Golden Retrievers, renowned for their friendly demeanor, intelligence, and striking golden coats, are among the most popular breeds worldwide. Yet, beneath the familiar exterior lies a range of fascinating and less-known facets of this breed. Here are seven surprising facts about Golden Retrievers that might astonish even the most devoted fans.
Golden Retrievers are the Product of Selective Breeding
Golden Retrievers were selectively bred in the mid-19th century by a Scotsman named Dudley Marjoribanks, also known as Lord Tweedmouth. His aim was to create a superior retriever suited to the Scottish climate and terrain. The initial cross was between a Yellow Retriever and a now-extinct breed known as the Tweed Water Spaniel, with later infusions of Irish Setter and Bloodhound.
They Hold a Guinness World Record
Golden Retrievers hold a whimsical Guinness World Record. In July 2018, the record for the most Golden Retrievers in one place was set in Scotland, where 361 Golden Retrievers gathered at the ancestral home of Lord Tweedmouth to celebrate the breed’s 150th anniversary.
Their Mouths are Unusually Gentle
One of the most remarkable traits of a Golden Retriever is their “soft mouth,” meaning they can carry things in their mouths without damaging them. This trait, originally bred into them for retrieving game unharmed, is so pronounced that a Golden Retriever can carry an egg in its mouth without cracking it.
The Coat Color Can Vary
While all Goldens have the characteristic golden coat, the shade can vary widely. Some Goldens have light, almost white coats, while others can have a rich, dark golden color. This range in coat color is all part of the breed standard and is part of what makes each Golden unique.
They Have Webbed Feet
Like many other water-loving breeds, Golden Retrievers have webbed feet. The skin between their toes provides extra stability when swimming and was particularly useful for their historical role of water retrieving. It’s one of the many features that make them such strong swimmers.
Goldens are the Fourth Smartest Dog Breed
In the canine kingdom, Golden Retrievers rank as the fourth smartest breed, according to psychologist Stanley Coren’s “The Intelligence of Dogs”. They are outmatched only by Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds. Their intelligence combined with their eagerness to please makes them highly trainable and excellent service dogs.
They’re a Popular Breed in the White House
Golden Retrievers have been popular pets for U.S. Presidents. Gerald Ford had a Golden named Liberty, who even had a litter of puppies in the White House. More recently, Joe Biden adopted a rescue Golden Retriever named Major, marking the breed’s return to the presidential abode.
Uncovering these intriguing facts about Golden Retrievers gives us a greater appreciation for this beloved breed. From their gentle mouths and webbed feet to their distinguished history and intelligence, these lesser-known aspects highlight the depth of their charm. The Golden Retriever’s combination of good-natured temperament, versatility, and striking beauty makes it no surprise they’ve stolen hearts in homes and even in the White House.