Golden Retriever History

A Short History

The retriever is a breed of English hunting dogs whose primary task was to retrieve. The retriever would bring back shot down game, typically waterfowl. As soon as the fowl (for instance pheasant and duck) had been shot, it was the retrievers task to find it and take it back to the hunter.

As a retrieving hunting dog they needed to comply with a number of conditions:  The dog needed to have a thick isolating pelt, love to swim and be smart and eager enough to learn various things.

Rifle Improvements

Because of a shift in agriculture as well as new hunting rifle improvements, the hunter became capable of shooting fowl from a greater distance, which caused their hunting style to change as well.  As a result, other things were required of their hunting dogs.

Because of the greater shooting distance, often the prey was not immediately killed and so the wounded animal could hide in the undergrowth. Hunting dogs that were utilized up to that time were the Pointer, Spaniels and Setters. However, because of the increased shooting range, it became too difficult for the current dogs to properly lead the hunters to their prey.

Hunting Breed

Back then, the English often produced a new breed of dog for every single hunting purpose. It had to be a fantastic swimmer and great retriever and consequently, to make it easier for the hunters to find their wounded prey, they carefully bred the dog which resulted in the retriever.


The Golden Retriever originated from Scotland from the estate of Lord Tweedmouth. Initially there was confusion regarding which breeds were crossed. In 1952, kennel documents that were kept by Tweedmouth of the years 1835 to 1890 dispelled the belief that part of their roots originated from a pack of visiting Russian circus dogs.

The initial combination was with a retriever called Nous and a tweed spaniel dog named Belle. In 1868 they threw a litter of four puppies which became the foundation of the golden retriever breeding program.

The golden retriever was initially exhibited in 1908 and was acknowledged as a breed in 1911.  The Golden Retriever club was founded in 1913 with the breeds name getting officially changed to golden retriever in 1920.

From these humble beginnings a dog breed emerged which gained a tremendous popularity amongst dog lovers in the following decades to come from Europe and America, to all around the world.

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