February 3rd is a day to celebrate one of the most popular dog breeds in the world! Read on to find out where golden retrievers came from and why they are so frequently chosen as pets and support dogs.

Why February 3rd?

In 2012 Kristen Shroyer chose February 3rd to honour golden retrievers. This was the birthday of her beloved golden boy- Quincey. The date is an annual reminder to appreciate our relationships with these special dogs!

History of the Golden Retriever breed

These sweet dogs date back to nineteenth century Scotland. Lord Tweedmouth bred his tweed water spaniel (now extinct) with a wavy-haired retriever. Shortly after, the first golden litter arrived in 1826. The names of these original goldens were as cute as I imagine the pups were: Cowslip, Crocus and Primrose.

Why did he do it? Retrievers at the time wouldn’t go near the water. The water spaniel bloodline meant that golden retrievers were great working dogs as they could navigate both water and land. Bred to literally “retrieve” game from the hunt, they have super soft mouths which won’t cause any damage. Have you seen the “Golden Retriever Egg Challenge”? Super cute and proof that they are the gentlest carriers.

Characteristics of the Golden Retriever

Golden retrievers demonstrate a range of beautiful fur colours. From cream to deep golden, their hair actually has a water resistant layer- maybe this explains their love of swimming. These dogs are incredibly intelligent, with an ability learn over 165 words! Consequently, they are easy to train and enjoy being stimulated. And yes, they love long walkies. These gentle creatures have dark soulful eyes and what the Kennel Club calls a “kindly expression“. This outward adorableness reflects their fabulous temperaments.


Goldens are famous for their good natures. They are calm, kind and confident dogs with a gentle demeanour. Because of this, golden retrievers are a perfect choice for a family pet. Don’t expect them to be very good guard dogs though, they are friendly with family and strangers alike! These sweet animals just love people and are keen to please. As a result, they can put this intelligence to good use in obedience training. Golden retrievers build exceptional bonds with their owners. You often see them in the press for their loyalty and dedication to their human.

Golden retrievers as service dogs

These attributes make golden retrievers perfect for training as service or assistant dogs. Due to their intelligent and biddable nature they can be taught a variety of skills to aid their owner with difficult tasks. Golden retrievers are trained as guide dogs for people with visual impairments, hearing dogs for those with hearing impediments and assistant dogs that can perform difficult tasks around the home. Not only this, but because of their caring spirit golden retrievers make excellent therapy dogs. This may be in hospitals, at airports to calm nervous fliers and in schools for children to read with.  

No wonder they have a whole day for celebrating their many talents! Give your goldens an extra cuddle today.

Sarah Worgan
Sarah is currently a doctoral student and she has always been an animal lover. She grew up in the Cotswolds so she loves escaping the town and being outdoors. Several years ago, Sarah adopted two rescue greyhounds who continue to take her on new adventures.

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