A retrieving dog is one that has evolved and been bred for the purpose of retrieving things – which historically, was a highly valued trait for working alongside of hunters and people who shoot for sport. Whilst the widespread use of dogs for retrieving purposes has now declined to a very low level within the UK, the retriever dog breeds that first became popular thanks to their skills in this area are now much more commonly kept as domestic pets.
Retrieving dog breeds tend to be active, outgoing, lively and kind natured – and vitally, they have what is known as a soft mouth, which indicates the dog’s fine level of control over their bite inhibition, and ability to carry even fragile things very gently without damaging them.
Today’s pet retrievers retain many of the traits that led to their popularity within working roles, and they almost universally love to play catch, chase balls, and carry things around in their mouths. They are also playful and keen to pursue a thrown ball, frisbee or other toy, and will work hard to find it, whether it lands on solid ground or in water!
There are several individual retriever breeds, as well as many other dog breeds that possess retrieving skills among their repertoire, and in this article we will look at those specific retrieving breeds that are most popular in the UK.
Read on to find out the five most popular retrieving-specific dog breeds in the UK.
The Chesapeake Bay retriever is the fifth most popular retriever dog breed in the UK, but they are by no means a common sight – falling way down in 166th place out of all dog breeds and types advertised on Pets4Homes.
This dog breed hails from the USA, and the earliest known origins of the breed came about around 200 years ago when two puppies of unknown parentage were rescued from a shipwreck off the coast of Maryland, who were subsequently bred with other local curly-coated retrievers in the area.
The Chesapeake Bay retriever is a large dog breed with a distinctive coat, which consists of a reasonably harsh water-resistant topcoat, with a dense layer of insulating fur underneath. This makes their coats very water resistant, which makes them a great choice for water retrieving – for which their webbed feet provides a strong advantage!
The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is the UK’s fourth most popular retriever breed, but again, they fall a long way down the overall rankings, coming in just above the Chesapeake Bay retriever in 161st place.
They are medium-sized dogs with an appearance that puts many people in mind of a type of golden retriever variant, albeit a little smaller and with a rather different coat. They have a top layer of harsh guard hairs and a thick undercoat beneath it, which helps them to avoid becoming waterlogged in much the same way as the Chesapeake Bay retriever’s coat does.
The flat coated retriever is the third most popular retriever breed in the UK, but still a long way down the full list in 103rd place.
This is another large dog breed that is outgoing, intelligent, and very lively, and they thrive on an active lifestyle with lots to see and do. Thanks to their intelligence and tenacity, they can often be trained to execute a wide range of commands, and have the versatility to fit happily within all sorts of different homes and living environments.
Unlike the other retriever breeds mentioned so far, the flat coated retriever has a single layered coat that is dense but fine, and that lies close to the body.
The dogs in our top two positions aren’t just the most popular retriever breeds, but are very popular across the UK overall. The first of these is the golden retriever, who is not only the second most popular retriever breed, but also the 23rd most popular overall, which is quite a step up from the dogs in the third to fifth positions!
Golden retrievers are large dogs with a distinctive long, thick and luxurious golden coat. They are hugely popular as pets thanks to their kind dispositions and lively, active temperaments, and they are also one of the breeds most commonly used as therapy dogs and assistance dogs for people with disabilities.
The Labrador retriever is not only the most popular retriever breed in the UK by a long stretch, but they also hold the distinction of being the fifth most popular breed of all. Historically much in demand as retrievers for gun sport, the Labrador possesses a winning combination of distinctive good looks, a lovely temperament, high intelligence, and a strong desire to please their handlers.
This makes them not only really popular as pets, but also a great choice for important working roles, being even more in demand for assistance dog roles than golden retrievers. They also tend to be good at canine sport, including agility and heelwork, as well as enjoying family life.
The Labrador retriever is also ranked as The Kennel Club’s most widely owned dog breed, with more pups of this breed being registered each year than that of any other – a position they have held since 1990, when they superseded the Yorkshire terrier.