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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Canadian Golden Retriever: Facts, Origin, & History (with Pictures)

Canadian Golden Retriever: Facts, Origin, & History (with Pictures)

A happy Golden Retriever adult male dog relaxing in a park

Within different dog breeds, there are sometimes subtypes. An example of this comes in the form of one of America’s most beloved breeds, the Golden Retriever. There are three types of Golden Retriever—the British/English Golden Retriever, the American Golden Retriever, and the Canadian Golden Retriever.

All of these dogs are of the exact same breed, but there are a few minor physical differences that set them apart. In this post, we’ll reveal these differences and explore the history of Golden Retrievers.

Breed Overview


21.5–24 inches


55–75 pounds


10–12 years


Dark golden, golden, light golden

Suitable for:

All kinds of loving families, service and therapy dog training


Devoted, gentle, intelligent, athletic, outgoing, reliable

Canadian Golden Retrievers are very similar to American Golden Retrievers, but Canadian Golden Retrievers often have finer coats that may be darker than those of American Golden Retrievers. They tend to be a bit taller and less heavy in build than English/British Golden Retrievers. English/British Golden Retrievers have broader foreheads and shorter muzzles than their American and Canadian brothers and sisters.

Canadian Golden Retriever Breed Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.


The Earliest Records of Canadian Golden Retrievers in History

Golden Retrievers were first developed by Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, a wealthy Scottish dog breeder who became a peer of the realm as the first Baron Tweedmouth in 1881. It all started in 1865 when Marjoribanks became intrigued by a golden, wavy-coated dog called Nous that was born of black parents. Nous belonged to a Brighton cobbler who gave or sold him to Marjoribanks.

Marjoribanks later bred Nous with a Tweed Water Spaniel (a now-extinct breed) to create the ideal hunting and gundog for his vast estate in the Scottish Highlands. Irish Setters and Bloodhounds were also used in Marjoribanks’ breeding program. The litter containing the puppies known as the first Golden Retrievers were named Cowslip, Crocus, and Primrose.

Golden Retrievers with reddish coats may descend from a red setter that could have been thrown into the breeding mix by Marjoribanks’ son.

Canadian Golden Retriever dog sitting at the hill
Image By: EB Adventure Photography, Shutterstock

How Canadian Golden Retrievers Gained Popularity

At first, the Marjoribanks’ Golden Retrievers were a well-kept secret. These highly valued dogs were only offered as gifts for some time, but they later became better known when they started to be bred in Dorset by Marjoribanks’ nephew.

Golden Retrievers initially went to Canada and then on to America around 1908, which was the time they were first seen in shows in Britain. There, they quickly became a hit with hunters and fanciers who took a shine to their intelligence, beauty, and steadiness of temperament.

In the 1970s, Golden Retrievers were brought more into the public eye by President Gerald Ford who owned a Goldie called Honor’s Foxfire Liberty Hume, shortened to simply “Liberty”.

Formal Recognition of the Canadian Golden Retriever

The American Kennel Club first recognized Golden Retrievers in 1925. The AKC breed standard describes the Goldie as “a symmetrical, powerful, active dog” with a “kindly expression” and “eager, alert and self-confident” personality. The breed is a member of the sporting group.

The United Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1956, and its breed standard describes the Golden Retriever as “a medium-sized, well-balanced dog”. The Kennel Club recognized the Golden Retriever in 1913, and they were originally registered as “yellow” or “golden” Retrievers. The full name “Golden Retriever” was given in 1920 when the Golden Retriever Club came to be.


Top 3 Unique Facts About Canadian Golden Retrievers

1. There Are Many Golden Retriever Varieties

Apart from American, British, and Canadian Golden Retrievers, there are even more varieties, including the English Cream Golden Retriever, Red Golden Retriever, Field Golden Retriever, and Show Golden Retriever.

2. Golden Retrievers Are Excellent Athletes

They might be great big softies, but Golden Retrievers are fierce competitors in dog sporting events. They often excel in competitions due to their high intelligence, obedience, athleticism, and agility. Many are also excellent swimmers thanks to their working background as water retrievers. Don’t just assume that all Golden Retrievers love to swim, though—each dog is different.

canadian golden retriever dog standing at a hill
Image By: EB Adventure Photography, Shutterstock

3. Golden Retrievers Are the Third Most Popular Dogs in the US

Today, Golden Retrievers sit at number three on the American Kennel Club’s popularity ranking, just behind French Bulldogs and Labrador Retrievers.


Does a Canadian Golden Retriever Make a Good Pet?

All types of Golden Retrievers, when well-socialized and treated with respect, grow to be devoted, loyal, steady, intuitive, and kind family companions that get along wonderfully with everyone at home.

In fact, these eternally faithful dogs get the full five out of five points on the American Kennel Club’s “affectionate with family”, “good with young children”, and “good with other dogs” ratings, which goes to show their potential for being absolutely amazing family dogs.

It is still important to socialize and train your Golden Retriever, though, as is the case with any breed of dog, to truly bring out their very best traits and let them shine. Even the sweetest Golden Retrievers can get into trouble if they aren’t given any boundaries or don’t know how to behave properly in a variety of situations.



To recap, the Canadian Golden Retriever is not a separate breed, but rather one of three main types of Golden Retriever, along with the American Golden Retriever and the British/English Golden Retriever. The differences between the three, however, are only physical and are pretty minor, especially between the Canadian Golden Retriever and the American Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers of all kinds have been held in dog lovers’ hearts everywhere for a very long time and, today, they remain as popular as ever.

Featured Image Credit: Neelsky, Shutterstock

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