Golden Retrievers are known for their extremely gentle “mouthing” behavior. Bred to retrieve the carcasses of game birds for hunters, it became characteristic of the breed to softly cup items in their mouths rather than biting down.
Recently, dog parents have been putting this trait to the test with a potentially harmful trend called the “Golden Retriever Egg Challenge”.
The “challenge” involves placing a raw egg into the mouth of a Golden Retriever to see if the fragile object will remain intact or be cracked open by the dog’s jaws.
Less than a week after the video that inspired the trend appeared on Twitter, thousands of pet owners have uploaded videos of their own pups – with mixed results. Some dogs “pass” the test; some crunch through the shell resulting in a gelatinous mess; and others run off with the egg, refusing to give it up.
The whole golden retriever holding an egg thing…MINE ATE IT pic.twitter.com/TFDrb74esp
— Erica Chanaud (@erica_chanaud) February 5, 2018
Dr Paula Parker, president of the Australian Veterinary Association, spoke to BuzzFeed and offered this warning to pet owners:
“Placing a raw egg (in the shell) in a dog’s mouth is a health risk. It is choking hazard as the egg may become lodged in the dog’s throat,” she said.
“However, there is also a risk of the dog contracting an infection from bacteria that is present on the outside of the egg shell, for example, salmonella.”
“Salmonella can be present both inside and outside the shell, so even if the egg does not break, if the bacteria is present on the outside of the shell it could lead to health concerns including diarrhea and vomiting.”
Tried out the Golden Retriever egg challenge with Missy tonight. She was successful and remains a very good girl pic.twitter.com/inRC37V6SN
— Brendan Mulligan (@mullaby) February 6, 2018
17-year-old Haley Bowers inadvertently inspired the trend when she tweeted a video of her aunt’s dog, Sookie gently cradling an intact egg in her mouth with the caption:
“My aunt read online that a Golden Retriever’s mouth is so gentle they can hold an egg in their mouth without cracking it so she tried it on her dog and well…”
my aunt read online that a golden retriever’s mouth is so gentle they can hold an egg in their mouth without cracking it so she tried it on her dog and well pic.twitter.com/6SDyUI3v4j
— elizabeth gillies fan account (@Iaurdreyfuss) February 4, 2018
To Bowers’ amazement, just days after she sent the tweet, Sookie’s simple trick was suddenly viral and the “Golden Retriever Egg Challenge” was born.
— Tia Stafford (@TiaBoBea) February 8, 2018
Not all of the copy-cat posts feature Golden Retrievers – or even dogs!
I tried putting an egg in my dogs mouth to see if he would crush it but he just won’t do it idk why pic.twitter.com/ACCg67YcWD
— hi welcome to chilis (@Nefarious_999) February 6, 2018
While the videos are clearly in good fun, the trend is unsettling considering the information from Dr. Parker about choking and Salmonella.
Sookie avoided any ill effects from her egg-holding session and inspired an internet sensation. Thanks to her newfound fame, Bowers’ aunt created a Facebook page showing off Sookie’s adorable skills – she’s a pro at balancing items on her muzzle. What a good girl!
H/T to BuzzFeed
Featured Images via Twitter/Haley Bowers