Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs, which is why people all over the world choose to bring Goldens into their homes as four-legged family members. But these dogs can do more than just make great pets! Recognized by the American Kennel Club in the United States, the Golden Retriever is also a popular choice as a disability assistance dog, including the important task of working as guide dogs for the blind and hearing dogs for the deaf.
In addition, Golden Retrievers are trained to be hunting dogs, detection dogs, and search-and-rescue participants. The breed’s friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog, but its loveable quality has also made it the third-most popular family dog breed in the United States.
History of National Golden Retriever Day
Native to Scotland, this highly-adored doggy breed was created in the 1800s by landowner Lord Tweedmouth in an effort to produce a dog that could swim long distances. His brilliant mix of two of his dogs, a Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel resulted in what we know today as the Golden Retriever.
But the breed was actually around for over 100 years before it was given an official day to celebrate it!
Created by Kristen Shroyer in 2012, the 3rd day of February was chosen as National Golden Retriever Day because it was the birthday of her own Golden, Quincey. Although he’s no longer alive, the day serves as a reminder of how amazing the love of a pet can be, particularly if it is a Golden Retriever.
How to Celebrate National Golden Retriever Day
Even if the dog isn’t necessarily aware that it is his special day, that shouldn’t keep an owner from showering their Golden with love! Try these fun ways to celebrate:
Join an Organized Event
Wherever people live, they may find a Gold Retriever gathering in their local area. But the best place to celebrate National Golden Retriever Day? Well, Golden, Colorado, of course! Organized by the City of Golden as well as Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies, hundreds of these beautiful dogs and their owners love to gather outside the city’s visitor center which is near a stream where dogs can romp and play.
Start an Organized Event
For those who have a dog of this breed but don’t have a National Golden Retriever Day event in their area, why not start one? Just choose a space (dog parks work great!), get some Golden-owner friends together, do a little advertising in niche social media groups, organize some activities, and have a lot of fun!
Take a Walk or a Drive
Most loyal Goldens love to spend time with their humans. In honor of this special day, take your dog for a ride in the car to a favorite dog park, or head out on a long walk for just the two of you.
Provide a Special Treat
Although a Golden may not really know why, he’ll still love getting a special treat for this special day. Choose a new chew toy, his favorite kind of bone, a KONG filled with peanut butter, or something from a local dog bakery. He’ll love you for it!
Adopt a Golden Retriever
For those who don’t already have a Golden Retriever, maybe this day would be a perfect time to adopt one! It’s easy to contact a local dog shelter to find out if they have a Golden available, or ask to be contacted if/when they do.
Golden Retriever World Record
How many Golden Retrievers gathered in one place does it take to set a world record? Well, at least a few hundred! These records, although unofficial, were set in just the past few years by proud Golden Retriever owners worldwide:
- Back in July of 2018, 361 of the precious pups gathered in Tomich, Scotland to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the breed. People traveled all over the world to attend the event that took place at the Guisachan Estate, which is the original place where Tweedmouth bred the first Golden.
- However, in October of that same year, the record was almost doubled when 681 Goldens gathered with their owners at Goldie-Palooza in Huntington Beach, California. Activities included a kissing booth (Smooch the Pooch), a costume contest, and a collection of raffles and vendors supporting their favorite breed.
- The record was completely busted when more than 1000 dogs and owners gathered in Golden, Colorado on February 3, 2019, in honor of National Golden Retriever Day. As a special treat, “pupaccinos” (doggie cappuccinos) were available, and the group took a walk through town–which is extremely friendly to dogs, no matter what their breed!
Famous Golden Retrievers
Because they are so good with people and effectively trained, Goldens not only make great family pets but they’re also excellent at working as actors, models, helper dogs, and rescuers. Here are some favorite famous dogs of this admirable breed:
Buddy the Dog
Also known as “Air Bud”, Buddy starred as a sports-loving dog who
was a canine actor that had not just one, but two hit credits on his resume. Even before he played “Air Bud” on the big screen, Buddy was adored by children and adults alike due to his role as “Comet” on the hit comedy show Full House. Although he has sadly passed on to doggie heaven, Buddy the Dog will always be remembered with fondness. And his work can continue to be enjoyed by watching his shows and films.
Bretagne, the Famous 9/11 Hero
Because of their keen senses and helpful nature, Golden Retrievers are favored by law enforcement and government agencies to work in emergency rescue situations. When the World Trade Center in New York City collapsed on 9/11/2001, more than 300 dogs were enlisted to assist at ground zero.
Bretagne (pronounced Brit-nee) is one of the most famous of these dogs that was certified by the US’s FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). Two-years-old at the time of the disaster, she worked with her owner for 10 days at the site of 9/11 with the aim of rescue and recovery. When she died in 2016 (at almost 17 years old!), Bretagne was honored by firefighters and rescue workers as she was laid to rest in her Texas hometown.
Liberty, the First Dog of America
Given to Gerald Ford by his daughter, Susan, Liberty spent her early years at the White House and Camp David. Liberty even gave birth to a litter of puppies while she was living in the White House in 1975, one of which the president kept. After Ford’s presidency ended in 1977, the famous dog moved with the Ford family back to Denver, Colorado where she lived out the rest of her days.
National Golden Retriever Day FAQs
How can I adopt a Golden Retriever?
Check out a local pet shelter or contact the Golden Retriever Rescue Alliance to get more information on what it takes to adopt one of these precious pups.
How much does a Golden Retriever cost?
Adding a Golden Retriever to the family can range from $500-$2000 depending on the location and breeder. If adopting from a shelter, the upfront costs will be lower but, of course, the dog is not guaranteed to be purebred. On average, a Golden costs around $1500 per year to maintain, including food, grooming, vet costs, etc.
Are Golden Retrievers social?
Yes! This dog breed is extremely social. They not only enjoy being around their owners and family members, but also other strangers and other animals. They’re the perfect breed to take to a social event or celebration!
How long does a Golden Retriever live?
Typically, the lifespan of an average Golden Retriever is between 10 and 12 years, although some will live even longer than that.
How big do Golden Retrievers get?
Male Goldens grow up to 23-24 inches tall and usually weigh up to 75 pounds. Females are slightly smaller, at around 22 inches tall and up to 65 pounds.