The Golden Retriever Breed Standard
Copyright The Kennel Club. Reproduced with their kind permission
One of the most popular dogs in the world, the Golden Retriever was bred, as its name suggests, to retrieve game in the shooting field. The breed has adapted to so many roles that there is virtually nothing he doesn’t do, with the exception of being professional guard dog – a task for which his friendly temperament makes him quite unsuited. He has been a guide dog, a drug and explosives detecting dog, a tracker, an obedience competitor, in addition to the job he does so universally and well, simply being an energetic, fun-loving member of the family.
Easy to train to basic obedience or higher standards, rarely a choosy feeder, and with a thick coat that is reasonably easy to keep clean, it is no surprise that the breed has risen in popularity over the decades. He often has the largest entry at Championship Shows.
For many years there was confusion over the origin of the breed, but it is now generally accepted that it was the first Lord Tweedmouth who developed Golden Retrievers as a breed. ‘Yellow’ Retrievers had existed for many years in the Border Country between England and Scotland, and at first Goldens were registered and shown as Flatcoats being defined only by colour until 1913. They took their present name in 1920.
GENERAL APPEARANCE. Symmetrical, balanced, active, powerful, level mover, sound with kindly expression.
Characteristics. Biddable, intelligent and possessing natural working ability.
Temperament. Kindly, friendly and confident.
Head and Skull. Balanced and well-chiseled, skull broad without coarseness; well set on neck, muzzle powerful, wide and deep. Length of fore-face approximately equals length from well-defined stop to occiput. Nose preferably black.
Eyes. Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.
Ears. Moderate size, set on approximate level with eyes.
Mouth. Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set to the jaws.
Neck. Good length, clean and muscular.
Forequarters. Forelegs straight with good bone, shoulders well laid back, long in blade with upper arm of equal length placing legs well under body. Elbows close fitting.
Body. Balanced, short coupled, deep through heart. Ribs deep and well sprung. Level top-line.
Hindquarters. Loin and legs strong and muscular, good second thighs, well bent stifles. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from rear, neither turning in nor out. Cow Hocks highly undesirable.
Feet. Round and cat-like.
Tail. Set on and carried level with back, reaching the hocks, without curl at tip.
Gait/Movement. Powerful with good drive. Straight and true in front and rear. Stride long and free with no sign of hackney action in front.
Coat. Flat or wavy with good feathering, dense water-resisting undercoat.
Colour. Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.
Size. Height at withers: Dogs 56-61 cms (22-24 ins); Bitches 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).
Faults. Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dogs ability to perform its traditional work.
Note. Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
©The Kennel Club