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Differences between English Golden Retrievers and American Golden

There are a few differences in the American Golden and English Golden (From

Even though American goldens descend from English lines imported to the USA via Canada, in the United States the breed evolved and developed differently than its English counterpart, because of its different bloodlines, and because it was bred according to the American Kennel Club standard, rather than the standard of the Kennel Club of the UK. Let's take a look at a few differences.

The English golden retriever generally has:

  • a heavier, stockier build;

  • a broader head;

  • rounder eyes;

  • a darker nose;

  • a more protruding chest;

  • a straighter top line;

  • and yes, a generally lighter coat color. But both light- and dark-colored goldens can be found among American and English dogs.

The American has a leaner, more lightweight appearance, the back end is sloping, and the coat color is yes, generally, darker.

Are English-Bred Golden Retrievers Healthier? Possibly.

There is at least a little evidence that on average the English bloodlines are healthier. A 1998 study found that 61.8 percent of American goldens died from cancers such as hemangiosarcomas, lymphosarcomas, mast-cell tumors and osteosarcoma; whereas a 2004 British Kennel Club study found that only 38.8 percent of goldens from English bloodlines were affected by cancer. Also, studies found that goldens from English bloodlines had an average lifespan of 12 years and 3 months, whereas, for American goldens the average was 10 years and 8 months.

This data might sound impressive, but is an English retriever is immune from cancer and will die only at a ripe old age? No, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence for English retrievers dying from cancer and living shorter lives than expected. The truth is, it's all about good breeding lines, not about whether a golden retriever is English or American, cream-colored or toffee-colored. The secret to health and longevity is ultimately a combination of nature and nurture, that is, good genes plus optimal care by responsible owners.

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