a thinner coat and tends to be taller. English Goldens are stockier than the other two and are a light golden color.


3. Golden Retrievers Weren’t Recognized as a Breed Until 1925

Despite being developed in the nineteenth century, Goldens weren’t given American Kennel Club recognition until 1925.

The UK Kennel Club allowed registration of Golden Retrievers in 1913, but they were known then as a “yellow” or “golden” Retriever. It wasn’t until 1920, when the Golden Retriever Club was established, that the breed’s name was officially changed.


4. Two Golden Retrievers Have Lived in the White House

Two U.S. presidents had Golden Retrievers as pets during their time in the White House.

Gerald Ford and his wife Betty had a Golden Retriever named Liberty who was frequently photographed in the Oval Office. Liberty is immortalized in bronze in Rapid City, South Dakota as part of the city’s City of Presidents statue exhibit.

Ronald Reagan also had a Golden Retriever named Victory while in office. Victory was one of several animals that Reagan had while he was President along with Rex the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and Peggy the Irish Setter.

Golden Retriever sitting in the dirt
Image Credit: Olena Brodetska, Shutterstock

5. Golden Retrievers Are in the Guinness Book of World Records

There are several Golden Retrievers that have made their way into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Finley, from New York, holds the world record for how many tennis balls he can fit into his mouth at once. He can hold six balls at a time which beats the previous world record holder, another Golden Retriever named Augie, by one.

Charlie, an Australian Golden Retriever, holds the world record for the loudest bark. His bark was measured at 113.1 decibels. For comparison, standing nearby sirens produces a sound that’s 120 decibels and can cause pain and ear injury.


6. Golden Retrievers Make Great Therapy Dogs

The Golden Retrievers’ friendly nature makes it one of the most popular therapy dogs. This breed is known for its smart, patient, and gentle demeanor, making it perfect for training as a therapy dog. Goldens are very trainable and exceptionally good with children and other pets, which just further solidifies their stance as a fantastic therapy pooch.


7. Golden Retrievers Were Hero Dogs on 9/11

Many hero dogs were at Ground Zero in the days following the terrorist attacks on New York City on September 11, 2001. Riley, a Golden Retriever, is one of the most well-known hero dogs. He was trained to locate survivors of the attacks in the rubble.

Bretagne was another Golden who worked 12-hour shifts on rescue and recovery for 10 days after 9/11. She was a lifelong veteran on rescue missions having worked not only after 9/11 but after deadly Hurricanes like Katrina and Ivan.

wet red golden retriever dog outdoors
Image Credit: Ron Jungwirth, Pixabay

8. The Largest Golden Retriever Litter Size was 17

A Golden from Canada named Giselle had a litter of 17 pups back in 2009. Giselle actually shares the record for the highest number of pups in one litter as registered by the Canadian Kennel Club. Giselle delivered her puppies via C-section.


9. Golden Retrievers Have a High Cancer Rate

Estimates suggest that up to 60% of Golden Retrievers will develop cancer at some point in their life. Studies show that this breed not only is at a higher risk of developing tumors but that some types of tumors were far more common in the breed than others. Goldens seem to be at a higher risk of developing osteosarcoma, lymphoma, hemangiosarcoma, and mast cell tumors.


10. The World’s Oldest Golden Retriever Lived to be 20

Augie the Golden Retriever lived to be one month shy of her 21st birthday. Augie lived in Tennessee with her human parents, Jennifer and Steve Hetterscheidt. The Hetterscheidt’s adopted Augie when she was 14 years old.

Golden Retrievers have an average lifespan of around 12 to 13 years. For a larger dog, this is pretty long. Their longer lifespan is largely due to their health as a breed. Unlike other dogs, they are not heavily prone to hip dysplasia and other common problems, as we have stated. However, your dog’s lifestyle does have a large effect on their health.

Therefore, if you want your dog to live a long time, it is vital that you take care of them. A proper diet and exercise regime are vital for their health.

golden retriever dog on a couch
Image Credit By: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

11. Golden Retrievers Are Made to Be Stars

Since Goldens are so easy to train, you may notice them in a lot of movies and TV shows.

Buddy was a Golden Retriever who starred in the 1997 Disney movie Air Bud and was also Comet on Full House.

Brinkley the Golden starred in You’ve Got Mail alongside Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is a 1993 remake of a 1963 film that was based on a novel by Sheila Burnford. This movie follows Shadow, a wise Golden Retriever, Chance, a young and immature American bulldog, and Sassy, a Himalayan cat to complete the unlikely trio.

A Dog’s Purpose is an emotionally beautiful movie that touches on the relationship between man and dog. The majority of the movie focuses on a Golden Retriever named Bailey.

There are a lot of Goldens who make a living on the Internet, too. Tucker Budzyn has 3 million followers on his social media accounts. Golden Loutriever is a Californian Golden who has a ton of partnerships with pet brands. Bailey was one of the first Golden Retrievers to become Instagram famous with his hilarious photos that still make the rounds on the Internet today.


