The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

The Purebred Golden Retriever

Information and Pictures

A smiling Golden Retriever is sitting on a blacktop next to a potted barrel plant.

Hadley the Golden Retriever at 6 years old

Other Dog Breed Names



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The Golden Retriever is a sturdy, medium-large sized dog. The skull is broad and the muzzle is straight, tapering slightly with a well-defined stop. The nose is black or a brownish black. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The medium to large eyes are dark brown. The relatively short ears hang down close to the cheeks. When pulled forward the tip of the ear should just cover the eye. The tail is thick at the base with feathering along the underside. Dewclaws may be removed. The water-resistant coat is dense with a firm, straight or wavy outer coat. There is an untrimmed feathering on the underbelly, back of the legs, front of the neck and underside of the tail. Coat color comes in cream to a rich golden.


These are lovable, well-mannered, intelligent dogs with a great charm. They are easily trained, and always patient and gentle with children. Charming, devoted and self-assured, they are a popular family dog. Energetic and loving, Golden Retrievers enjoy pleasing their masters, so obedience training can be very rewarding. They excel in competitions. Friendly with everyone, including other dogs, the Golden Retriever has very little, if any, guarding instincts. While unlikely to attack, Goldens make good watchdogs, loudly signaling a stranger's approach. This breed needs to be around people who display leadership to be happy. The Golden Retriever may become destructive and/or high-strung, over-exuberant and distractible if he is lacking in daily mental and physical exercise. Be sure to remain this dog’s firm, but calm, confident, consistent pack leader to avoid behavioral issues. Some of the Golden's talents are hunting, tracking, retrieving, narcotics detection, agility, competitive obedience and performing tricks. These dogs also love to swim.

Height, Weight

Height: Males 22 - 24 inches (56 - 61cm) Females 20 - 22 inches (51 - 56 cm)
Weight: Dogs 60 - 80 pounds (27 - 36 kg) Females 55 - 70 pounds (25 – 32 kg)

Health Problems

Prone to cancer including mast cell tumors. Also prone to hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand's disease, heart problems and congenital eye defects. Skin allergies are common in Golden Retrievers and often require veterinary attention. Gain weight easily; do not overfeed.

Living Conditions

This breed will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are moderately active indoors and will do best with at least a medium to large yard.


The Golden Retriever needs to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle, where the dog is made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog that the leader leads the way and that leader needs to be the human. In addition, they like to retrieve balls and other toys. Be sure to exercise this dog well to avoid hyperactivity.

Life Expectancy

About 10-12 years

Litter Size

About 5 to 10 puppies


Regular brushing of the long double coat will keep it in good condition, but extra care is needed when the dog is shedding its dense undercoat. Comb and brush with a firm bristle brush, paying particular attention to the dense undercoat. Dry shampoo regularly, but bathe only when necessary. This breed is an average shedder.


Originating in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s, the Golden Retriever was developed by Lord Tweedmouth, by crossing the original yellow Flat-Coated Retriever with the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. He later crossed in the Bloodhound, Irish Setter and more Tweed Water Spaniel. The dogs were called the Golden Flat-Coat and only later were they given the name Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds known today, not only as family companions but for obedience competitions, hunting and tracking, as a birddog on both land and in the water, narcotics detection, service dog for the disabled, a guide for the blind and as a therapy dog. The Golden Retriever was first recognized by the AKC in 1925.


Gun Dog, AKC Sporting

  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club
A wet Golden Retriever is standing in dirt in front of a stream behind it

Spencer the Golden Retriever at 3 years old—"Spencer loves to visit the local water hole. He jumps off the muddy 8 foot high cliff into the water. If you toss a stick into the water he will jump in and retrieve it for you."

A graying Golden Retriever is standing on a sidewalk in front of a brick wall

Rigel the Golden Retriever at 9 years old

A Golden Retriever is laying down on a tiled floor in front of a doorway

Dosporuno the Golden Retriever at 5 months old—"Hello, I'm writing because I recently adopted a 5-month-old Golden Retriever. To be honest I was terrified of doing so since my cousin adopted a Labrador looking dog and he is a devil. The reason I was terrified was because I didn't want to have an uncontrollable dog with me. After thorough research and reading and watching videos and more, I came across your page. Having worked with horses and using Monty Robert's methods for natural horsemanship, I'm really impressed that you have dog related topics. I'm applying your methods on my dog and they are working like a charm. Now I realize that the problem with my cousin is that his family let the dog become the alpha in their "pack" (household) and that is why the animal is uncontrollable. With these few words I'm just trying to say thank you very much because my experience with my dog is a lot more fun now that I understand dogs better and how to handle an animal. That even body language wise a dog acts and reads different than us. You have made my experience unbelievable and something that looked like a challenge became instantly enjoyable, fun and very rewarding. I have already shared your page with my friends and family who own dogs and I'm sure that you will be great help for them as well. Thank you very much! Juan Jose"

A wet Golden Retriever is standing in grass. It is looking slightly to the left

"This is my Golden Retriever Marley. She is only 10 months old in the picture and is the most amazing dog you could ask for. Like most Golden Retrievers, she loves the water. She is an extremely well-behaved dog at home and on walks, especially now that I have trained her to run beside me, on and off the lead. She is now 1 year old and has recently been introduced to a little Beagle puppy called CoCo. Marley is the kindest, most loving dog toward every other dog, especially Coco, and is so gentle whilst playing with her. Golden Retrievers really are an amazing breed."

