Posts Tagged ‘Dark golden retriever’

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This litter was bred by Djanick Michaud of Zomarick golden retrievers in Quebec.

You can really see the intelligence in their eyes!



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It’s from an episode of a show called Bird Dogs Forever.

Pointing golden retrievers aren’t supposed to exist, but there are breeders who produce pointing Labradors. There is a lot of debate about pointing Labradors, which I will not go into here. Let’s just say it’s controversial.

However, pointing can be trained in a wide variety of breeds. Mark Derr writes about how a foxhound can be trained to point in A Dog’s History of America, as well as mentioning a pointing bloodhound that belonged to Montague Stevens, the celebrated grizzly hunter from New Mexico. Then there’s that story about the pointing coyote from Oklahoma.  It’s likely that many breeds have this capacity, and it just takes some training to bring it out and refine it.

What you will see in the clip is very informal gun dog work.  The British call this kind of hunting “rough shooting,” which means the dogs are put after truly wild birds that have never been raised in pens in an environment that is totally natural. They are not driving the pheasants out with spaniels and shooting them. They are using retrievers as spaniels– well, at least the Labrador is being used as a spaniel!

There is not a single trial or test for pointing ability in golden retrievers, and it is not at trait that is normally bred for or typically reinforced through training in this breed, which is almost universally regarded as a flushing dog when used on land-based game birds.

It is somewhat difficult to see this dog point in the video because she is almost exactly the same color as the grass.

But it is still interesting to watch.

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(Source for image)

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Well, it’s a wild goose stalk anyway.

(Source for image)

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Source for image.

This particular golden looks like a red flat-coated retriever.

Brown skinned dogs are genetically livers or chocolates that have the e/e genotype that prevents the brown pigment from appearing on the coat.

See earlier post:



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You can see from this litter of golden puppies with a dark golden mother and cream sire what the inheritance is. These puppies’ ears tell us that most of them will mature fairly dark in color, though probably not as dark as their mother:

One of these puppies will likely be a light gold, but the rest will be middle to dark gold in color.

Cream is not dominant over the dark colors in terms of inheritance.


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When I say “dark golden retriever,” this is what I mean:

We may call this dog “red.” As you can tell from the name in the JPG file. However, dogs of this color were always within the accepted range of golden retriever color.

Just not in the UK or the FCI.

And here’s another:

(Source for image.)

Djanick Michaud at Zomarick golden retrievers suggested that I include the color range for the breed. He has a very good color chart on his website.

And here it is with actual dogs for visualization purposes:



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Note that these puppies have a lot of energy at six weeks of age.

They are also already very interested in people and objects. Several of these puppies are obviously trying to get cues from the person holding the camera. They appear to be looking at the person  in the eye to glean some information about this unusual two-legged dog.

This is what performance-bred dogs are selected for: high energy, high drive, retrieving instinct, and a strong desire to pay attention to people.

Breeds that have been bred to work more independently of people tend to have different reactions to people and objects as puppies.

Take this brace of beaglets.


Beagles are relatively small scenthounds. Properly bred, trained, and socialized, a beagle can be a wonderful family dog– every bit as much as a golden retriever.  As a very small child, I had a beagle babysitter, so I know what these dogs are like.

They are quite intelligent animals when they are tracking rabbits or hares. Members of my family have trained beagles to tree squirrels and flush grouse, so they are not necessarily a breed that is entirely set to be a lagamorph trailer.

That said, a beagle is never going to have the biddablity of a performance-line golden retriever.

You can see the difference in the play behavior of these beaglets. They are less interested in the person sitting on the ground and are less interested in the objects. They are very interested in each other, which makes perfect sense– beagles were bred to run in packs.  The proper beagle temperament is very friendly toward other dogs, but it is less focused upon people than the retrievers and herding breeds are.

It is not useful to talk about “dog intelligence” without understanding that different breeds have different breed typical behavior. However, breed typical must be taken with a grain of salt. In popular breeds, where there are tens of thousands of individuals and many different lines, vast differences can appear within a breed.

It is important to understand that each dog is an individual, and each dog can be an exception to the general tendencies of its breed.

But just because these aspects are correct does not mean that understanding breed typical behavior is useless.

These breeds have been selected for many, many generations for particular behaviors and tendencies to focus on people.  It would be folly to say that these selective pressures have had no effect on these dogs. The people who originally created these breeds relied upon being able to select for behavioral conformation.

One can see how these aspects of behavioral conformation manifest themselves at an early age. As puppies play, the behavioral tendencies they inherited manifest themselves. Retriever puppies carry objects in their mouths and pay very close attention to people, while beagle puppies follow their noses and play with each other more.

Selective breeding does affect behavior. Before we can have any rational discussion about dog intelligence, it is important to understand that each breed evolved its behavior in a particular environment and culture.  Each breed became “intelligent” for its purpose, the culture of its people, and the particular environment in which it was developed.




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Bailey is the kind of golden I really like. Dark in color and lightly built. And she’s into fetching.

However, she’s going to a good home.

After appearing the Today Show, she was adopted by US Olympic bobsled captain Steven Holcomb, who is handling her in this piece.

The dog named Duke in this segment may be part Lab, but if you don’t see golden retriever in that dog, you really need to have your eyes examined.

BTW, although Matt Lauer and Steven Holcomb like golden retrievers, I can tell you from personal experience that they are maneaters!

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