Golden Retriever

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Breed: Golden Retriever
Temperament: friendly, trusting
Lifespan: average 13 years
Maintenance: medium
Recommended for: families


Originally developed as a gun dog in Britain , the Golden Retriever appears to be a mixture of many breeds, including water spaniels, the Newfoundland and the Irish Setter. The similarities to Labradors are probably not coincidental and a shared ancestry is likely.

The Golden Retriever is one of the world’s favourite pets. And, with the Labrador and German Shepherd, rates in the top three most popular dogs in Australia.


Golden Retrievers are medium to large dogs, never bigger than a German Shepherd. A male stands about 56-61cm (22-24″), while females are smaller at 51-56cm (20-22″). Weight ranges between 27-37kg (60-80lb), males being heavier.

The double coat is wavy and water-resistant; ideal for those not uncommon plunges into any body of water the dog may encounter. Colours range from shades of cream to deep gold. While pups are quite pale, the shades of the tips of the ears can indicate its final adult colouring.


Breeders say that the Golden Retriever is placid and friendly, will get along with other dogs and is a real a joy to be with. Described as an ideal family pet, the Golden Retriever is eager to please and easy to train. They are intelligent, docile and should never be aggressive. Check the adults before purchasing a pup. There are plenty of breeders to choose from. A snappy dog, no matter how cute, is not a viable pet. Golden Retrievers thrive on structured training programs and are consistent top performers in obedience and agility trials.


Two debilitating bone diseases – hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, are not uncommon to the breed and cardiac and eye problems can occur. These conditions can be tested for and pups should only be bought from those reputable breeders who hold current testing certificates.

Golden Retrievers love food, so obesity can be a problem and may aggravate hip problems if they are overfed.


The coat is medium to long and does shed. Particularly at the change of season. Many pet owners find a thorough 10 minute brushing once a week is adequate. The breed is happiest when inside with its family, but young dogs may chew furniture.

Ideal owner

A great dog suited to the family. Be mindful of the dog’s size around small children, but a well trained Golden Retriever will know its place around all humans, large and small. They make wonderful companions and are deservedly regarded as one of the best all round family dogs.

Not a breed for apartments or terraces, these dogs do like to romp and explore a backyard. A daily walk will benefit the dog and keep its weight in check.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)

Dogs NSW
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 – Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)