Golden Retriever History

Where did the Golden Retriever come from and what was this breed originally bred for? Here are some useful answers on the history of this breed.

Developed in the 1800s

The Golden Retriever breed was developed in the 1800s, in Britain. The first person to develop a Golden Retriever was Lord Tweedmouth on his estate in Inverness, Scotland. Lord Tweedmouth wanted to create a dog breed that was loyal and kind, yet spirited with plenty of energy. He needed it to be an excellent swimmer and retriever. In order to produce such a dog, he bred the Tweed Water Spaniel with other water spaniels such as the Newfoundland and the Irish Setter. The result was the lovely Golden Retriever, with it’s wonderful water repellent coat and outgoing, gentle disposition.

Early Golden Retrievers

The first Golden Retrievers were shown as “flat coated Retriever” of the Golden type. Their coats ranged from medium to dark gold and copper. Over time the colour of the coat became lighter which was more popular than the darker coats.

Golden Retrievers overseas

Around 1890, the first Golden Retrievers began to be kept in America. It’s thought that they were brought back to the US by people who were visiting Britain. They were first used as hunting dogs and later became family pets and show dogs. It wasn’t until the 1920s that they began to be shown in the ring.

Fairytale beginnings

In the early days of the Golden Retrievers, there was a popular story doing the rounds about the breed’s origins. It was said that Lord Tweedmouth spotted one of these so-called Russian sheepdog dogs in a Brighton circus and fell in love with it instantly. Offering to buy the dog, he was refused because the owner didn’t want to break up the troupe. So, he bought the entire group of dogs and brought them back to his estate in order to use them for breeding the Golden Retriever.

This popular story was told until around 1952, when Lord Tweedmouth’s breeding records were finally released, showing absolutely no mention of Russian circus dogs!

The first pups

According to Lord Tweedmouth’s records, the Golden Retriever came from sporting blood. The first pups were produced by crossing a Retriever with a Water Spaniel, and they were called Crocus, Primrose, Cowslip and Ada. These puppies were then bred with red setters and bloodhounds to produce today’s Golden Retriever type.

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