What Are The Types of Golden Retrievers?

Types of Golden Retrievers Feature Image

Take one glance at a Golden Retriever puppy and you’ll surely fall in love. No wonder this dog breed is one of the most popular in the United States. Not only are Golden Retrievers one of the most lovable breeds out there but they are also easy-to-train and affectionate companions. They are an ideal pet for any family.

However, some people are confused about the Golden Retriever types. Are there different types of Golden Retrievers? Do they have differences in their temperament and physical traits? What about their colors? Are these breeds all the same or are they different?

If you’re someone who would like to know more about Golden Retrievers, plans to buy a puppy, and has asked these questions, then look no further. Here is a look at these breeds, break down the different types, answer all these questions including why there are variations, and more.

What are the 3 Main Types of Golden Retrievers?

There are three different types of Golden Retrievers: American Golden Retrievers, British Golden Retrievers, or English Golden Retrievers, and Canadian Golden Retrievers.

However, before we begin discussing these different kinds of Golden Retrievers, let us first cover the history of the Golden Retriever.

The Golden Retriever was originally bred in Scotland in the 19th century. Lord Tweedmouth started this procedure in his search for a retrieving breed that is not just good on land but also in water. To achieve this, the first Lord of Tweedmouth, Dudley Marjoribanks, crossed his yellow-colored (now-extinct), Tweed Water Spaniel with other retrievers.

What is the Best Breed of Golden Retriever

As it came to be known, the Golden Retriever was born and over the course of 50 years, it was nearly known in Tweedmouth as the perfect hunting dog. The breed instinctively loved the water but to keep themselves warm, they also have a thick, downy double-coat. They were extremely obedient and had a sweet disposition.

Because of their popularity, the breed was shipped to America and Canada. There, they were evolved further, leading to cosmetic differences in the breed. Each country developed them to their liking. That’s how the British, American, and Canadian Golden Retrievers were born.

These dogs have been bred to emphasize certain characteristics. Within those classifications, you also have the show and field variations. Field canines are smaller than show dogs. They have less plumage as well and conformation to the breed standard.

Today, the Golden Retriever became the most popular breed in the U.S. In 1925, Golden Retrievers were first registered by the American Kennel Club and in 1927, they were recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club. A little later, the Golden Retriever Club of America was founded in 1938.

Now, that you understand how Goldens came about, let’s talk about the three different types of Golden Retriever.

Different Type of Golden Retriever Dogs


American Golden Retrievers are less muscular and are lankier than the other varieties. Also, their coats are commonly dark golden, darker than their British Golden cousins. They are just as wavy and long though. Where their hairs are darker, the eyes of the American Golden Retriever are generally lighter.

They are slanted-shaped or triangular as well rather than round. American Golden Retrievers have a leaner and sleeker shape. Males weigh in at 29-34 kg (65-75 lbs) and females around 25-29 kg (55-65 lbs). Standing at 54cm-57cm (21.5-22.5 inches tall), the females are slightly smaller while the males are around 58cm-60cm (23-24 inches in height).


In 1881, the first Lord Tweedmouth brought Lady, his Golden Retriever to Canada. This was when the Canadian Golden Retriever line began. The Canadian Golden Retriever appears somewhat different from the other varieties.

Its coat is generally thinner and shorter than its counterparts’ coats. It’s not as feathery as the other two Goldens as well. By as much as two inches, the Canadian Golden Retriever might stand taller than the other varieties. This makes this breed the most different among the three variations.


Usually light golden, the British or English Golden Retriever has long, feathery cream hairs that are characteristic of the breed. A British Golden Retriever is somewhat smaller than the Canadian Golden Retriever, but not by much. The difference between the American and British varieties of Golden Retrievers is small.

They have similar coats and sizes. Their temperaments are nearly identical as well. Their physical build is the largest difference between these two varieties. British Goldens will have more powerful forequarters and a broader skull. They will have darker, rounder eyes too.

American Golden Retrievers as Pets

Other Types of Golden Retrievers

Now, besides the three varieties of Golden Retrievers, some also ask: how many types of golden retrievers are there? To answer this question, there are six types of retrievers that are bred to work in certain kinds of environments and for specific purposes.

The Flat coats were first shown in 1908 at Crystal Palace in England but didn’t win the breed recognition until the 1920s. The other five types of golden retriever breeds, though, are the following:

Field Bred Golden Retrievers

This breed embodies what a Golden Retriever was originally bred to do: hunt. As far as how big goldens get, field-bred goldens are on the smaller end of the spectrum, they are athletic, and they’re commonly more driven than other varieties. Their hair usually ranges from gold to red and is shorter, and they have loads of energy.

They excel at agility and hunting, and make excellent family pets, as long as they have a job to do and are trained properly. Considering they are bred to retrieve things with their mouth, they may be rather mouthy as well. To be clear, a field-bred is a Golden Retriever, it’s just a particular style of Golden. The opposite of field-bred goldens are show Golden Retrievers or conformation.

Show Golden Retrievers

Show golden retrievers are made to conform to a particular appearance, and that look is what dog show judges consider the golden retriever breed standard should be. That has developed over the years, and these days show golden retrievers have full and long coats, with blocky heads, and are stocky, thick, and big-boned.

Many say that this style of the breed is more sociable and friendly, and has less energy than field golden retrievers. And like the field goldens, this is a style of a Golden breed.

Golden Retriever Breed Information

Red Golden Retrievers

One of the common shades that golden retriever coats come in is Red Golden Retrievers. Most field goldens are dark gold, or red, so if you notice a red golden retriever you can pretty much anticipate it to be almost identical to the field bred style, in terms of shorter coat, on the smaller side, mouthy, and driven.

