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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:14 PM Thread Starter
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Aggression in Golden Retrievers

We are studying dog breeds in one of my classes at vet tech school. We are on sporting breeds right now and the teacher talked about how red golden retrievers can be highly aggressive and unpredictable because of the red gene. She said when a red golden comes into the clinic it's usually marked aggressive right off the bat so everyone is cautious.

I was wondering if there is any truth to this or of its more of a myth like the Doberman brain thing. I don't know any golden breeders so if anyone can de-bunk or explain this please do! I briefly googled and saw some talk about rage syndrome.


I really like this teacher but sometimes I just wonder about the information because she said that two different colored eyes are called "odd eyed" and one eye that is part brown and part blue is called "bi-eyed." They call it odd eyed in our cat book, but in the husky world we call two different colored eyes "bi-eyed" and one eye with partial coloring a "parti-eye."
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:18 PM
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In my experience with goldens, and I'm even more hands on with them then most vet techs as a groomer, there are good ones and bad ones. That being said... it is usually the red ones I've had problems with. I've never owned a golden so I can't speak to their general temperament but I've seen some really sweet ones and really crabby ones... just like most other breeds.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:24 PM
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Have you considered posting your question on the Golden forum?


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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rosemary View Post
Have you considered posting your question on the Golden forum?
I figured I'd try here first. Goldens don't really interest me at all so I'd rather not sign up for just one question. When I have more time I could lurk around their forums and see if it's been discussed. This is just news to me so I was curious. I've heard the spaniel rage things but never heard about red goldens and aggression.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:35 PM
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A generalization is, I believe, that the darker Golden's are more "field" lines while the lighter colored dogs are "show" lines. The field line dogs would have more drive and, I imagine, not do as well in a typical pet home.


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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:52 PM
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It's also actually a commonly thought 'fact' in EBT's that red dogs are more likely to be problems and in my experience it is correct.
I suppose you have to take into consideration that 'red hair' is always thought to be more 'fiery' of temperament/ personality so this could skew perception.
I read a study once about red headed people actually being more violent/fiery and the conclusion was they were, however if you consider the red haired gene in humans mostly originates the celtic/pictish regions it is no surprise really. Welsh and Scottish people are often very quick to loose it in the 'right' circumstances this could be environmental rather than genetic.

Back to dogs, the gene for red hair in EBT's anyway would have been line bred in (from staffordshire bull terriers) so maybe the genetic temperament came with it, staffies in general are closer to the original fighting dogs than EBT's.
How long have golden retrievers been red?
Maybe they were heavily line bred also to fix the colur and a similar thing happened?

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:54 PM
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If red is a popular color and is being overbred, you might get more temperament problems with them. Inbreeding and such to get a certain color seems to go hand in hand with temperament and health problems. Just look at albino Dobermans. Goldens in general are so popular that there's bound to be issues with temperament. There's so many of them, and they have that reputation as being perfectly well-mannered and friendly, so I could see a BYBer of Goldens saying why pay attention to the parent's temperament, they're perfect as is.

I'll ask the lady who runs the store where I get Griff's food if she's heard anything about reds. She's had Goldens for a long time, and her current male is from a reputable breeder. She'll probably know something. And I have an excuse to go play with a puppy and buy Griffin some treats.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:02 PM
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Interesting thought, I know a lot of goldens, but we don't get the dark shades here, most are cream-almost white... Even the field bred ones are caramel at most. Never seen an aggressive golden, FWIW


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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:09 PM
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As you might remember Ivan was attacked by a Golden with no provocation on Ivan's part.


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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:11 PM
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From what Ive heard, Field Goldens are almost always the super light color. It's actually rare to see dark red Goldens in the fields.

The only pet Goldens I have dealt with were light colored. The male was slightly darker, but both were really sweet. My boss mainly has "red" Goldens, occasionally light ones and all from the same lines. I haven't noticed any aggression in the red ones, they are all super sweet but they are all show dogs.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:19 PM
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I've never met a red golden that was aggressive. I've met a crazy red golden if that counts lol....

