It’s time to celebrate National Golden Retriever Day! This February 3 national day is dedicated to one of the most popular dog breeds in the United States, the golden retriever.
Keep reading for fun facts about golden retrievers, ways to celebrate the day, golden retriever history, themed events, famous golden retrievers and more!
We’ve even included a free golden retriever coloring page at the bottom of this post. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in celebrating National Golden Retriever Day.
You can read the golden retriever facts below to your kids, and have them write their favorite one on their coloring page!
National days like National Golden Retriever Day are a fun way to celebrate a variety of topics. Be sure to check out this national days guide for more information about the history of national days and why we celebrate them.
History of Golden Retriever Day
National Golden Retriever Day is a relatively new national day. Kristen Shroyer, from the blog I Heart Golden Retrievers, created the day in 2012.
Though there are many dog related national days during the year like National Rescue Dog Day and International Guide Dog Day, Kristen realized there wasn’t a national day dedicated to golden retrievers yet.
This led her to create National Golden Retriever Day which falls annually on February 3. She chose February 3 because it was the birthday of her golden retriever named Quincey.
Sadly, Quincey died from cancer at seven years old. Even though Quincey is gone, the day is still celebrated by many!
Origin and history of golden retrievers
The golden retriever origin dates back to the Scottish Highlands in the mid 1800s. Dudley Marjoribanks, the first Lord Tweedmouth, wanted to create the perfect gun dog to retrieve game from his hunts.
For 50 years, between 1840-1890 he kept meticulous breeding records. He crossed his own yellow retriever with a tweed water spaniel (a breed which is now extinct).
Irish setter and bloodhound were also added to the breed’s mix. This breeding, and years of breeding after Lord Tweedmouth’s time, resulted in the golden retriever.
1908 marks the first appearance of golden retrievers in a dog show. The dogs, listed as “flat coats” made their debut at the Crystal Palace show in England.
The history of golden retrievers in the United States didn’t begin later, when goldens were brought to the US by way of Canada. The American Kennel Club didn’t register its first golden retriever until 1925.
Popularity of golden retrievers soared in the 1970s when President Gerald Ford introduced the world to his golden retriever named Liberty.
Golden retriever facts for National Golden Retriever Day
Brush up on your knowledge of National Golden Retriever Day with these fun facts about golden retrievers. Some may surprise you!
- Golden retrievers have webbed toes and are excellent swimmers. This is one of the qualities that makes them great hunting dogs.
- They have a double coat to keep them warm in the winter (which explains why they shed a lot).
- A golden retriever’s double coat has a naturally water-repelling effect.
- They are naturally mouthy dogs, and like to carry items in their mouth. With a golden you have to be careful what you leave out.
- One of the reasons they were bred to retrieve game animals is because they have soft mouths. Goldens can retrieve animals like ducks without damaging them.
- The average male golden retriever height is 23-24 inches and the average female golden retriever height is 21.5-22.5 inches.
- The average male golden retriever weight is 65-75 lbs and the average female golden retriever weight is 55-65 lbs.
- Golden retrievers are great with kids and other pets. The golden retriever temperament is sweet, loving and friendly. They are considered smart dogs which are eager to please.
- Because of their temperament, golden retrievers make a great choice for service dogs. They are often trained as seeing eye dogs, therapy dogs and search and rescue dogs.
Famous golden retrievers
Throughout history, there have also been several famous golden retrievers to set world records.
The record for the loudest bark belongs to Charlie, a golden retriever from Adelaide, Australia. His bark was 113.1 decibels, which is as loud as a chainsaw!
Finley Malloy is a golden retriever who holds the record for most tennis balls held in the mouth by a dog. The New York pup set the record with a whopping 6 tennis balls.
As golden retrievers are a breed of working dog, there have also been famous golden retrievers honored for their service.
Bretagne, the last surviving rescue dog from the September 11th attacks, has a statue devoted to her. The bronze statue, made in her likeness, is outside of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department in Texas.
