20 Facts About Golden Retrievers You Probably Didn’t Know

When people think of an ideal medium-sized family dog, the Golden Retriever dog breed usually comes to mind.

Its adorable looks and loving personality endear a lot of people to it, and it has since maintained its position on the Top 10 list of most popular dog breeds in the United States and the world.

Not surprisingly, a lot of people would want to know more about this golden breed. That includes you.

We bring to you 20 interesting and little-known fun facts about Golden Retrievers you should know.

Some of them would help any Golden pet parent or prospective pet parent out there, others are information with a wow factor.

Before that, we’ll need to go back to the beginning. 

Brief History: How the Golden Retriever Originated

Golden Retriever Dog Sitting on Ground at Park

The Golden Retriever originated from Scotland, in the estate of a man named Dudley Majoribanks, who later went on to become Lord Tweedmouth.

The first story surrounding this breed was that it descended from Russian circus dogs. The truth is a lot less glamorous, however. 

The first ancestor of the Golden Retriever is a dog named Nous, a wavy coated pooch with golden color amidst a black litter.

Gold was considered undesirable for hunting compared to black dogs, so it was a saving grace for Nous when Majoribanks acquired him from a cobbler.

Between 1868 and 1871, Majoribanks bred Nous to a Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle.

Loyalty and calmness were traits often found in the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, alongside the reputation of being good water retrievers.

All these were passed down to this breed. Further breeding led to the Golden we have today. 

In 1911, the Kennel Club in England recognized this breed under the classification “Retriever—Yellow or Golden.” In 1920, the name changed to Golden Retriever.

In 1932, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed under the sporting group.

Golden Retriever Dog Breed Information

Height21–22 inches (female), 23–24 inches (male)
Weight55–65 pounds (female), 65–75 pounds (male)
Coat TypeDouble, Dense, Thick
Coat ColorsGolden, Dark Golden, Light Golden
Life Span10–12 years
TemperamentIntelligent, Friendly, Reliable
Ideal ForActive Pet Parents, House Dwellers
AKC GroupSporting Group
Puppy Price$1,000 to $3,500 

Interesting & Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers

01. There are 3 different types of Golden Retrievers

British Golden Retriever Sitting on Kitchen Floor

The breed is subdivided into 3 types, each with a distinct quality. We have the British, Canadian, and American Golden Retrievers.

They aren’t different breeds, though. Just different types of the same Golden Retriever breed. 

The British Golden Retriever is the most muscular of the three, with a thicker coat and a broader skull. Not surprisingly, it weighs more than others.

It also comes with dark eyes and some have cream coats.

The British Golden Retriever is usually found in Europe and Australia. It is the most distinct of the three types.

The Canadian Golden Retriever comes with a darker coat shade than the other two, and the coat is thinner too.

They are the tallest of all three and are more similar to the American variant than its British counterpart.

The American Golden Retriever is just as muscular as the British and Canadian Golden Retrievers but is the slimmest of the three. Its coat goes from a lighter shade of gold to a darker one.

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02. A Golden Retriever became a First Dog

A female Golden Retriever named Liberty became the First Dog during the period of President Gerald Ford.

He was the one that gave her the name “Liberty”. As a first dog, Liberty was highly loved and soon became a national celebrity. 

While still a First Dog, Liberty gave birth to a litter of puppies, further giving the impression that the Golden Retriever has become the presidential dog breed.

While that wasn’t permanent (as other presidents owned other breeds), Liberty left a permanent mark in US dog history.

03. It is a very popular dog breed

The Golden Retriever rose in popularity some years after the First World War, even before it got recognized by the major Kennel Clubs.

This fame is most likely because of its good personality and old reputation as a hard-working retriever. 

Once upon a time, the Golden ranked second on the list, outranked only by the Labrador Retriever.

By 2013, however, the German Shepherd had taken over 2nd place, relegating the Golden to 3rd place. 

It held that position till 2020 when the French Bulldog leaped to 2nd place, further pushing it back to 4th place.

In 2021, the Golden Retriever pulled some weight and got back to 3rd place, pushing the German Shepherd down. (How do you serve revenge, again?)

There might be a significant improvement as more Americans go for this breed.

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04. Golden Retrievers make good therapy dogs

Therapy dogs are known to soothe people suffering from anxiety and other mental setbacks. To achieve this, the dogs should have a set of beautiful qualities.

We’re talking about friendliness, obedience, loyalty, affection…the whole package. 

One of the best things about Golden Retrievers is that they’re excellent therapy dogs.

Their cuddly nature and temperament make it possible for them to make a traumatized individual feel better.

A video once made waves of a Golden Retriever named Louboutina owned by a man called Cesar Fernandez Chavez.

While on walks, Louboutina formed the habit of giving friendly hugs to passersby. Now that’s something a true Golden can do.

Video: Loving Golden Retriever Gives Hugs And Handshakes to People On The Street

05. They are good hunters, too 

Golden Retrievers aren’t just lovey-dovey pooches, though. Developed to be a retriever, they had the minds of good hunters.

