Types of Retrievers

Retriever Breeds Both Common and Rare

The chances are good then when you started asking what type of dog is good with children you were told to get a golden retriever or a Labrador retriever. This is great advice. Both of these breeds are extremely tolerant and loyal.

Do you know there are actually six types of retrievers? There is also the flat-coated retriever, the curly-coated retriever, the Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, and the Chesapeake Bay retriever. While these dogs are not as common, they are worth considering.

Labrador Retriever

The Labrador retriever comes in three official colors—black, yellow, and chocolate. Unofficially, there are also silver and white Labradors. Since you are the one who will live with the dog, choose the color that appeals to you. You may also see British or English Labradors. The color does not make as much difference as the bloodline does. Field trial Labs tend to highly energetic while show lines tend to be calmer. You will be wise to talk with several breeders about the pedigree of your puppy before you make your selection.

Golden Retriever

The golden retriever comes only in the color gold. This gold can be anything between fox red and pale gold bordering on white. Many English cream golden retrievers are basically white with hints of gold. Follow the same guidelines mentioned about Labrador bloodlines when choosing your golden retriever, talking to several breeders.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a powerful, stout dog. This breed is larger and sturdier built than the other retrievers. The coat is dense, wavy, and waterproof. They come in three colors—chocolatey brown, sedge (red-gold), and dead grass (straw). Their eyes are a beautiful gold amber color. This is not a breed for everyone. There is a toughness in the Chessie that is not typically present in the other retrievers. While Labs and goldens make great watchdogs, they are typically more likely to help the burglar take your stuff to his car instead of biting him. If this breed appeals to you I advise you to do some research and choose your breeder carefully. Chessies require early and often socialization and training.

Curly-Coated Retriever

The curly-coated retriever is one of the oldest of the retriever breeds. Their coat consists of tight curls designed to be waterproof. The coat color is either black or liver. They are rarer. If you are considering this breed, visit the Curly-Coated Retriever Club of Americas for a full description.

Flat-Coated Retriever

The flat-coated retriever is a fun-loving, energetic companion. The coat is long and lies flat. The color is either liver or black. Their head is distinctive, being longer and more slender than other retrievers. Flat-coats are often highly intelligent and very trainable. This breed is strong-willed and mischievous. It's wise to spend some time with this breed before deciding to add one to your family. They require lots of exercise and can easily outsmart you. Visit the Flat-Coated Retriever Club of America for details on this beautiful breed.

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the smallest of the retrievers. The toller is a beautiful, compact dog with a dense double coat. This means the toller will be a seasonal shedder. The color is golden red to dark copper red. They often have white markings on the face, chest, and paws. Look into this breed at the breed club website. They are very intelligent. The breed standard calls the breed's behavior "reserved." These dogs need early and often socialization to prevent "reserved" from turning into "shy."

Raising a Rare Breed

Early socialization and training are important for any puppy. If you select the Chessie, curly-coat, flat coated or toller, be prepared to spend extra time on socializing and training. Trainers encounter wonderful dogs from all of these breeds but also tough behavior cases in all of them, too. Most of the behavior issues would have been prevented with thoughtful puppy raising. Rare breeds are always rare for a reason. The rarer the breed, the smaller the gene pool is. You will have more difficulty locating a puppy and you will pay more for it.