Want to know about all of the different types of golden retrievers?
There are white goldens, red goldens, gold goldens, mini goldens, and Canadian, English, and American goldens… right?
Well, not exactly.
Talking about the different types of golden retrievers is both a simple and complex discussion.
Simple because there is just one recognized breed: the golden retriever.
But complex because there are different styles of goldens and lots of misinformation about them.
This post will sort the lies from the truth and break down everything you need to know about the different types of golden retrievers.
Let’s dive in!
Are There Different Types Of Golden Retrievers?
To start this conversation off, it’s important to note that the Golden Retriever Club of America makes it clear that there is just one breed of golden retriever.
Yes, there are different styles (like conformation vs. field goldens), but they’re all one breed.
This post is going to look at what some people think are different types of golden retrievers and get down to the truth about each type.
These types are:
- Field bred golden retrievers
- Show golden retrievers
- Red golden retrievers
- English Cream golden retrievers
- American golden retrievers
- Canadian golden retrievers
- Black golden retrievers
- Mini golden retrievers
But before we get into the different types and styles today, it will help to get a good understanding of where golden retrievers came from in the first place.
The History Of Golden Retrievers
As legend has it, Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland wanted to create a hunting dog that could retrieve shot down birds from both land and water.
His solution was to breed a wavy-coated retriever with a Tweed water spaniel, thus creating the first litter of golden retrievers in 1868.
Now although they’re common family dogs today, the fact that golden retrievers were originally bred for retrieving birds all day in the wilderness has left some lasting physical and personality traits that we see in them today.
- They have lots of energy because they were bred to hunt all day
- They are athletic because they were bred to swim in lakes and rivers and run through fields
- They have a tendency to be mouthy because they were bred to hold birds in their mouths
So what does this have to do with the different types of golden retrievers?
Knowing where golden retrievers came from can help us understand where we are today.
So now let’s dive into the supposed 8 “types” of golden retrievers and discover the truth about each one.
Field Bred Golden Retrievers
Field golden retrievers embody what golden retrievers were originally bred to do: hunt.
Field bred goldens are on the smaller end of the spectrum as far as how big goldens get, they’re athletic, and they’re typically more driven than other styles of goldens.
Their coats are usually shorter and range from gold to red, and they have tons of energy.
They excel at hunting and agility, and make great family pets, as long as they’re trained properly and have a job to do.
They also may be rather mouthy, considering they’re bred to retrieve things with their mouth.
To be clear, field goldens are golden retrievers, they’re just a particular style of golden.
The opposite of field bred golden retrievers are conformation, or show golden retrievers…
Show Golden Retrievers
Show golden retrievers are bred to conform to a certain look, and that look is what dog show judges think the golden retriever standard should be.
That has evolved over the years, and these days show golden retrievers are thick, stocky, big-boned, and have long and full coats, with blocky heads.
Many say that this style of golden retriever is more friendly and sociable, and has less energy than field goldens.
And like the field golden retrievers, this is a style of golden retriever.
Click here to learn more about field vs. show golden retrievers.
Red Golden Retrievers
Red is one of the common shades that golden retriever coats come in.
Most field goldens are red, or dark gold, so if you see a red golden retriever you can pretty much expect it to be similar to the field bred style:
- On the smaller side
- Shorter coat
Of course, this isn’t a rule, it’s just a trend.
Red golden retrievers may be big with blocky heads and long coats, too.
On the opposite end of the color spectrum are the cream golden retrievers…
English Cream Golden Retrievers
English Cream Golden Retrievers.
White Golden Retrievers.
Rare European Platinum Retrievers.
There are lots of names for these beautiful light-colored goldes.
There are also a lot of myths about them, such as people thinking they’re naturally healthier, have better temperaments, are rarer, or that they’re not even golden retrievers.
Here’s the truth: just because they’re white doesn’t mean that they are better than any other golden.
What really matters is a dog’s pedigree.
If a dog has healthy good-tempered parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., then they’re likely to be a healthy good-tempered dog, no matter what color they are.
