Cool Facts About Golden Retrievers [10 Things You May Not Know]

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[Updated July 2019]

Think you know everything there is to know about Golden Retrievers?  Test your knowledge about this wonderful breed by reading on to find out some cool facts about Golden Retrievers.

The following are 10 things you may or may not know about this breed.

1. They Were Developed In Scotland

During the 19th Century, Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth developed this wonderful breed in Scotland.

Lord Tweedmouth’s goal was to develop a hunting dog that could retrieve shot waterfowl from both water and land.  He wanted a dog that was active and powerful, but gentle and trainable.

The name “retriever” came from their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged, because of their soft mouth.

It wasn’t until 1925 that Golden Retrievers were recognized as an official breed by the American Kennel Club.

Golden Retrievers are still used today for hunting and field trials.

Golden Retriever retrieving shot game.

2. There Are 3 Types Of Golden Retrievers

You may think that all Goldens look similar, but this breed comes in various coat colours ranging from white to dark golden. There are also 3 types, all with subtle differences.

English Golden Retriever

Also known as English Cream Golden.  This type of Golden is the lightest in colour, a white cream colour.

English Goldens are stockier than the other 2 types, with thicker coats and heavier bodies.  Their skull is broader and their body is more muscular.

American Golden Retriever

The American Golden Retriever has a darker coat colour, is lankier, and less muscular than the other types.

Canadian Golden Retriever

Canadian Goldens stand taller than the other types, and their coat is thinner and darker in colour.

Regardless of the type of Golden, they all have a great temperament. They are known for their calm, playful and friendly disposition.

Two Golden Retrievers laying on ground. One English Golden Retriever and one American Golden Retriever.

3. Golden Retrievers Are Often Used In Movies

Golden Retrievers have appeared in movies and tv shows such as Air Bud, Air Buddies, and Homeward Bound, to name a few.

Because of their trainability, obedience, and gentle nature, Goldens are a popular choice.  The fact that they are beautiful and friendly helps too.

4. They Make Great Working Dogs

Golden Retrievers love having a job to do and will focus on any task given to them.  They have an eagerness to please their owners/handlers.

Because of their intelligence, trainability, willingness to learn, and their love of people, they make great working dogs.

Goldens have a keen sense of smell and tracking abilities, which make them great for search and rescue teams.

They are used for many important jobs, such as guide dogs for blind people, sniffing for drugs or bombs at airports, and because of their calm nature, they make great therapy dogs.

Golden Retriever service dog laying in grass.

5. They Make Lousy Guard Dogs

Golden Retrievers have a gentle and trusting disposition, which makes them horrible guard dogs.

However, they do make great watchdogs and will bark loudly at strangers. When a stranger comes to the door they will bark, but soon their tail will wag and they will become fast friends with the stranger.

6. They Love To Swim

Just try to keep them out of the water, I bet you can’t!

They will walk thru any puddle, regardless if it is mud, and they are always up for a game of fetch in the lake.

Their coats are water-repellent, and they have webbed feet, making them natural born swimmers.

Golden Retriever swimming in a lake, retrieving a green toy.

7. Their Lifespan Is 10-12 Years

On average Golden Retrievers live 10-12 years, which is pretty common for large breed dogs.  Large breeds have a shorter lifespan than small breeds.

The sad news is that Goldens have a high rate of cancer when compared to other breeds.  Cancer is the number one killer, and Goldens are more susceptible to certain types of cancer.

Other common health problems that this breed is susceptible to include hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, cataracts, and skin diseases such as allergies and hot spots.

If you own a Golden it is best to be aware of their health problems, especially as they get older.  Find out what you can expect as your Golden Retriever ages.

8. They Are The 4th Most Intelligent Breed

Golden Retrievers are extremely smart.  In fact, they are considered the fourth most intelligent breed of dog according to Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs.

Their intelligence is ranked based on obedience-command trainability.  The Border Collie, Poodle, and German Shepherd are the 3 breeds ahead of them in smarts.

Because of their intelligence, Golden Retrievers are quick to learn new things which makes training them easy.

Golden Retrievers are both intelligent and athletic, which means they need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to keep them from becoming bored and destructive.

9. They Are The 3rd Most Popular Breed In America

According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers are the 3rd most popular, following the Labrador Retriever, and German Shepherd.

Why are these dogs so popular?  Golden Retrievers are great family companions, they are loyal to their owners and have hearts of gold.

People love this breed because they are gentle, loving, athletic, and have a way of making you fall in love with them.

10. They Mature Slowly

Golden Retrievers tend to mature slower than other dog breeds, and their playful silly behaviour will last into adulthood.

A Golden Retriever may reach physical maturity at the age of 2, but their social and behavioural maturity isn’t reached until the age of 3-4 yrs.

The benefit of having a slow maturing breed is that you get to enjoy the puppy stage a bit longer.

White Golden Retriever with red ball in mouth.

Bonus Cool Fact:  Golden Retrievers Lived In The Whitehouse

Both President Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan were fond of this breed and owned a Golden Retriever.

President Ford owned a female golden named Liberty, and President Reagan owned a female golden named Victory.


I sure hope you enjoyed these cool facts about Golden Retrievers!

Did you learn something new about this breed?  How many cool facts did you know?

Maybe you would like to share a cool fact about this breed that wasn’t mentioned?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

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6 thoughts on “Cool Facts About Golden Retrievers [10 Things You May Not Know]”

  1. Well we learn something new every day. I love the Goldies and our beautiful Miss Penny just passed recently and we are still recovering. She was part human I’m pretty sure. We called her the “Snoopervisor” on our job sites. She was such good company. We never had to leash her. She just went where you told her and stayed where you wanted her. She’s going to be hard to replace but we are thinking we are going to do another Golden Retriever for sure. She was so wonderful and sweet and gentle. Thanks for all the fun facts. I’m sharing this article with my son.   He will enjoy it for sure. 

    • Hi Babsie,

      Sorry to hear of the passing of your beloved Miss Penny.  Losing a Golden Retriever or any dog for that matter is a hard loss to overcome.  Dogs quickly become part of your family and when they pass away they leave a huge hole in your heart.  

      I am sure in time if you get another Golden Retriever, it will help you heal.  Many Golden Retriever owners tend to stick with this breed simply because goldens are so great.

      Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, and I wish you all the best.


  2. Retreivers are beautiful dogs. If I had the space for one, I’d definitely have one! Thanks for such an interesting and informative article. I really didn’t know any of these things!

  3. I love the fact about how they will lick strangers to death rather than harm them! Wonderful facts, made me love goldens even more.

    • Hi Nikki,
      Thank you for your comment. Golden Retrievers are such sweet gentle dogs, that is why so many people love them. They really do steal your heart.


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