Orig­i­nally a hunt­ing and work­ing dog, the Golden Re­triever has be­come one of the most loved and rec­og­niz­able dog breeds.

Animal Scene - - CONTENTS -

You’re prob­a­bly very fa­mil­iar with the Golden Re­triever be­cause it’s been fea­tured in many ad­ver­tise­ments and dog memes. This breed is con­sid­ered one of the most lov­able, and An­i­mal Scene talked to breeder Arby Es­tolano. He has owned dogs since 2001, and be­gan show­ing them in 2007. “I stayed out of show­ing for a few years to fo­cus on my stud­ies and work, but I’m now back, show­ing and breed­ing the breed that I love. I have 4 ti­tled dogs at home, and aside from these, all of them are my loving pets and spend time with them and just have fun. Hav­ing dogs re­laxes me, and takes off all the stress from my work,” he says hap­pily. He’s the owner of our cover model Lupo and he cheer­fully shared his knowl­edge and ex­per­tise with you, our read­ers, about the Golden Re­triever.

Q: The Golden Re­triever is a very beau­ti­ful dog, of­ten used for pet food ads. In your opin­ion, what should a dog fancier look for when it comes to the breed? A:

In­deed, they are very beau­ti­ful! As a dog fancier, you should al­ways do your re­search first be­fore get­ting a Golden, or any breed, for that mat­ter. A pure­bred dog has a breed con­for­ma­tion stan­dard; this is sort of like the “Bi­ble” of what a par­tic­u­lar breed should look like and what his tem­per­a­ment should be. Q:

For you, what de­fines the breed? A:

For me, what de­fines the Golden Re­triever is its tem­per­a­ment. They’re al­ways happy and fun to be around with. Very sweet. Q:

It’s a fairly com­mon breed in the coun­try but there are many mis­con­cep­tions that can be found on sell­ing and other lo­cal fo­rums, such as “the golden re­triever needs to be fed raw meat and milk or it will be weak” or “keep it chained or it will be wild.” Can you share the worst mis­con­cep­tions about the Golden Re­triever that you’ve heard, and how you an­swer them?


There is no such thing as an XL, or XXL, or XXXL Golden. They should al­ways be within the ac­cept­able range as in­di­cated in the breed stan­dard. Gold­ens are bred to be gun dogs and to re­trieve shot prey. They can’t be too big as they will be dif­fi­cult to bring on a boat, and not too small that they will have a hard time car­ry­ing the prey. Q:

What do you breed for or choose when you breed or buy a Golden Re­triever? A:

I al­ways choose a puppy who is the clos­est rep­re­sen­ta­tive of what the breed should be like. (ref­er­ence breed stan­dard http://www. theken­nel­club.org.uk/ser­vices/pub­lic/ breed/stan­dard.aspx?id=2047). Q: How well has the breed adapted to the Philip­pines? Are there things you need to do to ac­cli­ma­tize them?

A: They have ad­justed to our cli­mate pretty well. Most of the dogs and the an­ces­tors of those dogs have been bred lo­cally al­ready. But of course, you won’t get the full and fluffy-coated Gold­ens like the ones from coun­tries with a cooler cli­mate. Q:

In your ex­pe­ri­ence, what are the char­ac­ter­is­tics of a healthy Golden Re­triever puppy? How about the adult?


They are al­ways ac­tive and play­ful. No skin ab­nor­mal­i­ties of any kind. They should al­ways be “cu­ri­ous” and “in­spect” every­thing in their sur­round­ings. Q:

How big can you ex­pect one to grow, and what is its life­span, in your ex­pe­ri­ence? A: Up to around 24 inches from the with­ers (top of the shoul­der). They are a medium to large sized breed. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, they live from 9-12 years


What do you feed your Golden Re­triev­ers? What diet does it pre­fer? You men­tioned a spe­cific type of good and eco­nom­i­cal food you feed yours which has re­sulted in healthy coats. A:

I’ve given Go Nat­u­ral! Salmon fla­vor to my dogs for some time now. Haven’t changed their diet. It is an all-stage vari­ant so I can give the same to both pup­pies and adults. It is a bit pricey, but it’s value for money. When you give good dog food, you don’t have to give any vi­ta­mins and sup­ple­ments any­more, so you get to save as well on that.


Are there any health prob­lems or con­di­tions the breed is prone to, such as with hip joints or the legs? If so then how do you deal with these? A:

As with most large breeds, Gold­ens are prone to hip dys­pla­sia. This is also ge­netic, so when get­ting a dog or a puppy, make sure you also look at the hip clear­ances of the par­ents. Lo­cally, there is no cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for this though.

