Photo by Andrew Morrell

Golden Retriever - Breed Profile:

Origin: Scotland
Colors: Shades of golden
Size: Large
Type of Owner: Novice
Exercise: Regular
Grooming: Regular
Trainability: Easy to train
Combativeness: Friendly with other dogs
Dominance: Moderate
Noise: Average barker

Physical characteristics

The Golden Retriever is a large working dog with a symmetrical and powerful appearance. The body is well-balanced, with a deep chest. The legs are muscular. The head is broad, with a tapering but wide muzzle. The nose is black. The kindly eyes are brown with dark rims; they are set well apart. The pendent ears are medium size. The tail is thick and muscular at the base, following the natural line of the croup. The gait is free, smooth, powerful and well-coordinated.
The weight is 70 to 75 pounds for males and 60 to 65 pounds for females. The height is 21 to 24 inches.


The Golden Retriever's kindly expression says it all. This is one of the finest family dogs in the world: cheerful, demonstrative, trustworthy with everyone, and forgiving of any mistakes made by inexperienced owners. Friendly with everyone including strangers, children, dogs, cats, and smaller pets. Reliable. Patient and kind even with very small children. Golden Retrievers enjoy pleasing their masters, so obedience training can be fun. Adaptable to almost any lifestyle. Very people-oriented and needs lots of exercise and mental stimulation. If isolated from human contact or left alone for long periods of time, the Golden Retriever may become mischievous. Has a tendency to chew on objects and to mouth your hands. These dogs remain enthusiastically puppy-like throughout their life, so early obedience training is required to instil calmness and good manners.
Photo by Robert Dann

Coat and grooming

The Golden Retriever has a water-repellent double coat that comes in various shades of rich golden, including cream colour. It sheds seasonally and needs regular brushing.
The outer coat is firm and resilient, neither coarse nor silky. It lies close to body and may be straight or wavy. Golden Retrievers have a natural ruff and moderate feathering on the back of forelegs and on the underbody. Heavier feathering is present on the front of the neck, the back of thighs and the underside of tail. The coat on head, paws, and the front of the legs is short and even.


Prone to hip dysplasia and congenital eye defects. Tends to gain weight easily.
The lifespan is 10 to 12 years.

Other interesting facts

The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular breeds in the United States according to AKC registration statistics.