This statue honors not only her service searching for survivors at the World Trade Center site, but also the numerous other disaster recovery missions including Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ivan.
Presidential dogs – Liberty the dog
One of the most famous golden retriever was Liberty, President Gerald Ford’s dog. In 1974 she moved into the White House and became a member of the Ford family.
Liberty even gave birth to a litter of 8 puppies while living at the White House.
People could write in to the White House and request a “pawtograph” from Liberty, which was a photo of her and the president signed with her paw print. The pawtographs were so popular that the White House had a rubber stamp made from her paw to sign them.
President Ford is not the only president to have a golden. President Ronald Reagan also had a golden retriever named Victory.
However, unlike Liberty, Victory did not live at the White House. He lived at the president’s ranch in Rancho Del Cielo, California.
Mayor Max – the mayor of Idyllwild, California
In addition to these presidential pets, there have been other famous golden retrievers in politics. The unincorporated town of Idyllwild, California has a golden retriever for a mayor!
In 2012, a golden named Mayor Max was elected from a constituent pool of 15 dogs and 2 cats. The mayoral race was a $1 per vote contest which raised $30,000 for the Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild.
Sadly in the middle of his second term, Mayor Max died of old age.
His owner, Phyllis Mueller searched for another dog from his bloodline and found three sweet pups. She named them Max II, Mitzi and Mikey.
Max II became the second Mayor Max when he was only 2 months old. Mitzi and Mikey were also made deputy mayors to help Mayor Max with this duties.
In 2014, the town of Idyllwild, CA elected Max II as mayor of Idyllwild for life.
Mayor Max takes his job seriously. He can often be spotted riding around town in his mayoral vehicle wearing a necktie, of which he owns over 100!
This famous golden retriever’s duties include things like being posing for photos, interacting with his constituents, visiting schools and being present at town events and ceremonies (to the best of his ability).
In 2022, Mayor Max III took office, accompanied by his sister Meadow. Follow this mayoral monarchy of puppies on their Instagram page.
More facts about golden retrievers
Want to learn more about goldens for National Golden Retriever day? Check out the golden retriever facts below! Some may surprise you.
- Golden retrievers are always at the top of the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds. For decades, they’ve held the number three spot!
- There are three types of golden retrievers; American golden retrievers, Canadian golden retrievers and British (or English) golden retrievers.
- There’s a breed called “miniature golden retrievers” which are actually a cross between several breeds (golden retrievers, cocker spaniels and sometimes poodles). They are 12-15 inches tall and weight between 25 and 50 pounds.
- As golden retrievers age, their coat changes color. It gets darker as they get older.
- There are three golden retriever colors registered with the American Kennel Club: golden, dark golden and light golden.
- The average litter of golden retrievers has 8 puppies, though most litters can have anywhere from 4-12 pups.
- According to the Morris Animal Foundation, 60% of golden retrievers are impacted by cancer.
- Despite their disposition to cancer, the average golden retriever lifespan is between 10 and 12 years.
- Golden retrievers ear language (the way they communicate with their ears) is not as strong as other dog breeds due to the large and floppy nature of their ears.
- The first ever photo on Instagram was of a golden retriever belonging to Kevin Systrom, one of the founders of the app.
Golden retriever movies and TV shows
Because of the temperament of golden retrievers, they have made many appearances in movies and television. Chances are, if you’re a golden retriever fan, you’ve probably seen quite a few of their movies and tv shows.
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While golden retrievers have had many on screen appearances, the list below are some of the more notable golden retriever movies. In each story, a golden retrievers play a central part in the plot.
- Air Bud, a family friendly movie made in 1997, centers entirely around a basketball playing golden retriever named Buddy.
- The Art of Racing in the Rain (based on a book by the same name) gives us a glimpse of lovable golden retriever Enzo’s inner thoughts on life, love and what it means to be human.
