PHOTOS BY JEFFREY LIM
Immortalized in movies as the favorite furry family member, Golden Retrievers have reached a pop culture peak for the gentle and lovable companion.
Golden Retrievers are among the most popular breeds in the world – and it’s not just because of their legendary looks and gentle character. According to the American Kennel Club, they are hardworking, being popular first as hunters and field workers, and later on having been employed in search-and-rescue teams, as guides for the blind, and of course, as companions for families that need a gentler furry family member.
Goldens, as they are called, have been in the records since 1835, when gamekeepers in Scotland first started keeping track of them. This information was eventually released in a 1952 issue of Country Life Magazine, where they were named at the time as Yellow Retrievers.
Since then, they have climbed the popularity charts for canine companions.
WAS OLD YELLER REALLY A GOLDEN?
For many, the idea of a Golden Retriever in pop culture sometimes comes back to watching the famous film titled Old Yeller. But was Old Yeller a Golden Retriever? The simple answer is: He was a Retriever, but not exactly a Golden.
Spike, the actor’s real name, had a Mastiff and a Labrador Retriever for parents. According to Wikipedia, he was rescued from a shelter in California and taken in by trainer Frank Weatherwax.
He would also appear in a production of Dog of Flanders and in various TV shows. He was born in 1952 and passed away in 1962.
Now, he was a good boy!
WHAT ARE GOLDENS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE?
According to the Kennel Club, Goldens are rather hefty middle-sized canine companions, about 20 to 24 inches tall, and between 55 to 75 pounds heavy. They have broad heads with eyes set well apart and large muzzles. Their ears tend to hang with a slight fold. Their bodies tend to be muscular, with loose folds of skin. They have wide bodies and straight, prominent legs, and their tails tend to be straight.
But it’s their coat that really commands attention – known as a double coat, the outer layer is long, and can be flat or wavy. The undercoat is dense and provides weather resistance, which is a callback to their original calling as hunters and field workers.
Being Golden Retrievers, their coat color ranges, of course, from shades of gold to yellow, and lately, cream (this was an amendment to the original standards, made in 1936).
If you’re thinking of adopting a Golden for your family, here are some fun things you should know about them.
THEY NEED LOTS OF EXERCISE
Since they are originally field workers and hunters, it’s a good idea to always be ready to play with them or have yard games.
Fetch games, hiking, swimming, and other similar activities are perfect for them. They certainly won’t do well as couch potatoes.
THEY’RE ALL ABOUT LOVE
As many Golden families can attest to, they are lovable, loving, and caring family members. They have been known to be outstanding therapy assistants in hospitals due to their calm and affectionate nature.
Although Goldens tend to be playful and childlike in character or demeanor, it’s important to remember that they are workers.
That is to say, they are fast learners when trained properly. It’s best to have them go through a training course, or you can teach them commands and socialization so that they can be the best they can be.
GOLDENS TEND TO USE THEIR MOUTHS GENTLY
Goldens tend to love carrying things around, be it balls, sticks, toys – whatever they can carry in their mouths, really. And they’re so good with their mouth control that they can carry raw eggs in their mouths without breaking them.
That being said, they are big eaters, not just of food, but anything they can gnaw at. If it comes to food, it’s a good idea to make sure they don’t overeat; otherwise, you may end up with a plus-sized Golden!