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A Friend for Life
Member Name: bollinger28
Date: 20/08/05, updated on 02/08/13 (7045 review reads)
Advantages: Loyal and obedient - you'll have a friend for life
Disadvantages: Hair, hair and more hair everywhere!
~~History of Golden Retrievers~~
Archive Kennel Club records trace this breed back to 1860 when Lord Tweedmouth breed a yellow wavy coat called Nous with a liver-coloured Tweed Water Spaniel called Belle. This resulted in four yellow pups which were bred to create the Golden Retriever breed that we all know and recognise today.
~~The Ideal Companion~~
Golden Retrievers are lively, yet placid dogs who live to please their owners. They love nothing more than being part of a family. They are loving, faithful and friendly. Do beware of their wagging tails though, Bolly often managed to knock items flying with hers - including a glass of red wine onto my mother's pale green lounge carpet one Christmas.....
They love to travel in the car and hate to miss out on a trip anywhere. They also love a sofa or a bed and will make a "nest" for themselves wherever they feel like - unless you lay down some ground rules with them from the off. They do require lots of exercise - at least an hour a day, but if circumstances force you to curtail their activity for a day or so they will adapt quickly and quietly.
They are good with children of all ages, being gentle and trustworthy companions. They are really patient - often allowing themselves to be involved in "dressing-up" games. However, they can be a rather boisterous and clumsy breed, so it's best to train them not to jump up from an early age. They make ideal guide and listening dogs as well as their more traditional role as gun dogs at hunting and fishing events.
They shed their coats continuously throughout the year if they live in a centrally heated house, and the hair gets everywhere. A Golden Retriever is not the best dog for the exceptionally house-proud. However, a daily grooming routine does do wonders. I love wearing black, but Bolly was always convinced that I would look better with a full layer of yellow fur all over it, and I never managed to persuade her otherwise.
~Guard Dog Abilities~
These are virtually non-existent - they are likely to make the right noises but then try and befriend the would-be intruder in their constant quest to make friends with everyone.
Golden Retrievers have an instinctive love of water and will leap in anything wet from a muddy puddle to a full raging river. They will then leap right out again and shake themselves all over you.... and anyone unfortunate enough to be standing nearby. The only exception to this love of water is if you try to wash and shampoo them - obviously bath water is just not dirty enough for them....
~Hereditary Eye Diseases~
Golden Retrievers can develop two different eye diseases - cataracts and progessive retinal atrophy. However, if you buy your dog from a reputable breeder they will supply you with certificates showing that the dog is clear of any inherited eye disorders.
As with most big dogs, Golden Retrievers are prone to hip joint problems. These conditions can be partly inherited and partly caused by excessive weight or over-exercising as a puppy. Again, a reputable breeder will be able to supply you with a hip score which will show if there are any hereditary abnormalities.
They are very prone to these, especially during the Summer months. Bolly had an ongoing skin problem since she was a pupster, and there was nothing we can do about it. At different stages she had spots on her belly, flaky dry skin, clumps of hair peeling off her, shampoo allergies and "walking dandruff". These can all be cleared up by a course of antibiotics from the vet, but it does not come cheap - so it's worthwhile insuring your dog. We must have spent hundreds and hundreds of pounds on vets visits (and even a session with a skin specialist) in the quest to find a cure for Bolly, but luckily we insured her from the word go.
The Golden Retriever Breed Council (www.goldenretrievers.co.uk) can advise you on all aspects of ownership and supply you with a list of reputable breeders in your area. A pedigree pup will cost you from between £500 to £700 - more if the breeder has won prizes. We bought Bolly through an advert in the local newspaper for £375. In retrospect this was extremely foolish, as we knew absolutely nothing about her history or her breeder. Although we did see her with her mother (which is most important), we should have done our homework first. We were extremely lucky on that occasion, but would do much more research next time.
There is also the Golden Retriever Club (www.thegoldenretrieverclub.co.uk) - another good website with pages of advice on buying a puppy.
If you really want a Golden Retriever but haven't got the time to spend raising and training a puppy (or the funds to buy one), then there are a number of Golden Retriever Rescue Societies throughout the UK. You can register with these people (usually volunteers who love the breed), and they will contact you when and if they have to re-home a Retriever. They'll inspect your home and subject you to stringent questioning before they'll let you take one of their dogs, as the welfare of the animal is always paramount in their eyes. More information on rescue societies for all breeds can be found at www.dogpages.org.uk, as well as a section on dog homes in your area.
Similarly, you will find the odd Golden Retriever looking for a new home on the Forum Pages on the same website (www.dogpages.org.uk/forums/index/php). There are two sections "Dogs in Rescues - We Need a Home" and "More Dogs Needing Homes". Alternatively, you can post your request to rehome a dog in another section of this Forum called "Homes Offered". This is an absolutely fantastic website with information on all sorts of doggy issues. The Forums are full of dog experts who are only too happy to help and advise on any issue. A few years ago, we wanted a companion for Bolly and we found a 3 year old male retriever called Bailey through this website. We made contact with his owner, who was distraught at having to rehome him, but family circumstances had made it necessary. Unfortunately it all went very wrong, and Bolly and Bailey hated each other on sight and fought like mad. Luckily, his owner had organised a back up home for him in the event that ours did not work out, so it all ended happily eventually.
In conclusion I would heartily recommend a Golden Retriever - I cannot remember life as it was before we got ours. She really did make our house a home - despite the mounting piles of hair in every corner and the trail of paw prints across the carpet. There was nothing nicer than the sight of her wagging tail and fluffy ears greeting me when I got home at night after a crappy day at work. She was hard work but gave out so much affection it made it more than worthwhile.
RIP Bolly 10th September 1997 to 5th August 2008
Summary: Placid, friendly and huge hairy bundles of fluff