Types of Retrievers

Descriptions of the Different Types of Retrievers

The chances are good then when you started asking what type of dog is good with children you were told to get a Golden or a Labrador. This is great advice! Both of these breeds are extremely tolerant and loyal. Do you know there are actually six types of Retrievers? There is also the Flat- Coated Retriever, the Curly-Coated Retriever, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, and the Chesapeake Bay Retriever.

While these dogs are not as common they are worth considering!

The Labrador retriever comes in three ‘official’ colors: black, yellow, and chocolate. I have also met silver and white Labradors. Since you are the one who will live with the dog choose the color that appeals to you! I have also met British or English Labradors. I have not noticed that the color makes as much difference as the bloodline does. Field trial Labs tend to highly energetic while show lines tend to be calmer. My Yellow Labrador, Striker was what is called a triple purpose Lab. His bloodline contained field, show, and obedience trial champions. You will be wise to talk with several breeders about the pedigree of your puppy before you make your selection.

The Golden Retriever comes in one color – gold. This gold can be anything between fox red and pale gold bordering on white. I did meet a rare brindle Golden one time but I suspect that the father was not who the breeder thought he was.

I have met many English Cream Goldens that are basically white with hints of gold. Again, as you are the one selecting the color, choose what appeals to you! Follow the same guidelines mentioned about Labrador bloodlines when choosing your Golden breeder.

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a powerful stout dog.

This breed is larger and sturdier built than the other Retrievers. The coat is dense, wavy and waterproof. They come in three colors – ‘chocolatey’ brown, sedge (red-gold), and dead grass (straw). Their eyes are a beautiful gold amber color This is not a breed for everyone! There is a toughness in the Chessie that is not typically present in the other retrievers. While Labs and Goldens make great watch dogs they are typically more likely to help the burglar take your stuff to his car instead of biting him. If this breed appeals to you I advise you to do some research and choose your breeder carefully. Chessie’s require early and often socialization and training. (ref AKC.org for breed info)

The Curly-Coated Retriever is one of the oldest of the Retriever breeds. Their coat consists of tight curls designed to be waterproof. The coat color is either black or liver. I have only worked with two Curly-Coats over the past 30 years. If you are considering this breed please visit the Curly-Coated Retriever Club of Americas for a full description.

The Flat-coated Retriever is a fun loving energetic companion. The coat is long and lies flat. The color is either liver or black. Their head is distinctive being longer and more slender than other Retrievers.

The Flat-Coats that I have worked with have been highly intelligent and very trainable. This breed is strong-willed and mischievous. I strongly urge to spend some time with this breed before deciding to add one to your family. They require lots of exercise and can easily outsmart you! Visit the Flat-Coated Retriever Club of America for details on this beautiful breed.

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of the Retrievers. The Teller is a beautiful; compact dog with a dense double coat. This means the Teller will be a seasonal shedder. The color is golden red to dark copper red. They often have white markings on the face, chest, and paws. I encourage you to look into this breed at the breed club website. www.nsdtrc-usa.org I have worked with several tellers as I have a friend who used to show and breed them.

I love their size and intelligence. The breed standard calls the breed reserved. I have noticed that these dogs need early and often socialization to prevent ‘reserved’ from turning into ‘shy’.

Please remember that early socialization and training is important for any puppy. If you select the Chessie, Curly-Coat, Flat Coated or Teller be prepared to spend extra time on socializing and training. I have met wonderful dogs from all of these breeds but I have also tough behavior cases in all of them too. Most of the behavior issues would have been prevented with thoughtful puppy raising! Allow me to remind you that rare breeds are always rare for a reason. The rarer the breed the smaller the gene pool is. You will have more difficulty locating a puppy and you will pay more for it. Good luck and remember to have fun with your puppy!