Origin of the Golden Retriever
The breed was originally developed in Scotland, at "Guisachan",
near Glen Afric, the highland estate of Sir Dudley Marjoriebanks (pronounced "Marchbanks"), later Lord Tweedmouth. For many
years, there was controversy over which breeds were originally crossed; especially popular was a romantic story concerning
the purchase of a whole troupe of Russian sheepdogs from a visiting circus. In 1952, the publication of Majoribanks' breeding
records from 1835 to 1890 removed all doubt.
A young Golden Retriever showing the breed's broad face
and wide muzzle.The original cross was of a yellow-coloured dog, Nous, with a Tweed Water Spaniel bitch, Belle. The Tweed
Water Spaniel is now extinct but was then common in the border country. Majoribanks had purchased Nous in 1865 from an unregistered
litter of otherwise black wavy-coated Retriever pups. In 1868, this cross produced a litter that included four bitch pups.
These four became the basis of a breeding program which included Red Setter, sandy-coloured Bloodhound, St. John's Water Dog
of Newfoundland, Springer Spaniel, and two more wavy-coated black Retrievers. The bloodline was also inbred and selected for
trueness to Majoribanks' idea of the ultimate hunting dog. This vision included a more vigorous and powerful dog than previous
retrievers but that would still be exceptionally good with people and thus gentle and trainable. Russian sheepdogs are not
mentioned in these records, nor are any other working dog breeds. The ancestry of the Golden Retriever is all sporting dogs,
in line with Majoribanks' goals.
Golden Retrievers were first accepted for registration by the
Kennel Club of England in 1903, as 'Flat Coats - Golden'. They were first exhibited in 1908, and in 1911 were recognized as
a breed described as 'Retriever (Golden and Yellow)'. In 1913, the Golden Retriever Club was founded. The breed name was officially
changed to Golden Retriever in 1920.
The Hon. Archie Majoribanks took a Golden Retriever to Canada
in 1881, and registered Lady with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1894. These are the first records of the breed in these
two countries. The breed was first registered in Canada in 1927, and the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario, now the Golden
Retriever Club of Canada, was formed in 1958.
The AKC recognized the breed in 1932, and in 1938 the Golden
Retriever Club of America was formed.