Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world... Thinking about it, you probably know at least one person in your life that's been the proud owner of a Golden Retriever. You may even be one yourself! Here at MaxCare, our story started with a Golden Retriever named Charlie and our love for him and his wellbeing. So, to celebrate what an awesome breed they are (not to downplay all the other fantastic breed there are) we have put together a list of five facts you may not know about Golden Retrievers!
1. Golden retrievers are featured in movies... A LOT!
From classics like Homeward Bound and Airbud to the new A Dog's Purpose Golden Retrievers are consistently being used in movies. This is due to their extremely trainable nature and consistent performance over time. This is also why they are such good guide dogs. Remember, that even though certain breeds are known to be easily trainable doesn't mean that every dog isn't different. All dogs pick things up differently and it's important to be patient, even if your retriever doesn't seem to be catching on right away.
2. There are actually three different types of Golden Retrievers
Along with coming in three different colours: light golden, dark golden and golden. Golden Retrievers also come in three types: Canadian, American and English. The differences between each type are extremely subtle and they all fall under the same breed. If you want to know which type of Golden Retriever you have, head to Totally Golden's Different Types of Retriever's article to find out the exact differences.
3. Despite originating in the 1850's they weren't classified as a breed until 1920
Golden Retrievers were first bred in 1850 by the Scotsman Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, the Lord of Tweedmouth. At the time, they were bred as hunting companions and by 1908 they were presented at the U.K's Crystal Palace. But they were known as as "flat coats - Golden" at the time and not what we call them today. It took until 1925 for the American Kennel Club to recognize the Golden Retriever as a breed.
4. Golden Retrievers are a cross of Retrievers and Water Spaniels
The first Golden Retriever was created by crossing a Water Spaniel (pictured above) and Retriever, then breeding their offspring with Bloodhounds, Irish Settlers & the St. Johns Water Dog. This was done in Scotland during the mid 19th century. They were bred to be working dogs and still consistently show this trait through working as guide dogs, detection dogs and in search and rescue missions.
5. Golden Retrievers are known to save lives
Orca (pictured above) was a Golden Retriever guide dog that was awarded the PDSA Gold Medal, which is the highest award a non-military dog can receive. This was due to Orca's acts to save his handler's life on a rainy day during a life threatening accident.
On 18 May 2003, after they had been partnered for two months and Orca was 17 months old and only just out of training, Cheryl's powered wheelchair struck an obstruction on a country footpath near Heslington, pitching her some 12 – 20 feet (3 – 5 metres) down an embankment into a drainage ditch. The lower part of the ditch was water-filled to between a foot and waist level, and Cheryl became trapped in the water with the full weight of the 300 pound wheelchair pinning her across her legs. By chance, it had landed in a manner that did not crush her, however it held her trapped in the water, with her head facing downwards and her legs pressed into the thick mud at the bottom.
Orca sought to descend to help her, but after 5 minutes was finally persuaded to leave and seek help. It began to rain very heavily, a risk given that Cheryl was in a drainage ditch. A long time later he returned to Cheryl, but he was still alone.
It later transpired that he had found a passer-by, but the person approached had not realized Orca was an assistance dog seeking help in an emergency, and had tried to lead the dog home by his collar, to report him as a stray. Assistance dogs are trained to follow humans, and Orca had evidently reached the exceptional understanding that this person was not going to follow him or provide help, and that this was accordingly an occasion to break the rule. Orca had had to pull out of his collar and avoid being led, to do this – an act which goes against all normal assistance dog training.
Having checked on Cheryl, Orca left her to search for help a second time.
By this time it was "pouring with rain" and the weather had deteriorated to the point of hail, placing her at risk of drowning or hypothermia (death from exposure and cold). It took Orca around two more hours, and much perseverance, to find help, and considerable initiative to persuade the man to follow him for the entire mile-long walk back to the ditch. The person he found was a passing jogger, one of Cheryl's neighbours, until then unknown to her. Cheryl was already suffering hypothermia and drifting in and out of consciousness, when they finally arrived.
Cheryl was rescued and treated in hospital for hypothermia. The rescue services considered that Orca's "remarkable skills and unstinting devotion" had without question saved her life. The ditch was remote, the weather very bad – both cold and raining – and the path not commonly walked.
Story sourced from the Orca (Dog) Wikipedia Page
If you ever have any questions or concerns about your Golden Retriever, feel free to get in touch with the MaxCare vets or behaviour experts at anytime and they can assist you!