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Canadian Golden Retrievers: Here Are the Main Features That Set Them Apart From Their American and British Counterparts

Canadian Golden Retrievers: Here Are the Main Features That Set Them Apart From Their American and British Counterparts

The Golden retriever might have been born and bred in the cold country of Scotland but it is now America’s favorite breed.

What’s there not to love about this active yet calm-natured dog?

Whether you want him to play with your kids in the yard, go swimming with the family, or just cuddle on the couch, a Golden Retriever will always be happy to hang with you.

He is easy to train, thanks to his intelligence and obedience, affectionate, playful, friendly, and oh so beautiful.

If you’ve interacted with this breed, you probably know that there are three types within it: the American, British, and Canadian Golden retrievers.

In this guide, I will zoom in on the last category.

If you are looking to adopt a Canadian Golden Retriever, here’s everything to know about the variety.

What is Canadian Golden Retriever?

Canadian Golden Retrievers are a distinctive subtype of the Golden Retriever breed that have some distinct physical characteristics:

  • They are taller and leaner compared to British Retrievers.
  • Their coat is thinner and darker than American Retrievers.
  • They have less feathering on their legs, tail, and neck, and their fur is shorter and less wavy than American Retrievers.

These special traits make Canadian Golden Retrievers stand out within the larger Golden Retriever breed, giving them their own charm and individuality.

Apart from these physical characteristics, there are also other features that make Canadian Golden Retrievers different from other Golden Retriever subtypes like behavior, temperaments, facial features, and health issues.

I have compiled all these details in this guide with the hope that it helps a fellow Golden Retriever lover make a sound decision on whether this sweet Goldie subtype is the right dog to make a family companion.

Let’s begin by understanding the history of this amazing Goldie.


The fascinating history of Canadian Golden Retrievers can be traced back to the journals of Dudley Marjoribanks, (aka Lord Tweedmouth), in Inverness, Scotland, from approximately 1840 to 1890.

During the mid-1860s, Dudley is reported to have obtained a yellow wavy-coated Retriever (which he named ‘Nous’) from a litter of majorly black-coated Retrievers with golden traits.

He bred Nous with a Tweed Water Spaniel named ‘Belle’, and they had four yellow puppies that became the foundation of the breed.

These puppies were bred further, sometimes with water spaniels, Irish Setters, Labrador Retrievers, and other black wavy-coated retrievers.

 The breed gained recognition in Britain in 1908 and was officially recognized as a separate breed in 1913, initially classified as the Retriever (Golden and Yellow) before being named the Golden Retriever in 1920.

Canadian registration of Golden Retrievers began in 1927, and the Golden Retriever Club of Ontario was established in 1958, eventually becoming the Golden Retriever Club of Canada.

This history has played a significant role in shaping the wonderful Canadian Golden Retrievers we have today.

Main Features That Distinguish Canadian Golden Retrievers from Other Subtypes

Let’s now focus on some of the main characteristics that make Canadian Golden Retrievers stand out, especially when pitted against the American and British subtypes.

1. The Coat Is Thin And Short

Photo collage of Canadian Golden Retriever (# 1), British Golden Retriever (# 2), and American Golden Retriever (# 3)

What distinguishes a Canadian Golden Retriever from his counterparts is his coat.

Unlike the usual luscious and dense coat that is the breed’s signature, Canadian Golden Retrievers have shorter and thinner coats.

The texture is also smooth compared to many short-haired canines out there.

It’s not as silky as that of an Irish Setter either. The texture falls somewhere in between.

With a somewhat dense and water-repellent undercoat, this variety can hold up to the cold pretty well. After all, Canada can get very cold in winter and fall.

The feathering is also very minimal in comparison to the other varieties.

When you look at the back of the forelegs, tail, and neck, you are less likely to find a lot of feathering as is the custom with British and American varieties. The hair is way less in these regions.

2. Lean And Tall Canine

 Canadian Golden Retriever’s Height and Weight
HEIGHTMale: 23 to 24 inches
Female: 21.5 to 22.5 inches
WEIGHTMale: 65 to 75 pounds 
Female: 60 to 70 pounds

Like other Golden Retrievers, the Canadian type is a muscular, sturdy canine of medium size.

The average weight of an adult Canadian male golden is 65-70 lbs while that of females is 60-70 lbs.

The height of males ranges from 23-24 inches and females 21.5-22.5 inches.

Generally, the Canadian Golden Retriever is alleged to grow taller than the British and American variants by a few inches.

So, it can be deduced that they are the tallest and leanest among the Golden subtypes.

But these are generalizations—the real size and weight of your Golden Retriever, regardless of the variety, will often be dictated by factors such as lifestyle, diet, and health condition.     

3. Canadian Breeding Standards Allow All Golden Colors

The Canadian breed standard (set by  Canadian Kennel Club (CKC)) accepts all shades of gold. There’s no mention of a specific shade being undesirable as is the case with the American breed standard.

This is another important difference between the Canadian Golden Retriever and the other two varieties.

Let me break it further for you:

The American Golden Retriever Breed standard (set by the American Kennel Club (AKC)) doesn’t accept pale or extremely dark colors.

This implies that they consider coat colors that border these spectrums to be undesirable.

In particular, they only recognize three distinct coat color shades:

  • Golden
  • Light Golden and cream
  • Dark golden but excluding red        

Put simply, the color spectrum range set by AKC is very strict!

On the other hand, CKC accepts more color variations of the Golden Retriever Coat, including the cream color.

The organization understands that while it is desirable for Golden Retrievers to exhibit a golden color, it is natural to fall out of the range.

