Golden Retriever Breed Standard
A symmetrical, powerful, active dog, sound and well put together, not clumsy
nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly expression and possessing a personality
that is eager, alert and self-confident. Primarily a hunting dog, he should
be shown in hard working condition. Overall appearance, balance, gait and
purpose to be given more emphasis than any of his component parts. Faults--Any
departure from the described ideal shall be considered faulty to the degree
to which it interferes with the breed's purpose or is contrary to breed character.
Size, Proportion, Substance
Males 23-24 inches in height at withers; females 21½-22½ inches.
Dogs up to one inch above or below standard size should be proportionately
penalized. Deviation in height of more than one inch from the standard shall
disqualify. Length from breastbone to point of buttocks slightly greater than
height at withers in ratio of 12:11. Weight for dogs 65-75 pounds; bitches
Broad in skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally without prominence
of frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop well defined but not
abrupt. Foreface deep and wide, nearly as long as skull. Muzzle straight
in profile, blending smooth and strongly into skull; when viewed in profile
or from above, slightly deeper and wider at stop than at tip. No heaviness
in flews. Removal of whiskers is permitted but not preferred. Eyes friendly
and intelligent in expression, medium large with dark, close-fitting rims,
set well apart and reasonably deep in sockets. Color preferably dark brown;
medium brown acceptable. Slant eyes and narrow, triangular eyes detract from
correct expression and are to be faulted. No white or haw visible when looking
straight ahead. Dogs showing evidence of functional abnormality of eyelids
or eyelashes (such as, but not limited to, trichiasis, entropion, ectropion,
or distichiasis) are to be excused from the ring. Ears rather short with
front edge attached well behind and just above the eye and falling close
to cheek. When pulled forward, tip of ear should just cover the eye. Low,
hound-like ear set to be faulted. Nose black or brownish black, though fading
to a lighter shade in cold weather not serious. Pink nose or one seriously
lacking in pigmentation to be faulted. Teeth scissors bite, in which the
outer side of the lower incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors.
Undershot or overshot bite is a disqualification. Misalignment of teeth (irregular
placement of incisors) or a level bite (incisors meet each other edge to
edge) is undesirable, but not to be confused with undershot or overshot.
Full dentition. Obvious gaps are serious faults.
Neck, Topline, Body
Neck medium long, merging gradually into well laid back shoulders, giving sturdy,
muscular appearance. No throatiness. Backline strong and level from withers
to slightly sloping croup, whether standing or moving. Sloping backline,
roach or sway back, flat or steep croup to be faulted. Body well balanced,
short coupled, deep through the chest. Chest between forelegs at least as
wide as a man's closed hand including thumb, with well developed forechest.
Brisket extends to elbow. Ribs long and well sprung but not barrel shaped,
extending well towards hindquarters. Loin short, muscular, wide and deep,
with very little tuck-up. Slab-sidedness, narrow chest, lack of depth in
brisket, excessive tuck-up to be faulted. Tail well set on, thick and muscular
at the base, following the natural line of the croup. Tail bones extend to,
but not below, the point of hock. Carried with merry action, level or with
some moderate upward curve; never curled over back nor between legs.
Muscular, well coordinated with hindquarters and capable of free movement.
Shoulder blades long and well laid back with upper tips fairly close together
at withers. Upper arms appear about the same length as the blades, setting
the elbows back beneath the upper tip of the blades, close to the ribs without
looseness. Legs, viewed from the front, straight with good bone, but not
to the point of coarseness. Pasterns short and strong, sloping slightly with
no suggestion of weakness. Dewclaws on forelegs may be removed, but are normally
left on. Feet medium size, round, compact, and well knuckled, with thick
pads. Excess hair may be trimmed to show natural size and contour. Splayed
or hare feet to be faulted.
Broad and strongly muscled. Profile of croup slopes slightly; the pelvic bone
slopes at a slightly greater angle (approximately 30 degrees from horizontal).
In a natural stance, the femur joins the pelvis at approximately a 90-degree
angle; stifles well bent; hocks well let down with short, strong rear pasterns.
Feet as in front. Legs straight when viewed from rear. Cow-hocks, spread
hocks, and sickle hocks to be faulted.
Dense and water-repellent with good undercoat. Outer coat firm and resilient,
neither coarse nor silky, lying close to body; may be straight or wavy. Untrimmed
natural ruff; moderate feathering on back of forelegs and on underbody; heavier
feathering on front of neck, back of thighs and underside of tail. Coat on
head, paws, and front of legs is short and even. Excessive length, open coats,
and limp, soft coats are very undesirable. Feet may be trimmed and stray
hairs neatened, but the natural appearance of coat or outline should not
be altered by cutting or clipping.
Rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than rest
of coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body due to
age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest, should
be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are not to
be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is either extremely
pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should be given to the
light puppy whose coloring shows promise of deepening with maturity. Any
noticeable area of black or other off-color hair is a serious fault.
When trotting, gait is free, smooth, powerful and well coordinated, showing
good reach. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor out, nor do
feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases, feet tend to
converge toward center line of balance. It is recommended that dogs be shown
on a loose lead to reflect true gait.
Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards other
dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of timidity or
nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character. Such actions
should be penalized according to their significance.
Deviation in height of more than one inch from standard either way.
Undershot or overshot bite.
(Information courtesy of the American Kennel