Mulling over whether or not to add another dog to your family? If so, you aren’t alone; more Americans than ever are choosing to adopt dogs. People adopt for a wide range of reasons. Some people choose a pup so that their children can have the experience of being responsible for another life (with mum or dad’s help, of course), while others adopt just because they love animals. Still others seek out working dogs that can help them live a fuller life.
Whatever your reason for adopting a Golden in the past or in the future, we believe that the Golden Retriever is one of the smartest, loyal dogs you could possibly pick. This breed may be common, but they’re far from being boring or blasé. They’re one of the most capable and reliable dog breeds available in the world today.
Curiosity piqued? Retrieve these five weird and wonderful facts to reveal just how amazing your furry friend’s story really is.
They’re Over 200 Years Old
The Golden Retriever, as a breed, dates back as far as the early 1800s. It’s not hard to see why they’ve remained such a staple breed; in fact, it was common to find Goldens living with pioneers all across the Oregon trail. Writers like Laura Ingalls Wilder and other classic non-fiction history scribes make mention of them many times, both as farm dogs and as loyal companions in villages and cities across the prairies.
What makes the breed particularly interesting is not its age, but how the breed itself originally came to be. Details about their early creation are sketchy, but the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) and most official sources believe that they originated in the Guisachan Estate of Lord Tweedmouth at Inverness-Shire, located in Scotland.
The Golden breed actually contains DNA from Bloodhounds, Water Spaniels, St. John’s Water Dogs, Irish Setters, and other Retrievers. You can see subtle hints to this lineage in your dog’s face and behavior; they have the joyful, loyal personality familiar to the setter with the motivation and energy of a Bloodhound when trained properly.
They Make Spectacular Buddies for Other Animals
A well-trained Golden Retriever isn’t just best buds with humans; he’s a great pal for other animals, too. In fact, several zoos, farms, and sanctuaries across the country and the world have successfully paired Goldens with animals like cheetahs, horses, elephants, goats, and even wolf hybrid pups. The Golden’s magnanimous nature makes it an especially suitable choice, but only if the dog is well-trained from birth; he or she must be calm, patient, and able to handle the other animal’s presence without reacting in fear.
The best example of this is at the San Diego Zoo, where Hopper the Dog and Amara the Cheetah live in (relative) bliss. Amara is an educational animal, so she’s particularly tame and therefore a good candidate for pairing with a dog. But Hopper is no stranger to roughhousing; the two play rambunctiously all the time and still remain in good cheer.
They Hold the Guinness Record for Loudest Bark
Golden Retrievers make excellent hunting and service dogs, and are well-known for their loud, firm signal bark when they’ve located danger or retrieved a bird. To anyone who has specifically trained their Golden to bark on command, this fact will perhaps be unsurprising.
The dog in question is Charlie, an Australia-based Golden whose bark comes in at a record-breaking 113 Decibels. To compare, the average chainsaw produces approximately 112 Decibels of sound at any given time. If you want your dog to notify you about intruders, game, or even just a ringing phone if you’re hard of hearing, you can trust that your Golden will do so loudly and proudly.
Despite the Golden’s characteristically loud bark, a well-trained Golden isn’t loud on a regular basis. There’s no need to panic if you’re considering the repercussions of adopting a pup with a loud bark. The Golden is also very receptive to training and mostly barks out of fear, anxiety, or stress. Obedience training and proper care will prevent this in nearly all dogs the vast majority of the time.
A Golden Holds a Degree in Mental Health Counseling
Spend a bit of time with your Golden when you’re feeling down and you’d swear he’s almost as helpful as a therapist. Well, that may be taking things a bit too far…but one Golden named Kirsch does hold an honorary degree in Mental Health Counseling. Kirsch, a service dog, faithfully attended every class alongside his owner at Johns Hopkins University. His owner, Carlos Mora, was the one officially attending classes, but the university wanted to recognize the enormous service Kirsch had provided in quietly guiding his friend to and from classes.
The university made good on its offer by giving Kirsch his own gown and hat and then bringing him on stage to accept his degree. Despite the fact that he may never get to put his newfound knowledge in action, both the Dean and the Vice-Dean signed, and therefore made official, the certificate.
Most Goldens Easily Pick Up Basic Sign Language Signals
Goldens, being the fourth smartest dog in the world, are naturally excellent at picking up training methods and learning to communicate with their handlers. They’re also one of the only breeds that seems to have a natural ability to understand basic sign language, significantly benefiting not only those who are hard of hearing, but everyday companion pet owners, too.
To be clear, the chances of your Golden learning to read full sentences in American Sign Language are slim. That’s just beyond the capabilities of a dog, at least at this time. But simple signs like “stay” “come” “here” “get the ball” or even “bring me the shoes” certainly are within his capabilities with a bit of perseverance and patience. In fact, dogs that participate in athletic sports like obstacle courses and agility training often rely on handler sign language to know where to go and when to change direction.
Your weird and wonderful Golden: if he was a gift, he’d be made of friendship and wrapped in ribbons of friendship, loyalty, and love. Keep him well and healthy and you’ll both enjoy many years of long walks, adventures outdoors, and lazy evenings on the couch together. Those memories are incredibly special – just as special as the Golden Retriever itself. Don’t have a Golden of your own yet? There’s no time like the present!Tags: Breed Info