Contents and Quick Navigation
- What is a Black Golden Retriever?
- Personality and Temperament
- How to Train a Black Golden Retriever
- How To Care For a Black Golden Retriever
- Buyer’s Guide
- Quick Breed Summary Table
What is a Black Golden Retriever?
The most important fact to know about the Black Golden Retriever is that it is not a real dog breed. It is not a recognized “breed” by the American Kennel Club, the UK Kennel Club, or the Canadian Kennel Club according to their registrars. When people talk about Black Golden Retrievers, they are talking about dogs that look like Golden Retrievers but happen to have black coats.
Dogs referred to as “Black Golden Retrievers” have most of the same physical and personality characteristics as Golden Retrievers, but due to mixing in another breed in the near or distant past, some or all puppies in a litter are born black.
Black Golden Retrievers are, therefore, Golden Retrievers with black fur and are disqualified from participating in American Kennel Club shows or receiving pedigree papers. However, these dogs still make wonderful pets. And at the end of the day, color doesn’t determine a dog’s personality, just as it doesn’t for people!
Two purebred Golden Retrievers can produce a litter with one or more black pups. That is due to the way that Golden Retrievers came into existence. In 1868 a Scottish man named Lord Tweedmouth bred Nous, a black wavy coated retriever mix from an unregistered litter, with Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel. This match produced a litter of three wavy coated, yellow puppies that were the base for continued breeding. Lord Tweedmouth continued to work towards perfecting what would one day be recognized as the Golden Retriever.
He used the Irish Setter, the sandy-colored Bloodhound, the Newfoundland, and Flat-Coated Black Retriever in breeding efforts. His ultimate goal was to produce a dog that was kind, loyal, cheerful, and energetic – and also had the ability to retrieve downed waterfowl on hunting trips. In the 1890s the first Golden Retriever was brought to the United States, and from then on that breed has become extremely popular.
So, one reason that a Black Golden Retriever is black, could be because it carries the recessive genes of the Flat-Coated Black Retriever. Another reason could be that more recently, someone added another black dog to the equation without reporting this breach of breeding practices. Black Labrador Retrievers, Black German Shepherds, and Black Goldendoodles have all been mated with Golden Retrievers, adding the gene for black fur into the bloodline, and ultimately leading to the birth of what laymen call Black Golden Retrievers.
A puppy’s black coated relatives may be from just one generation back or may have lived several generations ago. But whoever knowingly breeds purebred Golden Retrievers with a black dog is ultimately “polluting” the gene pool of the highly valued Golden Retriever breed.
On the one hand, the nicest way to describe a Black Golden Retriever is to call it a Golden Retriever with bad genes. The worst thing to call this dog is a mutt. But from the point of view of any Black Golden Retriever you encounter, he is just a dog like any other in his desire for attention, proper care, and a loving owner.
If you want a show dog, the Black Golden Retriever is not something to even consider. But if you want a wonderful pet, a Black Golden Retriever is an excellent choice.
Aside from having a black coat, a Black Golden Retriever looks and carries itself exactly like a purebred Golden Retriever.
The Black Golden Retriever is a well-proportioned, robust-looking dog. It has a steady, balanced, well-coordinated gait. Everything about the Black Golden Retriever’s appearance lends an air of nobility and charm.
This dog has a wide face and a straight muzzle that blends smoothly into the skull. With wide set, medium-sized dark brown eyes, the Black Golden Retriever has an intelligent, friendly expression. Its ears hang down close to the cheeks, falling just above the eyes. The teeth come cleanly together in a scissors bite.
The Black Golden Retriever has a strong, straight back and a broad chest. The front legs are straight and sturdy, and the hindquarters are muscular. The medium-sized feet are compact with thick pads.