A Golden Retriever is laying in a grassy yard on top of fallen autumn leaves.

"Portia is a two-year-old Golden Retriever. She is full of energy and a joy to be around. She is insanely funny, and a wonderful companion and friend. I have applied several of Cesar Millan's training techniques to Portia. The one with the biggest impact was to not yell when correcting them, but to talk in a low, stern voice. As a dog owner, it is difficult to remain calm when your dog has chewed your favorite pair of shoes! However, I found that the problem is solved much more effectively when I correct her without raising my voice."

"Portia is a wonderful dog. Her temperament is wonderful and she is extremely sweet. I will never own any other kind of dog!"

Two cream colored Golden Retrievers are sitting in a doorway. Both of there mouths are open. It looks like they both are smiling

"I took this photo in the house. In the picture, they are waiting politely in a sit for a biscuit. From left to right: Sailor and Salty. They are 7-year-old cream-colored Golden Retrievers. Their previous owner got them for his kids but they soon lost interest in them. When the dogs were 3 years old the previous owner gave them to us because he felt he was not able to give them the care they needed. They are both the best dogs we have ever had and are amazingly well adjusted. I can truly say that they are both balanced and don't have a single behavior issue. They both love the water and will swim all day. They also try and occasionally succeed at catching little fish in the river and lake that we take them to about 3 to 5 times a week to let them play and burn energy."

Two red colored Golden Retrievers are sitting in grass and there is an azalea bush that is blooming purple flowers behind them

"Two Golden Retriever brothers on a nice sit-stay in their backyard, looking pretty for the camera—on the left is Little Du, 5 years old, and on the right is Rocky, 6 years old. Rocky is a Delta Society-registered therapy dog and visits nursing homes and hospitals. Dutchy begins his training in the winter. Both have done agility classes as well and are much adored by their human family. Woof!"

A Golden Retriever is laying on a light blue carpet with a rawhide bone between its front paws

"This is my baby, my pride and joy. Her name is Sierra. Sierra is a purebred Golden Retriever. My husband and I have been together for 18 years and for 17 of those I have begged him to get a dog. Finally he gave in and the hunt began. He was reluctant to get a dog because we lived in an apartment (we live in a house now) and we worked all day. He didn't think it was fair for the dog. It's funny because when we got her it was November and someone mentioned, "Dog Whisperer" so I started watching it. I am so glad I did. I learned so much from him. I would tape it, and when I got home from work, after walking Sierra we would sit and watch it (and play) together. The patience I learned from that man. It was hard raising a puppy after 30 years of not having one. I grew up with a dog and a cat. The biggest thing that helped me was remembering repetition and praise. Sierra was a quick learner. Not a piece of our furniture or shoes or anything got chewed. Sierra has adapted very well. She is so good natured. She loves to cuddle up by our feet and you can't say the word “truck” without her running to the back door to go for a ride. Since she was a baby we take her almost everywhere with us. We found a wonderful dog park that she loves to play in. She was from a litter of 5 puppies and when we went to pick her out I did the moving of the finger to see which one would pay attention and she was the one. She is so smart and brings such joy to me on the otherwise not so joyful days. Just her greeting me at the door with a “High Five” brightens my day. We got lucky with Sierra. My husband who didn't want a dog is so good with her. He loves to take her to the parks and walk with her. I think he said something about her being a chick magnet. LOL, I could go on and on."

A cream-colored Golden Retriever is laying on a hardwood floor with an arm chair behind it

"This is Casey, my adorable, cream-colored Golden baby at 12 months old. She is such a cutie. She loves nothing more than a run in the woods in the mornings and evenings, and snuggling up when she is tired. She loves chasing balls and sticks and can play all day long. She loves her comfort, too, though and a nice big hug! She knows a lot of commands, sit, stay, wait, lie down, twirl around, leave it, walks to heel and is very quiet and obedient. She is very loving and affectionate and gets on brilliant with all other animals. She really is a little gem."

Two Golden Retrievers are sitting on a stone porch. There is a flowering potted plant behind them. One dog is cream and the other is red colored.

Golden Retrievers Hunter (left) and Max (right) sitting pretty on the patio

A cream colored Golden Retriever puppy is laying in a corner on a white tiled floor next to a maroon, green and tan plaid dog bed. There is a small ceramic bowl next to it.

Jack, a Golden Retriever as a puppy at 11 weeks old laying next to his food bowl

A Golden Retriever is standing in grass. Its mouth is open and tongue is out

Jack, a Golden Retriever all grown up!

A Golden Retriever is sitting in a yard wearing a vest that has the words - Therapy dog in training - on it

Sadie in her therapy dog vest—Sadie goes to hospitals and nursing homes to visit people and she loves her job. She is shown here at 1 ½ years old.

See more examples of the Golden Retriever