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The Golden Retriever is a popular breed of dog, originally developed to retrieve downed fowl during hunting. It is one of the most common family dogs as it is easy to handle, very tolerant, and normally very happy and friendly. It is a low-maintenance dog and thrives on attention, regular exercise, a balanced diet, and regular veterinary check-ups. Golden Retrievers are usually compatible with all people and other dogs. They typically bark when startled, but generally their friendly nature makes them poor watchdogs. Golden Retrievers are particularly valued for their high level of sociability towards people and willingness to learn. Because of this, they are commonly used as Guide dogs and Search and Rescue dogs.
The Golden is athletic, well balanced, and symmetrical. Its appearance reflects its merry and outgoing temperament, and is usually never sulky or aggressive. This large breed is similar in appearance to the yellow Labrador Retriever, especially when young. The most obvious difference is the Golden Retriever's luxurious coat, which varies in shades of goldish yellow. Today's Golden Retrievers fall into two groups: English (light gold) and American (darker). These two types are merely variations of the Golden Retriever breed as a whole, and differ only in aesthetics.
Typically, Goldens are fairly unruly as puppies. However, once they reach maturity, Goldens remain active and fun-loving while developing an exceptionally patient demeanor, as befits a dog bred to sit quietly for hours in a hunting blind. Other characteristics related to their hunting heritage are a size suited for scrambling in and out of boats and an inordinate love for cool water. Some poorly bred and inadequately socialized Goldens may have aggressive tendencies, but they are rare. In The Book of Lists, the Golden Retriever is at the top of a list of nine breeds of dogs that are least likely to bite.
They are noted for their affection for people, and their tolerance of children. They are lovable, well-mannered, intelligent dogs. They are usually easily trained and gentle with children. Because of their gentle temperament they are great therapy dogs to use in hospitals or retirement homes. Most Golden's require lots of companionship to be happy. Due to their intelligence, they do well in obedience trials and make excellent assistance dogs. While they might not do quite as well in field trials as Labrador Retrievers, they are excellent hunters known for outstanding scenting ability. As the name suggests, the Golden Retriever loves to retrieve. Retrieving a thrown stick, tennis ball, or flying disc can keep a Golden occupied and entertained for hours, particularly if there is also water involved. However, many Golden Retrievers will not express their desire to "fetch" until adulthood. Train your pup using Cesar Millan's Dog Whisperer tips!
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