Types of Golden Retrievers: Variations of Golden Awesomeness

Updated: October 14th, 2020

Woman hugging a Dark Golden Retriever


Take one look at a Golden Retriever puppy and it’s love at first sight. Is it any wonder that this bread is one of the most popular in the US? It’s also no secret that Golden Retrievers are one of the most lovable breeds of dogs out there. These affectionate and easy-to-train companions are popular across the country. They are the perfect pet for any family.

However, there is some confusion about the Golden Retriever dog types. Are there different types of Golden Retrievers? What about the different Golden Retriever colors? Do they have differences in their physical traits and in their temperament? Are they all the same or are they different?

If you are looking to buy a Golden Retriever dog and have asked these questions, look no further. In this article, we’ll take a look at these dogs and answer all these questions and more. So, next time you see a Golden Retriever Puppy for sale, you will be able to differentiate the types.


Goldens were originally bred in Scotland in the 19th century. For centuries, people had only been able to shoot game from a relatively short distance. As hunting technology and guns improved; however, the sport was changing. Shooters could now hit targets from further distances. This often resulted in birds landing in cold water or streams.

The dogs at the time were not well-equipped for these new challenges. They could collect game but not from the distance these new guns could reach. They also could not retrieve game from lakes or rivers.

So, breeders needed to create a new dog.

Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord of Tweedmouth, took on the challenge. He crossed a yellow-colored retriever with the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.

The resulting litter had four puppies. Each was then crossed with another breed, such as an Irish Setter and a Bloodhound.

Over the course of 50 years, Tweedmouth began to create a new standard breed of dog. It instinctively loved water but also had a thick, fluffy double-coat to keep it warm. It also had a sweet disposition and was extremely obedient. It was nearly the perfect hunting dog.

The Golden Retriever, as it came to be known, was born.

Today, Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the country. You’re likely to see at least one if you go for a walk in any neighborhood. They became especially popular in the U.S. in the 1970s because of President Gerald Ford. The public fell in love with his dog Liberty and the breed soon became a part of the American Dream.

Boy hugging an English Cream Retriever


There is some confusion about whether Golden Retrievers come in different varieties.

The short answer is yes. But the distinction is more nuanced. Simply stated, there are two ways that Golden Retrievers can vary from one other. The first is by “type.” There are three different varieties of this dog: Canadian Golden Retrievers, British or English Golden Retrievers, and American Golden Retrievers.

The differences between these three are minimal. They are mostly physical (for example, there are differences in their coat types) and have emerged naturally over the course of breeding. They have no real effect on the temperament or health of the dogs.


The Canadian Golden Retriever looks somewhat different from the other two Goldens. Its hair is generally shorter and thinner than its counterparts’ coats. It is also not as feathery as the other two types.

These dogs might stand taller than the other varieties by as much as two inches. This makes this dog the most different among the three.


British or English Golden Retrievers have long, feathery cream coats that are characteristic of the breed. They are somewhat smaller than the Canadian variety, but not by much.

The difference between the British and American types of Golden Retrievers are small. They have similar sizes and coats. Their temperaments are roughly similar as well.

The largest difference between these two varieties is their physical build. British Goldens will have a broader skull and more powerful forequarters. They will also have rounder, darker eyes.


American Golden Retrievers are lankier and less muscular than the other varieties. Their coats are also typically dark golden, darker than their British cousins. They are just as long and wavy though.

Where their coats are darker, the American Golden’s eyes are generally lighter. They are also triangular or slanted-shaped rather than round.


No matter which variety you choose, Golden Retrievers have similar temperaments. In general, you can expect a dog that is:

  • Loving
  • Affectionate
  • Attention-seeking
  • Athletic

That being said, when you think of a Golden Retriever, you likely think of an American or a British variety. This is because of the long wavy coats that are characteristic of the breed.

Girl hugging a Cream Golden Retriever


The second way that Golden Retrievers can vary from each other is by color. Goldens are known for their luscious locks that come in a shiny golden color.

There is very little color variation between Goldens. Unlike Labradors, which come in three very distinct colors, Goldens tend to stay within a limited spectrum.

In general, there are three classifications of gold.

These include:

  • Light Golden, including cream colored
  • Golden
  • Dark Golden (but not red)

This spectrum is strict, especially for show dogs. If a dog falls outside of this color range, it cannot compete or be registered with the American Kennel Club.

Despite the desirability of the gold color, there are dogs that fall outside of this range. You can find Golden Retriever colors varying from pure white, mahogany, to even sometimes red or even black! They are not as common, but they can be found.

The beauty of these colors is that it is hereditary. Goldens will only have puppies within the same color spectrum. You can generally guess the color of the dog based off of the parents. They are not like Labrador litters where you can find all three colors.

So, if you are looking for a redhead or a pure-white Golden, you should find a reputable breeder for that exact shade. Keep in mind though that puppies with darker ears will generally have darker coats.

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While there are different “types” of Golden Retrievers, the differences are mostly cosmetic. You can find both different colored options as well as different varieties. They might vary in size and shape, but they won’t vary in their loving demeanor kind-heartedness.

The truth is, no matter the color or type, a Golden Retriever will be the perfect pet for your family. They are smart, fun, and easy to take care of and train. They will quickly become your new best friend and will be a companion for years to come.

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  • Avatar
    Posted July 23, 2019 at 2:28 am 0Likes

    Our golden seems to have a pointy head!?

  • Avatar
    Sarah Schwab
    Posted August 5, 2019 at 4:56 am 0Likes

    I want a 2 yr. Old female large (white) golden retriever.

  • Avatar
    Terry Stouffer
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 5:58 am 0Likes

    Golden Retriever color golden tan,yellow,white puppy large one male / male doesn’t matter

  • Avatar
    Terry Stouffer
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 5:59 am 0Likes

    Or female sorry

    • Avatar
      Terry Stouffer
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 6:01 am 0Likes

      Long haired please thank you

  • Avatar
    Sherleen Lofty
    Posted September 8, 2019 at 1:55 pm 0Likes

    I have golden. He is cream and golden, he is the most loving and friendliest dog I have ever had. His breeder was just as loving as the dog. I love him and his breeder. My dog is truly my best friend an I do anything and everything in the world for him.

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