The Golden Retriever - All-Around Companion, Helper and Friend

By: granola
The Golden Retriever is a versatile dog, eager to be in the water to hunt or play but equally a home curled up for an afternoon nap with family. Whether it's playtime, hunting time or naptime, these dogs quickly ensconce themselves as a vital part of the activities.

The ancestry of the Golden Retriever is up for debate. It bears a resemblance to several breeds, including some Spaniels and Setters. The coloring, build and other characteristics of this dog indicate likely ties to a dog known as the "Yellow Flat Coat Retriever." A less noticeable tie could lead back to the Bloodhound - the reason this dog is often used for hunting, searching and tracking. There's little doubt that the Golden Retriever originated in the British Isles where it was first assigned tasks related to hunting and retrieving.

Whether it was on purpose or strictly as an accident of the desire to create an excellent hunting/retrieving dog, the Golden Retriever has an innate desire to please his people. This has made the Golden Retriever a vital part of many families and teams.

For example, some people have Golden Retrievers as helpers for the handicapped. These dogs can quickly learn to retrieve items for someone who is confined to a wheelchair. They can be taught to pull clothes from a dryer or pick up a dropped telephone, often with nothing more than a signal from their owner. The Golden Retriever is a seemingly tireless dog when it comes to paying attention to his people.

The Golden Retriever was bred to be a hunting dog, meaning that there's a natural stamina. They need plenty of exercise, but are so willing to play games that exercise is a fairly easy task - even if the owner of the Golden Retriever is confined to a wheelchair or facing some other challenge. Fetch is a favorite game, willingly played with anything - a ball, toy or even stick will do. Dry land or water for playing is equally acceptable to the Golden Retriever, as long as there's someone willing to play. This makes the Golden Retriever a good choice as a household pet, especially if there's an outdoor place to play games off leash.

The fact that Golden Retrievers are so happy to be with their people makes them an excellent running, swimming or playtime companion. They are a well-muscled dog and can usually keep a reasonable pace unless the weather is overly hot. One of the biggest problems is that the Golden Retriever will play with almost anyone, meaning you can't really leave these dogs to their own devices or they'll simply wander off in search of a new playmate. They are usually vocal when there's someone new in their territory, but there's little natural tendency toward biting or even threatening in any way other than the bark.

Today's Golden Retriever is among the most popular dogs for several purposes. Not only are they great family dogs and hunting dogs, but they are also often used for obedience, show, aids to the handicapped and as law enforcement canines.
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