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 55-65 pounds.
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
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.
American Kennel Club