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Golden White, does it exist?

Differences between the American and European standard!


Nobody talks much about the differences between the types, even if they belong to the same race. There are many reasons for this situation.

First of all there is no statement from European sources because they don't see it as a problem. American Golden Retrievers are practically non-existent in other parts of the world except America. So why bother? Those European authors who write books in English are also not interested in pointing out these differences because they sell their books in the United States as well. Those people who are seriously involved in breeding and showing American Goldens have no incentive to highlight these differences either. Their goal is to comply with the AKC standard and breed the type of dog suitable for American show conditions. They also have no experience with English Goldens. Some of them purposely breed with the British to achieve certain dog properties like lighter cream color, bigger head and bulkier body, etc. For most of them this is the cheapest way to produce some of the most in demand puppies. There are also some US breeders, who believe in some advantages in this cross. The effect of both is usually still very different.

With this latest British-type proliferation in America this problem is ready to erupt. We feel that the general public should obtain correct information and more accurate data about these dogs. So far, they only know "White Goldens", "English", White Goldens, better heads and a more relaxed temperament. (Worse still some breeders feed them such information as “Short Legs” or “Glowing in the Darkness”, etc.) Either these breeders don't know what they are talking about or they are trying to trick people. In either case, you better stay away from them!

English Golden Retriever is not a Goldendoodle or other fashionable mutt. It has a Breed Standard, which has a long history, it has its purpose, it has thousands of followers around the world and it has been developed into its current state through many years of selection and its quality verified in high class programs.

Let's compare the two standards for Goldens: AKC standard used in the US by AKC and (British) Kennel Club standard used in Great Britain and rest of the world. Please note that we focus here especially on those clearly defined differences. Please refer to the original standards to make this comparison complete.

(In BRAZIL we follow the EUROPEAN standard, but why at shows and breeders create AMERICAN-type dogs?).



AKC: Males 58-60cm  ; females 54-57cm

KC: Height at the withers: Males: 55-60 cm  ; bitches: 50-55 cm

While all the correct American male dogs would qualify for European programs statistically only half of the good European males would qualify for American programs. The situation with females is even worse: Statistically only half of female American goldens would qualify for European shows and only a quarter of good European females will qualify on American shows.



AKC: Males  30-35 kg; bitches 25-30 kg.

KC:  no weight specification.

What does this mean in practice? English type Golden Retrievers are bulkier or heavier, with more bone density than Americans. It's perfectly normal - they don't have a lot of fat, after all they are more functionally selected. And how to compare an ideal greyhound with a Rottweiler for example. The first will be taller and lighter than the second. Both are still 100% within their breed specifications.

  With golden retriever females -because they are usually much smaller than specified in height if weight would be about the same. English type golden retriever males can easily reach 45 kg without being fat. I asked about this with some European Champion Owners. It can be said that there is no scale in the show - but yes, the judge goes on touching each dog and I can tell after checking 10 American and English Goldens that he/she will say that the American is too fat which is not true . They have different structures, but not fat.


Topline (top line)

AKC: Strong and level from the withers to the croup, slightly sloping, whether standing or moving.

KC:  parallel top level line



AKC: Broad and heavily muscled. Croup profile tilts slightly, the pelvic bone tilts at a slightly greater angle (about 30 degrees from the horizontal). In natural posture, the femur joins the pelvis at about a 90 degree angle; stifles well bent ; hocks very low , with strong short metatarsals .

KC: Strong and muscular, good following thighs, loin and legs, knees well bent. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from behind, not turning even out.

Surprisingly these supposedly similar requirements give a different angle in practice! This is very visible in the champions in the photos below. Is this the effect described as slightly sloping croup or all those angles in the AKC pattern?  English Goldens have a straight topline, with straighter legs, American Goldens generally have a slightly sloping topline. KC standard is concise and straightforward as to the top line level!

AKC allows (slightly) sloping croup. In practice, American judges are very lenient with this topline flaw. Check out these images of two champions:
















The human desire to drastically interfere with the dogs' aesthetics, for some reason, has been done in a brute way, and what I observed in the German Shepherd, with increasingly drooping croup, in a way this has become a vicious circle, it seems that some people want to shape the golden in the same way. Especially Americans want the topline to be more descending, unlike KC which specifies straight topline, ie if originally a bloodhound, the straight topline allows you to move properly, like wolves, or greyhounds.




AKC: Stop on the skull, slightly arched laterally and longitudinally, without prominence of the frontal bones (forehead) or occipital bones. Stop well defined but not abrupt. Muzzle broad and deep, almost as long as the skull. Muzzle of rectilinear profile, blending smoothly and strongly on the skull; when viewed in profile or from above, slightly deeper and wider at the stop than at the tip. No weight on the move. Removal of whiskers is allowed, but not preferred.

KC: Head and Skull - balanced and well chiseled, skull broad without being coarse; well set on the neck, powerful, broad and deep muzzle. Muzzle length is approximately equal to length from stop to well-defined occiput.

