(The American Kennel Clubs Standard and Description)

General Appearance

A symmetrical, powerful, active dog,
sound and well put together, not clumsy
nor long in the leg, displaying a kindly
expression and possessing a personality
that is eager, alert and self-confident.
Primarily a hunting dog, he should be
shown in hard working condition. Overall
appearance, balance, gait and purpose
to be given more emphasis than any of
his component parts.
Faults--Any departure from the described ideal shall be considered faulty
to the degree to which it interferes with the breed's purpose or is contrary
to breed character.

Size, Proportion, Substance

Males 23-24 inches in height at withers; females 21-22 inches. Dogs
up to one inch above or below standard size should be proportionately
penalized. Deviation in height of more than one inch from the standard
shall disqualify.
Length from breastbone to point of buttocks slightly greater than height at
withers in ratio of 12:11. Weight for dogs 65-75 pounds; bitches 55-65


Broad in skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally without
prominence of frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop well
defined but not abrupt. Foreface deep and wide, nearly as long as skull.
Muzzle straight in profile, blending smooth and strongly into skull; when
viewed in profile or from above, slightly deeper and wider at stop than at
tip. No heaviness in flews. Removal of whiskers is permitted but not
Eyes friendly and intelligent in expression, medium large with dark,
close-fitting rims, set well apart and reasonably deep in sockets. Color
preferably dark brown; medium brown acceptable. Slant eyes and narrow,
triangular eyes detract from correct expression and are to be faulted. No
white or haw visible when looking straight ahead. Dogs showing evidence
of functional abnormality of eyelids or eyelashes (such as, but not limited
to, trichiasis, entropion, ectropion, or distichiasis) are to be excused from
the ring.
Ears rather short with front edge attached well behind and just above the
eye and falling close to cheek. When pulled forward, tip of ear should just
cover the eye. Low, hound-like ear set to be faulted.
Nose black or brownish black, though fading to a lighter shade in cold
weather not serious. Pink nose or one seriously lacking in pigmentation
to be faulted. Teeth scissors bite, in which the outer side of the lower
incisors touches the inner side of the upper incisors. Undershot or
overshot bite is a disqualification. Misalignment of teeth (irregular
placement of incisors) or a level bite (incisors meet each other edge to
edge) is undesirable, but not to be confused with undershot or overshot.
Full dentition. Obvious gaps are serious faults.

Neck, Topline, Body

Neck medium long, merging gradually into well laid back shoulders, giving
sturdy, muscular appearance. No throatiness.
Backline strong and level from withers to slightly sloping croup, whether
standing or moving. Sloping backline, roach or sway back, flat or steep
croup to be faulted.
Body well balanced, short coupled, deep through the chest. Chest
between forelegs at least as wide as a man's closed hand including
thumb, with well developed forechest. Brisket extends to elbow. Ribs long
and well sprung but not barrel shaped, extending well towards
hindquarters. Loin short, muscular, wide and deep, with very little tuck-up.
Slab-sidedness, narrow chest, lack of depth in brisket, excessive tuck-up
to be faulted.
Tail well set on, thick and muscular at the base, following the natural line
of the croup. Tail bones extend to, but not below, the point of hock.
Carried with merry action, level or with some moderate upward curve;
never curled over back nor between legs.


Muscular, well coordinated with hindquarters and capable of free
movement. Shoulder blades long and well laid back with upper tips fairly
close together at withers. Upper arms appear about the same length as
the blades, setting the elbows back beneath the upper tip of the blades,
close to the ribs without looseness. Legs, viewed from the front, straight
with good bone, but not to the point of coarseness. Pasterns short and
strong, sloping slightly with no suggestion of weakness. Dewclaws on
forelegs may be removed, but are normally left on.
Feet medium size, round, compact, and well knuckled, with thick pads.
Excess hair may be trimmed to show natural size and contour. Splayed
or hare feet to be faulted.


Broad and strongly muscled. Profile of croup slopes slightly; the pelvic
bone slopes at a slightly greater angle (approximately 30 degrees from
horizontal). In a natural stance, the femur joins the pelvis at approximately
a 90-degree angle; stifles well bent; hocks well let down with short,
strong rear pasterns. Feet as in front. Legs straight when viewed from
rear. Cow-hocks, spread hocks, and sickle hocks to be faulted.


Dense and water-repellent with good undercoat. Outer coat firm and
resilient, neither coarse nor silky, lying close to body; may be straight or
wavy. Untrimmed natural ruff; moderate feathering on back of forelegs and
on underbody; heavier feathering on front of neck, back of thighs and
underside of tail. Coat on head, paws, and front of legs is short and even.
Excessive length, open coats, and limp, soft coats are very undesirable.
Feet may be trimmed and stray hairs neatened, but the natural
appearance of coat or outline should not be altered by cutting or clipping.


Rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than
rest of coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body
due to age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest,
should be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are
not to be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is
either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude
should be given to the light puppy whose coloring shows promise of
deepening with maturity. Any noticeable area of black or other off-color
hair is a serious fault.


When trotting, gait is free, smooth, powerful and well coordinated,
showing good reach. Viewed from any position, legs turn neither in nor
out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. As speed increases,
feet tend to converge toward center line of balance. It is recommended
that dogs be shown on a loose lead to reflect true gait.


Friendly, reliable, and trustworthy. Quarrelsomeness or hostility towards
other dogs or people in normal situations, or an unwarranted show of
timidity or nervousness, is not in keeping with Golden Retriever character.
Such actions should be penalized according to their significance.


Deviation in height of more than one inch from standard either way.
Undershot or overshot bite.

Approved October 13, 1981
Reformatted August 18, 1990

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