Many people used to believe that Golden Retrievers were descendants of Russian Sheepdogs bought from a circus. That theory has since been proved false when it was discovered that the breed was actually developed in Scotland in the mid-19th century. According to the records that were found, the breed was developed near Glen Affric at the highland estate of Sir Dudley Majoribanks, later known as Lord Tweetmouth.
During this time, wildfowl hunting was quite a popular sport for the elite of Scotland. As guns improved during the 1800s, existing retriever breeds like the pointer and setter were found inadequate for retrieving downed game from both the water and land over greater distances. As a result, the best water spaniels were crossed with existing retrievers to create the ultimate duel purpose retriever.
One of the many crossings that were tried was a yellow-colored retriever named Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel (now extinct) female named Belle. Nous came from an unregistered litter of otherwise black wavy-coated retriever pups and was purchased in 1865 by Tweetmouth. Nous and Belle had a litter of four pups in 1868 which became the basis of the mix that will eventually lead to the breed we know as the Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever bloodline was crossed with an Irish Setter, sandy-colored Bloodhound, St. John’s water dog of Newfoundland, and two more black wavy-coated retrievers. The bloodline was also inbred and selected for the abilities needed in this new, specialized gun dog role. The idea was to create the ultimate hunting dog that is loyal and even-tempered at home.
Tweetmouth wanted his new breed to be stronger than any other retrievers as well as trainable. For this reason, the Golden Retriever only has sporting dogs in line with Tweetmouth’s goals in its ancestry. The Golden Retriever turned out to be powerful and very active with a “soft” mouth, excellent at retrieving game without damaging them.
As you would expect, Tweetmouth’s new breed first attracted attention in the hunting field. One of the most well-known descendants of Tweetmouth’s dogs was a liver-coated dog called Don of Gerwyn. Don of Gerwyn won the International Gundog League trial in 1904.
Flat Coats – Golden was the first name Golden Retrievers were registered as in 1903, by The Kennel Club of the United Kingdom. In 1908 They were exhibited and finally recognized as a breed in 1911. This newly registered breed was referred to as Retriever (Golden and Yellow) and renamed in 1920 to become the Golden Retriever as we know it today.
It took America another 14 years to recognize this breed and it was finally accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1925. A few years later in 1938, the Golden Retriever Club of America was founded. As of the year 1998 through to 2005 the Golden Retriever was the second most registered dog in the American Kennel Club, only outranked by the Labrador Retriever.
In 1881, a Golden Retriever named Lady was brought into Canada by Archie Majoribanks. In 1894 she was registered with the AKC by Archie himself. These were the first known records of the breed in Canada and America. The breed was officially registered in Canada in 1927 with the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario (GRCO) coming into existence in 1958.
Cliff Drysdale, an Englishman who imported a Golden to Canada, and Jutta Baker, daughter-in-law of Louis Baker, who owned Northland Kennels at the time were the cofounders of the GRCO. As the GRCO expanded, it was renamed the Golden Retriever Club Of Canada.
In July 2006, there was a gathering of Golden Retrievers and their owners organized by the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland in the ancestral home of Goldies, house Guisachan, in Scotland. This gathering holds the record for the most Golden Retrievers in one picture after a photographer, Lynn Kipps, took a picture to commemorate the occasion. 188 Golden Retrievers were captured in this image.