Black Golden Retriever Weight and Size
Black Golden Retriever males weigh between 65 and 75 lb (29 – 34 kg), and females weigh between 60 and 70 lbs (27 – 32 kg). Males are between 23 and 24 in (58 and 61 cm) tall, females have a height of between 21.5 and 22.5 in. (54.6 – 57.1 cm). Since the Black Golden Retriever is not a purebred dog, there can always be variations in its height and weight. But in general, it has the same body size as a Golden Retriever.
Black Golden Retrievers are completely black. But since this dog has never been recognized as an official breed, no research has gone into determining which genes it carries. And it is very possible that if you were to mate two Black Golden Retrievers, some or all of the puppies could be different colors altogether.
The color of any dog’s coat is determined by the genes it carries, and whether two pairs of recessive genes or at least one dominant gene are in the picture. Golden Retrievers have two recessive genes that give them either red or yellow hair. Occasionally, there are genetic mutations that can produce a black patch of fur or a black facial birthmark on a Golden Retriever’s coat. But a purebred Golden Retriever can never be all black.
The American Kennel Club official standard for the Golden Retriever states: “Color: Rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than the rest of the coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body due to age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest, should be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are not to be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should be given to the light puppy whose coloring shows promise of deepening with maturity. Any noticeable area of black or other off-color hair is a serious fault.” [italics by author]
The point is, a Black Golden Retriever is always completely black. There is no question about its color, but there is always a question about where it can include the name “Golden” in its name…
Like the purebred Golden Retriever, a Black Golden Retriever has a water-resistant outer coat and a soft insulating undercoat. The topcoat has wavy hair, and the undercoat is soft and silky. The Black Golden Retriever’s undercoat protects it from the heat in the summer and cold in the winter and sheds in both the spring and fall.
On the backs of its fore-legs the Black Golden Retriever has slight feathering, and on the backs of their thighs, the fronts of their necks, and the undersides of their tails, there is heavier feathering.
If your dog’s coat is very long, and not very thick, it is probably a Flat-Coated Retriever, and not a Black Golden Retriever (or, not a Golden Retriever that happens to be black…).
Personality and Temperament
Just because your dog is black, it doesn’t mean he has a dark personality. For some unexplained reason, people often perceive yellow or white dogs as being the friendliest, and dark-colored dogs as being aggressive or scary. Perhaps it goes back to the time when people associated black cats with witchcraft, and black dogs appeared in Medieval European folklore as evil spirits, bearers of bad omens, or even ghosts. But there is absolutely no basis to the superstitions that black pets have mean or aggressive personalities. Your Black Golden Retriever will have the same desirable personality as any other Golden Retriever.
The Black Golden Retriever is extremely loving and affectionate. It is a loyal dog but is also so friendly that it is basically useless as a guard dog. Your Black Golden Retriever will greet a thief with the same welcoming enthusiasm that he greets your closest friends.
Black Golden Retrievers love being outdoors and love the water, and are fun-loving and eager to please. Therefore, this dog is a wonderful companion on family trips. You won’t ever have to worry about your Black Golden Retriever being shy or nervous in an unfamiliar situation, or behaving aggressively towards other people and dogs you meet.
Behavior around other dogs
Black Golden Retrievers are very friendly around other dogs. Even if you are an introvert and prefer to keep to yourself, your Black Golden Retriever will be going up to total strangers to introduce himself, and initiate play with other dogs you encounter. Because of their calm demeanor, Black Golden Retrievers can even make more skittish or aggressive dogs feel comfortable around them.
If you own other pets or plan to own more pets in the future, the Black Golden Retriever is a perfect dog to bring home. He will get along well with other dogs, cats, or even rabbits in your home. You don’t need to worry about your Black Golden Retriever fighting for the position of alpha, or harming smaller pets.
Is a Black Golden Retriever a good Family Dog?
The Black Golden Retriever is a perfect family dog. Probably one of the best types of dogs you could choose from. Like Golden and Labrador Retriever breeds, Black Golden Retrievers are very gentle and patient. They know how to play with small children without accidentally knocking them over, and they have no tendency to nip or bite.