Of course, it’s just a trend and this is not a rule. Red golden retrievers may have long coats and maybe big with blocky heads too. The cream golden retrievers, however, are on the opposite end of the color spectrum.

Black Golden Retrievers

A Black Golden Retriever doesn’t actually exist. They made this list because many people think that it’s a genetic mutation of a Golden Retriever, or it’s one of the colors of Golden Retrievers. 

But instead, it’s likely to be just another breed. If you see a dog that appears to look like a black golden retriever, it’s probably a: Newfoundland, Flat-coated retriever, Black lab and Golden Retriever mix, Golden Retriever and Black German Shepherd mix, and other combinations of Golden retriever, Labrador, Spaniel, or setter mix.

Mini Golden Retrievers

Mini Golden Retrievers aren’t actually dwarf or small golden retrievers. But rather, they are a crossbreed of a Cocker Spaniel, Golden Retriever, and/or mini poodle. Like English Cream Golden Retrievers, they are probably named mini golden Retrievers because it would help sell more puppies. The goal of most mini golden retriever breeders is to produce healthier, smaller goldens that shed less.

The thought that mixed breeds are healthier, hybrid vigor may help them on the healthier side, throwing in smaller breeds like cocker spaniels and mini poodles will help develop a smaller dog, and them being part poodle may help them shed less, but there are still some reservations about these pups. If you opt to get a mini golden retriever puppy, be very picky about the breeder.

Breeds of Golden Retrievers in the World

Golden Retriever Traits

We’ve touched upon the subtle differences between the types of Goldens, now let’s move on to their traits.


The golden retriever is a muscular, sturdy dog of medium size, famous for the lustrous, dense coat of gold that gives the breed its name. The broad head, with its intelligent and friendly eyes, straight muzzle, and short ears, is the dog’s hallmark.

Height and Weight

When fully grown, these lovable dogs can weigh between 55 and 75 pounds with males having 65-75 lbs while the females weigh 55-65 lbs. Their height ranges from 22 to 24 inches with males standing at 24 inches tall and females with 22 inches in height.


From light cream to almost red, goldens come in all shades of gold. In fact, identifying their color is one of the ways how Golden Retrievers can vary from each other. There are slight color variations between Goldens. Unlike Labradors that has three very distinct colors, Goldens tend to stay within a limited spectrum. There are generally three classifications of gold.

These include light golden (including cream-colored), golden, dark golden (but not red). This spectrum is strict, particularly for show dogs. If a Golden falls outside of this color range, it will not be registered with the American Kennel Club or it cannot compete.

Unfortunately, there are dogs that fall outside of this range despite the desirability of the gold color. You can find Golden Retriever colors varying from mahogany, pure white, to even sometimes black or red! 

These dogs are not as common, but they can be found. However, the beauty of these shades is that they are hereditary. Goldens will only have pups within the same color range.

Generally, you can guess the color of the pup based on the parents. So, if you’re looking for a pure-white Golden or redhead Golden puppy, you should find a reputable breeder for the exact shade. Bear in mind though that pups with darker ears will typically have darker coats.

Then again, the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) is firmly against the name English Cream for Goldens. They believe that the different colors and shades are “breeder’s interpretations of the breed standard and aesthetic preferences but at the end of the day, the Golden Retriever is one dog breed.”


Goldens are reliable, outgoing, intelligent, energetic, playful, and loving, especially when socialized well from a young age [1]. This makes them popular family pets for many. Known for their trainability, loyalty, and easy-going nature, they make a great candidate for working dog roles, such as hunting workers, assistance dogs, guides for the blind, great swimmers, therapy dogs, search-and-rescue dogs, and even bomb detectors!

Based on the new behavioral study on domestication syndrome, experts believed that the taming of modern breed golden retrievers have affected their behavior. It was discovered that domestication has decreased their fearful responses and aggressiveness and increases playful and social behaviors.

What is an English Golden Retriever

Frequently Asked Questions

Do different types of Golden Retrievers have different temperaments?

No, different types of Golden Retrievers do not have different temperaments. All Goldens are bred to be loving, friendly, gentle, people-pleasing, and intelligent. There should not be any marked differences. 

However, poor breeding practices might influence the dog’s temperament. This is why it’s crucial to look for a reputable breeder as Golden retrievers are also prone to the same health problems. These include hip dysplasia, cancer, elbow dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and subvalvular aortic stenosis.

Which type of Golden Retriever is the best?

There is no “best” type of Golden retriever as they are all virtually the same. They all act the same, shed the same, they just don’t look the same. They have similar temperaments, characteristics, and even similar health needs. Golden Retrievers have more in common than they are different. 

Why are Golden Retrievers so expensive?

The reason why Golden Retrievers are so expensive is that they are a popular and beloved breed. However, unlike many other popular breeds, the market at this point is not saturated. 

There are fewer Golden Retriever dogs available than there are homes that want them. It’s hard to find one for less than $500 almost anywhere or in an animal shelter. They are just down to the market. 

Of course, they are great family dogs, and that helps keep them desired, popular, and deeply cared about by those who own them and those who breed them.


Although there are different “types” of Golden Retrievers, the differences are largely cosmetic. You can find both different varieties as well as different color options. They might vary in shape and size, but they won’t differ in their loving demeanor kind-heartedness. They all need regular grooming to control shedding and plenty of exercise as well.

The truth is, no matter the type or color, a Golden Retriever dog will be the perfect pet for families with kids. They are fun, smart, and easy to train and take care of. They will instantly become your new best friend and will be your companion for years to come.