Those gosh-darn golden retrievers steal our hearts without even trying. Golden fur, sweet puppy-dog eyes, and that signature smile—how much more charming can you get? These pups have dominated popular dog breeds for years, and it’s clear why. However, if you immerse yourself further into their backstory, you’ll find even more reasons to love them.
If you can believe it, we’ve gathered 10 golden retriever fun facts that will make you fall in love with these little rascals even more than you thought possible.
So get ready for some juicy tidbits and tail-wag-worthy wisdom because golden retrievers have no shortage of exciting secrets to share.
#1 Golden Retrievers Know How to Hunt
From their humble beginning to now, many revere golden retrievers as excellent hunting companions. They have a few unique abilities and talents that make them perfect for the job, including:
- Keen sense of smell
- Tracking ability
- Swimming talent
- Love of retrieving (go figure!)
With their natural love of water, golden retrievers often target waterfowl like ducks or geese. And with their gentle mouth, they can retrieve and return their prey without damaging it.
#2 They Come From Scotland
Though you may not hear a thick brogue in their bark, golden retrievers hail from the great country of Scotland. Their journey began in 1864 when Lord Tweedmouth bred his yellow labrador retriever with a Tweed water spaniel.1
Once the dog breed became prevalent in England, these mighty dogs crossed the seas and started pooping on American soil around the 1880s. After a few years of earning their keep as hunting companions and farmer hands, they were finally registered under the American Kennel Club in 1925.2
#3 There Are Three Types of Golden Retrievers
Did you know that the golden retriever breed varies slightly in appearance depending on where they’re from? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. The differences between them are so slight that they could easily evade even the biggest golden fans.
Nonetheless, we’re here to spread knowledge, not hoard it. So let’s examine the differences between the three golden retriever families:3
- American – If your golden retriever hails from the US of A, you may notice a slight difference in their coat. American goldens typically have a much lighter and whiter coat when they’re born. Over time, their hair becomes blonder or toasty tan.
- Canadian – You may successfully identify a Canadian golden retriever if you inspect the ears closely. Canadian (and some British) retrievers have more feathering on the edge of their ears. They need extra protection against those harsh Canadian winters, eh?
- British – You can tell a British retriever from its Yankee American counterparts by its size. British golden retrievers tend to have a shorter, stockier build, usually maxing out around 23 inches (or 584 millimeters for you British loyalists). An English Cream Golden Retriever also has a light-colored coat compared to its American counterpart.
Just as humans may have features that connect them to a particular area of the globe, golden retrievers carry a part of their heritage with them as loyal as their favorite tug toy.
#4 Golden Retrievers Have Gentle Jaws
Golden retrievers may go crazy for a spoonful of peanut butter, but you may be surprised to discover that their mouths are exceedingly gentle. They’re so careful they can successfully hold a raw egg in their mouth without cracking it.4
While golden retrievers may know how to control their mouths, they still get the urge to chew like there’s no tomorrow. Some may call it an oral fixation; we call it adorable.
You can likely catch a golden retriever with any one of these objects in their mouth:
- A stick
- A toy
- A bone
- A tennis ball
- A pair of socks (hey, spit that out!)
Homeowners beware. Any object left on the floor looks as good as a toy to a golden retriever. Nothing is safe from their canine clutches (except raw eggs, apparently).
#5 Golden Retrievers Love Swimming
If you’ve ever taken a golden to the beach or a nearby creek, you may have noticed how much they adore water. While some dog breeds fear the tides, golden retrievers can’t get enough.
You can attribute this proclivity for water playtime to their unique coat. Golden retrievers have something called a double coat. They have two layers of fur; one for temperature regulation and one for protection. The outer protective layer is waterproof, meaning goldens can doggy paddle for long periods without feeling cold.
So if you’re looking for a swimming companion to join you for early morning laps, you’ve got a partner waiting and wagging their tail.
#6 They’re Natural Caretakers
If you’ve been lucky enough to befriend a golden retriever or two in your lifetime, you already know that they’re friends for life. When you consider their top-notch friendliness, it makes sense that these dogs make excellent caretakers.
Armed with huge hearts and sunshiney personalities, golden retrievers make fabulous:
- Therapy dogs – Golden retrievers, as a dog breed, exude friendliness, loving energy, and calmness when it’s needed. As a result, you can often find goldens working in hospitals or as emotional support animals.5
- Nannies – If you’ve got children, you may find golden retrievers make excellent companions for them. They can match a child’s playful energy or switch gears and encourage them to take nap time seriously. Although they don’t make the best watchdogs for children, they can certainly create an emotional bond with them.
