The AKC Standard states that the Golden Retriever is, “A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality that is eager, alert and self-confident.” They are sturdy, well-proportioned dogs with a medium length, feathered coat that may come in any shade of gold. They have broad heads with wide, but tapering muzzles. They sport black noses, brown eyes and pendant ears.
Size and Weight
Males should stand from 23 to 24 inches at the withers and weigh between 65 and 75 pounds. Females should stand 21.5 to 22.5 inches and weigh between 55 and 65 pounds. In the show ring, dogs that are more than one inch taller or shorter than the standard are disqualified, but there is no height that disqualifies a companion dog.
Coat and Color
Golden Retrievers sport a thick, water-repellent double coat. Some have straight hair, while other coats are wavy. There is feathering on the back of the front legs, underbody, chest, back of thighs and the tail. They come in many shades of gold, ranging from light to dark. Some breeders produce white Goldens, but the coloring is not recognized by breed standards. As the dog ages, the coat may become lighter or darker, and the face and body may whiten.
The long, distinctive coat of the Golden Retriever requires a lot of elbow grease to maintain. Daily brushing is required to prevent tangles and to help reduce the amount of hair that lands on the floor or furniture. Goldens shed year round, and shed heavily in the spring and fall. Monthly bathing is a must, as Goldens are prone to emit a “doggie odor,” and many owners find they need to bathe the dog more frequently.
Check the dogs ears on a weekly basis for signs of irritation, infection or wax buildup. Cleanse with a cotton ball and a veterinarian-approved solution. Monthly nail trimmings are required of dogs who do not wear down their nails naturally. Brush teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup, keep gums healthy and keep bad breath at bay.