Golden retrievers became increasingly popular in Britain in the 19th century with the growth of the sport of bird hunting. Retrievers were considered the elite of sporting breeds as they were highly versatile and could be used for waterfowl and highland hunting.
Many crossbreeds were used during this time, and there is no doubt that several very golden retrievers in appearance existed prior to the actual development of the Dorado as we know it today.
It is Sir Dudley Majoribanks, later Lord Tweedmouth, who is credited with the actual creation of the Golden Retriever due to his breeding program in Scotland in the mid to late 19th century.
All Goldens today can trace their origins back to Lord Tweedmouth’s young. Lord Tweedmouth acquired a young male yellow wavy (flat) coated retriever in 1866. The color yellow is recessive, and to this day it occurs occasionally in the Flat Coated Retriever breed.
Existing photos of this dog, who was named Nous, show a large dog with wavy fur that looked a lot like a Golden Retriever. A Tweed Water Spaniel female named Belle, a member of another popular hunting breed in the region, was also acquired.
These dogs were known for their swimming ability, superior intelligence, and wonderful temperaments. They were medium in size, liver in color (any shade from yellow to brown) and had a very curly coat with very few feathers.
When you consider that all breeds of retriever share a similar genetic base, and that the main difference in the development of the Golden from the others is the Tweed Water Spaniel, it is understandable how some of the traits that make the Golden are derived are unique from other breeds of retriever dogs. .
The Golden Retriever’s ancestry includes a long history as a hunting dog and therefore makes for great outdoor company.