As previously stated, we are purists. Simply put, the golden retriever breed originated in Scotland and we chose to go back to its beginnings. As dog breeds go, the golden retriever is rather new to the game. Arising in the 1860’s, the first goldens were the result of a cross between a yellow retriever named Nous (Gaelic for wisdom) and Belle, a water spaniel. Their union resulted in a litter of three yellow puppies-our foundation. These dogs were highly prized by the English gentry as outstanding gundogs able to excel in retrieving the grouse, pheasant and partridge shot during the hunt parties of the day.
We make the distinction that our dogs are English golden retrievers and not of American lines. While all American golden retrievers are descended from English lines, in America the breed has evolved (as dogs are likely to do in a short period of time) and attained a different appearance from its English counterpart. The English dog is a sturdier version of its younger American cousin. It has an expansive chest, stockier build, stronger muzzle, and broader head shape with dark set, kindly eyes. Both types in the conformation ring present a stunning contrast: The American with its striking coat and lean appearance and the English with its spectacular grace of movement and gentle expression.
What exactly is an English Golden Retriever?
For an in-depth look at the breed as it is known today please take a moment and read the outstanding article What Exactly Is An English Golden Retriever? (.pdf), written for the Golden Retriever Club of America by Bev Brown ( Golden Retriever News,2009). Complete with photos and an excellent commentary on the comparisons of breed standards, it should answer many questions for those unsure of the differences between American and English goldens. For additional reading, The Ultimate Golden Retriever, by Valerie Foss (Ringpress Books, 2003) is a stand out book on the golden retriever breed; a must for the serious hobby enthusiast or overall lover of the breed.
The Kennel Club of England's Breed Standard
As we are fanciers of the English golden retriever we strive to follow the Kennel Club of England’s breed standard when we make breeding decisions. It is as follows:
General Appearance: Symmetrical, balanced, active, powerful, level mover; sound with kindly expression.
Characteristics: Biddable, intelligent and possessing natural working ability.
Temperament: Kindly, friendly and confident.
Head and Skull: Balanced and well chiseled, skull broad without coarseness; well set on neck, muzzle powerful, wide and deep. Length of foreface approximately equals length from well defined stop to occiput. Nose preferably black.
Eyes: Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.
Ears: Moderate size, set on approximate level with eyes.
Mouth: Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
Neck: Good length, clean and muscular.
Forequarters: Forelegs straight with good bone, shoulders well laid back, long in blade with upper arm of equal length placing legs well under body. Elbows close fitting.
Body: Balanced, short-coupled, deep through heart. Ribs deep, well sprung. Level topline.
Hindquarters: Loin and legs strong and muscular, good second thighs, well bent stifles. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from rear, neither turning in nor out. Cow-hocks highly undesirable.
Feet: Round and cat-like.
Tail: Set on and carried level with back, reaching to hocks, without curl at tip.
Gait/Movement: Powerful with good drive. Straight and true in front and rear. Stride long and free with no sign of hackney action in front.
Coat: Flat or wavy with good feathering, dense water-resisting undercoat.
Colour: Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.
Size: Height at withers: dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins); bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).