- Mentors – This popular dog breed loves to please people. Not only do they seek the love of their owners, but other small creatures as well. Golden retrievers often get along famously with cats, as they’re non-territorial and insanely friendly. While the cat may take some convincing, they’ll often take cues from the golden and adjust to the new friendship with ease.
If you’re searching for a pet that goes above and beyond, a golden retriever can do it all.
#7 They’re Super Popular Puppies
Golden retrievers ooze infectious charm, so it’s no wonder they’re considered one of the most popular dog breeds. Golden retrievers have dominated the breed leaderboard charts for years now. However, their close relative (the Labrador retriever) has earned the number-one spot for over 30 years.6
The golden retriever’s close competition also includes:6
- French bulldogs
- German shepherds
Don’t worry. They’re all winners in our eyes.
#8 Golden Retrievers Can Seriously Act
Lights, camera, action!
When someone asks, are golden retrievers smart? The answer is a resounding “Yes”! Golden retrievers learn fast, train quickly, and live to please. These natural abilities give them that indescribable it factor that the movie camera gobbles up.
One golden retriever named Buddy had his big break in the 90’s sitcom Full House. As if that wasn’t cool enough, he then went on to star in one of the most influential films of all time, AirBud.7
It just goes to show that if you’ve got a dream, you can achieve it—whether appearing on the big screen or pulling off a game-winning slam dunk.
#9 Golden Retrievers Shed
As seasons change, golden retrievers must shed their undercoats to adapt to the temperature change. So every fall and spring, your house may look like Shed City for a while.
However, shedding can become very manageable if you practice a few fur-friendly guidelines. Some habits you can employ to aid with shedding include:
- Diet – Promote a healthy coat and smooth seasonal transition by ensuring your golden retriever gets a hearty meal. Protein and healthy fats can strengthen fur beautifully. If you’re on the hunt for spectacular food for golden retrievers, serve up BARK Food.
- Brushing – Developing a hair brushing routine can help remove large amounts of fur and even help remove mats, snarls, or dead skin buildup. Help your golden achieve that “fresh out of the groomers” look to turn heads at the dog park.
- Bathing – Occasional baths can also help you remove your golden’s excess fur. Having a hair strainer in the tub can help catch any hair clumps. Since golden retrievers love water, they’ll likely view this activity as a treat rather than a chore.
Don’t let fear of shedding stand in the way of a wholesome, loving dog. With just a few simple tweaks to your grooming schedule, you can enjoy the delights of a best friend for life, hair and all.
#10 They Make Excellent Presidential Pets
Golden retrievers have graced the White House with their political expertise several times throughout history.
The first GROTUS (golden retriever of the United States) was named Liberty. She entered the White House with President General Ford. She joined him in the Oval Office regularly and even gave birth to her first litter living in the White House.9
One president later, another American golden retriever dog named Victory joined the White House pet parade. Her owner, President Ronald Reagan, was a massive admirer of animals and kept his presidential fortress full throughout his term.10
Regardless of political strife, you can count on an American golden retriever dog to br/golden-retrievering joy to the White House (or any colored house, for that matter).
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- Golden Retriever Club of America. Brief History of the Golden Retriever. https://grca.org/about-the-breed/breed-history/brief-history-of-the-golden-retriever/
- American Kennel Club. Golden Retriever. https://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/golden-retriever/
- Retriever Advice. What Is The Difference Between The English, Canadian, and American Golden Retriever? https://retrieveradvice.com/what-is-the-difference-between-the-english-canadian-and-american-golden-retriever/
- American Kennel Club. 10 Fun Facts About Golden Retrievers. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/10-facts-about-golden-retrievers/
- US Service Animals. Golden Retrievers as Service Dogs. https://usserviceanimals.org/blog/golden-retrievers-as-service-dogs/
- American Kennel Club. The Most Popular Dog Breeds of 2020. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/the-most-popular-dog-breeds-of-2020/
- IMDB. Buddy. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1212799/
- PetKeen. Are Golden Rettrievers Double Coated? What You Need to Know! https://petkeen.com/are-golden-retrievers-double-coated/
- Ford Library & Museum. Ford Family White House Pets. https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/grf/pets.asp
- American Kennel Club. 15 Presidents and Their Dogs. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/dog-breeds/15-popular-presidents-and-their-pups/