Most people hear the term retriever and immediately picture a Golden Retriever. It’s hard to blame them since golden is one of the more popular breeds in the world. However, several other types of dogs fall under the retriever umbrella.
So I decided to give all retriever types some shine by creating this guide. It’ll take you through each one and help you understand what makes them all special. Before I dive into the types of retrievers, it’s vital to understand the classification.
What is Retriever?
One of the first things to know about it is they falls under the umbrella of gun dogs. It’s a term that refers to dogs who are often companions during hunting trips.
It’s a broad category divided into three groups: retrievers, pointers, and flushing dogs. Each is named based on how they assist a person during hunts. In the retriever’s case, they bring back the hunted game without damaging it.
This method of retrieving is a behavior that retrievers were bred to develop. So it’s been ingrained in their make-up for a long time and still benefits hunters.
The 6 Types of Retriever Dogs
As you can imagine, many dog breeds are categorized as retrievers. However, only six main retriever types have been bred for their retrieving capabilities. So without further ado, let’s look closer at these faithful hunting companions.
1. Golden Retrievers
Golden Retrievers couldn’t have a better disposition to being a family dog. These lovable bundles of joy are top-tier companions for the whole family. Most people find it hard to find a single fault with their temperament and personality traits. So their ranking among the most popular dogs in the US shouldn’t be too shocking.
This popularity isn’t only because of their friendliness, either. Goldens are among the more versatile dog breeds they’re versatile. You’ll find them working as seeing eye dogs, search/rescue, and other service roles.
However, these dogs do need a physical outlet to meet their needs. Golden Retrievers aren’t for a hands-off owner; their energy levels are the charts. They require a present and dedicated owners to keep them happy and healthy.
Otherwise, their 55-pound to 75-pound frame will soon become a terror inside your home. Their boredom will cause your sweet golden to rip apart things left and right. For instance, my childhood Golden Retriever’s, Leo, preferred destruction method was tearing apart shoes.
2. Labrador Retrievers
Labrador Retrievers are even more popular than goldens within the dog community. You’ll find these dogs are all over the place and represent a perfect family dog. Their activity level, calm demeanors, and loyalty fit what any owner wants.
I find myself loving these retrievers because of the film Marley and Me. But don’t worry; most labs are more tame than Marley, especially when trained and socialized. These 55-pound to 80-pound dogs will usually be perfect companions if their extensive exercise needs are met.
It’s crucial to realize Labrador Retrievers aren’t only available in single coat style. You’ll find them in three primary colors: chocolate, yellow, and black. There are also secondary colors like white, silver, and fox red.
So you’ll have plenty of choice when it comes to their labs. Personally, I find the black coloring to be the most appealing. But every single Labrador Retriever looks adorable and ready for a forever home.
3. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers
It shouldn’t be too surprising to learn that this retriever developed around Maryland. The breed got its name from fishermen and hunters who patrolled the area during the 19th century. So they settled on the Chesapeake Bay Retriever since the bay was the closest landmark.
In those days, these retrievers were superstars. Hunters and fishermen would use them to make their daily lives easier. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were incredibly effective at fetching ducks and helping during dangerous water-related adventures.
Some notable physical characteristics include a double coat with wavy fur, 55-pound to 80-pound builds, and various brown/yellow/red colorations. But honestly, I find them breathtaking even compared to the other five primary retriever types.
As for their temperament, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are a bit more reclusive than a Labrador or Golden. Don’t worry; They aren’t known for being aggressive or overly combative toward strangers. But these retrievers prefer being around people they trust, so they may hide or cower.
So it’s essential to be a little cautious when they’re around strangers. You want them to feel comfortable and happy rather than stressed. Early socialization will make this issue much less daunting.
4. Flat-Coated Retrievers
Flat-Coated Retrievers have the distinction of being a newer breed type. In fact, most people confuse them with Labradors since they look almost identical. Shockingly, the primary difference between them lies right in the name: they have a flat-lying coat.
Another key difference is that flat-coated types are more suitable for hunting and outdoor activities. It sounds ridiculous, considering Labradors are excellent in these situations. But flat-coated retrievers are on another level.
After all, these dogs have an energy level that’s hard to believe. All flat-coated dogs want to do is explore and adventure outside while sniffing everywhere. So it takes a person with massive amounts of free time to meet their exercise and stimulation needs.
Honestly, I don’t think I could handle it with my lazy personality. But if you can handle it, these dogs will be the perfect companion for any outdoor activity. They’ll be your 60-pound to 70-pound best friend who is always down for an adventure.
5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers hold a distinct title among retrievers. These dogs are the smallest variety, only weighing between 35 and 50 pounds. It’s remarkable to see, considering most variations reach over 70 pounds.
However, these dogs still bring quite a wallop when it comes to their hunting duties. They make up for their lack of size with excessive amounts of energy. It can be a bit overwhelming if you aren’t ready for the challenge.
One intriguing aspect about Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers is their webbed feet. It makes them excellent swimmers who won’t miss an opportunity to get into the water. So anyone who wants this type should schedule some pool or lake time.
I’d also be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention their bark. Anytime a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling barks it sounds like a horror film. It’s a high-pitched scream that makes people second-guess what’s happening around them. Here’s a great video of this dynamic and impressive bark.
6. Curly-Coated Retrievers
Our final type, Curly-coated Retrievers, separates itself from the others with its curly coat. You can also expect them to be larger than flat-coated variations. They’re among the largest types, topping out at a massive 95 pounds.
But the primary highlight characteristic of Curly-coated Retrievers is their coats. It’s a dense, curly masterpiece that’s oddly perfect for dealing with rough environments. So if you intend on hiking in the mountains, these dogs are an ideal companion for company.
Another intriguing aspect of these dogs is their calm, docile personality. They don’t often get overexcited and enjoy relaxing around the house. It makes them a perfect buddy for a Sunday that’s full of watching football or other sports.
Is a Retriever the Right Choice for You?
In most cases, people will decide a retriever meets their ideal canine companion. It’s not hard to see why, considering they all have such endearing personalities. It’s why I haven’t met anyone with something negative to say about these dogs.
Another highlight-worthy attribute of retrievers is they’re among the easiest dogs to train. These canines respond to all types of positive reinforcement without much hesitation. So I’d even wager that a newbie owner wouldn’t have much trouble with it.
On the other hand, retrievers won’t enjoy being left alone for extended periods. These dogs love their humans and require constant attention. Furthermore, their exercise needs aren’t a joke or something to overlook.
Given this information, retrievers require an attentive owner who’s around constantly. It’s not a dog for someone who’s always working. In these situations, a retriever will be way too much for your particular home.
But anyone who can meet the exercise and other needs should consider getting one. I promise it’s not a decision that many end up regretting. All you need to do now is decide what type best suits your personality and home.
There are six primary types of retriever dogs: Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake Bay, Flat-Coated, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling, and Curly-Coated Retrievers. All have distinct traits that make them more amendable to certain situations than others.
For instance, someone who wants a calmer retriever would do best with a Curly-Coated. If the size of Golden or Labs is too much, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling’s small stature may be right up your alley.
Understanding these little details will help you decide what retriever best suits your home. So trust what you’ve learned from this article and make a responsible decision. Let me know how the process goes in the comment section. I’d love to hear from you!