Home   »   Breeds   »   Golden Retriever   »   History

Golden Retriever
Looking for a Golden Retriever?

In the early 1800s, game was plentiful in England and Scotland, and hunting was both a sport and a practical way of obtaining food. Retrievers came into prominence because of the desire for a medium-sized dog that would do well in wild-fowling, both upland game and waterfowl. Records kept from 1850 to 1890 at the Guisachan estate of Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord Tweedmouth, near Inverness, Scotland, record the development of the original strain of Golden Retrievers.

Lord Tweedmouth bought "Nous" in 1865, the only yellow in a litter of black Wavy-Coated Retrievers. From a cousin living near Berwick, on the Tweed River, he acquired "Belle", a Tweed Water Spaniel. This now-extinct breed was a hardy type used for retrieving and known for their intelligence, courage, and ability in water. In two litters, Nous and Belle produced four yellow puppies.  Later breedings incorporated more Tweed Spaniel and Wavy-Coated Retriever, and a red setter.

By the end of the 19th century, Yellow or Golden Retrievers were well established in England, and they were first shown in England in 1908 in classes for Flat-Coated Retrievers "of any other color". In 1913 they gained separate status, and the Golden Retriever Club (of Great Britain) was officially recognized. While a few Goldens had appeared in North America as early as 1882, the AKC registered their first Golden Retriever in 1925.

The breed established its presence in the 1930s and '40s, as hunting dogs and at field trials and shows, then also in obedience trials. While the early dogs in North America were mostly darker shades of golden, lighter shades have also become popular in later years. All are acceptable under the breed standard. The breed's versatility, intelligence, and agreeable personality suit it for many purposes, and it has become one of the most successful, recognizable, and popular breeds in all areas of competition.

More Info