The Golden Retriever Club
of San Diego County, Inc.

English Goldens

In the past several years, people have inaccurately described as “English” any Golden Retriever that looks like Golden Retrievers bred overseas.  Generally this description is based on the color of the coat alone, when in fact the dog might have been bred in Scotland, Holland, Norway, Australia, Canada or even the United States, and not England at all.  There is only one breed of Golden Retriever.  All Goldens descend from the same foundations that originated in Scotland in 1868 and were further developed throughout the United Kingdom (UK).   

I Want Some Cream with My Golden!

A “breed standard” is the official written description of the ideal specimen of that breed. The standard is intended to guide breeders toward maintaining the breed’s quality and to guide judges in evaluating dogs in the show ring.  After the Golden Retriever was officially recognized as a breed in Canada and the U.S., the breed standards in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. were modified independently.  However, it is not that the breed standards called for different qualities, they just contain slight variations.  In the United States and parts of Canada, the breed has developed a somewhat different look than it did overseas.  But it is important to remember, they are all Golden Retrievers!

Within the various breed standards for Golden Retrievers, colors exist from very light to very dark, but no breed standards allow white.  Purebred Golden Retrievers do not come in pure white, even though some may be extremely light cream in color.   The AKC Breed Standard does not call for a cream colored dog, however, cream (not white!) is allowed in the U.K. and Canadian breed standards.  

English Goldens Are Healthier......Right?

Wrong.  The claim that English Goldens have lower cancer rates is based on a survey done in the U.K. conducted years apart from a similar (but not identical) U.S. survey.  It is important to note that this survey was not a study of English style Golden Retrievers vs. American style Golden Retrievers, but rather one study done in the U.K. and one study done in the U.S.  N
either survey was done with the intent to control against one another, and both were on only a few hundred dogs each.  There was no control for who reported, no control for what style of dog they actually had (all the "U.S." dogs could have been 'English style' dogs living in the U.S.!), and no control for what role diagnostics played in the differences in rates.  

All the other research on cancer in Golden Retrievers, and it's extensive, has shown us that there's no increase or decrease in risk depending on whether your dog is English style or American style.  The people who sell light Goldens as "White" "Platinum" or "English Cream/Creme"  often cite these two surveys as bogus proof of the superior health of their dogs.  They prey on unsuspecting puppy buyers, many of whom are distraught over losing a beloved pet to cancer and are just hoping to avoid the pain of losing another young dog.  These unscrupulous breeders often charge excessively high prices for their puppies, marketing them as "rare" or "exotic."  It is wrong for these "breeders" to lie to unsuspecting and trusting puppy buyers just to make a buck. 

If you are considering a "Rare White" "Platinum" or "English Cream/Creme" Golden, keep in mind that there is only one breed of Golden Retriever and coat color does not make a dog healthier or less likely to develop cancer in its lifetime.  And any person breeding Golden Retrievers solely for color is inevitably ignoring more important traits, like temperament and structure.  Light-colored Goldens are just that; it is simply a color preference.  When evaluating a Golden Retriever puppy as an addition to your home, while it is fine to have a preference, color should be the last thing you should consider.  

If you are looking for a golden retriever puppy, please begin by reading our "Puppies" section.

Portions of this article are adapted from the GRCA website and "What Exactly Is An ENGLISH Golden Retriever?" by Bev Brown.