Q: How much care and com­mit­ment should a Golden Re­triever’s owner be pre­pared to give them? Are they, in your ex­pe­ri­ence, emo­tion­ally needy dogs or are they more in­de­pen­dent? A:

Golden re­triev­ers love peo­ple. So it’s sad to see some that are just chained and lack in­ter­ac­tion with hu­mans. I may not be around the kennel all the time but I make sure some­one is look­ing af­ter them 24/7. They tend to be less hy­per and de­struc­tive when they are well so­cial­ized and get am­ple play time with hu­mans and other dogs on a daily ba­sis. Own­ing any dog is a huge com­mit­ment be­cause you have to make sure your dog is healthy and happy for his or her whole life­span. This in­cludes vet checks and vac­ci­na­tions, groom­ing, and ex­er­cise.


Can you tell us about how you groom them? You men­tioned a spe­cific way to cut for the tail, and lay­er­ing for the rest of the coat. Can you tell us why these are nec­es­sary? A:

I groom my dogs once a week us­ing good sham­poo and con­di­tion­ers. It’s re­ally worth the in­vest­ment be­cause you can re­ally see the dif­fer­ence. And, good dog sham­poo also pro­motes healthy coat and skin, so less skin prob­lems like hotspots and the like! (laughs)


What are the things or qual­i­ties that at­tracted you to the Golden Re­triever? A:

As a kid I’ve al­ways loved pets and dogs in par­tic­u­lar. What first at­tracted me to the Golden Re­triever was the movie “Air Bud” from the 90s. They are very friendly and they look very good be­cause of their long coats.

I got my first Golden way back in 2001 and named him “Dou­glas” af­ter my Dad’s child­hood dog. From the first day, I knew the breed was the per­fect breed for me. They are very in­tel­li­gent and can cheer you up all the time.

Q: Can you de­scribe the kind of per­son or fam­ily for whom the Golden Re­triever is best suited as a pet? Or is it bet­ter as a work­ing dog, in your opin­ion and ex­pe­ri­ence? A:

I would say the Golden Re­triever is an all-around dog. They are per­fect com­pan­ion dogs or pet dogs. They can be ser­vice dogs as well. Although you can’t train them to be at­tack dogs be­cause of their given tem­per­a­ment.


You men­tioned that they like rub­ber balls, and some­times show af­fec­tion by suck­ling on the hands or arms of those they love and trust. Can you ex­plain this for our read­ers? A:

The “suck­ling” of the arms/hands is their way to show af­fec­tion. Some call it “play bit­ing.”

Re­triev­ers love put any­thing on their mouths. As in any­thing. Lupo’s fa­vorite is a ten­nis ball. Once you show it to him, he will for­get about every­thing he is do­ing and fo­cus on that. For hours! Q:

In your ex­pe­ri­ence, how does the Golden Re­triever han­dle threats to its own­ers?


Be­cause of their friendly na­ture, they don’t re­ally show any act of ag­gres­sion to­wards any­one. I mean, they just bark once there are un­fa­mil­iar peo­ple around the kennel, but they don’t re­ally “at­tack” or any­thing. I mean, if a rob­ber would en­ter the house, I think Gold­ens will even help them carry their flash­lights! (laugh­ter) Q:

How much ex­er­cise does the Golden Re­triever re­quire? Do they also need in­tel­lec­tual stim­u­la­tion— such as games or toys? A:

My Gold­ens have play time twice a day, 30-45 min­utes per ses­sion. One re­ally early in the morn­ing, and one late in the af­ter­noon. I don’t let them out dur­ing hot hours.

Their play­time is play­ing fetch. They love to run and re­trieve so I just throw the ball and they give it back to me. Q:

Who or what kind of fam­ily is the ideal owner for a Golden Re­triever? A:

A fam­ily who can pro­vide care and time for one. I hate to see own­ers who just leave their dogs unat­tended and caged. All dogs don’t de­serve to have a life like that.


What are the three most im­por­tant things you want dog fanciers to know about the Golden Re­triever? A:

It takes one’s full com­mit­ment to own them. They de­serve all the love and care. As with any other dog (smiles).

Never, ever, be a cheap­skate to your dogs. Give them the best that you can af­ford.

We have our own lives, and our dogs are only part of it. But to them, we are their only source of joy. So spend time with them and make them part of your own fam­ily.

Pho­tos by JEF­FREY C. LIM

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