Dogs and humans have a historic relationship that goes back hundreds, if not thousands of years.
However, when you compare them to other dog breeds, the golden retriever’s history is relatively new.
Historically bred as hunting dogs in Scotland, they make excellent family dogs. They are a medium-sized breed that usually has a dark-golden coat and is renowned for their loyalty, kind eyes, and enthusiasm for life.
But, how did they come about and who is responsible for bringing us this lovely and intelligent breed?
Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks (also known as Lord Tweedmouth) was born in 1820 as the second son of a successful Scottish banker. As a teenage boy, he had a keen interest in dog breeding. Although at the time, dog breeding was considered an admirable hobby for socially-prominent prominent persons.
He kept records of his 50-plus years of dog breeding in a leather-bound book that survived until today and is securely preserved at the Kennel Club in England.
Like most successful men from his time, Majoribanks was a property investor. One of his earliest notable investments was the purchase of the Meux Brewery (formerly known as the Horse Shoe Brewery) with part of his inheritance.
This investment, along with his directorship in the East India Company, made him a wealthy and respectable man in society.
For many years, the prevailing story of the Golden Retriever’s origin claimed that Dudley Marjoribanks’ famous yellow-coated dogs were the offspring of a group of Russian circus dogs he purchased.
However, the earliest and best-kept records of Golden Retriever history are in the journals of Dudley Marjoribanks, which spans the year 1840 to 1890.
In the mid 1860s, Dudley Marjoribanks acquired a yellow wavy-coated retriever, named ‘Nous’, from a litter of dark-coated retrievers with Golden Retriever characteristics. Dudley Marjoribanks bred Nous to a Tweed Water Spaniel, named “Belle” producing 4 yellow puppies that formed the foundation of the breed.
Tweed spaniels are closely related to what is now known as the Irish Water Spaniels. And were associated with the fishermen of River Tweed Valley located on the Scottish-English border.
The combination was truly exceptional, as it created a robust hunter capable of navigating both land and water to retrieve partridge, grouse, and occasionally red deer.
The offspring from this combination were then bred from, occasionally out-crossing to further water spaniels, an Irish setter, Labrador retrievers and a couple more wavy-coated black retrievers.
For the most part, Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks developed this breed quietly and away from the general public’s attention. That’s until 1908 when Lord Harcourt exhibited a collection of dogs from the breed at the Kennel Club show. And they sparked in popularity.
It was at this time that the term “Golden Retriever” was first used to describe them, which is why Lord Harcourt’s name usually comes up in reference to the breed name.
In 1903, the UK Kennel Club became the first to allow registration of the Golden Retrievers, though they were registered as yellow- or golden-coloured breeds with flat coats.
They got their first showing in 1908. Then in 1913, they got a separate status when the Golden Retriever Club of Great Britain was formed.
It took 7 more years before the Kennel Club, in 1920, recognised and allowed them to assume their present name, “Golden Retrievers.”
You can find the Golden Retriever’s history on the UK Kennel Club website.
A few specimens of Golden Retrievers made their way into the American canine world as far back as the early 1880s. However, it took a few decades before the American Kennel Club registered the first Golden Retriever in 1925.
And then in 1938, 25 years after their counterpart in the UK, the American Golden Retriever Club was formed. The breed has gained much popularity and love in the US.
You can find the Golden Retriever’s history on the American Kennel Club website.
The Golden Retriever was first registered in Canada in 1927. Then in 1958, the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario was formed.
The Golden Retriever Club of Ontario became what’s presently the Golden Retriever Club of Canada.
When it comes to caring for a golden retriever, be prepared to live with plenty of dog hair. They have medium-length hair with a thick undercoat and an outer coat that’s water-repellent.
They shed heavily in the spring and fall, and moderately for the rest of the year. However, they should be brushed daily and will need a bath about once or twice a month.
You will need to trim your golden retriever’s claws once or twice a month to prevent them from splitting and causing foot problems. Your dog will also need help maintaining its oral health. Brushing its teeth once or twice a couple of times per week should do.
Since golden retrievers have droopy ears, they’re susceptible to ear infections. You need to inspect your dog’s ears regularly so you can treat an infection before it worsens.
Golden retrievers are active dogs that require thorough training and daily exercise to keep their minds healthy.
They work best when they have access to a play yard where they can run around and burn energy. If this isn’t available, then walking them a couple of minutes early in the morning and later in the day (to avoid hot asphalt burning their paw pads) should do. Or a trip to the free-run dog park.
Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve shot birds and small animals. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they like to carry things around in their mouths. A few durable toys and chew bones will satisfy this oral fixation.
Golden retriever puppies have a fast growth rate. You need to monitor and feed them a low-calorie diet that will keep them from growing faster than they should, to avoid increasing their risk of bone disorders.
An adult golden retriever should be fed up to 1.5 cups of dog food, two times per day. However, the amount needed for your dog will vary depending on its size, activity level, age, and other factors.
You should always provide fresh, clean water at all times.
Obesity will shorten your dog’s life and expose its immune system to other health conditions. So be sure to monitor the dog’s weight. If your dog seems to be gaining an unhealthy amount of weight, talk to a vet.
They’ll advise you whether to exercise it more or reduce the quantity of each meal you feed the dog.
Golden retrievers love to be where the action is – and that’s with family rather than staying in the backyard alone. They’re not suited to be watchdogs because they’re friendly with all humans.
Socialization comes naturally to them. And, when properly introduced, they get along with other canines, cats, or pets in the household.
Golden retrievers are gentle and patient with kids, but their size means they can easily knock a little child over if they get too excited. This can scare little kids, especially visiting playmates that are not used to interacting with dogs.
When a golden retriever dog has been taught to play appropriately with kids, they become a good match for families with active kids.
As responsible breeders, Northern-Lites Golden Retrievers and French Bulldogs strive to maintain the highest breed standards established by the UK and American Kennel Club as well as DNA-testing our parent dogs.
Dogs that are DNA tested and bred by these standards are at less risk of inheriting or developing health conditions. Conditions to be aware of include:
You can check your local animal shelter and rescue groups for golden retrievers in need of homes.
Or check in with Northern-Lites Golden Retrievers and French Bulldogs. We’re a family-run training & breeding kennel dedicated to producing a small number of healthy field-bred puppies each year.
We make deliveries to dog-loving families in Phuket, Bangkok, Pattaya, and Chaing Mai.
Contact us today. We might have a puppy for your family.