What has been written about the origins of the Golden Retriever demonstrates clearly that the authors, and even those involved with the dogs differ on several issues. In 1914 the English magazine “Country Life" published an article by Arthur Croxton-Smith that described how in 1865 Sir Dudley Marioribanks' later Lord Tweedmouth, witness a performance by a Russian circus in Brighton. Part of the circus Program was a group of forming dogs that made such an impression on his Lordship that he bought some of them and decided on a breeding program which led to today's Golden Retriever. Later, however, one of Lord Tweedmouth’s grandsons disputed the Russian origin of these dogs. He claimed that Lord Tweedmouth had indeed been in Brighton, where he had bought a single yellow medium or long-haired dog from a shoemaker. The dog stood out because of the colour of its coat: its brothers and sisters were black. Maclennan, the head gamekeeper on Lord Tweedmouth's estate, Guisachan House in Inverness, was however convinced that Mr. Croxton-Smith's story was true.
Because of these and other contradictory statements it has proven impossible to this day to pinpoint the exact origin of Lord Tweedmouth’s Golden Retriever. It is of course quite possible that his Lordship enjoyed fooling his staff-and friends, and that he told the less glamorous truth only to his close relatives. We will never be able to discover the real truth, as Lord Tweedmouth died in 1894.
Lord Tweedmouth's kennel records, which he kept from 1835 to 1890, indicate the existence of a yellow dog named Nous. In 1868 Nous covered a bitch named Belle, which is described in the records as a Tweed Water Spaniel. The offspring were four yellow pups, named Crocus, Ada, Primrose, and Cowslip, which were entered in the records as Tweed Water Spaniels. Lord Tweedmouth kept Primrose and Cowslip for himself. Crocus ended up with his son, and Ada was given as a Present to the fifth Earl of Chichester. These four dogs are generally recognized as the founders of the pedigree. Golden Retrievers were not bred to type; they did not even carry a uniform name as a breed. Until 1913 they were crossbred with other breed such as the Bloodhound, other Retrievers, and Setters.
1913 is an important year ill the history of the Golden Retriever. In 1913 an English woman, Mrs. Charlesworth, decided to establish the Golden Retriever club and a pedigree standard was drawn up. In the same year the British Kennel Club registered the pedigree as the Yellow or Golden Retriever. In 1920 it was officially changed to its present name: Golden Retriever.
Even through many Golden Retrievers have daily tasks to accomplish, most of them are kept as family dogs. Unfortunately many dog owners seem to forget that their dog loves to do tasks and needs a lot of physical exercise. You will not make a Golden Retriever happy by just taking it for a gentle stroll three times a day, even though it will not protest; it is much too good-natured to do so. Golden Retrievers are really active dogs and suit sports-loving people who are fond of going for long walks and have energetic children who would enjoy playing ball games with the dog. If these conditions are met a Golden Retriever will definitely be easy to live with.
A Golden Retriever is a kind, open-minded and gentle dog by nature. It socializes with everybody, preferring to be part of the family and involved in daily routines. Life in a kennel must feel like a punishment for such a socially inclined animal!
The Golden Retriever is exceptionally child-friendly. Due to its great tolerance and poised nature it can put up with a lot of the things children do. It also has a "good bite" enabling it to take titbits offered by children with great care. Excitement and noise, which always accompany small children, do not affect its character. Since Golden Retrievers are so good-natured, you will have to teach your children to treat them with respect. Although it is not quick to bite, even for the Golden Retriever enough can be enough. The Golden Retriever is very socially minded. It socializes with everybody, human or animal. Difficulties in ranking order therefore seldom occur among these dogs, neither on the street, nor within the family if you have acquired your dog from a reputable breeder and you have socialized it properly, need you not anticipate any problems over its attitude to people or other animals.
A Golden Retriever seldom barks. If there are trespassers your dog will certainly warn you, but do not expect it to defend you at all costs. Golden Retrievers are not genuine watchdogs or guard-dogs. On the contrary, the vigilance that is a prerequisite for such types of dog very unwelcome in this breed. On the other hand its loud and sustained barking when it has been startled will drive trespassers away.
Swimming is one of the activities the Golden Retriever most enjoys. It does not care whether it gets soaking wet in a crystal clear lake on a summer's day or in a muddy pool in rainy and raw weather conditions. A garden pond will quite often be used by the Golden Retriever as a swimming pool. This liking for water is innate in most Golden Retrievers, and clearly this characteristic does not always help us maintain a spotless home and a clean car. The dog owner should try to understand this, even though a good roll in the mud or a swim on your Golden Retriever's whim should of course not always be allowed. Make sure that your dog listens to your commands, to ensure that you can call it back in time.
A Golden Retriever does not like to be left outside.
One characteristic of the Golden Retriever is that it loves to carry objects in its mouth. These may consist of a teddy bear, a small ball, or any other item. Your Golden Retriever will carry its favourite object around all day long and will show it proudly to visitors. To prevent your dog walking about with objects you treasure and do not wish to lose, you would do well to buy him a few toys. A puppy might still bite them to pieces, but grown-up dogs will usually treat their toys with care.
The Golden Retriever has an extraordinary desire to please. As a result of the breed's reputation it is often thought that Golden Retrievers need little training, but this usually leads to disappointment. The Golden Retriever is a quick learner anyway-it will quickly master new commands, perform tricks, and do whatever else you would like to teach it. But... it remains a dog with its own proper personality, which can be stubborn and even awkward on occasion. A pheasant flying up, an inviting muddy ditch, the smell of a bitch in heat, adolescence-all of these are situations in which even a Golden Retriever may forget its training and follow its instincts instead.
Disobedience may be caused by a physical defect, or may result from boring or inadequate training. Do not expect your puppy to be a "super-dog" that understands everything it is asked to do and obeys like a machine. A pedigree Golden Retriever has all the qualities you could wish for, but how many of these qualities it will actually display depends on you.