As such, coat colors may vary from cream, pure white, and mahogany to black—although it is rare to find black goldies.

That said, the coat of most Canadian Golden Retrievers are much darker. They usually manifest the darkest color of the three variations.

In comparison, the American Retrievers are more honey-colored while their British counterparts are cream-colored with slight range of blonde.

However, those with further markings (unless greying and whitening due to age), are often faulted. Any black areas or any off-color is a quick disqualification.

4. Head, Eyes, and Ears

Other noticeable traits that distinguish Canadian Golden Retrievers from their British and American counterparts are their facial features. Canadian Goldies have:  

  • Broad and noticeable heads
  • Dark, delicately tapered eyes
  • Ears that stand considerably further from the head. Generally, ears tend to be shorter compared to other American and British varieties

5. They are Calmer than Other Subtypes

  The Canadian Golden Retrievers are believed to be calmer than their American and British counterparts.

Still, they are high-energy dogs. Yes, Golden Retrievers have never been dogs for inactive and lazy people.

They need both long-distance walks and sprints to be happy. Walks around the neighborhood on a leash just don’t cut it.

You have to let your dog run around the yard, the park, or any other open space to fend off his energy.

Families with young kids love this breed because he will offer great company during play.

From playing fetch to swimming to Frisbee, trust a Canadian Goldie to play with you till the sun sets.

6. Friendly Disposition

Canadian Golden Retrievers are friendly and social dogs.

While all dogs are affectionate towards human beings, the Canadian Golden Retriever takes it to a whole new level.

This variety is so charming to be around that you will have such a hard time leaving him for work or errands.

When you walk through the door, your Canadian Golden Retriever will wag his tail and greet you the best way he knows how.

He will take every opportunity to hang out with you, play with you, follow you around the house and just stay by your side.

The breed will set a very high affection standard that you may value his friendship more than that of other humans. That is not necessarily healthy but you get the point…

They don’t make good guard dog though they he tend to love and embrace all, including strangers.

7. Intelligence

Golden Retrievers are famous for being intelligent. The Canadian variety is not an exception.

The Canadian Golden Retriever will blow your mind when it comes to the smarts department.

You will absolutely enjoy training him. As a working dog, you can teach him to help around the house. He can learn to watch over the baby as they sleep, empty the washer, and carry out other small chores.

The Canadian Golden Retriever is great at learning new skills in record time.

If you are not a patient owner as far as training is concerned, this is the dog for you.

8. High Maintenance Requirements

Even with a thinner and shorter coat, a Canadian Golden Retriever is still a high-maintenance dog.

He sheds a lot. If you cannot afford to have dog hair on your sofa, clothes, and surfaces from time to time, you have to try and keep shedding at bay.

Grooming should be a daily thing for you. You have to brush the coat to remove loose hairs and keep its aesthetics intact.

Thanks to its density and texture, a Canadian Golden tends to attract mats, knots, dirt, and debris in his coat.

Brushing and regular grooming takes care of the problem.

Thankfully, there’s minimal feathering on the tail, back of the legs, and necks. That means less work for you.

As a matter of fact, it is recommended that that the few hairs on these spots be left alone.

Besides grooming, Canadian Goldens also need frequent baths lest they smell and worse, harbor disease-causing bugs and microorganisms.

You want to make the coat as inhospitable for small bugs, ticks, fleas, and other creatures that will cause an infection in the end.

9. Kid-Friendly

If you have a family of young children, you have to be careful when selecting a dog to join the family.

You don’t want to pose any danger to your adorable babies.

Despite being strong and muscular, a Canadian Golden Retriever is a fantastic kid-friendly canine.

From newborns to teenagers, to adults, and elderly people, this dog doesn’t play favorites.

He is neither aggressive nor impatient—the two powerful characteristics of a good family dog.

His calm and alert nature comes in handy when hanging out with kids.

10. Health Issues

Although there are so many positive sides of owning a Canadian Golden Retriever, there’s a bad side as well.

Aside from high maintenance requirements, this variety is also prone to certain health complications like his counterparts.

These include cancer, hip and elbow dysplasia, and epilepsy.

Of course, not all dogs from this breed will suffer these complications at one point in their lifetime.

Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to always keep this in mind and have your baby checked once every two years to catch anything early.

How Much Do Canadian Golden Retrievers Cost?

Canadian Golden Retrievers are renowned for their beauty and charm, but acquiring one can be a significant investment.

The price of these beloved canines varies based on factors such as the breeder, location, and bloodline.

On average, you can expect to pay between $800 and $4000 for a Canadian Golden Retriever.

However, if you desire a dog from a champion bloodline, the cost may reach up to $8000.

The source from which you purchase your dog also plays a role in the price. Reputable breeders often charge more due to their brand, pedigree registration, and other breeding expenses.

The presence of registration papers, particularly from the Kennel Club, can also increase the price.

However, it’s important to verify registration details to ensure they are authentic.

It is worth noting that some breeders may try to charge extra based on coat color, which should not be a determining factor.

A reputable breeder will focus on the Golden Retriever’s temperament and health rather than its color.

When budgeting for a Canadian Golden Retriever, remember to consider additional costs such as medical expenses, food supplies, grooming supplies, and other necessary pet accessories.

Owning this magnificent breed requires financial preparedness beyond the initial purchase price.

Parting Thoughts

Looking for a Canadian Golden Retriever?

You are in for tons of affection, activity, beauty, and intelligence in your doggie.

This canine will certainly make your life a whole lot meaningful, fun, and rewarding.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

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