Today’s golden retrievers fill many roles in addition to hunting dogs. But their original purpose still shows in their temperament and appearance. The attributes Lord Tweedmouth and his successors demanded in their hunting dogs have enabled goldens to succeed in a wide variety of activities–hunting companion, family pet, obedience and agility competitor, search and rescue dog, therapy dog, and service dog to name just a few.
The ideal golden is a beautiful animal–confident and intelligent, moderate in size and activity. He is easily trained and cared for, with a strong desire to please. At the same time, he is quite powerful with a natural affinity for retrieving and swimming. He is very social and requires companionship, especially human; he is happiest as an integral member of a family. Physically, goldens are medium-sized dogs with flowing golden coats that can range from very light to red-gold. They have a friendly expression with dark eyes and pigment.
In the United States, each AKC-recognized dog breed has a national club that establishes written standard for the breed. For the golden retriever, this club is the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA). The GRCA is one of the more active breed clubs, with a large group of dedicated fanciers and breeders who seek to constantly improve and protect the golden retriever.