The first registration of a Golden Retriever by the
American Kennel Club was in November 1925. The most complete records of the
development of the Golden Retriever are included in the record books that were
kept from 1835 until about 1890 by the gamekeepers at the Guisachan (pronounced
Gooeesicun) estate of Lord Tweedmouth at Inverness-Shire, Scotland. These records
were released to public notice in Country Life in 1952, when Lord Tweedmouth's
great-nephew, the sixth Earl of Ilchester, historian and sportsman, published
material that had been left by his ancestor. They provided factual confirmation
to the stories that had been handed down through generations.
Golden Retrievers are used successfully in field trials, hunting, obedience,
and as guide dogs for the blind. The first three dogs of any breed to achieve
the AKC Obedience Champion title, first available in July 1977, were all
Golden Retrievers. The first (Ch. Moreland's Golden Tonka) was a bitch, the
others were males. Golden Retrievers were first shown in England at the Crystal
Palace show in 1908, and were listed as Flat Coats (Golden).
Renown for its reliable temperament, the Golden Retriever makes a great
hunter, family pet or show dog. Although they can adapt to living in a small
apartment they need to be given plenty of exercise daily. The Golden Retriever's
dense water-repellent coat ranges in color from light to dark shades of gold.
A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not
clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a
personality that is eager, alert and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog,
he should be shown in hard working condition. Overall appearance, balance,
gait and purpose to be given more emphasis than any of his component parts.
Faults - Any departure from the described ideal shall be considered
faulty to the degree to which it interferes with the breed's purpose or is
contrary to breed character.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Males 23-24 inches in height at withers; females 21-1/2 - 22-1/2 inches.
Dogs up to one inch above or below standard size should be proportionately
penalized. Deviation in height of more than one inch from the standard shall
disqualify. Length from breastbone to point of buttocks slightly greater
than height at withers in ratio of 12:11. Weight for dogs 65-75 pounds; bitches
Broad in skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally without
prominence of frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop well defined
but not abrupt. Foreface deep and wide, nearly as long as skull. Muzzle
straight in profile, blending smooth and strongly into skull; when viewed in
profile or from above, slightly deeper and wider at stop than at tip. No
heaviness in flews. Removal of whiskers is permitted but not preferred. Eyes
friendly and intelligent in expression, medium large with dark, close-fitting
rims, set well apart and reasonably deep in sockets. Color preferably dark
brown; medium brown acceptable. Slant eyes and narrow, triangular eyes
detract from correct expression and are to be faulted. No white or haw visible
when looking straight ahead. Dogs showing evidence of functional abnormality
of eyelids or eyelashes (such as, but not limited to, trichiasis, entropion,
ectropion, or distichiasis) are to be excused from the ring. Ears rather
short with front edge attached well behind and just above the eye and falling
close to cheek. When pulled forward, tip of ear should just cover the eye.
Low, hound-like ear set to be faulted. Nose black or brownish black, though
fading to a lighter shade in cold weather not serious. Pink nose or one
seriously lacking in pigmentation to be faulted. Teeth scissors bite, in
which the outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the
upper incisors. Undershot or overshot bite is a disqualification. Misalignment
of teeth (irregular placement of incisors) or a level bite (incisors meet
each other edge to edge) is undesirable, but not to be confused with undershot
or overshot. Full dentition. Obvious gaps are serious faults.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck medium long, merging gradually into well laid back shoulders, giving
sturdy, muscular appearance. No throatiness. Backline strong and level from
withers to slightly sloping croup, whether standing or moving. Sloping
backline, roach or sway back, flat or steep croup to be faulted. Body well
balanced, short coupled, deep through the chest. Chest between forelegs at
least as wide as a man's closed hand including thumb, with well developed
forechest. Brisket extends to elbow. Ribs long and well sprung but not
barrel shaped, extending well towards hindquarters. Loin short, muscular,
wide and deep, with very little tuck-up. Slab-sidedness, narrow chest, lack
of depth in brisket, excessive tuck-up to be faulted. Tail well set on,
thick and muscular at the base, following the natural line of the croup.
Tail bones extend to, but not below, the point of hock. Carried with merry
action, level or with some moderate upward curve; never curled over back
nor between legs.
Muscular, well coordinated with hindquarters and capable of free movement.
Shoulder blades long and well laid back with upper tips fairly close together
at withers. Upper arms appear about the same length as the blades, setting
the elbows back beneath the upper tip of the blades, close to the ribs
without looseness. Legs, viewed from the front, straight with good bone, but
not to the point of coarseness. Pasterns short and strong, sloping slightly
with no suggestion of weakness. Dewclaws on forelegs may be removed, but are
normally left on. Feet medium size, round, compact, and well knuckled, with
thick pads. Excess hair may be trimmed to show natural size and contour.
Splayed or hare feet to be faulted.
Broad and strongly muscled. Profile of croup slopes slightly; the pelvic
bone slopes at a slightly greater angle (approximately 30 degrees from
horizontal). In a natural stance, the femur joins the pelvis at approximately
a 90-degree angle; stifles well bent; hocks well let down with short, strong
rear pasterns. Feet as in front. Legs straight when viewed from rear.
Cow-hocks, spread hocks, and sickle hocks to be faulted.
Dense and water-repellent with good undercoat. Outer coat firm and
resilient, neither coarse nor silky, lying close to body; may be straight
or wavy. Untrimmed natural ruff; moderate feathering on back of forelegs and
on underbody; heavier feathering on front of neck, back of thighs and
underside of tail. Coat on head, paws, and front of legs is short and even.
Excessive length, open coats, and limp, soft coats are very undesirable.
Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but the natural appearance of
coat or outline should not be altered by cutting or clipping.
Rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than
rest of coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body
due to age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest,
should be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are not
to be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is either
extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should
be given to the light puppy whose coloring shows promise of deepening with
maturity. Any noticeable area of black or other off-color hair
is a serious fault.
When trotting, gait is free, smooth, powerful and well coordinated,
showing good reach. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor
out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases,
feet tend to converge toward center line of balance. It is recommended
that dogs be shown on a loose lead to reflect true gait.
Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards
other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity
or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Such
actions should be penalized according to their significance.
Deviation in height of more than one inch from standard either way.
Undershot or overshot bite.
This standard was approved October 13, 1981, reformatted August 18, 1990.
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