Golden Retriever
Breed Standard

Official Breed Standard for New Zealand  

Official Breed Standard for UK  

General Appearance
Should be of a symmetrical, active, powerful dog, a good level mover, sound and well put together, with a kindly expression, not clumsy nor long in the leg.
General Appearance
Symmetrical, balanced*, active, powerful, level mover; sound with kindly expression.
Biddable, intelligent and possessing natural working ability.
Kindly, friendly and confident.
Head and Skull:
Broad-skull, well set on a clean and muscular neck, muzzle powerful and wide, not weak-jawed, good stop.
Head and Skull
Balanced and well chiselled, skull broad without coarseness; well set on neck, muzzle powerful, wide and deep. Length of foreface approximately equals length from well defined stop to occiput. Nose preferably black.
Dark and set well apart, very kindly in expression, with dark rims.
Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.
Well proportioned, of moderate size and well set on.
Moderate size, set on approximate level with eyes.
Teeth should be sound and strong. Neither overshot nor undershot, the lower teeth just behind but touching the upper.
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
The neck should be clean and muscular.
Good length, clean and muscular.
The forelegs should be straight with good bone. Shoulders should be well laid back and long in blade.
Forelegs straight with good bone, shoulders well laid back, long in blade with upper arm of equal length placing legs well under body. Elbows close fitting.
Well-balanced, short coupled and deep through the heart. Ribs deep and well sprung.
Balanced, short-coupled, deep through heart. Ribs deep, well sprung. Level topline.
The loins and legs should be strong and muscular, with good second thighs and well bent stifles. Hocks well let down, not cow-hocked.
Loin and legs strong and muscular, good second thighs, well bent stifles. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from rear, neither turning in nor out. Cow-hocks highly undesirable.
Round and cat-like, not open or splay.
Round and cat-like.
Should not be carried too gay or curled at the tip.
Set on and carried level with back, reaching to hocks, without curl at tip.
Should be flat or wavy with good feathering and dense, water-resisting undercoat.
Flat or wavy with good feathering, dense water-resisting undercoat.
Powerful with good drive. Straight and true in front and rear. Stride long and free with no sign of hackney action in front.
Any shade of gold or cream, but neither red nor mahogany. The presence of a few white hairs on chest permissible. White collar, feet, toes or blaze should be penalised. Nose should be black.
Any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. A few white hairs on chest only, permissible.
Weight and Size:
The average weight in good hard condition should be: Dogs: 32 - 37 kg (70 - 80 lb) Bitches: 27 - 32 kg (60 - 70 LB).
Height at shoulder:
Dogs: 56 - 61 cm (22 - 24 in) Bitches: 51 - 56 cm (20 - 22 in).
Height at withers: dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 ins); bitches: 51-56 cms (20-22 ins).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
March 1994

Balance* -- For many of the "old time breeders" (some who have been breeding Golden Retrievers for 50 years or more), balance is an important feature of the Golden Retriever, because it is considered that if a Golden Retriever is in balance, than it follows that they should have good movement.  These breeders sometimes refer to the view that a Golden Retriever should present from the side when stacked as a "box" or a "square".  What they mean by this, is that the length from the withers to the base of the tail should visually be the same distance as from the withers to the ground.  This is illustrated in the following photo: