Red Golden Retrievers – Are They Really Goldens?

Red Golden Retrievers – Are They Really Goldens?
By Ewen Vile

Traditional hunting dogs that Lord Tweedmouth created in his breeding program appeared more mahogany, sometimes auburn and almost red in color. But do Red Golden Retrievers really characterize the breed?

During the 1800s, Tweed Water Spaniels were popular hunting dogs. However they can only locate wild birds and cannot retrieve them because of their small size and light coat. This is one of the main reasons why the gentlemen hunters preferred a medium sized hunting dog.

They wanted one that can retrieve fowl well in the wild and even in rough waters. Apart from extreme hunting skills, they also wanted one that looks sturdy and gorgeous at work with a coat preferably of darker shade.

Starting rom a yellow wavy coated Retriever bred with a Tweed Water Spaniel, brought four yellow pups, Tweedmouth also experimented mating the yellow colored pups to a Red Setter and black wavy-coated Retriever and liver colored flat-coated Retriever. The breeding line brought about different shades of gold, from light yellow gold to a rich and lustrous reddish brown and liver color.

But what does the AKC Standard say about the coat? It says, “Rich, lustrous Golden of various shades. Predominant body color which is extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable.” An auburn or mahogany may not be ideal, but this is not an automatic disqualification. It would only matter if your Golden is competing for a title. The one with a shade within the required range will be given a higher rank than the ones with extreme colors.

If you wanted a Golden with a darker shade, you might prefer to have an American Golden Retriever. This type resembles more of the hunting dogs. Their coat is more likely inherited from the Red Irish Setters and liver colored flat-coated Retrievers. English Golden Retrievers are lighter in color compared to American Goldens.

Red Goldens or Golden Retrievers with a darker shade are more popular in field trials and canine sports because of their long limbs and agility. Also, the American Golden Retrievers are said to be more active and light weight which makes them efficient in all types of sports and field work. This is in contrast to their cream colored counterpart who is more popularly known inside the show ring.

The color may vary in shades but one thing stands true, we love this breed not just because of its golden coat but because of their heart that is made of gold.

For video and reading about what Golden Retrievers get up to, and for more tips on buying a Golden Retriever, go to

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