Golden Retrievers are known to be one of the most common family dogs in the world. They tend to be social, intelligent and loyal. Originally they were bred in the Scottish highlands to retrieve game for hunters. There are really no tasks that a Golden can’t do, other than be a guard dog. In the last century multiple standards have been created by various kennel clubs. The most well known are the American and English Golden Retriever. They are still considered the same breed, but certain kennel clubs have a tendency to prefer one color over another as well as other physical attributes.
The American Golden Retriever
First recognized by AKC (American Kennel Club) in 1925. The trademark of this sporting breed is of course it’s golden color. The color ranges from light (cream) to dark golden (red). Topline is level with a sloped croup at 30 degrees. Their coats tend to be longer but are straight or wavy. The body is lean, and they have more energy. The average life is between 10 and 11 years and information obtained from UC Davis states the cancer rate is at 60%. An older study from the Golden Retriever Club of America states the cancer rate is at 60-72% with an average lifespan of 10 years 8 months.
The English Golden Retriever
First recognized by KC (The Kennel Club) in 1913. Often American breeders identify the standard as the English Cream Golden Retriever, British Golden Retriever, or European Golden Retriever. The English sporting gundog tend to be a lot lighter in color. Red is not an acceptable color to KC standards. They are generally shorter than their American counterparts by 1-2 inches. Topline should be considered level. Their coats are shorter but still flat and wavy. The dog is more muscular, and is built for strength, but not energy. They tend to have fewer health problems, such as a less chance of cancer. Average life is slightly longer at 12 years 3 months. A study from the Kennel Club stated that cancer rates are at 38.8%.
The American Golden is not accepted in The Kennel Club of the UK. However, in the United States the English standard is still accepted as a Golden Retriever to the American Kennel Club. No matter where you go, a Golden Retriever is first and foremost always called a Golden Retriever no matter what label it is given.
Below is a infographic that we created that illustrates the differences between American and English Golden Retrievers.