63 Golden Retriever Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know

Here’s a golden retriever fact you probably didn’t know…

The Guinness World Record for a dog holding the most tennis balls in its mouth is held by Augie, a golden retriever from Dallas, TX.

And not only did he hold them all in there, but he also gathered them all himself!

Pretty impressive, right?

Whether you’re looking for fun facts like this one, or just want to learn more about golden retrievers as a breed, you’re in the right place.

In this post, we have over 60 golden retriever facts that will knock your socks off, enlighten you, and even make you cry.

Plus, I’ll also share some myths about golden retrievers!

Since there are so many facts, they’re broken down into six sections:

Let’s dive in!

P.S. If you like this post, you’ll also like our Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers!

Golden Retriever History Facts

golden retriever facts

This section obviously includes the history of goldens, but also some facts about the breed today.

  • Golden retrievers are originally from Scotland (Tomich, Scotland, to be precise).
  • They are a mix of a Tweed water spaniel and a wavy-coated retriever (both extinct now). The first pair of these two dogs were named Nous (the retriever) and Belle (the spaniel).
  • The first litter of goldens was born in 1868.
  • Lord Tweedmouth was the “founder” of the golden retriever breed.
  • They were originally bred to hunt waterfowl, as Lord Tweedmouth was a hunter and wanted a dog that could retrieve game both on land and in the water.
  • Like all good stories, there is some controversy surrounding the origin of the golden retriever breed. Some say that there were golden retrievers around before Lord Tweedmouths’ first litter.
  • Golden retrievers are part of the sporting group. This includes breeds such as retrievers, spaniels, setters, and others.
  • Golden retrievers are one of six retriever breeds. This also includes Labrador retrievers, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, curly-coated retrievers, flat-coated retrievers, and the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling retrievers.
  • Golden retrievers are the 3rd most popular breed in America. This is according to the AKC’s most popular breeds list.
  • Although goldens were originally bred as hunting dogs, today they’re also therapy dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs.
  • Golden retrievers were recognized by the AKC in 1925. This is 57 years after the first goldens were bred.

Golden Retriever Physical Facts

This section includes a mix of facts about their physical stature, physical needs, and even some stats about their brains!

  • The breed standard height is 23-24 inches for males and 21.5-22.5 inches for females, according to the AKC.
  • The breed standard weight is 65-75 pounds for males and 55-65 pounds for females.
  • There is only one type of golden retriever. American, Canadian, English, English Cream, and European golden retrievers are all one breed: golden retriever.
  • The average lifespan is 10-12 years. Yes, goldens can live much longer lives, but this is the average.
  • There are no white golden retrievers. English Cream Golden Retrievers, which are typically light-colored, are in fact a pale gold color (click here to learn more about English Cream Golden Retrievers).
  • There are no black golden retrievers. It’s impossible for a golden retriever to be black because they have two recessive alleles for their golden coat color (click here to learn the truth about “black” golden retrievers).
  • Golden retrievers have webbed feet. This is one of the physical traits that make them good hunting dogs.
  • Golden retrievers have a double coat. It’s made of a thick, fluffy undercoat and a long, flowy outer coat. These two coats protect their skin and help regulate their body temperatures.
  • They release heat through their paws, mouth, and nose. They don’t sweat like people do, which is part of why it’s important to never shave your golden.
  • Some goldens have black spots on their tongue. These black spots are just pigmented skin cells.
  • Golden retrievers need 1-2 hours of exercise per day. Remember this saying: “A tired dog is a good dog.” If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise and is not tired, well…
  • Golden Retrievers are the 4th smartest dog breed. This is according to canine psychologist, Stanley Coren’s book, The Intelligence of Dogs. Goldens are behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.
  • Their faces turn gray as they age. This usually starts around 7-8 years old.
  • Golden retrievers have soft mouths. Since they were bred as hunting dogs, they naturally have soft mouths to carry fowl in. This means they’re typically mouthy, but don’t bite hard.
  • Most goldens “blow their coat” in the spring and fall. This is when they shed the most in preparation for warmer or cooler weather.

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Golden Retriever Puppy Facts

golden retriever puppy facts

This section covers facts about golden retriever puppies and some practical application of those facts.

  • The average golden retriever litter size is 8 puppies. It can vary from about 4-12 pups.
  • Golden retrievers grow to their full size at about one year old. They will still fill out and get a little heavier after this, and their coats will grow to their full length at about a year and a half.
  • They lose their puppy teeth around 4 months old. This is also when they start to bite a little bit less… yay!
  • Puppies can typically hold their bladders for one hour per month in age. That means that if they’re 2 months old, they can hold their bladder for about two hours.
  • Dogs like to pee where they smell pee. If you don’t clean up their accidents in the house with an enzymatic cleaner, the smell will linger (even if you can’t smell it, they can) and they’ll go there again. This is also why you take them to the same spot when you potty train them.
  • Golden retriever puppies cost between $500-$3,000. This price varies based on the breeder (are they a professional or are they your neighbor’s friend’s auntie?) and location.

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Golden Retriever Health Facts

This section is obviously about golden retrievers’ health, but if you have any questions, you should ask your veterinarian.