They do more than retrieve prey. They can also track and flush down animals.  Hunters love owning Goldens as they make the expedition easier.

What’s cooler about them is that during the offseason, they also make very good companion dogs. 

06. They are highly intelligent and easy to train

Golden Retrievers are very smart dogs, up there in the top league.

According to experts, this breed is the 4th smartest dog in the world, right after the German Shepherd, Poodle, and Border Collie.

Goldens are smarter than some other known breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Rottweilers.

This dog’s intelligence—coupled with a strong work ethic—is what enables it to play the numerous roles we mentioned in the points above.

It also makes it easier to train, but you should stimulate it mentally to prevent it from getting bored. 

07. They are good for first-time dog owners

New pet parents have limited options as to their choice of a good first-time dog, so it should come as a relief to find the Golden Retriever on the list.

This breed is highly obedient and loves to please its owners. Give it a job and it will be willing to accomplish it.

Training is easy with this breed. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put in the effort to train your dog, though.

No dog would be able to display its good qualities without enough training.

The good thing about owning this breed is that you get a “headstart” due to the positive traits already there. 

08. The Golden Retriever is a good swimmer and has a unique water-resistant coat

Golden Retriever Dog with Pink Nose Swims

Golden Retrievers love to swim, and this is one of their favorite physical activities. When drafting out your Golden exercise list, ensure to add swimming to it.

This is part of what makes them good retrievers as they are more than willing to jump into the waters and retrieve a waterfowl.

Even more, what is unique about a Golden Retriever is that their coat is waterproof. You don’t need to worry about your Golden coming out of the water looking soggy and wet after a day’s swim.

Be cautious, however, when your Golden is in the water. Swimming can get risky, even for a breed with a love for it.

Don’t hesitate to dive in or call for rescue if you sight your Golden visibly struggling.

Of course, this implies that you either know how to swim or there’s someone close by who does.

09. Goldens are good with kids and other pets

Golden Retrievers love kids and aren’t bothered by any unruly behaviors.

While you should teach your children to treat a dog right, you don’t have to worry about the Golden snapping or growling.

That said, this breed is big and may get too overwhelming for toddlers. 

Goldens also have no problems having other dogs around and are excellent choices for a household with multiple dogs.

The well-trained Golden will flow with cats and rodents as well. The only problem you might have is your cat protesting at being smothered by your Golden.

10. They love being around their owners and are loyal

Goldens should not be left isolated and away from their loved ones. It enjoys receiving attention just as much as it gives, and it is bound to get depressed when left alone for long.

In worse-case scenarios, an abandoned Golden would even fall ill.

If you have a demanding career, and yet would love to have this breed, ensure you make arrangements for someone to take care of your pet. 

In addition, Golden Retrievers are very loyal and dedicated to their loved ones.

These dogs can get in between a bullet just to save their owners’ lives. They love to see their loved ones happy and well cared for.

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11. They are good assistance and service dogs

Golden Retriever Service Dog Sitting on Ground

Another laudable service this breed can play is its service to humanity. The Golden Retriever can assist as a guide for the blind by helping them navigate the world.

Golden is a good candidate for this job because it obeys instructions, is easy to train, and is loyal. Its work ethics and intelligence are assets here too. 

As a guide, the Golden Retriever will pick up on any danger and steer its owner away from it.

It will also fetch objects, be there as comfort, lead the owner around and still show affection as a companion. 

12. They have a good sense of smell and can make good rescue dogs 

Golden Retrievers can be employed in search and rescue missions because of their strong sense of smell.

This ties down to their excellent hunting skills. They can easily pick up lost trails and track them down, just as they track down prey. 

Plus, they have an incredible amount of stamina and strength. These dogs can search for hours before getting tired. 

13. Golden Retriever colors come in shades of gold

White Golden Retriever Dog Standing on Road

The final point is on the color. Recently, some breeders try to sell white Golden Retrievers to people, tagging them “rare”.

People love white, so they would go for this. However, these dogs are either albinos or a very light shade of gold.

The only accepted Golden Retriever color is gold. It can be a darker shade of gold or a lighter one, verging into a cream color.

Both the dark and light shades are acceptable.

14. Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercises

Golden Retriever Pup Running

As a hunter and a member of the AKC’s sporting group, the Golden Retriever can’t do without regular exercise.

This trait might be a deal-breaker for some new pet parents as not everyone appreciates having an energetic companion.

However, those who know the value of exercise would love having a buddy they can enjoy physical activities with. 

This breed needs at least 20 to 30 minutes of exercise. Besides swimming, it enjoys activities like fetch, frisbee toss, jogging, walks, or playtime with the kids. Be sure it isn’t overexerted, however.

The Golden is susceptible to exercise-induced collapse, a dangerous situation that can be fatal.

15. They are not suitable for apartment living

Due to its size and energy level, the Golden Retriever is not suitable for apartment dwellers and many landlords would frown at you owning one.

A well-exercised Golden can cope in an apartment, but it is a risky venture. 

