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The Golden Retriever: Bred to be Humanity’s Best Friend

In the 1800s, the golden retriever was bred to be the best. It is safe to assume that the breed set the standard back then and still maintains it today. Golden retrievers became officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1925 and today are ranked fourth in popularity among dog owners. A bred that used to furnish the dinner table, the golden retriever has now tailored its talents to benefit human beings in another way. Time has transformed the best bird dog to the best public service bred. The good natured dogs are kind to everyone and enjoy pleasing their leaders. One of the more intelligent breeds, golden retrievers are not mindless in their happiness. Combined with an athlete’s body, their quick mind and graceful temperament secure golden retrievers the place as a best friend to humanity.

Bred To Be the Best

The golden retriever was originally bred to be the perfect hunting dog. Originally known as a golden flat coat, the breed is fast on land and competent in the water. The breed was developed in Scotland where fowl and free game were once plentiful and a primary source of food. Lord Tweedmouth engineered the first golden retriever. From his records, it’s known that the first golden was produced from a yellow retriever and a tweed water spaniel. The tweed water spaniel is now extinct. However, a golden’s intelligence, courage and retrieving ability are genetic reminders of the breed. Eventually, the bloodhound and Irish setter were mixed in to create the golden retriever that is so popular in homes and offices today.

A Hunter’s Build

A golden retriever’s appearance is powerful and confident. This is a dog that was bred for agility and to be alert.  This attentiveness is obvious in a golden retriever’s eyes, which reflect their intelligence. The breed’s brown eyes are medium to large in size and accurately display the dog’s friendly nature. They are medium sized dogs that have a lot of energy and can weigh anywhere between 55 and 75 pounds. Golden retrievers can be extremely pale in color. They can, also, be extremely dark. This creates a variety of coat colorings within the breed. Some that look almost white, while others appear red and still some are blond or a burnt gold. Their coat was engineered for swimming and is completely water-resistant. The hair can be straight or wavy and is easy to maintain. Golden retrievers are average shedders and brushing their coat, giving the thicker undercoat most of the attention, will prevent matted and unmanageable hair. The breed’s average lifespan is 10 to 12 years. Just like everybody else, they are prone to some health problems in old age. Golden retrievers are susceptible to certain types of cancer. They are, also, known to develop hip and heart problems later in life. By maintaining a strict diet, some of these issues may be avoided. As a golden ages, they gain weight easier, which is a contributing factor in many other health related concerns.

A Friendly Disposition

They are among the most popular family dogs for a reason. Golden retrievers are perhaps the friendliest and most lovable breed available. They are very obedient to a leader figure and their intelligence allows them to be easily trained. Golden retrievers are patient and gentile with children. They are, also, welcoming to just about any individual or animal. Having basically no security instincts, this friendliness is the one potential flaw in a golden retriever’s temperament. Excited barking, their welcoming shout might make them great guard dogs or even scare someone away. However, it is very unlikely that a golden retriever would ever attack or attempt to harm anyone. Golden retrievers can grow unruly if not given enough attention and exercise. Cooped up dogs may develop anxiety or be overly aggressive. Luckily, golden retrievers make great running partners and often stay right beside or behind their leader. A walk long walk or jog every day should keep a golden’s anxieties away. Playing fetch and any other games that cater to the breed’s natural instincts are great ways to supplement an exercise routine.

Careers in Public Service

Hunting was the golden retriever’s original job and is still what they do best. However, the intelligent and gentile temperament has allowed them to excel in multiple careers. Law enforcement agencies employ golden retrievers to help locate harmful substances and missing people. The dogs often assist narcotics, arson, and even search and rescue squads. Nursing homes, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, also, employ golden retrievers. The breed’s temperament is great for therapy programs. They are even easily trained to assist the blind and help with an individual’s day to day functioning. Golden retrievers are social creatures and are happiest when working with people. Some are still trained for agricultural jobs, such as herding. However, some have gone on to work in studios as canine actors.

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