According to the American Kennel Club, the Golden Retriever is the third most popular breed in america, but there is more to this fascinating dog than ‘meets the eye’. It isn’t a mere coincidence that two of the top three most popular breeds in America just happen to be retrievers!
Ironically, today’s Golden is believed to have descended from several breeds, one being the Newfoundland. At one time, Newfoundlands worked right alongside the ancestors of Labrador Retrievers!
They Are Great for Search And Rescue
Due to their amazing intelligence, solid train-ability and fine tuned senses, these guys make excellent search and rescue dogs!
How is it done, you ask?
Training begins as young as 12 weeks of age. At first, the dogs are shown a familiar type of clothing. The handler walks about 20 feet to a subject (first lying in an easily discovered location, gradually increasing with difficulty), lying small treats with every step.
The dogs follow the treats, and scent, to the subject, rewarded with enthusiastic praise once ‘found’! As training progresses, less and less treats are used and the area covered/ difficulty is increased.
Two American Presidents Owned Golden Retrievers!
Ronald Reagan, the 40th U.S. President (1981-1989), actually owned several dogs, one of them a Golden named Victory. Gerald Ford (R), the 38th U.S. President (1974-1977), also owned a Golden named Liberty!
It isn’t hard to believe U.S. presidents would favor this popular breed; many presidents cared for dogs through the years.
They Descended from Water Dogs
Conceived in Britain during the 1800’s, the Golden Retriever is believed to have descended from a concoction of several breeds; the Tweed Water Spaniel, the Newfoundland, the Irish Setter and a variety of water spaniels.
Newfoundlands once worked alongside Labrador Retrievers (then called the ‘St. Johns Water Dog’, or ‘Lesser Newfoundland’) in a growing fishing industry, and are highly adept swimmers (in fact often used for water rescue). Water Spaniels are skilled swimmers, comparable to the Newfy, who would retrieve from fishing boats. Irish Setters were once used as field hunting dogs in Ireland.
Put all of those breeds together into one spectacular mix, and out you get a fantastic swimmer, eager retriever, highly spirited and energetic dog!
Lord Tweedmouth Developed them!
During the 1800’s, Lord Tweedmouth wanted to create a loyal, easy going breed that had a passion for the water and was eager to retrieve. His early versions of today’s Golden had great enthusiasm for retrieving waterfowl! Many believe that these Retrievers came to North America in the 1890’s, but weren’t “exhibited” in dog shows until the 1920’s.
The story begins in 1858, when Sir Dudley Marjoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth, was on a visit to the English seaside town of Brighton. While attending a circus, he was so taken by a troupe of performing Russian sheepdogs that he attempted to buy a pair. Because the trainer didn’t want to break up his troupe, Marjoribanks ended up buying the entire lot!
He then took them home to his estate and began breeding what would soon become the first Golden Retrievers!
When you are traveling with your Golden Retriever, consider using a Tapscott K9 car seat cover. It will protect your upholstery and give your dog a better and more comfortable trip!