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The Golden Retriever Breed: Discover These Gentle and Versatile Dogs

Golden Retriever swimming and retrieving game.

This article was originally published in Showsight Magazine, July 2013 issue.


The Golden Retriever Breed: Discover These Gentle and Versatile Dogs

A noble head… a gentle twinkle of the eye… a smiling face… a vibrant burst of energy, running free as the wind… a wagging tail, happily beating from side to side… a thundering splash into icy waters in quest of game on a cold November day… a shiny coat, glistening like a nugget of gold… a proud stance winning him the best of the show… a guiding nudge to the blind… an enthusiastic search for snowballs tossed by the family… and, most of all, a contented ball of loyal, unquestioning devotion curled up at your feet at the end of a busy day: this is the essence of the Golden Retriever. They are beautiful, intelligent, and very talented. The Golden Retriever is one of the most versatile dog breeds known to man.

A friend and companion first, the Golden Retriever excels at hunting, competition obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue, and service or therapy work. The Golden can be taught to do any activity within his physical ability, and he excels at almost any dog sport one might care to try. Goldens are relatively easy to train and quickly pick up new concepts and ideas. They have a healthy admiration for food and can be bribed into doing just about anything.

Combining beauty and brains in one dog is no mean feat, but the Golden Retriever does it all. As a hunting partner, the Golden is a steady working dog able to work long days in the field with enthusiasm. Their endless drive and easy disposition makes them ideal hunting dogs for the beginning dog handler although that is not the limit of the breed. Some of the top field dogs in history have been Golden Retrievers and their numbers still fill the trial reports.

Golden Retrievers are exceptionally intelligent and trainable. Due to their desire to please they excel in obedience trials. They are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people, calmness, and willingness to learn and will remember what they are taught for the rest of their lives. In fact, the first three AKC Obedience Trial Champions were Golden Retrievers. They are also very competitive in agility and other performance events. However, harsh training methods frequently cause Goldens to “shut down,” therefore positive methods are a better way to train these dogs.

The affable Golden is a welcome addition to any dog team. As search-and-rescue dogs, Golden’s are enthusiastic and biddable, often working long hours for a game of fetch or tug. As service dogs, Goldens bring independence and freedom to their human partners day in and day out.

The Golden Retriever is the ultimate therapy dog. He is unrivaled in his ability to comfort and give hope to the many lonely folks who eagerly count the days until his next visit. Not every dog can be a good therapy dog. A therapy dog must not only possess the right temperament, he must also have extensive training and social skills with other dogs and people to be a useful partner in the visiting therapy team.

Goldens, with their trusting nature, do not make the best guard dogs. They are excellent when it comes to barking when a stranger approaches, but as soon as the stranger arrives, they are met with a wagging tail and lick.

The Golden Retriever is an athletic working dog, a companion beyond compare, beautiful to behold, and possessed of a kind and generous spirit. They adore their owners and exhibit what can be described as unconditional love. The grace and beauty of the Golden Retriever makes them easy on the eyes, while the breed’s compassionate nature keeps owners loyal to this versatile breed.