If you’re going to adopt a Golden Retriever puppy, there are some essential basics you should know. Knowing where you pup comes from, what it should look like, etc. will help you better understand and raise him.
History is important because each breed of dog has its own specific personality and physical traits that run throughout it, and knowing what the AKC standard is will help you with health issues (knowing whether your pup is over/underweight), as well as help you get your pup to show or breeding standard.
The puppy you’re either thinking about adopting, or have just adopted, has a pretty healthy bloodline history. The Golden Retriever breed comes from the Scottish Highlands, where, in the late 1800’s, it was used for hunting.
It originally descends from a Yellow Retriever mixed with a now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel. Later, the Bloodhound and Irish Setter were mixed with that breed to give us the Golden Retriever we all know and love today, the one that you’re about to take a lifelong journey with.
Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve waterfowl that was hunted and shot in Scotland in the late 1800’s. They were popular for being able to not damage the game they retrieved, which you’ll have trouble getting other dogs to do so well.
Other than that prized retrieval skill, they were popular for their coats, which allowed them to be comfortable, dry and warm in the chilly wet hunting climate, and they were also known and prized for their intelligence and ability to train.
Your Golden pup will likely come home acting and looking like any pup: clumsy, hyper when up and very sleepy when tired, always happy, possibly showing a little puppy fat until it hits about 4 months-1 year, where it will be growing so fast it may look a little too thin (though with the Golden Retriever’s thick fur, the thin part may never happen). However, when your Golden becomes full grown, it should match a particular breed standard that’s determined by the AKC.
Your pup should be 23-24 inches if male and 21.5-22.5 inches if female, and 65-75 lbs. if male and 55-65 lbs. if female.
Your puppy should have a broad shaped head, that is slightly arched without being able to prominently see the frontal or occipital bones. His muzzle should be straight from a profile view, having a smooth transition from muzzle to skull.
Your puppy should have a friendly and intelligent expression, as if he welcomes people and a challenge. His ears should be short, falling close to his cheek when falling to the side and when pulled up falling to cover the eye just slightly.
Your pup’s nose should be dark (brown or black), while appearing to be a bit lighter in cold weather. If your puppy has a light nose, such as pink, it does not meet the standard.
The teeth of your pup should be in line, with no under or overbite.
Your Golden should overall display a body of naturally good, strong posture. The neck is medium long, flowing smoothly into laid back shoulders. Your pup should have a deep chest that is well developed. His ribs should be long but not barrel shaped, and he should have a short, muscular loin.
The tail of your pup should be thick and muscular at the base, and should be carried merrily.
Your puppy should have a beautiful golden coat, which can vary in actual shades. If you would like for your pup to compete in shows, he should not display any age coloring (white or gray), and he should not have a body color that is too light or too dark.
Your puppy should have a free gait when trotting, and it should be powerful and well-coordinated. He should have a good extended reach, and his legs should remain straight instead of turning in or out.
You are lucky to have a puppy who is friendly. Golden Retrievers are also known to be confident, comfortable, reliable and trustworthy animals, who show true loyalty to their owners. If your pup shows any hostility or skittishness, something’s not right, because that’s not the natural Golden Retriever way.
Is The Golden Retriever Right For Me
If you haven’t already adopted your new fun little Golden pup (or even maybe if you have) you probably want to make sure that you picked the right one. If you know anything about dogs, you know that different breeds require different types of owners. This is why so many lifelong dog owners pick a specific breed and stick with it. Keep reading to find out whether your chosen breed is really right for you.
Golden Retriever Personality & Temperament
Your retriever is built for companionship, particularly being popular within families. This is why you always see them on family shows on television. They’re playful with the children, and obedient to all owners of the house. They’re also good with strangers, so you’ll have no problem bringing friends over to hang out, or any other guests over for any other purpose.
Your pup will be good at keeping a look out for what’s going on in the neighborhood, and letting you know what’s going on. Don’t get being a watchdog confused with being a guard dog though. Your pup will likely never bite an intruder, because he’s naturally inclined to love people.
How Good Is A Golden Retriever With People
You’ve probably already picked up a bit on how good your retriever will be with people. They naturally love everyone they meet, including you. They’re also incredibly loyal, and their ability to be so obedient and loyal makes them great to work alongside you. If you hunt, or do any type of work that your retriever could give you a helping hand with, he would be happy to do it.
Of course, you will want to train your Golden Retriever to settle into being great with people. You will still want to pay attention to socializing your pup, but he won’t need as much socialization as, let’s say, a Louisiana Curr.
How Good Is A Golden Retriever With Children
If you plan for your puppy to be around children, then you’ve picked the right dog. Golden Retrievers are naturally great with kids, which is one of the reasons they’re so popular as family dogs.
Towards any children, your puppy will naturally be gentle, friendly, and patient. If you have a toddler that you think might want to pull on his ears and poke and prod him in an uncomfortable yet “she doesn’t know any better”, then know that you have more worrying to do about the puppy than the child. Your children, and your friends’ and family’s children, will be just fine with your new pup, from baby age to old age.
How Well Does A Golden Retriever Get Along With Other Dogs
Your puppy will also get along great with other dogs, so long as she’s socialized to standard. While the Golden Retriever is naturally great with other dogs, if you allow your pup to spend the first few years without socializing with other dogs, she will react the same way a child in a similar situation would: she wouldn’t know what’s appropriate.
A non-socialized Golden Retriever may show tendencies of being skittish, or maybe even a bit aggressive when it comes time to share toys, or even you, with other dogs. However, a Golden Retriever that’s grown up going to dog parks and spending time with your friends’ dogs is going to be great with other dogs, so be sure to set her up for success.
On the other hand, if you already have a dog at home and you’re wondering how your new pup will do with it, then you have nothing to worry about. Puppies are innocent and just want to play, so she won’t start out showing any wrongful behavior.
Just be sure that the dog you have at home is puppy-friendly, because they’re much like small children in the sense that they may be a bother to someone who either doesn’t know how or doesn’t have the patience to deal with puppies.
Quiet or Excessive Barker?
Your Golden won’t typically be an excessive barker, however that can easily change. You must remember that just because you have a relatively quiet pup doesn’t mean that you can just leave it alone and it will be fine. Your puppy needs exercise and attention, and without those two key things he will likely become quite vocal.
If you don’t want your pup to bark a lot, then be sure to follow the directions and guidance you find in chapter three. If it’s too late and your puppy is already barking far too much, too loudly, and too often, then have a gander through chapter seven and see if you find anything that helps you there.