On Golden Retriever Breed's 150th Anniversary, 361 Meet at Founder's Yard


Yes man’s best friend comes in many shapes and sizes, but perhaps no dog breed is more iconic than the lovable golden retriever.

From starring in movies like Old Yeller and Air Bud, to being “spokesdogs” in commercials for companies like Bush’s Baked Beans and Subaru, golden retrievers can be found all over, wagging their tails and melting our hearts.

Ranked the third most popular dog breed by the American Kennel Club, golden retrievers are certainly a great choice when looking to add a four-legged friend to your family.

But despite their widespread popularity in the United States, the golden retriever breed was actually created in Scotland — 150 years ago this year!

On July 20, over 360 golden retrievers gathered together at the ancestral home of their breed’s founder, Lord Tweedmouth.

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Lord Tweedmouth, whose actual name was Dudley Marjoribanks, lived in the Scottish Highlands in the 1800’s, near the village of Tomich, on Guisachan Estate, according to BBC News.

As a landowner with a whole lot of land and a penchant for going hunting, Lord Tweedmouth wanted a dog who would be able to swim long distances to retrieve waterfowl he had shot down.

To create such a dog, Lord Tweedmouth bred his wavy-coated retriever named “Nous” with his Tweed-coated spaniel named “Belle” in 1868, and thus the breed of the golden retriever was born.

According to The Daily Mirror, Lord Tweedmouth “went on to breed the Irish setter, St John’s water dogs and two wavy black-coated retrievers.”

This week’s gathering of golden retrievers was put together by the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland.

As Doreen McGugan told TODAY: “It’s such a popular breed. And it was the 150th anniversary, which is very special.” McGugan is the chair of the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland.

The festivities drew quite the crowd — 361 retrievers, their owners, the media, and pet lovers from around the globe — and featured a breed championship show on the final day.

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According to McGugan, there were “a lot of pet owners who came just to join the fun. People didn’t realize that it all went back to this and that there is a place to go to commemorate (their golden retrievers).”

Guisachan Estate is also home to a commemorative bronze statue of the famous breed, made possible by the group Friends of Guisachan and erected in August 2014.

Despite the amount of both pets and people, McGugan said all the golden retrievers in attendance were extremely well-behaved: “Not one bark in these dogs. It was quite exciting.”

She concluded: “I’m so grateful to everyone who came. I hope they enjoyed themselves.”

It looks like man’s best friend made a great many new friends at the fun-filled celebration!

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