- In Homeward Bound, loyal golden retriever Shadow leads bulldog Chance and Siamese cat Sassy on an emotional journey back to their family.
- A Dog’s Purpose explores the meaning of life by following a dog’s who lives several different lives through reincarnation. The life where we first meet him is as Bailey, a golden retriever.
Colorado golden retriever festival
The town of Golden, in Colorado, loves golden retrievers so much that it holds a yearly golden retriever festival. The Colorado golden retriever meet up is called “Goldens in Golden”.
It’s hosted by the City of Golden and the Golden Retrievers Rescue of the Rockies (GRRR). Each year, hundreds of Colorado golden retrievers (and visiting retrievers) attend the Goldens in Golden meetup.
The event falls around National Golden Retriever Day. Take a look at their website to check the date for the current year.
Some activities the pups and their humans can look forward to are pup cups (filled with whipped cream), giveaways, vendor booths and of course the giant group photo under the “Welcome to Golden” arch.
How to celebrate National Golden Retriever Day
Happy National Golden Retriever Day!! Would you like to celebrate this February 3 national day in a special way? Try one of these ideas.
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- Plan a trip to Golden, Colorado to see hundreds of Colorado golden retrievers (and visiting golden retrievers) gathered for the event “Goldens in Golden”.
- Print out our free golden retriever coloring page here, or scroll down to the bottom and print it from the project card at the bottom of the page.
- Get your golden retriever a special toy to celebrate their day! Since they were bred to retrieve birds, you could even get them a bird shaped dog toy.
- Donate (your time or money) to a local golden retriever rescue or animal shelter.
- Brew yourself a some coffee to keep up your energetic golden. You can even pour it in a golden retriever mug.
- Take your golden retriever to do something they love, like a taking a long walk or a swim in the lake.
- Play fetch with your golden today. If your arms get tired you can always try using a tennis ball launcher.
- Take your golden to the groomer to pamper them today, after all, this day is all about them!
- Show your love for goldens with clothing. Use today to buy a new golden retriever shirt, socks, or pajamas.
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More February 3 national days
Did you enjoy learning about National Golden Retriever Day? Well you’re in luck, February 3 is host to more than just one national day!
Here is a complete list of all the February 3 national days:
- National Golden Retriever Day
- National Carrot Cake Day
- National Day the Music Died Day
- National Women Physicians Day
- National Missing Person’s Day
- National Wedding Ring Day
- American Painter’s Day
- Elmo’s Birthday
- Take a Cruise Day
More national days in February
There are close to 2000 national days in the year and over 150 of them are celebrated in February. To discover them all, have a look at this post with the national days in February.
Those who enjoy doing puzzles will love our new February word search printable of national days.
Is food your thing? Each day of the month has a food or drink associated with it, too. You’ll find all the February food holidays here.
Be sure to also check out these national days in February:
- National Chocolate Mint Day – This chocolate holiday celebrates two flavors that go perfectly together: chocolate and mint!
- National Bartender Day – If you’re a fan of cocktails, this day is for you! Check out the post for fun facts and the history of bartending.
- National Cafe Au Lait Day – This coffee-themed national day celebrates a drink that’s equal parts coffee and steamed milk.
- Super Chicken Wing Day and Pork Rind Appreciation Day – Celebrate two football snacks with their own national days that both occur on Super Bowl Sunday.
- Rose Day – Since Valentine’s Day falls in February it’s no surprise there’s a day dedicated to roses that starts off the week leading up to February 14.
Pin this post with facts about golden retrievers for National Golden Retriever Day
Would you like a reminder of this post for National Golden Retriever Day filled with golden retriever facts? Just pin this image to one of your national day boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
You can also watch our video about the national days of February on YouTube.
About the author
Since graduating from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Jess has been living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She is a freelance writer, specializing in content related to fashion, food and drink and film industry topics. Find out more about Jess here.
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