20+ Facts About Golden Retrievers You Should Know

Golden Retriever Facts: A picture of a seated Golden Retriever

Intelligent, loyal, adorable, and affectionate, it’s no surprise that the Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world today. The Golden Retriever is famous for its amicability, even temperament, and eagerness to please. Here are some pawsome and interesting Golden Retriever facts. 

Facts about Golden Retrievers

1. The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the mid-19th century.

It is most commonly accepted that the Golden Retriever was first bred in Scotland by businessman and politician Dudley Marjoribanks (Lord Tweedmouth). In the 1860s, he developed the first Golden Retrievers by crossing a yellow-colored Flat-coated Retriever named “Nous”, with a Tweed Water Spaniel (a breed which is now extinct) female dog named “Belle.” 

The resulting puppies were named Ada, Crocus, Cowslip, and Primrose. These four offspring were the base of Tweedmouth’s breeding program.

He bred with an Irish Setter, the Bloodhound, the St. John’s Water Dog of Newfoundland, and the Labrador Retriever. Through several generations of breeding, the modern-day Golden Retriever evolved. 

2. The Golden Retriever is one of six retriever breeds.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Golden Retrievers are one of six retriever breeds. The others are Labrador Retrievers, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Curly-Coated Retrievers, Flat-Coated retrievers, and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers.

3. The Golden Retriever was originally bred to retrieve waterfowl.

As its name implies, the Golden Retriever was originally bred as a hunting companion to retrieve shot waterfowl, such as ducks and upland game birds at the Scottish estate of Lord Tweedmouth. At the time, wildfowl hunting was a popular pastime among Scotland’s land-owning aristocracy. 

But the existing breeds were incapable of navigating both the water and land of the Scottish Highlands. Tweedmouth’s goal was to develop a breed with an outstanding sense of smell that could work well to retrieve game from both the rugged Highland terrain and the water.

4. The Golden Retriever was recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1925.

The Golden Retriever first came to North America in the 1920s where it became popular for its excellent temperament and beautiful appearance. However, it was not until November 1925 that the Golden Retriever was recognized by the American Kennel Club.

The Golden Retriever was recognized as a breed by the British Kennel Club (KC) in 1911.

5. The Golden Retriever is considered to be the fourth smartest dog breed.

One of the interesting Golden Retriever facts is that it is regarded as one of the most intelligent dog breeds. According to Pets WebMD, Golden Retrievers are one of the easiest breeds to train, trailing behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.

6. The Golden Retriever is the fourth most popular dog breed in the United States.

According to the American Kennel Club’s most popular dog breeds list, the Golden Retrievers are ranked fourth, trailing behind Labrador Retrievers, French Bulldogs, and German Shepherds.

Golden Retrievers are popular among celebrities too. Betty White, Oprah Winfrey, Nick Jonas, Jimmy Fallon, Adam Levine, Jackie Chan, Dian Keaton, Pamela Anderson, and Nicolette Sheridan are just some celebrities who have or had Golden Retrievers.

7. The first photo ever uploaded to Instagram was that of a Golden Retriever.

One of the coolest facts about Golden Retrievers is that the breed was the subject of the first image ever shared on Instagram. On 16 July 2010, Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom uploaded a picture of a Golden Retriever puppy with the caption “test” to the now-popular app, which was then known as “Codename.”

The picture of the Golden Retriever was taken at a taco stand in Todos Santos, Mexico. To this day, the dog’s name and owner remain unknown.

8. Golden Retrievers have webbed feet.

As they were initially bred to be hunting dogs that retrieved the waterfowl, Golden Retrievers have webbed feet. The “webbing” on the Golden Retriever’s feet is the extra skin that is between its toes. 

9. The average lifespan of Golden Retrievers is between 10 and 12 years.

This is about the same as other dog breeds of their size. The oldest Golden Retriever on record was Augie from Tennessee, who reached the age of 20 years and 11 months before passing away in 2021.

10. The Golden Retriever has a dense, water-repellent double coat.

The Golden Retriever’s topcoat is water-resistant and wavy, while the undercoat is soft and keeps them cool/warm throughout the seasons. 

11. American Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan both had Golden Retrievers as pets while in office.

Gerald Ford, who served as the president of the United States from 1974 to 1977, famously had a Golden Retriever named “Liberty”. Liberty grew up in the White House and even gave birth to her first litter of puppies there. 

Ronald Reagan, who served as the president of the United States from 1981 to 1989, had a Golden Retriever named “Victory” at his ranch in California.

12. The loudest bark by a dog on record was produced by a Golden Retriever.

According to Guinness World Records, the loudest bark by a dog on record was produced by a Golden Retriever named “Charlie” in 2012. By barking at an astounding 113.1 dB (about the same noise level at a loud rock concert), Charlie literally barked his way in the record books.

In comparison, most dogs bark between 80 and 90 dB in volume, about as loud as a shouting human.

13. Golden Retrievers have often featured in famous films and TV Shows.

Because they are easy to train, Golden Retrievers are a popular choice to star in movies and television shows. Here are just a few of the popular Golden Retrievers from movies and television shows:

  • Beau from Wargames (1983)
  • Shadow from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
  • Fluke from the movie Fluke (1995)
  • Bud from Air Bud (1997)
  • Brinkley from You’ve Got Mail (1998)
  • Bingo from Salt (2009)
  • Comet from Full House (1987-1995)
  • Speedy from The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004)
  • Shelby from Smallville (2001-2011)

14. Golden Retrievers make great therapy dogs.

Due to its calm demeanor, kindness, and high reserves of empathy and unconditional love, the Golden Retriever is often employed as a therapy dog to soothe and calm people.

15. Golden Retrievers are often used on search and rescue teams.

Thanks to their intelligence, attentiveness, keen sense of smell, and tracking abilities, Golden Retrievers are top-notch search and rescue dogs.

16. Golden Retrievers are generally not-so-great security (guard) dogs.

Due to its affable nature and friendliness to strangers, Golden Retrievers are generally considered way too friendly to make good guard dogs.

17. The Golden Retriever is known for its soft mouth.

Since the Golden Retriever was originally bred to pick up the hunted game without damaging it, it possesses the characteristic soft mouth like other Retriever breeds.

18. A Golden Retriever holds the record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog.

The world record for the most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog at one time is six. Finley, a Golden Retriever owned by the Molloy family in Canandaigua, New York, USA, successfully gathered and held all six regulation-sized tennis balls on 23 February 2020. 

19. Golden Retrievers are incredible swimmers. 

Like Labrador Retrievers, most Golden Retrievers love swimming and take to it instinctively. 

20. The Golden Retriever sheds a lot and requires regular grooming. 

The Golden Retriever sheds a moderate amount in winter and summer and quite heavily in the spring and autumn (fall).  During the seasonal shedding periods, it may require daily brushing to remove dead fur.

21. Golden Retrievers can be found to come in three primary colors. 

In addition to their characteristic golden color, Golden Retrievers also come in a light golden color and a dark golden color.

22. The Golden Retriever comes in three different varieties. 

Despite the myriad coats, colors, and hues of the Golden Retriever, it is only one breed. It does, however, come in three main varieties, which are the Canadian Golden Retriever, the British (or English) Golden Retriever, and the American Golden Retriever.

23. National Golden Retriever Day is every February 3. 

National Golden Retriever Day has been celebrated every year since 2012 in honor of these majestic dogs.