The problem with most golden retrievers is that people wanted to make some money by selling golden retriever puppies, so they irresponsibly bred dogs that were unhealthy, had bad pedigrees, or were too closely related.
When getting a golden retriever puppy it’s important to choose a good breeder that does health and genetics testing for the dogs they breed.
Now although there are lots of myths about English Creams, there do seem to be some truths (or at least trends).
They’re stockier, have blocky heads, and thick coats.
They also tend to be on the expensive side, but that could be because high-quality breeders choose this style of golden, so they charge more, or because people think they’re rare, so they charge more.
Check out our article here to read more about English Cream Golden Retrievers.
American vs. Canadian vs. British Golden Retrievers
There seems to be a lot of misinformation when it comes to American vs. Canadian vs. British goldens.
Remember, according to the Golden Retriever Club of America, and also the Golden Retriever Club of Canada, there is just one breed of golden retriever.
So to say that these are different types of golden retrievers is a little misleading…
However, the breed standards are not so standard across the three nations.
|American Standard||Canadian Standard||British Standard|
|Height (males)||23″ – 24″||23″ – 24″||22″ – 24″|
|Height (females)||21.5″ – 22.5″||21.5″ – 22.5″||20″ – 22″|
|Weight (males)||65 – 75 lbs||65 – 75 lbs||Not specified|
|Weight (females)||55 – 65 lbs||60 – 70 lbs||Not specified|
|Coat colors||“Rich, lustrous golden of various shades…Predominant body color which is either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable”||“lustrous golden of various shades.”||“Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany.”|
Here are some interesting notes from the table above:
- The British standard accepts shorter goldens (which goes in line with English Cream goldens typically being stockier)
- The AKC specifically says “extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable.”
- The British Kennel Club accepts cream as a color (which also goes in line with English Cream goldens being cream-colored)
Although these nations vary in accepted colors and sizes, one thing remains true: golden retrievers are typically sweet, loving family dogs.
So far this list has included different styles or fancy names of the same breed of golden retrievers, but that’s about to change…
Mini Golden Retrievers
Mini golden retrievers aren’t small or dwarf golden retrievers, but are instead a crossbreed of a golden retriever, cocker spaniel and/or mini poodle.
Like English Cream golden retrievers, they probably got this name because it would help sell more puppies.
Would you rather buy a “Golden Cocker” or a “mini golden retriever”?
The goal of most mini golden retriever breeders is to create smaller, healthier goldens that shed less.
Hybrid vigor (the thought that mixed breeds are healthier) may help them on the healthier side, throwing in smaller breeds like mini poodles and cocker spaniels will help create a smaller dog, and them being part poodle may help them shed less, but there are still some reservations about these dogs.
- Mini golden retrievers can sell for double the price of purebred goldens, so it could attract breeders who are in it for the wrong reasons
- Crossbreed puppies are typically inconsistent in their looks (some may look more like one parent than the other), and the best way to have puppies with consistent looks is to breed two crossbreeds together, but that may reintroduce inbreeding to these dogs, which is why most golden retrievers are unhealthy in the first place
Be very picky about the breeder if you choose to get a mini golden retriever.
Click here to learn more about mini golden retrievers.
Black Golden Retriever
Black golden retrievers don’t actually exist.
They made this list because many people think it’s one of the colors of golden retrievers, or think that it’s a genetic mutation of golden retriever.
If you see a dog that looks like a black golden retriever, it’s probably a:
- Flat-coated retriever
- Black lab and golden retriever mix
- Black German shepherd and Golden retriever mix
- Other combination of Labrador, golden retriever, setter, or spaniel mix
Click here to learn more about why black golden retrievers and why it’s not possible for them to exist.
No matter what style of golden retriever one is, they’re all sweet dogs that can be great family pets provided they have proper training and exercise.
Have any questions about the different types of golden retrievers?
Have you had any of these goldens?
Let me know in the comments below!
And if you know someone who would love to read about the different types of goldens, please share this with them!
P.S. If you liked this article, you’ll love the Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers!