Developed as an ideal hunting retriever, the Golden Retriever’s eagerness to please and friendliness has made them an extremely popular family pet.
Illustration courtesy of the Swedish Kennel Club
Golden Retrievers at a glance
One of the most popular dog breeds in America, the Golden Retriever is considered distinctly lovable. Their sweet disposition makes them superb companions. If you’re considering bringing a Golden Retriever into your home or you’ve recently discovered your dog is mixed with Golden Retriever, we have all the information you need to make informed decisions regarding their care. We’ve included details about this breed’s physical characteristics, playtime needs, grooming tips, nutrition, and more. You’ll also find a comprehensive list of all the health conditions we test for here at Embark, as well as recommendations from veterinarians.
About this breed
The Golden Retriever was developed in the early 19th century as an ideal hunting companion, able to retrieve birds on both land and water in the marshy Scottish countryside. Their friendliness and intelligence make them both a popular family pet and an excellent working dog for roles such as a service dog, therapy dog, or for search and rescue.
American and Canadian Goldens are generally lankier and darker than their British counterparts. Their wavy, feathered topcoat is water-resistant, their undercoat helps them with thermoregulation, and both coats have a tendency for heavy seasonal shedding.
In 2013, the 100th anniversary of Britain’s Golden Retriever Club, Goldens from around the world made the pilgrimage to the breed’s birthplace in Scotland, where 222 of them posed in a single record-breaking photo. At the same time, the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study was getting started in the United States, recruiting 3,000 Golden Retrievers for a study aimed at understanding how genetics, lifestyle, and environment influences healthy aging and cancer risk in Goldens.
The Golden Retriever has a wonderful golden coat, which is how they earned the first part of their name. According to the AKC, the Golden Retriever’s broad head, with its friendly and intelligent eyes, short ears, and straight muzzle, are hallmarks of the breed. Intact Golden Retrievers are usually 22–24 inches and weigh anywhere between 65 and 75 pounds once full grown. Female Golden Retrievers are slightly smaller at 21-22 inches and 55 to 65 pounds.
Ever wonder why some Golden Retrievers are nearly red, like an Irish Setter, while others are nearly white? Check out Embark’s unique genetic discovery around the intensity of red pigmentation in dog’s coats.
The AKC recommends your Golden Retrievers get plenty of exercise. If not exercised regularly, they may develop undesirable behaviors and gain excess weight. These dogs make great hiking and cycling companions. Golden Retrievers love to be active alongside their favorite people. Due to their strong retrieving instinct, when being exercised outside of a fenced-in yard, your pup may need to be kept on a leash to avoid distractions. Running with your dog is a great way to help them get the exercise they need.
According to the ASPCA, Golden Retrievers require a substantial amount of grooming in order to maintain their thick and lustrous coat. Daily brushing will help prevent knots and tangles and will reduce the amount of fur that accumulates around your home. Your pup’s nails will require regular trimming if they are not worn down naturally through outside play and activity.
Health and aging
Your best friend can still live a full and happy life with the proper care and activity. According to Animal Planet, Golden Retrievers have a lifespan of about 10-12 years and they are considered to be a senior dog at 8 years old.
Do you know your pup’s birthday? If not, you might choose their date of adoption as a special day to celebrate them! Click here for birthday ideas.
Getting your pup tested with Embark will arm you with as much information as possible to ensure your dog is healthy while potentially avoiding preventable diseases.
An Embark Dog DNA Test looks at the following health conditions in Golden Retrievers:
Want to learn more about your dog?
Do you own a Golden Retriever or do you think your dog might be part Golden Retriever? Learn more about your dog with Embark’s Dog DNA Tests, the most accurate on the market.
Golden Retrievers on Embark
Explore some Embark dogs that share Golden Retriever ancestry.