The Golden Retriever embodies characteristics many of us could emulate – charming, gentle, intelligent, friendly and hard working. What’s not to like? Plus, they have the most glorious shades of blonde hair from a pale champagne gold to a deep vivid mahogany. I can imagine taking a book of Golden Retriever photos my my hair stylist and picking a color!
A relatively new breed on the scene, the Golden was one of the many breeds to originate in the United Kingdom. In the late 1800s, Lord Tweedmouth (now that is a fabulous name) or Dudley Marjoribanks bought a yellow puppy from a littler of black retrievers.
The puppy had been given to a cobbler by a gamekeeper for a local landowner to satisfy a debt. I can imagine the cobbler’s wife screaming, “You lost all our money at whist and came home with a PUPPY!”
Marjoribanks took Nous, as he named him, to Guisachan, his grand estate in Scotland, where he joined the pack of hunting dogs he already owned. Nous is pictured to the left with one of Marjoribanks’ gamekeepers.
Like many before him, and after, he was interested in developing a specific type of dog for a certain purpose. His desire was to have a soft-mouthed, even-tempered dog that could hunt and live in the harsh Scottish climate.
In 1868 and 1871 he bred Nous to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel (similar to today’s Irish Water Spaniel) and had quite a few yellow or golden puppies that became the backbone of the Golden Retriever breed of today. One of those first puppies is pictured to the left.
Those puppies were then crossed with wavy and flat-coated retrievers, a Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red setter (possibly an Irish Setter type). Marjoribanks kept the yellow puppies and continued his breeding program from them. These dogs were known in the aristocratic circles as fine gun dogs that could work. They were hidden golden gems, prized by the gamekeepers of the day. His meticulous breeding records are now in the Kennel Club library in England.
In 1906 a handful of these dogs were shown as “Retriever- Wavy or Flat Coated” in the United Kingdom. They were recognized by The Kennel Club in 1911 as “Retriever: Yellow or Golden,” then “Retriever- Golden” in 1920. In 1925 they were recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club and in 1932 the American Kennel Club.
Today’s Golden Retriever is primarily a happy, loving family companion, though many do still show their prowess as field and gun dogs. Their inherent soft-mouth, which allowed them to carry game without harming it, has been as contributor to their popularity as loving family dog.
For a fun list of celebrities who have shared their lives with Goldens visit here.
Goldens are not only beloved family pets they are also guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, hunting dogs, bomb detection dogs, drug sniffing dogs and search and rescue dogs. No wonder they are perennially ranked Number 2 or 3 in the AKC rankings for registrations.
The Golden Retriever is a delightful dog, personally I cannot imagine anyone saying they don’t like Goldens. Happy, smart, sweet…yes, I want to be more like a Golden!
If your sweet Golden Retriever has a dry or cracked, crusty nose grab some NOSE BUTTER!Shop GOLDEN RETRIEVER Nose Butter Here
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