All You Have Ever Needed To Know About A Purebred Golden Retriever

Updated: May 16th, 2022

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purebred golden retriever

One breed you will fall in love with right off the bat is a purebred golden retriever. It doesn’t matter whether you are a single individual or have a family, trust this sweet beauty to win your heart. Because it’s one of America’s favorite breeds, though, you have to be careful not to fall for the wrong one.

Don’t take your breeder’s word as gospel when you are picking a pup. Take time to find out whether the pup is truly purebred. Don’t know how to go about that? I’ve got you covered.

It’s also important for you to know this breed’s history and other relevant facts; you are likely going to need all this info for various purposes at some point as a pet parent. I discuss it all and even answer some of the most pressing questions you may have about this dog. Shall we begin?

The History Of The Purebred Golden Retriever 

Golden retrievers have a rich history. They trace their roots back to Scotland, where Lord Tweedmouth bred them for hunting. He was a keen waterfowl hunter but he also wanted a dog that could be loyal, friendly, and even-tempered while at home.

That’s what led him to buy Nous, a yellow retriever, which he cleverly bred to Belle, a Tweed water spaniel. Belle’s descendants were then bred with another Tweed water spaniel, and a red Irish setter was added to the mix.

All this happened between 1840 to 1890. Tweedmouth kept a breeding record that now shows what he was trying to achieve – a hunting dog that also had the traits of a family pet.

Even though now extinct, Tweed water spaniels were ardent retrievers and in the home they were friendly, loyal, and calm. Today’s goldens share the same attributes.

Tweedmouth gave some of Belle’s descendants away and kept others, specifically the yellow puppies, which he continued to breed. It wasn’t long before his breed gained the interest of sports hunters and show fanciers. They all fell in love with the dog’s retrieving abilities, beauty and other traits.

England’s Kennel Club officially recognized these retrievers as a breed in 1911. Back then they were simply known as “retrievers,” but in 1920 their name was changed to golden retrievers.

Fast forward to 1932, when the American Kennel Club (AKC) registered the golden retriever as a breed too. In the following years, the AKC changed the Golden Retriever breeding standards to suit the tastes and needs of Americans. Right now, goldens are a popular breed in the US, rivaling Labradors, German shepherds, and French bulldogs.

How To Identify A Full Breed Golden Retriever

How To Identify A Full Breed Golden Retriever

Top on the list of ways to identify a pure golden retriever is to check whether it has the right paperwork and pedigree. Proper documentation is proof that the dog has been registered with a well-recognized kennel club or certified registry that keeps records for that specific breed. Meet the three types of golden retrievers.

In North America,  the American Kennel Club (AKC) is the largest and most popular kennel club but there are a few other legitimate registries as well such as:

  • Canadian Kennel Club
  • United Kennel Club
  • Continental Kennel Club

For a pup to qualify for documentation, its parents must have been listed with a certified registry. A dog’s pedigree is like its family tree, which should date back four generations or more and be properly documented. The ancestors’ names should be featured in the paperwork.

Here’s what the paper should contain:

  • The dog’s name plus registration number
  • Colors
  • Markings
  • Health-related information
  • Competition titles its parents or ancestors held

In instances where you have a pup that lacks documentation, ask the breeder or whoever sold it to you to hand over the correct papers to you. Once you obtain them, you only have to pay a small fee, fill up the registration documents and mail them to the relevant registry for processing.

That’s one way to identify a full breed golden retriever; unfortunately, it’s not enough to tell how your pup will turn out. To be one hundred percent sure that your golden is purebred, check to see if it has the features that define such a breed. These are the unique characteristics purebred golden retriever puppies should have.

Unique Attributes A Golden Retriever Purebred Should Have

Size & Body Structure

Male golden retrievers weigh between 65 to 75 pounds and have a height that ranges from 23 to 24 inches. Females, on the other hand, weigh between 55 and 65 pounds and are usually 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall. Both genders reach full height after turning one-year-old and mature weight by the age of two.

Structurally speaking, goldens have a symmetrical muscular build and look very athletic. Size-wise, they are classified in the medium to large category. Also, note that their hind limbs are strong and straight while the shoulders are well-built and rugged.


Goldens are defined by their sweet, soft, easy-going demeanor. They get along well with pretty much everyone, including kids, and are always eager to please the owner, but these and other great attributes will only be apparent if you train and raise them well.

Coat & Hair 

Unique Attributes A Golden Retriever Purebred Should Have

Full-blooded golden retrievers come in different shades of gold, from pale to dark. You may have seen some breeders and puppy mills classifying some as ‘rare white, platinum or English cream,’ but understand that these aren’t special or rare; these are European-bred goldens.

All goldens have a thick undercoat and a dense outer coat that is resistant to water and requires regular grooming with one of the best brushes for golden retrievers. Some have wavy coats, while others are straight.

Their fur feathers on the chest, underbelly, along the tail, and on the back of their front limbs. Shedding is heavier in the fall and spring and moderates in the summer and winter.

To keep their beautiful coats in top shape, clean, and free of fleas, use one of the best flea shampoos for dogs.

Other special characteristics of purebred goldens to watch out for include:

  • Short ears that can fold over
  • Fairly or dark brown medium-large eyes with dark eye rims
  • A thick tail that is muscular at the base and curved upwards at the end

How Long Do Purebred Golden Retrievers Live? 

Based on statistics, golden retrievers have been found to live an average of 10-12 years; however, if you go the extra mile in taking proper care of your golden, she can live longer than that. Augie, the oldest known Golden retriever, passed away at the age of 20.

Just as a reminder, taking good care of a golden retriever involves the following:

  • Proper diet
  • Appropriate exercise
  • A loving home
  • Socialization
  • Great healthcare

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is a purebred golden?

Legitimate and trusted breeders price their goldens anywhere between $1500 and $3500. The price could be as low as $500 if you choose to buy from no-name breeders and puppy mills, but be aware that the risk is higher on this side. Your “purebred golden retriever puppies” could end up suffering health problems later.

How do you get a full-blooded golden retriever?

It may be tempting to simply do a search and order a pup from the first breeder that shows up on your search engine but I wouldn’t recommend this option. Instead, contact the AKC or a certified registry near you and ask them for a referral to a trusted breeder. I cover more tips you can use here.

Can a purebred golden retriever have white on them?

Golden retrievers are never entirely white. Some may have white patches on the chest and/or toes, but that’s the most you may get today. English cream golden retrievers come close but they are still not white. Their coat color ranges from pale cream to dark gold.

A Last Word On Purebred Goldens

Pure golden retrievers are excellent dogs that get along well with everyone, from children and single individuals to families. If you are thinking of getting one, rest assured that you will have a great companion. Just make sure that you are ready to take proper care of them, because this is what will give you the best possibility of a longer lifespan for them.

Three things you should never forget about golden retrievers and which will help you identify one are:

  • They are sweet, loyal, calm, and eager to please the owner
  • They come in different color shades, ranging from pale cream to deep gold
  • They are muscular and athletic with a medium-large size body

Also important to mention is that goldens love being around people and need regular exercise to prevent destructive behavior. They are also prone to a few health problems, but with proper care and help from a vet, you will be able to help them live a comfortable life.

Written By

Wendy is a self-employed beauty therapist, mother of two, life-long pet parent and lover of dogs who somehow manages to squeeze in the time to satisfy another of her loves - writing. Wendy is the founder, main contributor to and editor of TotallyGoldens.

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