And FWIW... The field goldens around here are darker and the show goldens are lighter



Edit: Is this the same teacher that made the Doberman comments? If so.... I don't even know this teacher and she's making me angry

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:25 PM
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From what Ive heard, Field Goldens are almost always the super light color. It's actually rare to see dark red Goldens in the fields.
Genuine Goldens - About the Golden Retriever Breed

The Field/Hunting Golden Retriever: This Golden is usually of the Dark Golden color scheme. They are generally smaller-framed dogs, with more energy, drive, and of course, hunting/retrieving instinct. This is where the name comes from. The dog's smaller size makes it quick and great for going through thick brush in the field.These dogs are well-suited for Agility, drug detection, and search and rescue work. Many people in America have these as pets as well.

The American Golden Retriever: These Goldens range from Light Golden to Dark Golden, but most tend to be the Golden color. They are larger than the Field Golden, yet slightly smaller than the English Golden. This is the Golden Retriever you see in AKC dog shows on tv. This is also the Golden you will find in many backyards.

Fern Hill Goldens - Fern Hill Golden Retrievers, beautiful top-quality field and working lines with great conformation, trainability, and dispositions.

There are other differences in appearance as well — most of the field dogs are various shades of red gold, typically darker than the show goldens.

-----

The "English" Golden is a whole different can of worms.


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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:32 PM
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Myth. However the darker red ones are usually from field lines but even so I call baloney. I have known all colors, one yellow golden was aggressive the two reds I've known were fine and my sister has a very light golden from successful show lines and he is a wonderful dog, big mush ball, so sweet, gentle and obedient.
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:33 PM
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I'd say myth inspired by experiences and made related to color instead of ownership, breeding, etc. The only dog breed I know of that the red = aggressive holds true is cocker spaniels. Gold (red) show male cockers have shown a documented high instance of Spaniel Rage Syndrome. Springers also get it, though mostly the show variety.

I think it's similar to the brain swelling myth for dobers. There is a breed of dog who's skull is too small for its brain and that's Cavs, and they don't become aggressive but instead have epilepsy, debilitating headaches, and other devastating neurological disorders. However for some reason people have heard of this happenstance and said that Dobes, GSDs, APBTs, Dallies, Mals, etc all do the same thing. A grain of truth in it but wrong breed and wrong symptoms!


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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lori Z View Post
Myth. However the darker red ones are usually from field lines but even so I call baloney. I have known all colors, one yellow golden was aggressive the two reds I've known were fine and my sister has a very light golden from successful show lines and he is a wonderful dog, big mush ball, so sweet, gentle and obedient.
Yup, myth, agreed.

It wasn't really until the past decade, give or take a few, that we really started to see the greeders and BYBs completely and commonly eff up such a usually "idiot proof" breed.

A friend of mine lost her upper lip and part of the tip of her nose, to a Golden (amber-gold in shade, btw) who was in for routine vaccines and had friendly body language right up 'til the millisecond before the strike. (Lots of dog-savvy witnesses.)

There's a very overweight Golden intact male who lives up the road from me, and is--of course--allowed free roam of the neighborhood.

He has several cat kills, and three smaller dog kills to his credit now, and one human bite.

Just makes me shake my head--whether it's his genetics, his start in life, his current owners, or a bit of all of that--it's just the antithesis of what a Golden is supposed to be.

Zelda, I'm rapidly not building respect for some of the curriculum/teachers in this course of yours.

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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 05:20 PM
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I agree and I want to mention that Goldens have been ruined due to popularity like so many other breeds. A good golden, well it's golden but there are many genetic messes around now who are aggressive, fearful and have many health issues. It's very sad, another good breed that is hard to find. My sister's boy Ray is a doll baby BUT he is too big more like Bernese mtn. dog size and he has a jaw issue, can't open it all the way, he had a seizure at 6 months and then couldn't open his jaw all the way after. He is 6 years now, never had another seizure but his jaw is damaged, the vets aren't sure what happened. He was from breeders who showed and health tested. His temperament is to die for and although I've never been a golden fan in the wanting of one I'd take Ray in a heartbeat. He was the Gund Bear of puppies, I kid you not. I visited when was 11 weeks old and I don't think I have ever sat for so long cuddling a puppy. He is a special fella.


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Yup, myth, agreed.

It wasn't really until the past decade, give or take a few, that we really started to see the greeders and BYBs completely and commonly eff up such a usually "idiot proof" breed.

A friend of mine lost her upper lip and part of the tip of her nose, to a Golden (amber-gold in shade, btw) who was in for routine vaccines and had friendly body language right up 'til the millisecond before the strike. (Lots of dog-savvy witnesses.)