AKC: Friendly eyes​​ and intelligent in expression, medium large, with dark, well spaced and reasonably deep in sockets. Dark brown color preferably; acceptable medium brown. Slanted eyes and narrow, triangular eyes diminish from correct expression and are to be criticized.

KC: Eyes - dark brown, wide apart, dark eyelids.

AKC: Ears quite short with front edge attached well back and just above the eye and falling close to the face. When pulled forward, the tip of the ear should just cover the eye.

KC: Ears - Medium size, set approximately at eye level.

AKC: Neck of medium length, gradually merging into well behind the shoulders, giving a robust and muscular appearance. No dewlap.

KC: Neck - of good length, clean and muscular.

In both patterns there is no clear indication of how big the head should be compared to the rest of the body. These different specifications somehow resulted in a generally smaller head in American Goldens then in British Goldens. This is more visible to males than females in general.


British standard calls for a clean, muscular neck. It is perfectly understandable that in order to hold a bigger head a dog needs a more muscular neck. To make it look longer or thinner, there is this prep practice used excessively for the prep show in Europe. They sometimes cut off most of the hair on the dog's neck. This is why dogs in shows differ so much from normal dogs in general. There is still no mention of any cut of the mustaches in the KC pattern. And that's one of the fundamental differences. Standard KC focuses on the description of the ideal specimen. The basic function of dog titles is to make their descendants spread. Cutting, clipping and other procedures are irrelevant to the descendants that specimen is concerned. In America the way to show that the dog is often more important than the dog itself.

Another very characteristic difference is muzzle and muzzle. AKC standard wants it to be linear but say almost the length of the skull. This resulted in a smaller muzzle and more conical shape. Despite its more laconic form, KC standard is more accurate. Want snout length of approximately stop to occipital length. English Goldens definitely have larger and wider snouts which influence stronger jaws.


Eyes - Both patterns are similar, except that theoretically the AKC pattern allows for a lighter "Amber" eye color. These eyes must be penalized according to the KC norm and they are practically non-existent there. Both standards want the eyes wide apart, but it seems this is interpreted differently by the two sides. "Pure" American Goldens have their eyes very wide apart normally while the English type does not. Because Golden Retrievers who have eyes are so wide apart they tend to be slanted and narrow, triangular and diminish the correct expression at times.

Ears and specifically their position are another point of difference between the two. AKC wants ears well behind and above eye level. KC wants them at eye level. This one makes two different looks. See the photos below.






















































AKC: Tail well set on, thick and muscular at the base, following the natural line of the croup. Tail bones may extend to, but not below, the hock point. Performed with cheerful action, level or with some moderate upward curve; never bent over the back or between the legs.

KC: Set on and level of the back held, reaching the hocks, without curvature at the tip.

Both standards want the length of the tail to be hock point. I have the impression that especially for American Golden Retrievers this tail is many times longer than it should be. This one seems to be in clear opposition to the AKC standard which is very specific on this point.

Also, some of the dogs carry their tail in a more moderate curve. Look closely at some of our top dogs in the previous photos - you'll see it.














See in this photo, another clear difference from the standard. In the first photo we see an American dog with a low tail, this can be a sign of "stress" or training of the handler himself, to show that the dog is prepared, had training for exhibitions. We know that the tail is the expression of dogs and it is difficult to control it, in Europe we see this tail position less often, dogs are positioned freely, more naturally, and often wagging their tails as we can see in the second photo , our Louis at an exhibition in Europe.



AKC: Dense and water repellent with good undercoat. Outer covering firm and elastic, neither coarse nor silky, lying close to the body; can be smooth or wavy. Untrimmed natural flashing; moderate warpage around the forequarters and under the body; heavier fringes on front of neck, back of thighs and underside of tail. Coating on the head, paws, and front of the legs is short and uniform. Excessive length, open and flabby coats, light coats are very undesirable. Feet may be cropped and hair dispersed, but the coat's natural appearance or scheme should not be altered by cutting or clipping.

KC: Straight or wavy, well feathered, dense weather-resistant undercoat.

  Here we again have a long description in the AKC Standard and a very short one in the KC Standard. Why are there so many words used? To produce a dog that defies most of these?