12. Golden Retriever Coats Are Almost Waterproof

This breed has a very unique double coat that consists of two parts. Both of their coat layers work to insulate them against cold and moist weather. Their outer coat is long and smooth, while the undercoat is soft and fuzzy.

Both layers of their coat grow independently from one another and will grow to different lengths. The outer coat will grow slower and is longer, while the undercoat grows fast and will shed twice a year.


13. You Can Predict What Shade Your Golden Retriever Will Be

Golden Retriever breeders can predict what shade their puppies will end up being as adults simply by looking at the puppy’s ears. While the breed does change colors as it matures, most adult Goldens’ coats will wind up being nearly the same color as their ears when they were puppies. Many times, a Golden puppy’s ears will be darker than the rest of his coat which can give you a pretty good idea of what his adult coloring will be.

golden retriever dog watching over his owner's house
Image Credit: Luc Brousseau, Shutterstock

14. Golden Retrievers Noses Can Change Color

A Golden Retrievers’ nose can change colors due to many factors, such as aging or seasonal changes. One of the most common causes of this pigmentation loss is known as “Snow Nose.”

Snow Nose results in your Golden’s nose fading to a pink or white shade during the colder months of the year. This is thought to be caused by tyrosinase breakdown. Tyrosinase is a temperature-sensitive enzyme that works better during the warmer months.

Snow Nose does not cause harm to your pup, and their noses will usually return to their normal color when the weather gets warmer.


15. Golden Retrievers Have Webbed Feet

Golden Retrievers are fantastic water dogs. This is due not only to the fact that they bred to be hunting dogs to retrieve waterfowl such as ducks, but because their feet are webbed. Their webbed feet help them swim faster and allow them to move smoothly across the water.

PK_Webbed feet in dogs
You are free to use this image but we do require you to link back to Petkeen.com for credit

16. The average Golden Retriever weight is between 55 and 75 pounds, and height is between 20 and 24 inches tall.

While there isn’t a gender distinction in the weight category (necessarily), it is assumed that females will be smaller than males. Of course, dogs can weigh more than this or less than this if they are not a healthy weight.

Like many dogs, Golden Retrievers can become obese if they eat too much and exercise too little. Therefore, it is vital that you keep them on a proper diet and feeding regimen. Otherwise, they may become unhealthy.

Just because your dog falls within this category doesn’t mean that they are the proper weight for them. It should be based on their height and body condition. Your vet can help you determine if your dog is the proper weight or not.

According to the breed standard, all Golden Retrievers will fall between these two measurements when measured at the shoulder. Females are slightly smaller than males at 20” to 22”. However, males are larger at 22” to 24”. If a dog measures outside of these ranges, it wouldn’t meet the breed standards.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Golden Retrievers

Is a Golden Retriever a Good House Pet?

Often, Golden Retrievers do make very good house dogs. They are easy to train and very human-centric. Therefore, they love to be around their people and will often learn to behave easily. They don’t get distracted easily, which helps them keep their composure inside. While they are active, they often tone this down inside.

However, it is vital that you provide them with the proper amount of exercise.

With that said, these dogs often exhibit puppy-like traits for longer than other breeds. For this reason, you will have to deal with teething and similar puppy-like traits for longer.

Golden Retriever in the water
Image Credit: ToNic-Pics, Pixabay

What Are the Disadvantages of Owning a Golden Retriever?

There are several disadvantages of owning a Golden Retriever. Firstly, these dogs are quite large and they take up a lot more space and eat more. Everything is just a little bit more expensive. For instance, larger dog beds are often more expensive than smaller ones. Expect to pay more simply because they are bigger.

Similarly, they also need a lot of exercise. Because they’re larger dogs, this must take place outside in a decently large area. They work best for active owners.

These dogs also shed a lot. This may or may not be a problem for you, depending on your preferences. Golden Retrievers are prone to certain health problems, as we’ve discussed. However, they are generally pretty healthy. They are human-centric, though. While this is a good thing in most circumstances, it does mean that they don’t do well when left alone for extended periods.

Are Golden Retrievers Lazy?

Golden Retrievers are not lazy. In fact, these dogs were built to work and have quite a bit of energy. They require at least an hour of exercise a day, which usually means that you’ll be outside exercising for at least an hour a day, as well. For this reason, we highly recommend that you only adopt one of these dogs if you are active yourself.

Do Golden Retrievers Bark a Lot?

Golden Retrievers are not known to be excessive barkers. However, there are individual differences that you may want to keep in mind. While most of these dogs are not excessive barkers, some of them can be (especially if they are not exercised properly). Anxious dogs tend to bark more. Therefore, if your Golden Retriever barks a lot, it likely has something to do with their stress level.

With that said, these dogs were not bred as alert dogs. Therefore, they do not have an innate instinct to bark excessively like some other breeds.

golden retriever dog running in the meadow
Image Credit: bililee, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are a beautiful and interesting breed that has a lot to offer their human family members. Their rich history and fantastic personality make it clear why this breed is one of the most popular ones out there.

We hope that our interesting facts have taught you something new about the Golden Retriever. Keep browsing our site to learn more about the breed and whether it’s the right dog for your family.


Featured Image Credit: Lumi Studio, Shutterstock

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