  • Neutering or spaying your golden too early may cause adverse health effects. Talk to your vet to see when the best time to spay or neuter them is.
  • 60% of golden retrievers are impacted by cancer. Thankfully, the Morris Animal Foundation is conducting the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study to help find an answer for this.
  • Golden retrievers’ floppy ears are cute, but they can lead to more ear infections. They easily trap heat and moisture in their ears, which can lead to ear infections.
  • Feeding your puppy too much can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. Feeding them too much can cause them to grow too fast, which can cause an increased risk of hip dysplasia.
  • Grain-free diets are correlated with heart problems. Researchers are still looking for a proven cause-and-effect, but it may have something to do with taurine deficiency (which they’re researching further).
  • Golden retrievers are prone to hot spots. These can be caused by not drying them off properly after swimming or a bath or too much protein in their diets.
  • 62% of golden retrievers are overweight. Goldens love playing, but apparently they love food more.

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Golden Retriever Fun Facts

fact: golden retrievers good with other animals

After all of these health facts, it’s time for some fun facts!

  • Air Bud and Comet are the same dog actor. Buddy played himself in Air Bud and Comet in Full House.
  • Betty White and Oprah have golden retrievers. This list could’ve just included these two facts and been complete and perfect.
  • Golden retrievers are the 3rd most popular dog on Instagram. At least, according to hashtag volume. Only Chihuahuas and French Bulldogs have them beat.
  • The oldest golden retriever is 20 years old. Her name is Augie and you can learn more about her here.
  • Golden retrievers wear their emotions on their sleeves. Between their eyebrows, sighs, grunts, and smiles, you can almost always tell what a golden is thinking.
  • Murphy the golden survived for nearly two years in the California wilderness by himself. He went missing during a camping trip and almost two years later someone noticed him and alerted his family.
  • Todd the golden saved his mom from a rattlesnake bite. They were on a walk in Arizona when the accident happened, but he survived and is a hero!
  • The LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs is a team of dogs that exist to bring love and peace. These dogs show up at tragic events such as Sandy Hook Shooting and Hurricane Sandy to provide emotional support.
  • Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford had golden retrievers.
  • A golden retriever owns the record for loudest bark. Charlie, a golden from Australia, owns the record for loudest bark. Thankfully goldens aren’t normally heavy barkers!
  • A golden also owns the record for most tennis balls in their mouth. Augie, a golden from Texas, gathered and held 5 tennis balls in his mouth.
  • A golden retriever was the AKC National Obedience Champion in 2018. His name was Streak. Go Streak!
  • Goldens were also the first three AKC National Obedience Champions. I wish my golden, Oliver, would read this!

Facts Every Potential Golden Retriever Parent Has To Know

This section is a bit of a miscellaneous section, but still important for current or prospective golden parents.

  • Golden retrievers shed a lot. Nearly all dogs shed and goldens are definitely no exception. Click here to read more about managing golden retriever shedding.
  • Golden retrievers cost about $1,506 – $2,464 per year. This includes estimated vet bills, food, toys and other costs.
  • Golden retrievers are great with kidsAlthough goldens are big, goofy and playful, they’re typically gentle with children.
  • Golden retrievers are “puppies for life”. Goldens can often be fun and playful their entire lives.
  • Golden retrievers are sweet and loving. Goldens have wonderful personalities (which is why they make great family dogs, as well as therapy and service dogs).
  • Goldens don’t make great guard dogs. If a stranger walks in the house, they’ll likely happily greet them with kisses.
  • Golden retrievers should be brushed 3-7x/week and bathed every 1-2 months. Brushing helps with matting and shedding, and since goldens have natural oils on their skin and fur that can be taken off with bathing, bathing them too often can be damaging to their skin and fur.
  • Golden retrievers are pretty easy to trainTheir brains and people-pleasing attitudes make them good students, but their mischievousness, playfulness, and love for everyone and everything can make it hard.
  • Golden retrievers served as search and rescue dogs after 9/11. They sniffed out survivors in the rubble following the event.
  • Most golden retrievers love swimming. They were originally bred to retrieve waterfowl and most still have their love of water.
  • Goldens typically get along great with other animals. This not only includes dogs, but can also include cats, tortoises, ponies, and even guinea pigs!

Related articles:

Golden Retriever Myths

After all these facts, it’s time for some golden retriever myths!

We’ve already covered some, but here they are:

  • Myth: There are three types of golden retrievers.
  • Truth: There is actually just one type of recognized golden retriever.
  • Myth: English Cream Golden Retrievers are different than other goldens.
  • Truth: This is just a fancy name for light-colored golden retrievers that tend to have blocky heads.
  • Myth: White golden retrievers exist. 
  • Truth: Light-colored goldens are actually pale golden, not pure white.
  • Myth: Black golden retrievers exist. 
  • Truth: Purebred black goldens don’t exist. If you see one it’s likely a flat-coated retriever or some sort of mix.
  • Myth: Black spots on their tongues are because they’re mixed with Chow Chows. 
  • Truth: The black marks are actually pigmented skin cells that occur naturally in golden retrievers.


fun golden retriever facts

Although I may be biased, golden retrievers are pretty amazing!

What was one thing you learned here?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if I forgot anything, let me know in the comments as well.

Know someone who has, or is thinking about getting a golden retriever? Please share this with them!

P.S. If you liked this post, you’ll also like our Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers!

Related articles:

13 thoughts on “63 Golden Retriever Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know”

  1. I am house sitting for 2dogs, one a St. Bernard but the other is a red retriever who is OBSESSED with balls. I worry bc he pants, drools , widened tongue, has ridges under his eyes but I can’t stop his obsession. Any thoughts??

  2. My golden just passed away from a tumor on his spine that ruptured 😢He was the most loving dog I ever had . Would love to have another but not sure now if I could handle a puppy mine was 8 yrs old and just starting to mellow out . I’m retired and really miss his companionship.


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