Personality: This people-loving breed is easy to fall head-over-heels in love with due to its beautiful temperament and love without reservation loyalty. It is the perfect family pet and is full of life and warmth. However, the Golden needs to be taken in as part of the family.
Suitability: The Golden is perfect for almost any situation and will be the ideal pet for singles, families and especially children. Your pooch will remain happy, as long as it is taken in as a valued member of the family, but will become depressed if left to its own devices outside.
Favourite Activities: The Golden loves regular daily outings and enjoys obedience and agility exercises. This breed also adores swimming and still exhibits strong retriever instincts. Its most favoured activity, however, will be spending as much time as possible with its family.
Favourite activities: The Golden loves regular daily outings and enjoys obedience and agility exercises. This breed also adores swimming and still exhibits strong retriever instincts. Its most favoured activity, however, will be spending as much time as possible with its family.
Watchdog Qualities: While the Golden will bark and alert its family to strangers approaching the property, this is basically a people-loving breed and should not be acquired for guard-dog purposes. The closest it will come to protective behaviour is perhaps knocking someone around the face with a madly wagging tail!
If you’re after a loyal, adorable and exuberant dog that will love and treasure you without reservation, Michelle Segal discovers you can’t go past the dazzling Golden Retriever.
With its beautiful golden coat and affectionate nature, the Golden Retriever is an icon of the dog world. Extremely popular and adored for its beautiful nature, the Golden makes the ideal companion.
It was in 19th-century England and Scotland that this breed became recognised for its irreplaceable qualities of loyalty and hard work. Bred to retrieve wild birds on land as well as in water, the Golden would serve alongside its hunter-owners and proved to be the ideal assistant.
Today, the Golden is primarily a companion and family pet, but still excels in sports such as agility, obedience and field trials.
Part of the pack
It was 38 years ago when Rose Easton got her first Golden Retriever, and she has never looked back. My mum used to breed Spaniels, but I wanted my own identity. I acquired a female Golden and after her first litter I kept two of her pups and went from there, she tells Dogs Life.
Easton went on to raise around 40 Golden Retriever champions and is herself a champion of this breed. This is a non-aggressive, easygoing, intelligent dog, which is suited to almost anyone, Easton enthuses.
Experts say the Golden Retriever can be defined mostly by its beautiful temperament and eagerness to please. It is very much a family dog and will do whatever it takes to keep its pack happy; its devotion and loyalty are undisputed. Along with its love for the family, however, comes this breeds need to be a part of the household. If you’re after a dog that is self-sufficient and can stay happily in the yard on its own, the Golden is not for you.
This is definitely a people dog that wants to be with you, Easton stresses. These dogs need human contact and will not do well if left outside all the time.
The Golden Retrievers love affair with its family begins from the first day it arrives in its new household. Golden puppies are adorable, but owners need to make sure their pup is not over-exercised in the beginning, so its rapidly growing bones are not damaged.
And if you wonder why your Golden seems to remain puppy-like way past the puppy stage, its because the Golden can continue to exhibit puppy behaviour up until three years of age. While some may find this constant playfulness frustrating, it is this warm, bubbly Golden personality which endears it to so many around the world.
Coat care and hotspots
For many, one of the most outstanding features of this beautiful breed is its stunning coat, but it needs looking after and can lead to great discomfort if it is not properly cared for.
Breeders emphasise that if you are house proud, think carefully before taking in a Golden, because the breed sheds throughout the year, with two heavy moulting stages during that time.
Daily brushing can help reduce the amount that will be shed. Regular grooming at least once or twice a week is imperative with this breed to prevent matting, which can lead to skin irritations.
The Golden is particularly prone to developing hotspots, which result from fleabites or allergies and which can be painful and irritating for the dog. Always check for these, and if your dog does develop the condition, speak to your vet for advice on appropriate treatment.
Out and about
As with all breeds, it is advisable to start training and socialisation with your Golden as early as possible to ensure a well-mannered adult dog.
Although the Golden likes nothing more than spending time with its family, it is a physically active breed and will relish a good daily outing and, if possible, a run in an off-leash area each day. Breeders warn that without mental and physical stimulation, particularly with young Goldens, they can become destructive.
This breed is very adaptable and will fit into most situations, but it does love daily walks, Easton says. The Golden is especially suited to families.
The only warning Easton gives about this beautiful breed is to make sure those pleading doggy eyes don’t get the better of you at mealtimes. Watch your Goldens weight, she emphasises. Don’t let him get too fat!
Daily: Regular daily exercise is a must, as is lots of love and cuddles. To reduce hair shedding, a quick brush each day will help get rid of loose hair. Make sure your Golden is appropriately shaded in summer and winter, and that it is fed the appropriate diet, particularly as a puppy. Get advice from your vet and breeder. If you live in a tick-prone area, a daily check for ticks, especially during summer, is imperative. If you suspect your dog may have a tick, rush to your vet immediately.
Weekly: Brush each week to groom the coat and get rid of dead hairs. While brushing, make sure there are no hotspots on the skin. Check ears and trim nails. A good groom at least once a week will keep the coat healthy and matt-free.
Monthly: Bath only when necessary, as over-bathing can strip the Goldens undercoat of its essential oils and adversely affect it.
Other: Gastrointestinal worming every three months for adults, more frequently for puppies, heartworming and vaccinations.
For more information
Golden Retriever Club of Queensland: (07) 3297 0099
Golden Retriever Club of New South Wales: (02) 9621 7341
Golden Retriever Club of Victoria: (03) 9876 1920
Tasmanian Golden Retriever Club: (03) 6248 7020
Golden Retriever Club of South Australia: (08) 8298 3198
Golden Retriever Club of Western Australia: (08) 9497 1264
New Zealand readers can go to www.nzkc.org.nz for information.