Black Golden Retrievers need to be around their owners to be happy. They want to be part of every party, every excursion, and will even want to sit at your side while you watch TV. Black Golden Retrievers thrive on attention and love to be petted, so the bigger the family, the better!
How to Train a Black Golden Retriever
Black Golden Retrievers – like their Golden cousins – are highly intelligent and eager to please. The combination of those two traits makes for a dog that is very easy to train. If you don’t know how to train a dog, it’s a good idea to join a class. It would be a shame not to take advantage of the Black Golden Retriever’s potential to learn so much more than a few basic commands.
Retrievers are taught to participate in search and rescue operations, to sniff out explosives and narcotics, and to serve as guide dogs for the blind. You may not need your Black Golden Retriever to learn any of those skills as your family pet, but at least you can teach him to find and bring you your slippers, or bring the paper in from outside on cold mornings.
While most Retriever breeds have excellent temperaments, to begin with, it is still very important to train them well at an early age to make sure they reach their potential in terms of obedience and understanding. First of all, socialization training is important. Your Black Golden Retriever needs to learn that you are the one to decide who is friend, and who is foe. His nature will be to greet everyone cheerfully, while you want him to know that not every person who approaches your home is automatically welcome to enter.
The other important thing to work on with your Black Golden Retriever is obedience training. You want him to understand and obey simple commands immediately, as opposed to only after you repeat them several times. For example, your Black Golden Retriever is a very affectionate dog, and may spontaneously jump up on you to greet you every time you come home.
But that is a habit you definitely want to break because Black Golden Retrievers get very big and could easily knock young children or frail older people over when they engage in this “loving” behavior. Every time your Black Golden Retriever jumps on you (or the sofa, or your bed), tell him firmly “no” or “stop” or “down”, and reward him when he retreats. Once he learns that jumping is not allowed, it should only take one warning to remind him when you open your front door to guests.
How To Care For a Black Golden Retriever
While Black Golden Retrievers need a lot of exercise, they aren’t like the breeds that need to go on long runs or exhausting hikes through rough terrain. What they need is variation and lots of fun. Your Black Golden Retriever will enjoy going to the dog park, swimming in any type of water, and simply playing fetch. This dog is so eager to please that it will continue retrieving a ball you throw until it is so tired it lays down and literally won’t be able to get up for a while.
This is a dog that loves being with you so much, he will immediately love whatever activity you choose to do with him. Who could ask for a better friend than that? Whatever kind of exercise you give your Black Golden Retriever, make sure you leave him with enough energy to walk back home. This isn’t a little dog that you can easily pick up and carry.
Grooming and Shedding
Just as Golden Retrievers are heavy shedders, so are Black Golden Retrievers. Their thick coat sheds the most when the seasons change, once or twice a year. But all year long your Black Golden Retriever will shed to some extent, and the only way to prevent your entire home from being covered in dog hairs is to brush your dog well at least twice a week.
Use a slicker brush to remove tangles and matted hair from the undercoat. Then use a bristle brush on the topcoat to remove dirt and loose hairs. Your Black Golden Retriever will absolutely love it if you use a grooming mitt because the sensation of being “petted” with this hair removal glove is much nicer than the sensation created by brushes.
You don’t need to bathe your Black Golden Retriever too often. After washing his coat, always wait until your Black Golden Retriever is completely dry before brushing him.
Since this is not a dog that spends hours digging and climbing in rough terrain, you will need to have your Black Golden Retriever’s nails clipped on a regular basis. If you don’t want to spend time and money taking him to a professional groomer for this task, you can buy your own nail clippers and ask your vet to show you how to use them.
What to Feed A Black Golden Retriever
You need to carefully monitor what your Black Golden Retriever eats since if the amount of food given to him isn’t monitored, he will gain too much weight. Puppies should be fed about three cups of dog food per day, divided into three meals until they are about six months old. Adults can eat up to five cups per day, depending on their activity level. Table scraps should be kept to a minimum. It is very endearing when your Black Golden Retriever begs for food with his sweet eyes, but it isn’t so endearing to own an overweight, unhealthy dog due to his consuming too many calories!