There's a very overweight Golden intact male who lives up the road from me, and is--of course--allowed free roam of the neighborhood.

He has several cat kills, and three smaller dog kills to his credit now, and one human bite.

Just makes me shake my head--whether it's his genetics, his start in life, his current owners, or a bit of all of that--it's just the antithesis of what a Golden is supposed to be.

Zelda, I'm rapidly not building respect for some of the curriculum/teachers in this course of yours.

Last edited by Lori Z; 11-12-2012 at 05:22 PM.
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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 06:01 PM
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Sounds like a bit of a myth to me now also, and the lady who runs the shop says she's never heard of aggression being linked to color in Goldens at all. She's someone with a lot of time and experience in the breed, too. I've heard of aggressive goldens though, seen a few of them in the park. It's probably the same thing every other popular breed goes through. High demand means a high number of BYBers who don't health test. They just throw any two dogs who can mate together. Goldens and Labs get slammed there because they have a reputation of being perfect family dogs who love everyone and are easy to own and train. People get them and think they don't need training or to come from good parents because it's a Golden, and they're perfect. Look at all the family movies, TV shows, and commercials. Mom, dad, son, daughter, and the inevitable Golden Retriever. They're suffering from too much popularity, and I think that might be where the temperament issues are coming from.

Griffin, however, got a new collar, some toys, and some raw marrow bones. He says any time you all have Golden questions, feel free to ask them, because he made out like a bandit.

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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 06:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeldaRules View Post

I really like this teacher but sometimes I just wonder about the information because she said that two different colored eyes are called "odd eyed" and one eye that is part brown and part blue is called "bi-eyed." They call it odd eyed in our cat book, but in the husky world we call two different colored eyes "bi-eyed" and one eye with partial coloring a "parti-eye."
Different colored eyes is called heterochromia iridum, not "odd eyed" or parti-eye."
I am a vet tech and work in an ophthalmology clinic and I have never heard the terms mentioned above. Where is she getting her info from?
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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dobe-girl View Post
Different colored eyes is called heterochromia iridum, not "odd eyed" or parti-eye."
I am a vet tech and work in an ophthalmology clinic and I have never heard the terms mentioned above. Where is she getting her info from?
"Odd-eyed" is a very common term used to describe animals (and people, for that matter) with different colored eyes. I'm surprised you've never heard it.

Taken from the CFA breed standard for the Turkish Angora (bolding is mine):

"EYE COLOR: there is no relationship between eye color and coat
color, and each eye color description can include much variation
within its defined spectrum, especially as cats mature. Acceptable
colors include blue, which encompasses shades from sky blue to
sapphire; green, which can range from gooseberry to emerald;
green-gold, which includes any gold or amber eye that carries a
greenish cast or ring; amber, which can range from gold to rich
copper but has no green cast or ring, and odd-eyed, with one
blue eye and the other green, green-gold or amber
. While no
points are specifically allocated to eye color, deeper, richer tones
are preferred. Odd-eyed cats should have similar depth of color in
both eyes.
"


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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 07:55 PM
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I've only met 2 red golden retrievers. They are my favorite shade of goldens though. Both of the girls, Carling and Nelly were very, very sweet dogs. Carling had lots of health issues, her hips were worth about $5000, but "Smelly" was a complete love bug and would not DREAM of doing anything but what her mama wanted her to do!

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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:52 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the_discowhore View Post
Interesting thought, I know a lot of goldens, but we don't get the dark shades here, most are cream-almost white... Even the field bred ones are caramel at most. Never seen an aggressive golden, FWIW
I rarely see anything but the light colored Goldens here. I have seen some aggressive goldens and golden mixes in the years I've worked with dogs. My sister's ex's Golden was finally euthanized for human aggression..she was a light colored and randomly unstable.



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Originally Posted by Jonesy'sMom View Post
I've never met a red golden that was aggressive. I've met a crazy red golden if that counts lol....

And FWIW... The field goldens around here are darker and the show goldens are lighter


Edit: Is this the same teacher that made the Doberman comments? If so.... I don't even know this teacher and she's making me angry
I don't know any field goldens around here. I see a lot of ugly BYB goldens but they're still all pretty light in color. This is not the same teacher that spoke highly of the warlock doberman.



