Due to their super sweet personalities, serious smarts, and adorable, toothy grins, golden retrievers are a hugely popular breed in the United States. In fact, golden retrievers have snagged the third spot for most popular dogs in the United States for the last several years!
These pooches are on the larger side (females range between 55 and 70 pounds, while males weigh in between 65 and 75 pounds) and require lots of exercise, which may make some families shy away. But don't let their size—or high energy—deter you. Golden retrievers are highly intelligent, easy to train (compared to other breeds of dogs), and incredibly friendly.
Whether you're already a golden puppy parent or considering adding one to the family, read on to learn some fun facts (and see some seriously cute photos!) of one of the world's most popular breeds.
01 of 09
There are some interesting theories about where, when, and how golden retrievers came to be. One even surmises that goldens are descendants of Russian circus dogs!
These alternate theories were debunked, however, when the personal records of Lord Tweedmouth of Inverness, Scotland were made public. Lord Tweedmouth was an avid waterfowl hunter who wanted to breed a dog with some serious bird retrieving skills. So, in 1864, he bred a yellow retriever named Nous with a liver-colored Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle. The result? A pack of puppies with the exact hunting skills he was looking for, which he dubbed golden retrievers.
Golden retrievers were later brought to North America—sometime during the 1920s—where they became hugely popular for their beautiful looks and sweet personalities. Then, in 1925, they were officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club.Continue to 2 of 9 below.
02 of 09
Golden Retrievers Aren't Just Golden
Even though they're called golden retrievers, not all goldens have a yellow-gold coat. They can range from a very light, snowy white, to a yellow-gold, to a dark, coppery red.
No matter the color of their coat, however, it's important to never cut your golden retriever's hair—doing so can put her at risk of skin cancer, among other health issues. Their coats are made up of two layers—the long, silky, waterproof outercoat and soft, warming undercoat—and act as insulators against all types of weather. So, if you think to trim your golden's coat in the summer to keep it cool, think again! It'll be much cooler and its skin will be protected from the sun with its coat intact.Continue to 3 of 9 below.
03 of 09
They Need Lots of Exercise
As members of the Sporting Group, golden retrievers need lots of exercise—every single day. Bred to fetch waterfowl, golden retrievers love a good swim session but would be just as happy with long walks, games of fetch, or even agility games.
Aim for about one hour of exercise each day, but keep your dog's age and activity levels in mind—you may have to adjust accordingly.Continue to 4 of 9 below.
04 of 09
They Work Hard
Because golden retrievers were bred as working dogs (so they love to have a job!) and are incredibly fast learners, they're often employed as hunting dogs, rescue dogs, and therapy dogs. If taken to a rescue site, for example, they can quickly learn how to perform search and rescues to help those in need.
In addition to their smarts, golden retrievers' downright sweet demeanors make them the perfect pick for therapy dogs. They can bring a lot of comforts—and joy—to people who have experienced traumatic events, are living in hospitals, or are stressed out during college exams.Continue to 5 of 9 below.
05 of 09
They Are Super Mouthy
If you've ever owned a golden retriever—or have just eaten a meal near one—you know how much they love to eat. Their love of food can cause health problems (like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease), so it's important to feed your golden the right amount of food for her weight, age, and activity level. Not sure how much is right for your dog? Talk to your vet about a healthy diet. And take it easy on the treats!
It's true that goldens love to eat, but they like to carry non-food items in their mouths, too. Their mouthy nature makes everyday stuff such as sticks, shoes, or even the remote control a highly prized possession.
Because golden retrievers have very gentle mouths, challenges such as the golden retriever egg challenge—in which a golden is tasked with holding an uncooked egg in its mouth without breaking it—have popped up all over the web.Continue to 6 of 9 below.
06 of 09
There Are Some Famous (and Presidential) Golden Retrievers
Because golden retrievers are so eager to please their puppy parents, they're one of the easier breeds to train—which makes them perfect for the silver screen. Tons of major movies, such as the "Air Bud" series, "Homeward Bound," "A Dog's Purpose," and even thrillers such as "Poltergeist" and "Friday the 13th" have goldens in the credit roll.
What's more? There are a few golden retrievers in presidential history, too. Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford had goldens during their presidencies. Golden retrievers are often considered the all-American dogs, so it makes sense, right?Continue to 7 of 9 below.
07 of 09
Goldens Are Hailed as Super Heroes
Golden retrievers are fiercely loyal to their families, so it's no surprise that there are countless stories of goldens protecting or rescuing their people from dangerous situations.
Todd, the sweet golden pictured here, is one of those puppy heroes. In June 2018, Todd went on a hike with his owner, Paula, on a trail near Anthem, Arizona. During their hike, Paula nearly stepped on a rattlesnake—and when the snake lunged at her, Todd jumped in front of her to protect her. Although Todd was bitten on the nose and had severe swelling in his face, he's expected to make a full recovery.
Because of his heroic deed, the internet has hailed Todd as a very, very good boy. And believe it or not, Todd has found a way to be an even better boy: He has a GoFundMe page to help other heroic doggies who have suffered from the same injuries.Continue to 8 of 9 below.
08 of 09
They Never Lose Their Puppy Exuberance
Many breeds of dogs mellow out after their puppy stage (or when they're approximately two years old), but golden retrievers never lose their energetic, silly, hilarious puppy exuberance. Even in their senior years, it's not uncommon for older goldens to keep up with their puppy counterparts.Continue to 9 of 9 below.
09 of 09
They Have the Sweetest Smiles
Golden retrievers are well-known for their big, toothy, goofy grins. And for good reason! Not only are they adorable, but they prove goldens are some of the sweetest puppers around, too.