Golden Retriever Approved Breed Standard

The American Kennel Club has, since 1990, approved a revised standard for Golden Retrievers submitted by the Golden Retriever Club of America. This standard is to be followed thoroughly by all official breeders. In fact, it’s impossible to register a Golden Retriever with the AKC unless he meets the breed standard.

The Golden Retriever’s general appearance is that of a powerful, well sized dog. He should be symmetrical and well proportioned. The Golden retriever is primarily a hunting dog, he is hard-working and adaptable to a variety of situations. His personality conveys awareness and confidence.

For a Golden Retriever it’s more important for him to have better balance, appearance and gait than for each individual part to fit the standardized description. As such, departures from the ideal are considered faulty only if they interfere with the breed’s character and purpose.

Golden Retriever natural size and body proportion

Golden RetrieverTheir size varies depending on sex. Males should be between 23 and 24 inches high at the withers, while females should only be between 21 1/2 to 22 1/2 inches. Penalties are given if the dog goes up to 1 inch above or below the standard size, anything above 1 inch means disqualification.

To give the dog a good proportion he should have a 12:11 ratio between height and length. Length is measured from breastbone to the point of the buttocks. Being overweight is quite the problem or Golden Retrievers and, as such, special attention should be given so that they weigh between 65 and 75 for males and 55 to 65 for females.

Head type and head features

Golden Retrievers should have broad skulls which are slightly arched but not so much to make their forehead or their occipital bone stand out. They’re muzzle is straight and seems to fit well in the skull.

Their eyes give him a friendly and intelligent look, they are big and dark, set well apart and their rims are deep in the sockets. For eyes dark brown is the color of choice, however medium brown is also acceptable. Any slanting to the eyes are faulty, and no white should be seen when the dog is looking straight ahead.

Their ears should be relatively short and they should fall just above the eye and close to the cheek. To gauge the correct length pul the ear forward and see if the tip covers the eye.

Their nose should be black however it is to be expected to turn a lighter color during the winter. Lack of pigmentation is considered a fault. Their teeth should match in a scissors bite (the inner side of the upper teeth should touch the outer sides of the lower incisors). Any other placement of their teeth is undesirable and an undershot or overshot bite is cause for disqualification.

Golden Retriever body and limbs

They have deep chest, wider than a man’s fist, with long and well matched ribs. Their forequarters and hindquarters are muscular, broad and coordinated. The legs are straight when viewed from the front or rear, with dewclaws normally left on.

The coat and color are the Golden Retriever’s trademark features. Their coats are water repellent, firm and resilient and may be straight or in waves. There should be moderate feathering on the back of the forelegs and under the body and heavier feathering on the neck, back of thighs and tail. The preferred color is rich gold with various nuances.

Their gait is smooth, relaxed, strong. The legs don’t turn in or out and they don’t interfere with each other. At higher speeds the feet converge towards the center.

This is a shorter, less detailed version of the Golden Retriever standard and represents but a summary meant to reflect the Golden Retrievers character and purpose. It does not include all the details used for judging whether a dog fits the standard or not.

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