The field-bred Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world and a phenomenal hunting dog.
It is unlikely that anyone reading this does not yet know the golden retriever well. Her face can often be seen in dog parks hanging out of car windows, accompanying children on a walk in the neighborhood, doing avalanche service on the ski slope or in the halls of hospitals in a therapy vest.
To say that the golden retriever might be the happiest breed of dog could even be an understatement. Her sunny mood and puppy-like demeanor make her completely irresistible. And they’re the third most popular dog in the U.S. because they’re happy.
The good news is that a field-bred golden retriever is also one of the best, most versatile hunting dogs you can take with you in the field.
Meet the Golden Retriever
Photo credit: Cindy Lindow, Shutterstock
Like many exceptional working dogs, Golden Retrievers were from Scotland. And they have a more than interesting origin story.
A man named Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks single-handedly started the breed in the late 1860s. He bought a brown, wavy dog named Nous and then bred it into Tweed Water Spaniels (now extinct) and Irish Water Spaniels, with the first true Golden Retriever litter born in 1868.
Today, the typical Golden Retriever averages 21 to 25 inches and typically weighs 55 to 75 pounds, with the males on the top of both. They have a life expectancy of 10-12 years and their attitudes towards work and leisure remain exuberant throughout their lives. Of course, daily exercise and high-quality dog food ensure that your gold stays healthy in the long run.
Golden Retrievers take on tasks ranging from hunting to search and rescue to guide dogs and avalanche work and much more. But with the popularity of the breed, there was a split between field and show retrievers. Read on for more.
Field-Bred vs. Show-Bred Golden Retriever
A field gold has a shorter, denser skin than a show gold; Photo credit: Jed Packer, Shutterstock
As with Labrador Retrievers, the popularity of Golden Retrievers brought a dark side to its breeding history. For decades, many lines of golden retrievers have been thinned out and poor breeding practices have created new health problems.
According to the American Kennel ClubGolden are at risk for elbow and hip dysplasia, juvenile cataract, pigment uveitis, progressive retinal atrophy, and heart disease, including subvalvular aortic stenosis. And this is not an exhaustive list.
These days, veterinarians and responsible breeders have worked together to test and mate genetically perfect animals that are less prone to health problems through genetic testing and physical certifications. However, it is important to describe the intent of each line and understand the differences in the types of golds. Especially if you want to hunt your gold.
Field-bred Golden Retrievers take on a more compact, sporty shape, and a key characteristic is their shorter, denser coat. The Show-Bred lines usually have luxurious and often very beautiful flat coats, but these longer coats do not serve as a golden fountain in wet or cold working conditions.
The needs are just different. Be sure to interview some reputable breeders and learn about the lines, genetics, and intentions of their kennels before purchasing a field-bred Golden Retriever.
Did their parents hunt? And what genetic tests and health certifications are offered? These are two required questions when planning to add a field gold to your family.
Expect a premium for a dedicated breed puppy. Prices range from $ 800 on the low end to more than $ 2,000. Think of this as both an investment in a better future for the breed and a healthy future for you and your beloved family member.
Hunting the Golden Retriever
Image Credit: Linn Currie, Shutterstock
Hunting a golden is typical of hunting most of your larger retrievers. They are water-loving swimmers who shine in the duck-blind, but they can also work a highland field without any problems.
They can be retrieved naturally, but must be sculpted to perfect the retrieval of their bird. They are a versatile hunting companion who will simply be thrilled to come with you wherever you land.
Although Goldens have a sunny temperament, they’re a bit more sensitive than your typical goofy Labrador Retriever. But they are generally easy to train because they like to be satisfied. And her high level of energy keeps her busy in any work area.
The gold raised by the hunt tends to be more intense than other lines within the breed. However, this serves a purpose in the field.
Goldens remain fabulous house dogs, family dogs, and best friends once your day in the field is over. You are a dog you really can’t go wrong with. They are very popular for many reasons. And golds love you back in spades. A true gem of a breed, this one.
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