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Originally Posted by RedFawnRising View Post
Yup, myth, agreed.

It wasn't really until the past decade, give or take a few, that we really started to see the greeders and BYBs completely and commonly eff up such a usually "idiot proof" breed.

A friend of mine lost her upper lip and part of the tip of her nose, to a Golden (amber-gold in shade, btw) who was in for routine vaccines and had friendly body language right up 'til the millisecond before the strike. (Lots of dog-savvy witnesses.)

There's a very overweight Golden intact male who lives up the road from me, and is--of course--allowed free roam of the neighborhood.

He has several cat kills, and three smaller dog kills to his credit now, and one human bite.

Just makes me shake my head--whether it's his genetics, his start in life, his current owners, or a bit of all of that--it's just the antithesis of what a Golden is supposed to be.

Zelda, I'm rapidly not building respect for some of the curriculum/teachers in this course of yours.

This is what the teacher was commenting on...how random their aggressiveness can be. She mentioned one in clinic that was very sweet and had very good and friendly body language and then out of nowhere got aggressive and went to attack the techs.

I'm just gritting my teeth and hoping this 18 months flies by

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Originally Posted by River View Post
Sounds like a bit of a myth to me now also, and the lady who runs the shop says she's never heard of aggression being linked to color in Goldens at all. She's someone with a lot of time and experience in the breed, too. I've heard of aggressive goldens though, seen a few of them in the park. It's probably the same thing every other popular breed goes through. High demand means a high number of BYBers who don't health test. They just throw any two dogs who can mate together. Goldens and Labs get slammed there because they have a reputation of being perfect family dogs who love everyone and are easy to own and train. People get them and think they don't need training or to come from good parents because it's a Golden, and they're perfect. Look at all the family movies, TV shows, and commercials. Mom, dad, son, daughter, and the inevitable Golden Retriever. They're suffering from too much popularity, and I think that might be where the temperament issues are coming from.

Griffin, however, got a new collar, some toys, and some raw marrow bones. He says any time you all have Golden questions, feel free to ask them, because he made out like a bandit.
Haha!! Thanks for following up and I am glad that Griffin got some good treats



Thanks everyone for your input!
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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:58 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dobe-girl View Post
Different colored eyes is called heterochromia iridum, not "odd eyed" or parti-eye."
I am a vet tech and work in an ophthalmology clinic and I have never heard the terms mentioned above. Where is she getting her info from?
I am familiar with the term Heterochromia as that is something that has interested me before I was interested in learning about animals. Odd Eyed would be the correct term that is given in our cat breed book. I have heard it before the school.

Bi-eyed and Parti-eyed are terms that I hear commonly in the husky community with both show and rescue people. Parti is mentioned in the AKC standard:

"Eyes may be brown or blue in color; one of each or parti-colored are acceptable."

There is even a yahoo group for bi and parti-eyed husky owners...
http://pets.dir.groups.yahoo.com/gro...sec=dir&slk=20

Last edited by ZeldaRules; 11-12-2012 at 11:01 PM.
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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 12:47 AM
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Alright now, nobody can pronounce or understand my breed name as it is, don't go giving me some high-falutin' name for my eyes now, ya hear? Heterawhata?


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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 08:46 AM
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My training facility is also the place that the county sends the dangerous dogs involved in biting incidents. They are the only people in the other equipped to handle, train, and evaluate aggressive dogs. Tons of once 'aggressive' dogs now live happy healthy lives and escapes the county's euthanasia by coming from them. Having said that, the number 1 breed to come through the doors for temperament problems are goldens. And usually, their issues are not 'fixable'. They just have this unstable unpredictable switch to them. The golden rescue in tn also sends their dogs here and it is amazing just how many poor temperaments come through. One of the most recent boys was actually quite intelligent and just needed firm guidance, but the other one was just completely unpredictable and the rescue 'leader?' Decided to keep him herself rather than put him down.

For the record, not a single one in the past year has been dark coated.

I know it's likely due to the popularity, but there are even more labs around here and although there are plenty with temperament issues (/wth is going on in their brain??), there is rarely an aggressive lab here.
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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 11-13-2012, 09:31 AM
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Lab/golden mix scheduled for euthanasia, who would have thought that mix would result in this eh:

Hunky
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