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Download the extended breed standard here.
The Breed Standard is an important document.  It describes the perfect Golden Retriever in terms of his structure, size and colour.  A dog with good conformation is properly constructed.  Minor faults in colour or markings will not make any difference to a dog who is not competing in the show ring but take the time to study the breed standard before buying your puppy.  A summary of the breed standard can be found below.
GENERAL APPEARANCE:
Symmetrical, balanced, active, powerful, level mover, sound with kindly expression.
CHARACTERISTICS:
Biddable, intelligent and possessing natural working ability.
TEMPERAMENT:
Kindly, friendly and confident
HEAD AND SKULL:
Balanced and well chiselled, skull broad without coarseness; well set on neck, muzzle powerful, wide and deep. Length of foreface approximately equals length from well defined stop to occiput. Nose preferably black.
EYES:
Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.
EARS:
Moderate size, set on approximate level with eyes.
MOUTH:
Jaws strong, with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, ie upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.
NECK:
Good length, clean and muscular.
FOREQUARTERS:
Forelegs straight with good bone, shoulders well laid back, long in blade with upper arms of equal length placing legs well under body. Elbows close fitting.
BODY:
Balanced, short coupled, deep through heart. Ribs deep, well sprung.
HINDQUARTERS:
Loin and legs strong and muscular, good second thighs, well bent stifles. Hocks well let down, straight when viewed from rear, neither turning in nor out. Cowhocks highly undesirable.
FEET:
Round and cat-like.
TAIL:
Well set on and carried level with back, reaching to hocks, without curl at tip.
GAIT/MOVEMENT:
Powerful and good drive. Straight and true in front and rear. Stride long and free with no sign of hackney action in front.
COAT:
Flat or wavy with good feathering, dense, water-resisting undercoat.
COLOUR:
Any shade of cream or gold but neither red or mahogany.
SIZE:
Height at withers: Dogs: 56-61 cms (22-24 inches)
Bitches 51-56 cms (20-22 inches)
FAULTS: Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.