The Golden Retriever breed dates back 150 years to 1868, when what is considered to be the first litter was born. The breed then came to North America in the 1920's, quickly becoming popular because of their temperament and appearance. In honor of the breed's more than 150 years on Earth, here are 10 interesting and fun Golden Retriever facts:
1. The Golden Retriever is a crossbreed between a Water Spaniel and a Yellow Flat Coated Retriever. They were originally bred to be gun dogs that would retrieve waterfowl from both water and land during hunting (hence the "Retriever" part of their name).
2. Golden Retrievers were recognized as a breed by the English Kennel Club in 1911, but weren't recognized until 1925 by the American Kennel Club.
3. There are actually three different types of Golden Retrievers - British, American and Canadian - that vary in color and size:
British - more muscular and heavier weights, broader skull with round and dark eyes, thick coats that are generally lighter in color (gold or cream); Males stand 22-24 inches at the withers while females are 20-22 inches.
American - lankier and less muscular but taller, triangular or slanted eyes, darker coats with various shades of gold; Males stand 23-24 inches at the withers while females are 21.5-22.5 inches
Canadian - lankier and less muscular but taller, triangular or slanted eyes, thinner and darker coat; Males stand 23-24 inches at withers while females are 21.5-22.5 inches.
4. Golden Retrievers are thought to be the 4th smartest dog breed behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.
5. Golden Retrievers are the third most popular dog breed in America (after Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds) and have been since at least 2013.
6. Golden Retrievers have an incredible and powerful sense of smell - one of the best among all dog breeds. This is why they are often used for search and rescue teams.
7. Golden Retrievers make great therapy dogs because of their kind, well-mannered and friendly-to-all (including strangers) temperament as well as their intelligence, obedience and trainability. This also makes them a popular choice for movies and TV shows (like Air Bud, Homeward Bound, and more).
8. It's no surprise given their breeding history that Golden Retrievers are incredible swimmers. They have large webbing between their toes for paddling and a long tail for steering.
9. Golden Retrievers have two layers of fur: a soft inner layer or undercoat to keep warm and a wavy, waterproof outer layer or topcoat. Their water-repellent double coat sheds seasonally (usually in the spring and fall).
10. Speaking of their fur, Golden Retriever coats darken as they age. You can try to guess what color your Golden puppy will have later in life by looking at the tip of his or her ears.
*** Bonus Fun Fact #1 ***
Both U.S. Presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan had Golden Retrievers.
*** Bonus Fun Fact #2 ***
A Golden Retriever from Dallas named Augie holds the world record for most tennis balls held in the mouth at 5!