The Golden Retriever is a large-sized breed of dog. They were bred as gun dogs to retriever shot waterfowl such as ducks and upland game birds during hunting and shooting parties, and were named retriever because of their ability to retrieve shot game undamaged. Golden Retrievers have an instinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards. They are a long-coated breed, with a dense inner coat that provides them with adequate warmth in the outdoors, and an outer coat that lies flat against their bodies and repels water. Golden Retrievers are well suited to residency in suburban or country environments. Although they need substantial outdoor exercise, they should be housed in a fenced area because of their instinctual tendency to roam. The dog sheds copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and requires fairly regular grooming. The breed is a prominent participant in conformation shows for purebred. The Golden Retrievers' intelligence makes it a versatile breed and allows it to fill a variety of roles – common ones being guide dog for the blind, hearing dog for the deaf, hunting dog, detection dog, and search and rescue participant. The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its temperament has also made it the third most popular family dog breed (by registration) in the United States, the fifth most popular in Australia, and the eighth most popular in the United Kingdom. Golden Retrievers are rarely choosy eaters, but require ample exercise (of two or more hours a day). The breed is fond of play but also highly trainable.
Health and lifespan
The average life span for a Golden Retriever is about 11 to 12.5. Golden Retrievers are susceptible to specific ailments. They should be taken to a veterinarian for yearly checkups.Golden retrievers are known to have Genetic disorder disorders and other diseases. Hip dysplasia (canine) is common in the breed; when buying a puppy, the pedigree should be known and be examined by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals or by PennHIP for hip disease. Obesity is also common in the breed because Golden Retrievers love to eat. Puppies should eat about three cups of food a day and adults three to five cups, depending on the food and how active the dog is. A 2004 survey by the UK Kennel Club puts this number at 38.8%. Eye diseases are also possible in the breed; cataracts are the most common eye disease in Goldens, and retinal dysplasia and Lyme disease is possible, although the latter is not typically detected until the dog reaches the late stages of kidney failure.
Golden Retrievers require regular grooming and an occasional bath. They should be groomed at least once a week, and every day during heavy shedding. They should be bathed every two months. Their coats shed somewhat during the year, but are known to shed profusely twice a year. They also need to have their ears cleaned regularly or ear infections might occur. While shedding is unavoidable, frequent grooming (daily to weekly) lessens the amount of hair shed by the animal. Severe shedding resulting in bald patches can be indicative of stress or sickness in a Golden Retriever.