Pixabay | Chiemsee2016

When It Comes To ‘Man’s Best Friend,’ Golden Retrievers Are The Gold Standard

Close your eyes and think of the word "dog." Not any specific dog, but just the inherent dogginess of the word. What image pops into your mind first?

I'm willing to bet that for many of you, it was a retriever of some kind. When it comes to dogs, especially in North America, it's those loveable, beautiful breeds that we culturally associate with the term "man's best friend."

Particularly, golden retrievers, who dominate family-friendly movies and TV as the quintessential family pet.

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Everyone remembers Comet on Full House and there are a billion Air Bud movies, but for me, the golden I picture first is Shadow, from Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.

I'm sorry, but every time Shadow comes limping over that hill at the end, I cry so hard. He's just so pure.

That cultural feeling of "d'aww" is likely why golden retrievers are consistently in the Top 10 favorite dog breeds in the USA.

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For 2020, the American Kennel Club listed them in third, after the Labrador Retriever and German Shepherd.

In the history of domesticated canines, goldens are fairly recent.

Between 1840 and 1890, the first Lord Tweedmouth, Dudley Marjoribanks, developed the breed.

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He was in search of the "ideal gundog" for hunting in the rainy and rocky terrain of the Scottish Highlands.

Tweedmouth started with a "Yellow Retriever" and crossbred it with a Tweed Water Spaniel, a breed that no longer exists. Over generations, he also bred Irish setter and bloodhound into the mix.

In 1908, goldens premiered for the first time at a British dog show and began to become popular in Canada around the same time.

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The AKC added the first registered golden to its ranks in 1925, but the breed truly became popular in the United States in the '70s, when President Gerald Ford shared the White House with a golden named Liberty.

h/t: American Kennel Club

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