Retriever: Information, Characteristics, Temperament, Health, Care & Training


Keywords: Retriever


A dog standing on grass

The Retriever is a hunting dog breed that retrieves games for hunters to collect. Retrievers are either categorized as sporting, working, or other types. Retrievers are descendants from the St. Johns Dog, now extinct, and were brought up to speed by breeding with setters and hounds in the 19th century. The Retriever was first recognized by AKC in 1917 and continued to grow in popularity since then. Retrievers have been famously trained by Sir Edwin Landseer to be used as models for his paintings such as “Dignity and Impudence” (1839-1851).


A dog sitting in the grass

Retrievers can come in three different sizes:

Standard – Female 20-23″; Male 22-25″.

Medium – Female 17-20″; Male 19-22″.

Miniature – Female less than 16″; Males less than 18″.

Retrievers are Brown, Flaxen, Dark Flaxen, Gold, or Pale in coloration with webbed feet and water-resistant coats that allow them to retrieve game from the coldest of waters without shivers.


Retriever temperament is friendly and confident which allows for great training opportunities. Retrievers are intelligent dogs so owners must be able to provide them with enough mental stimulation or they will become bored and begin chewing things around the house.

Retrievers need patient owners who can help socialize them when young because they were bred to be hunting companions so they can be very protective of their peers. Retrievers are not aggressive towards strangers which is great for families with children who want a dog that they will have to take care of. Retrievers are water dogs so they need access to an outdoor pool, ponds, or rivers in order to stay healthy and happy. Retrievers usually live around 10-13 years depending on what health problems may arise and the type of lifestyle the Retriever leads as an adult.


Since Retrievers come in three different sizes, there can be health problems associated with each size:

Standard Retriever – Hip Dysplasia and Cancer; Medium Retriever – Hip Dysplasia and Cancer; Miniature Retriever – Eye Problems and Legg-Perthes.

Care & Training

Retrievers need to be brushed regularly but not excessively in order to keep their coats clean and free of mats. Retrievers should be kept in a fenced-in yard unless they are being trained for hunting or other outdoor activities because Retrievers will run away if given the chance. Retrievers should always have fresh food and water available because they can become dehydrated very quickly after exercise even when it is hot out.

Retrievers must be taught obedience from a young age or they may gain bad habits such as jumping up on people, chewing things, digging, and barking at strangers. Retrievers cannot be allowed to roam around off-leash or else they may find their next meal in a trash can or, even worse, the neighbor’s pet dog. Retrievers should be trained to wear a muzzle while around other dogs because Retrievers have been known to play too roughly resulting in fighting. Retrievers are capable of being service dogs and could also be used as search and rescue dogs because of their intelligence and a strong sense of smell. Retrievers must always be kept on leashes while out walking otherwise they will run after anything that looks interesting which may result in unwanted confrontations with other animals or people.

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