A Black Golden Retriever can have a healthy life eating cheap dog food, but because it is so closely related to the purebred Golden Retriever, it will be even healthier if you buy it high-quality food. Purebred dogs tend to have more health problems than mixed breeds, and also have more sensitive stomachs.
Since Golden Retrievers are prone to developing cancer, make sure you avoid cancer-causing ingredients in your Black Golden Retriever’s food. Avoid all commercial dog foods that contain: Ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, propylene glycol, or sodium nitrate/nitrite. Foods can be preserved with natural ingredients such as Vitamins E and C, rosemary, and other herbs.
To prevent skin allergies in your Black Golden Retriever, never feed him food that has expired, that has mold on it, or that has grease on the outside of the package. This is a very sensitive dog, and can’t survive and anything he can chew and swallow like many mixed breeds seem to do.
If you buy high-quality food for your Black Golden Retriever, there is a better chance that he will enjoy the following benefits:
- A healthy heart
- A well-functioning digestive system
- Fewer allergies, and healthy skin
- Strong, healthy bones and joints
- A lush, soft coat
Known Health Problems
Since the only real difference between Black Golden Retriever and standard Golden Retrievers is the color of the coats, all the health issues that the latter suffers from also affect the former. That includes hip and elbow dysplasia, thyroid problems, cataracts, patellar luxation, epilepsy, and cancer. Cancer is the number one killer of Golden Retrievers, so it’s something to watch out for in your Black Golden Retriever too.
If you purchase your Black Golden Retriever from a registered breeder, ask to see papers from both the puppy’s parents. Make sure that both parents have been cleared for hip dysplasia, in order to minimize the chance that your puppy will ever develop it.
Possible signs of cancer in your Black Golden Retriever include loss of appetite, swellings anywhere on his body, abnormal or unpleasant odors coming from his mouth or ears, sores that fail to heal, and sudden weight loss.
On the other hand, your Black Golden Retriever may be at a slightly lower risk of developing any condition that Golden Retrievers do, simply because it is a hybrid dog. That means it has some other genes mixed in with the purebred genes, and it leads to something called hybrid vigor.
How to Choose a Black Golden Retriever Puppy
Since the Black Golden Retriever is not a recognized breed by any of the established kennel clubs in the world, there is no supervision of breeders claiming to sell puppies from this “breed”. If you decide to buy a Black Golden Retriever, stay away from anyone advertising “purebred” pups. There is no such thing!
The best way to find a healthy Black Golden Retriever puppy is to contact Golden Retriever breeders in your area and ask if they have any black puppies for sale. The other possibility is to find someone selling black puppies, who can show you pictures and/or papers from both parents. For example, if someone mated a Golden Retriever with a Black Labrador Retriever, and the litter produced included black puppies, at least you know why they are black. And knowing who the puppy’s parents are, makes it easier to know what type of temperament you can hope for, and what types of health issues to watch out for.
One more way to get a Black Golden Retriever is to search in Rescue Organizations and websites selling older dogs. There is a phenomenon called “Black Dog Syndrome” in some parts of the United States. It is an irrational belief that black dogs have more behavior issues, or are scarier than other dogs, or simply aren’t as attractive, and it causes people to abandon black dogs more often and adopt them less often.
The website “Petfinder” did a survey of how long dogs remain in rescue care before getting adopted. The survey found that black and other less desirable dogs take nearly four times longer to find a home than other dogs available. So the chance of finding a black dog in a shelter is relatively high. The question is, will you be able to find a Black Golden Retriever?
How Much Do Black Golden Retrievers Cost?
The average price you will end up paying for a Black Golden Retriever is somewhere between $1000 and $2000 dollars. Never pay any amount of money for a dog that someone tells you is a “purebred Black Golden Retriever”, because there is no such animal.
