Kennel Club Standard for the Golden Retriever
A Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed. From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Kennel Club website for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure.
The Golden Retriever is part of the Gundog Breed section – which means dogs that were originally trained to find live game and/or retrieve game that has been shot and wounded. The Golden makes a good companion, and their temperament makes them the ideal all-round family dog.
Symmetrical, balanced, active, powerful, level mover; sound with kindly expression.
Biddable, intelligent and possessing natural working ability.
Kindly, friendly and confident.
Head and skull
Balanced and well chiselled, skull broad without coarseness; well set on neck, muzzle powerful, wide and deep. Length of foreface approximately equals length from well-defined stop to occiput. Nose preferably black.
Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.
Moderate size, set on approximate level with eyes.
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Good length, clean and muscular.
Forelegs straight with good bone, shoulders well laid back, long in blade with upper arm of equal length placing legs well under body. Elbows close fitting.
Balanced, short coupled, deep through heart. Ribs deep, well sprung. Level topline.
Loin and legs strong and muscular, good second thighs, well-bent stifles. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from rear, neither turning in nor out. Cow hocks highly undesirable.
Round and cat like.
Set on and carried level with back, reaching to hocks, without curl at tip.
Powerful with good drive. Straight and true in front and rear. Stride long and free with no sign of hackney action in front.
Flat or wavy with good feathering, dense water-resisting undercoat.
Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.
Height at withers: dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins); bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.