The breed originated from a series of matings carried out by Lord Tweedmouth from 1864 onwards. The starting point was his acquisition of a good-looking yellow coloured Flat Coated Retriever which he took to his estate at Guisechan, near Inverness in Scotland. He mated this dog to a Tweed Water Spaniel, a breed now long extinct, and then bred on from the offspring of this mating using the occasional outcross to an Irish Setter, a second Tweed Water Spaniel and a black Flat Coated Retriever. The dogs produced were grand workers, biddable and attractive. Puppies from the matings were given to friends and family, notably his nephew, Lord Ilchester, who also bred them. The dogs bred true to type, and so the forerunners of the breed we know today were established.
It was not until 1908 that the breed came into the public eye. Lord Harcourt had formed a great liking for the breed, and had gathered on to his estate at Nuneham Park, Oxford, a collection of the dogs descended from the original matings. He decided to exhibit them at the Kennel Club Show in 1908, where they created great interest. They were entered in a class for Any Variety Retriever, and described as Yellow Flat-coated Retrievers. The term ‘Golden Retriever’ was first coined around this time, and has been attributed to Lord Harcourt.
Once they had been seen by the public, there were many people who wanted to own one for them selves, and the breeds popularity was assured. One of the people who saw them and acquired one for herself was Mrs Charlesworth, who became the greatest enthusiast the breed has ever had. From 1910 when she acquired her first Golden, until her death in 1954, she championed the cause of the breed against allcomers, and nagged her fellow enthusiasts remorselessly to keep the breed as a true dual purpose dog. She, it was who organised her fellow enthusiasts into forming a Golden Retriever Club in 1911, writing a breed standard, and campaigning for the breed to be registered with the Kennel Club as a separate breed. (The Kennel Club had previously registered them as Flat-coated Retrievers). The breed was accepted by the Kennel Club in 1913, and an allocation of Challenge Certificates was made the same year. The race had already been on to see who could win the first Field Trial award with a Golden, and the honour had fallen in 1912 to Captain Hardy with his bitch Vixie, who went on to become an influential dam in the breed. The honour of winning the first C.C.’s on offer proved to be an anti-climax.
One enthusiast, Col Le Poer Trench, insisted that the Golden had developed from a breed found in Russia, and had persuaded the Kennel Club to register his dogs as Yellow Russian Retrievers. At Crufts Dog show in 1913, there were classes for Goldens and for Russian Retrievers, but only one set of C.C.’s The best Goldens had to challenge the best Russians for the C.C.’s, and the Russians won both! At the next show, however, there were Challenge Certificates exclusively for Goldens, and the honour of being the first to win a C.C. went to Mrs Charlesworth’s dog Normanby Sandy and Mr F. W. Herbert’s bitch Coquette. The race was then on to win 3 C.C.’s and a Field Trial award and thus become the first Golden Champion, an honour achieved by Mrs Charlesworth with her dog Noranby Campfire. All canine activities came to a halt as the First World War grew in intensity, but the Golden Retriever had done enough to prove itself in the canine world, and the hearts of the dog-owning public.
The Golden Retriever is a medium to large sturdy, cream coloured, dog. His back-skull is broad; the muzzle is straight, slightly tapering ending to his black nose; Eyes are medium to large and are dark brown.; ears hang down and close to cheeks, are relatively short; tail is thick at base and feathered. He has a water-resistant dense coat with feathering under the belly, under side of tail, back of legs and front of neck.
Goldens are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they’re prone to certain health conditions. Not all Goldens will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.
Hip dyplasia is a heritable condition in which the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but you may not notice any signs of discomfort in a dog with hip dysplasia. As the dog ages, arthritis can develop. X-ray screening for hip dysplasia is done by the Orthopedic Specialist. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. If you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
This is a heritable condition common to large-breed dogs. It’s thought to be caused by different growth rates of the three bones that make up the dog’s elbow,
As in humans, canine cataracts are characterized by cloudy spots on the eye lens that can grow over time. They may develop at any age, and often don’t impair vision, although some cases cause severe vision loss. Breeding dogs should be examined by a board-certified veterinary ophthamologist to be certified as free of hereditary eye disease before they’re bred. Cataracts can usually be surgically removed with good results.
PROGRESSIVE RETINAL ATROPHY (PRA);
PRA is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, dogs become night-blind. As the disease progresses, they lose their daytime vision as well. Many dogs adapt to limited or complete vision loss very well, as long as their surroundings remain the same.causing joint laxity. This can lead to painful lameness. Your vet may recommend surgery to correct the problem or medication to control the pain.
SUVVALVULAR AORTIC STENOSIS;
This heart problem is caused by a narrow connection between the left ventricle (out-flow) and the aorta. It can cause fainting and even sudden death. Your vet can detect it and prescribe the proper treatment.
This orthopedic condition, caused by improper growth of cartilage in the joints, usually occurs in the elbows, but it has been seen in the shoulders as well. It causes a painful stiffening of the joint, to the point that the dog is unable to bend his elbow. It can be detected in dogs as early as four to nine months of age. Overfeeding of “growth formula” puppy foods or high-protein foods may contribute to its development.
Allergies: Golden Retrievers can be allergic to a variety of substances, ranging from food to pollen. If your Golden is licking his paws or rubbing his face a great deal, have him checked by your vet.
VON WILLEBRAND’S DISEASE;
This is an inherited blood disorder that interferes with the blood’s ability to clot. The main symptom is excessive bleeding after an injury or surgery. Other symptoms include nosebleeds, bleeding gums, or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. There is no cure, and a blood transfusion from the blood of normal dogs is the only treatment. Research is underway for new treatments, including medication. Most dogs with von Willebrand’s disease can lead normal lives. A vet can test your dog for the condition. Dogs with this condition should not be bred.
Commonly called bloat, this is a life-threatening condition that affects large, deep-chested dogs like Golden Retrievers, especially if they’re fed one large meal a day, eat rapidly, or drink large amounts of water or exercise vigorously after eating. Bloat occurs when the stomach is distended with gas or air and then twists. The dog is unable to belch or vomit to rid himself of the excess air in his stomach, and blood flow to the heart is impeded. Blood pressure drops and the dog goes into shock. Without immediate medical attention, the dog can die.
Suspect bloat if your dog has a distended abdomen, is drooling excessively, and retching without throwing up. He also may be restless, depressed, lethargic, and weak with a rapid heart rate. If you notice these symptoms, get your dog to the vet as soon as possible.
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes periodic seizures and convulsions. Your vet will need to know how severe the seizures are and how often they occur to decide what medication to prescribe, if any.