February 3rd is National Golden Retriever Day

The Golden Retriever, year after year, has been ranked as one of the most popular dog breeds in America. This is not surprising since they are generally very calm and gentle. They could fit into nearly any family as they are easy to train. They love children and generally strive to please their humans. For many people, this undemanding creature which only desires to please is the perfect pet. National Golden Retriever Day was started by Kristen Shroyer in memory of her Golden, “Quincy,” who lost his battle to cancer at seven years old.

The Golden Retriever originated from Scotland and as the name suggests, it was a hunting dog. In the early 1800’s Scottish residents needed to develop a dog for hunting in swampy marshland. It needed excellent fetching ability, a soft mouth (able to retrieve birds without damaging the bird), and one which loved water. By breeding their best Water Spaniels with Retrievers, the Golden Retriever was developed. Golden Retrievers have a double hair coat that protects them as they swim in cold water to retrieve birds. Their feet are also webbed to increase their swimming ability.

So, is there a down side to this wonderful creature? Unfortunately, Goldens are prone to cancer of the spleen. This cancer is often not recognized until it is in advanced stages. There is some hope that routine splenic ultrasounds of these dogs as a screening test may allow detection and treatment earlier.

They are beautiful and sweet dispositioned animals. Due to their calmness and gentle nature, they will continue to one of the most popular dogs with American families.

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