The Golden Retriever may rank third on the annual American Kennel Club list of most popular dog breeds in the United States, but these devoted dogs hold the top spot in the heart of anyone who has ever welcomed a Golden into their heart and home. Golden Retrievers are so popular that they have their very own pet holiday–National Golden Retriever Day–which takes place on February 3rd!
To mark National Golden Retriever Day, we’ve fetched a few fun facts!
Golden Retriever Trivia
- Golden Retrievers originated from Scotland in the mid-19th century!
- If you are a pet parent to a Golden Retriever, check out your tail-wagging chum’s toes and you’ll find that they are webbed! This feature comes in handy when they are in the water.
- Golden Retriever coats come in three colors that are officially recognized by the American Kennel Club: light golden, golden and dark golden.
- Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers take top dog honors as being the breeds most chosen for the vital work of a service dog.
- Golden Retrievers are among the most intelligent tail-waggers, trailing only behind the Border Collie, Poodle and German Shepherd.
- A Golden with a heart of gold, Bretagne was among the dogs who searched amid the rubble on The World Trade Center in the wake of 9/11 and helped in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan. Today dog devotees can visit a statue of her likeness, which was placed within sight of the Cypress, Texas volunteer fire department where she worked alongside her handler.
- Liberty (full name Honor’s Foxfire Liberty Hume) joined the family of President Gerald Ford at The White House in 1974. Dogs lovers who sent fan mail to the First Fido received a photo of Liberty complete with a “pawtograph” made from a rubber stamp created from her own paw print.
- A Golden Retriever named Finley Molloy fetched a Guinness Book of World Records title for holding the most tennis balls in his mouth at once… six!
- One of the original sur”fur”s, Ricochet— a Golden Retriever who often surfs with people with special needs– made history when she and 16 other tail-waggers who love to hang ten (or, in their case, eighteen!) stood on a surfboard together to earn a Most Surfing Dogs On A Surfboard At One Time spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.
- Helping dogs who need a forever home, the cast of Full House reunited to croon the tune “Gotta Love a Golden“! Written by the Golden-centric TV series Full House and Fuller House creator Jeff Franklin, the song’s music video features canine cameos by his own two barking buddies. Proceeds from “Gotta Love a Golden” benefited PetSmart Charities.
High-Profile Pet Parents of Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers have always been popular among the “pup”arazzi set! Here are just a few of the many famous faces who have made a Golden Retriever a member of their family over the years:
- Chris Colfer — Golden Retriever lovers sang the praises of the former Glee star when he heard the happy news that he had adopted Cooper from Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue.
- Daniel Henney — Rescued from a South Korean dog meat farm by Humane Society International, Juliette traveled to the US to find a forever pet parent in Criminal Minds star Daniel Henney.
- Miranda Lambert — Named after iconic country crooner Waylon Jennings, Miranda Lambert’s fur baby was rescued from the roadside by his famous pet parent in 2008, a year before the platinum-selling singer and her mother co-founded the rescue organization MuttNation. When Waylon crossed Rainbow Bridge in 2020, the country music star planted a tree in his honor.
- Lisa Vanderpump — Among the reality personality/Vanderpump Dog Foundation co-founder’s coterie of canine companions are Goldens Rumpy Pumpy and Avery.
- Betty White — The entertainment legend’s four-pawed pal Pontiac starred alongside his high-profile human in a PSA to raise awareness of Morris Animal Foundation’s effort to end canine cancer:
Golden Retrievers on the Silver Screen
- Buddy — A former stray who gained fame as a barking basketball player, Buddy brought his antics to the big screen in the 1997 movie Air Bud.
- Enzo — A Golden Retriever named Parker portrayed the pooch protagonist in his prime in the cinematic adaptation of the best-selling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain, while senior Butler stepped into the role for Enzo’s golden years. (Academy Award winner Kevin Costner provided Enzo’s internal voice.) In an Entertainment Weekly interview,, actor Milo Ventimiglia– who starred as the dog’s pet parent in the film– described two-year-old Parker as “the most zen soul I’ve ever seen in my life” while nine-year-old Butler was “kind of like a teenager.”
- Harvey — A Golden Retriever played Elliott’s four-pawed pal in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial.
- Shadow— It took the voice of Hollywood great Don Ameche and four Golden Retrievers to bring the character of Shadow to life in Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.
Golden Retrievers on TV
- Brandon — Portrayed by a Golden Retriever called Sandy, Brandon was Punky’s pal on the 80s NBC sitcom Punky Brewster.
- Comet — Answering to the same name as his small screen character, Comet went from being without a home to a role in Full House after his adoption from Golden Retriever Rescue!
- Cosmo — Golden Retriever Cosmo, who answered to the same name as his character on the Full House reboot Fuller House, portrayed the great-grandson of the Tanner family’s beloved barking buddy, Comet.
- Jess — A Golden Retriever named George brought the character of veterinarian Sigfried Farnon to the small screen in the latest TV adaptation of All Creatures Great and Small.
- Pretzel — Levi and Trip star as guide dog Pretzel in The CW series In the Dark.
- Shelby — Before he was known as Superman, Clark Kent was a super pal to a Golden Retriever called Shelby. The four-pawed Smallville star was portrayed by Bud, who appeared in 17 episodes of the CW series.
- Speedy — Ajax fetched a lot of laughs during his stint on the sitcom The Drew Carey Show.