To buy a Black Golden Retriever with purebred Golden Retriever parents, you will have to deal with a breeder who sells Goldens. Ask if the price for black puppies is any different than it is for the other puppies in the litter. The answer should be no. Color does not determine price, and if anything, the black puppies should be cheaper than their gold or red siblings, because you will never be able to breed them with other top Golden Retrievers.
Look for a litter with a black pup, but make sure the litter’s mother has a good temperament. Finding a puppy with a calm, friendly personality should be more of a priority than finding one that is black.
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Quick Breed Summary Table
Before starting your search for a Black Golden Retriever puppy or dog, it is important to understand the difference between Black Golden Retrievers and other similar looking black breeds. If you simply want to get a large Retriever type dog that is black, then any of the three other dogs in the table below will fulfill that desire. But if you specifically like the traits of Golden Retrievers more than those of other Retriever breeds, then the Black Golden Retriever is the best choice of the three.
|Black Golden Retriever||Flat-Coated Retriever||Black Labrador Retriever||Black Newfoundland|
|height||Male: 22-24 inches (56-61cm)|
Female: 20-22 inches (51-56 cm)
|22-23 inches (56-58 cm)||Male: 22-24 inches (56-61cm)|
Female: 21-23 inches (53-58 cm)
|Male: 27-29 inches (69-74 cm), Female: 25-27 inches (63-69 cm)|
|weight||Male: 60-80 pounds (27-36 kg)|
Female: 55-70 pounds (25-32 kg)
|Male: 65-85 pounds|
Female: 55-70 pounds
|Male: 60-75 pounds (27-34kg)|
Female: 55-70 pounds (25-32 kg)
|Male: 130-150 pounds (59-68 kg), Female: 100-120 pounds (45-54 kg)|
|lifespan||10 – 12 years||10 – 13 years||10 – 12 years||9 – 12 years|
|coat||short and wavy, thick||long and wavy, thin||short, straight, hard||fluffy, thick|
|temperament||reliable, trustworthy, confident, friendly, kind||confident, outgoing, devoted, friendly||friendly, happy, easy-going, cheerful, gentle, social||gentle, loyal, social, cheerful, courageous|
|trainability||very intelligent, very easy to train, sensitive to harsh and strict treatment||intelligent, easy to train||highly intelligent, extremely obedient, very easy to train||very intelligent, easy to train|
|exercise needs||does not run away, average need for exercise, enjoys exercise that involves play, tendency to overexert itself||very high impulse to wander, high exercise needs, good jogging companion||very energetic, enjoys jogging and intense games, love to be given “jobs”||average energy level, does not need excessive amounts of exercise aside from daily walks|
|family dog||Very calm and patient, excellent with children||difficulty controlling their energy, unsuitable for families with young children||Very playful and affectionate, excellent with children||Stranger friendly and child-friendly, very affectionate, excellent watchdogs|
|price||$1000 – $2000 USD||$1300 – $1800 USD||$800 – $1500 USD||$1500-$2000 USD|
We live in a world where a lot of people believe in the existence of things that other people adamantly deny. Years ago, people argued about whether or not aliens and UFOs were real. In more recent times, people have questions about the impact (or lack of impact) of Covid-19, 5G technology, and even social media on the world’s population.
Among dog lovers, owners, and breeders, some people swear that Black Golden Retrievers are a breed of their own, and are being discriminated against by the Golden Retriever clubs who refuse to recognize it. Then there are the people who tell you that Black Golden Retrievers are nothing more than flukes of nature, mutts, or imposters in the Golden Retriever world.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to pay attention to what either of these groups believes. If what you want is a Black Golden Retriever, then find one and bring it home. Give it lots of love, and it will love you right back and be a wonderful pet for many years to come. What do dogs know about pedigrees, fur color, and registration? All a dog knows is that it wants a good home. If you can give a home to a Black Golden Retriever that nobody else wants, go for it!
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