American Goldens have more fur and many of them have a lot of fur. Golden Retriever was originally designed to be primarily a hunting dog. The terrain types for this hunt were wet, lakes and rivers often surrounded by dense trees and shrubs. All of this took place in generally very cold weather. This dense, water-repellent coat is helping this dog to cope with this weather, bushes (less sores) and this cold water. This coat should be dense and not too short, but not too long either. Too much coat does not help the dog in swimming, though running, and the bushes will be very heavy, especially when wet. Why do American Goldens have so much coat? I have seen some of these that looked like Maltese Goldens. This is true, in fact, for any breed of dog with relatively longer hair imported from the US. Their offspring after a couple of generations will have a longer coat. Why that? Because a long coat is always easier to cut, so lengthening a coat that is too short. We have the best dog grooming and pet shops in the world in the USA. That's why dogs suffer. This change of the cut-and-cut coat is against the norm. But will a judge be able to spot that on a show? This breed adaptation has gone so far that even the hair color structure is different in American Goldens.  Darker European goldens have a much lighter color then their undercoat undercoat. American Goldens coat color is more or less uniform across the hair shaft. Maybe to hide clipping and trimming? European goldens especially females are often lack of coat at an early age. It is often a reason to give up this female for a show. manipulative creators  Americans don't want this to happen to them and their girls won't have this problem. They will be ready to earn championship points that they can start earning at age 6 months. By the age of 8 months, it will be able to be produced in accordance with the AKC.

It's interesting to add something about fashion in this place. Although AKC (like KC) standard allows smooth or corrugated coating. Those with a straight coat will dominate the shows and be champions. This relationship seems to be opposite in the streets and in the backyards.




AKC : Rich, bright gold of various shades. Plumage may be lighter than the rest of the coat. With the exception of aging or bleaching of the face or body, due to age, any white marking, other than some white hair on the chest, should be penalized according to its extent. Permissible light hues should not be confused with white spots. Predominant body color that is either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should be given to the light pup whose coloration shows the promise of deepening with maturity. Any visible area of hair that is not black or otherwise is a serious flaw.

KC: Color: any shade of gold or cream, neither red nor mahogany. Some white chest hair is allowed.


As you can see, there are a lot of differences before I even got to this topic. Many people in the US think that color is unique. The truth is that when they were initially imported to the United States before the war, darker Goldens were also in vogue in the British Isles. In the 1920's and 1930's a number of dogs of the breed were exported and were in Canada in the USA. When the breed standard had first been drawn up in Britain by the Golden Retriever Club in 1911, cream had been excluded as a permissible color, and by the 1920s light-colored dogs f were not popular, the color favored being, for sometimes very red and dark indeed. but the cream  gained much in popularity in the early 1930s and in 1936 the standard was changed to read "Any shade of gold or cream, but no red or mahogany", as it was realized that a mistake had been made in not allowing the original color. How did it happen that they got darker or even darker here, while it was much lighter on the other side of the Atlantic? Different climate? The fact is that these dogs at the very beginning were not called Golden Retrievers, but Yellow Retrievers. There is evidence that early 19th and early 20th century Goldens were light or cream colored. A light, cream color is dominant and that it has a strong tendency to come back in future generations. This thesis appears to be true for English Type of Goldens only. For example, we have tried to find existing photos of our dog's ancestors. The oldest images find darker goldens. Our dog is the lightest of them all.

The cream color is undesirable by the AKC standard. Currently most European goldens, especially those brought to the US, have this coloration, although it is not desirable for shows. Some people like this color because it's a light color, so they put it to match the design of their homes, or because they can see them more easily with a dark collar, or any other excuse to select a pawn dog color instead of health. it's like.

As you can see the American standard only allows a few white chest hairs, so if goldens are white they shouldn't be. Some breeders try to persuade their customers that they have white goldens, either they are deceiving you or they don't know the breed or they are trying to invent a new breed! Please understand that color is not that important in Europe either, it is true that it is more common, but mating with different shades is no problem at all! And it's not so simple to have pale dogs, the current genetics in different ways in the golden retriever's color, even raising two European dogs we can have different shades of golden.

European type Golden Retrievers are usually lighter when young, and darken after 2 years of age, and there are many techniques in photos to make them appear lighter, the best way to see the real color is photos in the snow where possible. note that they are cream and not white.

Another interesting observation about the color is that AKC allows graying and thinning of the face or body due to age while KC says nothing about it. These older dogs don't look so nice to me. It is unlikely that you will get this if you have a dog of British origin.













This photo on the side shows a EUROPEAN bitch without any American blood, we can see that for sure despite everything we mentioned it is the same breed, and there are dark colored Europeans.

Personal opinion:

We clearly have two types of golden retrievers, even though they belong to the same breed, and it gets even more complicated when we follow the EUROPEAN standard (FCI) and ALL national breeding is based on AMERICAN dogs, it is important to emphasize that the color should NOT be a criterion for anyone to acquire a dog, the golden is special for its characteristics as a whole and is not a WHITE dog. Creation must be based on HEALTH, TEMPERAMENT, FUNCTION and BEAUTY, none of these characteristics can be left out. With my experience in breeding Europeans, I realize that health and longevity are much superior to dogs of American origin,  easily finding European goldens aged 16 years old, with lower incidence and symptoms of hip dysplasia, with significantly less skin problems (I believe it is related to the amount of smaller/shorter hair) and  of a more relaxed temperament, milder, less territorial than the Americans.
















The text was translated and adapted by me (medica veterinaria Isabella Calli) from:, at this link you can find the original article in English.


Golden Calli

Specializing in Golden Retrievers

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