Description & History

The Golden Retriever originated from a litter that was born in 1868. The puppies were a cross between the now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel and a yellow retriever. They formed the foundation of a breed that was developed by Lord Tweedmouth on his Scottish estate, Guisachan in Invernessshire.

Yellow spaniel type dogs were known to have inhabited the fishing boats on the River Tweed. In the nineteenth century an attempt to improve these border dogs was made by crossing them with Newfoundlands. The resulting cross was called the Tweed Water Spaniel. Lord Tweedmouth used one of these spaniels and a yellow retriever to found his new breed, now known as the Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve game birds. A working dog should have a good temperament, be intelligent and adaptable. Equally important are a good mouth, a love of water - which should be natural in this breed - and a good nose, especially for tracking and retrieving wounded game.

On the competitive side, most Golden Retrievers that are working dogs also play an active part in either field trials or working tests. Field trials for retrievers have been held since the beginning of the century and working tests since the 1950's.

Golden Retrievers are extroverts that can adapt to become pets and companions, guide dogs for the blind or drug detectors. They are now also being trained for the specific requirements of the disabled.

The Golden Retriever is one of today's most popular dogs. Like other dogs in this group, it should be given plenty of exercise and be allowed to gallop freely.

Rosamund Walters.

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