All About Goldens

BREED STANDARDS & CHARACTERISTICS

Picture taken from 'The Ultimate Golden Retiever by  Valerie Foss

Whether traveling in the cities, meandering through the country-side or enjoying the many popular media options in the United States, including films, television, magazines, books, greeting cards & newspapers – Golden Retrievers are featured & readily visible on an almost daily basis. It is becoming obvious to “Golden-Lovers,” as well as, casual observers, that it is quite common to find a broad spectrum of colors & stature in today’s Golden Retrieves. A bit of “history” will outline some of the reasons for this.

    The Golden Retriever originated in Britain, but has been established much longer in North America than in other countries outside Britain. Since most countries of theworld have brought their foundation stock mostly in the UK, and mostly within the past 50 years or so, their populations tend more strongly to the "British" type of dog. In North America, the breed was founded upon the darker Goldens popular in England in the 1930’s, and through the 1960’s most "American" Goldens were out of the deeper shades. There are, as a result, 2 “Standards” for the Golden Retriever.
    Picture taken from 'The Ultimate Golden Retiever by  Valerie Foss

    The "British" Standard for the Golden Retriever has been accepted and is followed by countries governed by the Federation Cynologique International (FCI), and so, at least in Europe, they are all guided by one Standard. "America" originally had the same Standard as Europe, but over the years it has changed. The "American" Golden Retriever has gone through several trends & types of style beginning in the 1950’s with resemblances toward the Irish Setter, followed by similarities to the build of a Newfoundland in the 1970’s. In the 1990’s the preferred ‘look’ was toward a more glamorous or ‘pretty’ dog. The American Standard is significantly defined with greater attention to details of characteristics that are ‘spelled out’ – resulting in a narrow range of acceptance. The "British" Standard, on the other hand, allows for a broader latitude with characteristics. Both "American" & "British" Standards stress the temperament, balance & overall fitness of the dog to be the qualities of prime importance within the Golden Retriever breed. Both Standards state that the Golden should be friendly, reliable and trustworthy. Leg height, head structure, body stature & color variations are the lines that primarily ‘divide’ the British from the American Standards.
    Picture taken from 'The Ultimate Golden Retiever by  Valerie Foss

    In a simple summary of Standard differences – the "American" Golden can be a bit taller & larger in sizing & stature, while the coloring is highly restricted to encompass only various shades & colors of “Gold.” - (light; golden; & darker). For the "American Standard" – extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable!! Color has always been the most controversial issue, which has caused many heated arguments in the past & will, no doubt, in the future. The "British" Golden is a bit shorter in leg height, with a recognizably larger well-defined broad head. It is paramount that the body should be solid & balanced with strong muscle. The "British" Standard allows for any shade of gold or pale, cream.

    The most important thing to bear in mind when judging a dog is the fundamentalreason why the Golden Retriever, as a breed, was developed. The Golden Retriever was evolved to do a specific job of work as a gundog. A judges’ task is to evaluate the dogs on the day – he or she is not assessing pedigrees or friends, or weighing up past or future glories.
    [Information synopsized from: The Ultimate Golden Retriever – Edited by Valerie Foss]

It is this advice that I try to keep in mind, & encourage my clients to also do, when evaluating the features & quality of a particular puppy or dog. “A good dog is a good dog!!” – Plain & Simple! Many American breeders in recent years are taking a more serious look at the qualities & characteristics seen in individual Golden Retriever dogs. “Standards” are very important to preserve continuity & specific traits known to distinguish & represent the Golden Retriever as a special breed. However, breeders, like myself, who have exclusively worked with & raised Goldens for over 35 years in this country, are looking to selectively breed specific dogs with highly desirable qualities to emphasize & enhance temperament & traits of high quality. In doing so, we value & recognize both the British & American Standards. As a result, we are seeing offspring that have a real “blend” of characteristics that accentuate features acceptable in both Standards.- but all in a single dog!
Picture taken from 'The Ultimate Golden Retiever by  Valerie Foss

At my kennel, EMANUEL HOMESTEAD GOLDENS, I emphasize each of my dog’s over-all appearance, balance, gait and purpose as the criteria for assessment. Therefore, I strive to have each of my dogs of a size that has good substance & good bone, is rugged, firmly muscled, and possess courage, endurance & persistence under all sorts of conditions. My males are in good condition, often weighing close to 80 to 85 pounds, with my females between 60 to 65 pounds. In conformation, the bodies of my mature Goldens have more length than height to provide for free action, stamina & endurance, along with a gait that is enhanced by suppleness and smooth rhythmic movement. I have dogs of both light/cream and dark coloring, since I am more interested in sound, alert dogs of quality than in a particular color. I am selectively breeding to produce Goldens in this country that compliment & enhance the “BEST” of what is admired & appreciated so much about the Golden Retriever – The Most Popular Breed In America Today!!

I am not alone among a good deal of today’s breeders in taking a less “rigid” view of “Standard” issues when it comes to breeding & raising Golden Retrievers. I do, however, agree completely that the principle characteristics in each Golden is his or her temperament, followed by the overall fitness & balance of the dog. I trust, that whether you are new to Goldens, or are an ‘old’ veteran, like myself, a true Golden Retriever enthusiast!!! – that when learning about or evaluating Goldens & also their breeders, you will keep all information in perspective & sort out what is really important in a dog that you are considering for yourself & your family.

Each child born today has a special purpose & value as he or she grows to develop & enhance the unique gifts & talents that come from within. I have found in raising my own Goldens & the many puppies through the years, that this holds true for dogs too, although, admittedly, not anywhere near to the same scale as with a child. To me, though, each dog & each new puppy born is a miracle in itself, too. He or she offers unconditional love to all – drawing our attention to & appreciation of his or her unique & special personality, features & capabilities. Just ask anyone who currently owns a Golden Retriever – or had one in the past – what a fascinating privilege it is. I encourage you, with confidence, to take a good look at the wonderful dogs available through my kennel here at EMANUEL HOMESTEAD GOLDENS & see if, in fact, we don’t have some of the most beautiful Goldens you have ever seen, especially & most importantly, in both their temperament, as well as, their appearance.


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