About Goldens

English Golden Retriever Breed History

To completely see the beauty of the English Golden Retriever, you must first take a step back and revel in the history of this beautiful dog. Where did they come from? How did they start?

Whether you know it or not, understanding this history is the key to understanding the breed and your puppy’s or dog’s instincts. A great pet parent knows what to expect from their dog and how to safely and positively curb unwanted behaviors while understanding the breed history and breed instincts.



The Golden Retriever Breed got its start in Scotland around the mid-19th century. During this time, it was well known for a man of wealth to hunt game and fowl. The retriever breeds that were currently available did not suit the needs of retrieving game and fowl from water and land. Therefore, it became necessary to interbreed to create a dog that would be ideal for this task.

Over a long span of time, hunters tried various breeds to make this task easier. As weapons grew more powerful and were able to reach longer distances, the need for a bigger and better dog arose. From this breeding, one type of dog was noted to be the most effective hunting dog to suit the needs of people who enjoyed hunting or needed to hunt for food.

The Golden Retriever was created by Sir Archie Marjoribanks, who had purchased two unregistered dogs. One was named Nous, purchased in 1865 from a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retriever puppies and in 1868, Nous sired a litter of puppies with the other dog he had purchased, a female Tweed Water Spaniel named ‘Belle’. These puppies were used as the basis of the breed. The lines were later inter-mixed with the Irish Setter, the sandy colored Bloodhound, the St. John’s Waterdog, and two additional black retrievers.

The result; a very active, powerful and gentle mouthed dog that was perfect for retrieving game and foul. The Golden Retriever was accepted by the Kennel Club of England in 1903. They were accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1925, and the Golden Retriever Club of America was founded in 1938.

Sir Archie Marjoribanks brought one of his Golden Retrievers to Canada in 1881. He registered this dog, “Lady” with the AKC in 1894. This was the first record of an Golden Retriever being registered in either the United States or Canada.

The Golden Retriever was registered in 1927 in Canada, and the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario (GRCO) was formed in 1958. Over time, this group expanded to become the “Golden Retriever Club of Canada (GRCC).

English Creams vs. American or Field Goldens

There has been much confusion and many debates regarding the classification of Golden Retrievers. Golden Retrievers are a medium sized breed which were historically bred as gun dogs used to retrieve animals during a hunt. As the breed gained popularity, two major breed standards developed in the United States and in Europe.

In 1911, the Golden Retriever was accepted into the British Kennel Club (KC) but was not accepted in America by the American Kennel Club (AKC) until 1934. Over the course of many years the Americans took a different style of breeding to match their hunting style. This breeding practice resulted in a longer, taller dog, with a high hunting drive and a golden to deep red coat.

The American Golden Retrievers and English Golden Retrievers are both considered Golden Retrievers. Wherever you are in the world, your retriever will be registered under “Golden Retriever.” It should be pointed out that English Golden Retrievers are simply referred to as “Golden Retrievers” throughout Europe and the rest of the world. In the United States, however they are often called English Golden Retrievers to differentiate them from the American Golden Retrievers due to their difference in color and physical characteristics, and temperaments.

Simply stated, the American Golden Retriever is a Golden Retriever bred to the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards and the English Golden Retriever is bred to the British Kennel Club (KC) standards.

The most obvious difference between American and English Golden Retrievers is the color of their coats. The AKC does not readily recognize light colored or mahogany retrievers as opposed to the KC not recognizing mahogany and red colored retrievers but accepts light colored. The most serious difference between the two are the health issues. American Golden Retrievers are 70% likely to develop cancer compared to The English Golden Retrievers 23%. This study is a single study and an old one, so results maybe different.  Also, the life expectancy of an American Golden ranges from 8-­10 compared to the English Goldens which range from 11­-13.

The English Golden Retriever dog is typically found through Europe and Australia and now in the US becoming very popular. It is very different from the American and Canadian version of the retriever.

The English Golden Retriever is wider, shorter, and has a blockier forehead than its American and Canadian relatives. It has shorter legs, a deeper chest, and a slightly shorter tail. Due to the solid structure of the English Golden, it weighs more than the average American or Canadian bred dog. A male English Golden Retriever should be between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulders. The females of the breed will average between 20 inches and 22 inches. The English breed is known for having dark round eyes. They can have a coat of any shade between gold or cream colors. A mahogany coat, or a red coat, is not permitted though it does happen on occasion. The English Golden Retriever is known for having a muscular body and a high endurance once it reaches puberty around 2 years old.

The Breed


The Golden Retriever is considered a large breed dog. They were originally bred to be gundogs alongside their hunter but eventually their breed was noticed to be a great house dog. The reason their primary focus was hunting is because they were great at retrieving game, in water and on land, while leaving it undamaged for their owner. Golden Retrievers instinctual love water and are easy to train to respond to basic and even advanced obedience standards in and outside of the water.

The breed is also considered a long haired breed, which is great to keep them warm while they are outdoors. They have very thick fur with two layers. The inner layer keeps them warm when they are out in the cold. The outer layer of their coat repels water to keep them dry.

Golden Retrievers are well suited to be a household dog. They enjoy being around family, friends, and company. While they are suited for the indoors, they need regular exercise and something to occupy their mind at various times of the day outdoors. It is recommended, if you are to own an Golden Retriever, that you have a fenced in yard. This is because the breed as a whole is known to roam instinctively.

An Golden Retriever can fill a variety of roles. It can be a family pet, a guide dog, a hearing dog, a hunting dog, a detection dog, a search and rescue dog and they have been known to take on many more active roles in society.

The breed is known as friendly, which means that as a whole, it is not meant to be a guard dog. This breed loves to play, but also needs a “job” as well. Something as simple as a reward ball that deposits toys after certain actions, can keep their mind working out concepts, is a great job.

 Golden Retrievers are very intelligent and in turn, they need to have their intelligence challenged on a daily basis to keep them happy.

Because of the widespread love of the retriever dog, there are many regional variations of the breed. Today, there are three main sub types that reflect the typical variations. The differences between these variations are the dimensions, coat, and some physical appearances.

The Golden Retriever Appearance

The appearance of a golden retriever’s coat differs depending on whether it is an English Golden, an American Golden, or a Canadian Golden. Their coat can vary from light to dark golden. The top coat is considered water resistant and this portion sheds in the summer. Typically, the fur lays flat against the stomach. At times, their stomach fur may become too long and require grooming as it can be uncomfortable if it grows too long.

The rules of coat color in show vary depending on where you are. The AKC standard states the coat should be a “rich, lustrous golden of various shades.” They do not allow extremely light or extremely dark coats. The outer ranges of the coat are up to the judge’s discretion. However, pure white, red, and black are unacceptable show colors.

A Golden’s coat becomes darker or lighter as it grows. So the color of the coat at birth or even when it is weaned will not give way to the coat color value. Over time, the puppy’s coat can become darker or lighter. Puppy coats are typically much lighter than the coat will be during adult hood. As a rule of thumb, you can tell by looking at the tips of a pup’s ears. If the coloration at the tip of the year is dark, it could mean that this puppy will yield a darker adult color. However, even this is not 100% flawless and many times a puppy’s genetics will change its mind before the true coat color has a chance to show.


The lifespan of a Golden Retriever is an average of 11 to 13 years. Like many popular breeds, some health problems are inherent in the breed due to irresponsible and over-breeding throughout the years. For this reason, you may notice breeders of English Cream Goldens are very particular on health clearances, certifications, and genetic background testing. This makes the English Cream Golden one of the healthiest and hardiest breeds of retrievers. Compared to their brethren, the American Goldens, they have longer lifespans and are less prone to serious