The ideal home for this breed is one with a spacious living room and a well-fenced yard where the breed can play.

16. They don’t make good guard dogs, though they can alert you to danger

The Golden Retriever’s good qualities don’t extend to being a guard dog. This pooch isn’t the best option if you’re looking for a house guardian.

Even its looks won’t detract an intruder. Goldens also don’t get suspicious of strangers but would want to befriend them—like the hugging Louboutina earlier mentioned.

That said, they aren’t useless in the area of security. Golden Retrievers are on alert and can sense when someone is approaching, thus, making them efficient watchdogs

17. They love to eat

Golden Retriever Eating Dog Food from Metal Bowl

Goldens usually have a voracious appetite, and they enjoy a high-quality meal.

These dogs won’t give you feeding problems unless they are ill or find the food undesirable. They need about 2 to 3 cups of meal, fed twice a day. 

The flipside to their love for food is obesity. The Golden Retriever easily gets obese, which can cause further complications.

Keep giving your Golden regular exercise and measure the meal. Don’t allow it to rush its food to prevent Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, also known as bloating.

18. Golden Retrievers are not hypoallergenic

You’re prone to allergies but you love the Goldens and would want to have a chance at owning one—should you? Sadly, we do not recommend it.

Golden Retrievers are not hypoallergenic because they shed and leave dander around, which can trigger allergic reactions.

No dog is truly hypoallergenic, of course, but some are better suitable for allergy sufferers.

You can opt for alternatives like the Poodle or a crossbreed like the Goldendoodle, a hypoallergenic Golden Retriever mix.

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19. They have a high grooming need

Golden Retrievers are moderate shedders, and though they are not as high maintenance as dogs like the Afghan Hound, they require substantial effort to take care of the double coat.

Their shedding gets heavier during spring and fall. During those periods, you should give extra attention to them.

Brush your Golden’s coat daily to prevent tangles and mats, and bathe it like once a month.

Brush its teeth too, and clip its nails. All these help get a clean pet.

20. Golden Retrievers are prone to cancer

Goldens have a fairly long life span of 10 to 12 years and have the potential for good health.

However, there are some health issues this breed is prone to, including hip dysplasia and dreaded cancer.

Goldens are especially vulnerable to cancer, and studies have concluded that this breed falls victim to cancer faster than other dog breeds. 

Fortunately, cancer can be both prevented and cured. When shopping for/adopting a Golden Retriever, be sure it has no traces of cancer in its genes.

Breeders are also advised to not breed a Golden with a predisposition to cancer. 

Treatment options for cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, etc.

Once you notice symptoms of cancer (like difficulty breathing or even an unusual loss of appetite), take it to the vet

Other illnesses that can affect this breed include Gastric Dilatation Volvulus, eye issues, and von Willebrand disease. 

How to Get a Golden Retriever Puppy

Golden Retriever Puppy Sitting on Grass

If you’re interested in getting a Golden Retriever, this section is for you. Because of its popularity, the Golden isn’t hard to find.

On the contrary, it might be a bit too easy to find, and you must be careful whom you purchase from.

Get a reputable breeder, not a backyard one, or from a puppy mill. You can also choose to adopt.

Golden Retrievers are pricy, and you need enough for the initial purchase and the first items you’d need.

The demand for this breed is high, hence the increased price. You can get a standard Golden Retriever puppy for $1,000 to $3,500.

Care to adopt a Golden Retriever? Adoption is a cheaper and more preferred option compared to shopping. You might be surprised to find abandoned Golden Retrievers in rescue shelters.

However, there are many reasons this can happen. Relocating families may not have the means to move with their Goldens.

Some pet parents might also find a trait they can’t cope with or may end up unable to meet the Golden’s needs.


What is a black Golden Retriever?

There are some “Goldens” that come in black colors, but in reality, these aren’t purebred Golden Retrievers at all.

They might either be Flat-Coated Retrievers or a Golden Retriever mix. Purebred Goldens come in solid gold.

Can Golden Retrievers swim?

Golden Retrievers love water and are good swimmers. Swimming is an activity you should allow your Golden to partake in. However, do not leave it unattended while in the waters.

What are Golden Retriever’s favorite things?

The Golden Retriever loves to swim, play and stay around its family members. It is also a worker and loves to have things to do.

Final Thoughts

The Golden Retriever is a fun and interesting breed to have, and it is not just for presidents alone.

Old and new pet parents are invited to share the joy of owning a Golden.

Unless you’d rather have a mellow breed, you live in an apartment or you’re allergic, this breed is good for everyone.

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Authored By

Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is a canine behavioral and nutritional specialist, professional dog trainer, and the CEO of Puplore. A former military working dog handler, Ben founded Puplore to provide owners with breed-specific information and to act as a go-to guide to health, nutrition, care, and to help them find the confidence they need to step up to the plate and become the best pup parents they can possibly be. A firm believer in treating all animals with kindness and compassion, and that positive discipline is paramount in achieving a harmonious canine-human relationship, Ben’s former and present careers have enabled him to become a leading light in his chosen profession and business.

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