Golden Retrievers: Everything you should know about your Golden Goodboy (or Goodgirl)
Those luscious, golden-brown, soft, flowy fur of a golden retriever is what we all dream of, running our fingers through, since we set our eyes on those fluffy puppies. The dream of cuddling their warm bodies, on a cold winter morning is what we all live for! Golden Retrievers are known to every human as the most ideal pet dog, besides a Labrador and a Pug. Now if you’ve thought or rather decided to get a ‘Golden’ child home, then here is your expert guide to bringing them up, effortlessly!
They are easily domesticated, friendly with kids and the elderly in the house. The retrievers, as their names suggest ‘retrieve’, in the by gone era, game and now the toys! They were bred to herd cattle to the fields and back; and were also trained to ward off the wolves. This breed came into existence around the 19th century, in the Scotland, where wildfowl hunting was a sport for the royalty. They possess massive energy and vigor, hence they need ample physical and mental exercise, to keep them active and healthy. They’re susceptible to a number of diseases, and hence need special attention on diet and exercise, especially during the puppy stages.
The origin of this regal breed can be traced back to 19th century Scotland. The need for retrievers arrived when there was a cultural trend to go wildfowl-hunting for recreational purposes. The retrievers of yesteryears were expected to fetch the game once their masters shot it. These retrievers faced difficulty when they had to run long distances or had to traverse through water. Thus came the thought to make a breed that would have these qualities. The best water spaniels were cross-bred with the most agile retrievers, and after initial failures, they came up with the Golden Retriever.
The hunting scenario changed when guns were invented. The shooting range became wider and farther, thus compelling the hunters to train their retrievers to be agile, playful, obedient and very vigorous.
The retrievers traveled far and wide, from Scotland to The Great Britain (and her colonies) and America. In 1903, these darlings were registered under the Kennel Club of England as “Flat Coated –Golden”
Medical Facts & Common Problems
The average age of a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. Their genetic build makes them susceptible to numerous diseases. Hence, regular vet visits are a must. The list of their ailments are as follows:
Obesity: Goldens LOVES to eat, hence obesity is a regular occurrence. The shift to an urban lifestyle, where the owner and the dog are relatively lazy, adds to their obesity.
Cardiac Disorder: Cardiac disorders occur with obesity due to fat blocking their arteries.
Subaortic Stenosis: The narrowing of the aorta that carries blood away from the heart. This can be detected when your child is a puppy, through heart murmurs, but sadly not often is it recognizable.
Hip Dysplasia: A commonality amongst this breed, where the hip suffers major contractions or seizures. Furthermore, this condition can cause a severe case of osteoarthritis. Growing up, many retrievers suffer from elbow deformities, which cannot be always detected accurately.
Cancer: Vets have labelled retrievers as ‘Cancer Retrievers’ because the breed is prone to cancer, sadly.
Eye problems occur, as well as cataracts, as they age. Since they shed a lot of hair, they’re vulnerable to skin diseases, such as flea allergies.
Needs: Environmental, nutritional and lifestyle
Golden retrievers are a naughty, rambunctious, hyper-active lot. They need a ton of exercise and physical activities. Leaving them alone, spells mood swings, destroying your favorite purse as revenge, you name it. They need a human presence at all times, hence the best environment for them is a family.
Their natural habitat was that of open lands, forests; which has now shifted to the urban bustle, hence these dogs need to be taken for long walks, jog, runs and swims – anything that makes them relieve all that energy is a great idea! However, in the first two years of their life, physical activity should be moderated, because their bones and joints are fragile owing to their genetic make-up and can be damaged. Hard wood, tiled or marbled floors should be avoided. Grassy, muddy fields are your baby’s best friend. The soft ground is gentle on their bones.
In conclusion, as a compassionate and empathetic hooman, we should understand that this breed needs ample space, time, love and attention from us. An ideal place to raise such a child would be a home with a garden. They aren’t well suited for someone who isn’t outdoorsy or is lazy!
How to take care of these needs
Golden retrievers could sometimes prove to be a handful, but worry not, we have a few tips for you:
- Exercise: ONE HOUR EVERYDAY! That’s how much they need to walk, at least. Once you have received a clean chit from the vet when they’re 2 years old, only then should you proceed with the rigorous jogging, running, cycling, and swimming. The golden rule always stands true “A tired retriever is a happy retriever”
- Nutrition: Nutrition is as important as exercise. The history of genetic disorders makes it more important to focus on it. Animal based protein in the baby’s formative years are a must. Calcium is important for stronger bones, but overdoing it leads to stones in the kidney and other problems. Fat intake has to be monitored. In totality, a complete and balanced diet is a must.
- Grooming: They shed a lot, twice a year, but of course a little everyday as well. Daily brushing the coat helps them shed less and cleans the dead undercoat. If taken for swimming, immediate washing of the salt, chlorine or lake muck is a must, or else it will lead to skin problems.
Albeit not made for the urban set up, we cannot resist their uber cuteness. You can ensure their longevity by having a grass carpeted area in your house, if you don’t possess a garden. Ensure that proper and ample exercise is given. Stay clear of processed packaged foods, and feed a real, species-appropriate diet to avoid diseases. Above all, love them like there is no tomorrow, and get loved unconditionally as well!
Got a Golden Goodboy (or Goodgirl)? Tell us all about it!
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