Most people hear the term retriever and immediately picture a Golden Retriever. It’s hard to blame them since golden is one of the most popular breeds in the world. However, there are several other types of dogs that fall under the retriever umbrella.
That’s why I decided to give all retriever types some shine by creating this guide. It walks you through them and helps you understand what makes each one special. Before I get into the types of retrievers, it is crucial to understand the classification.
What is retriever?
One of the first things you should know about them is that they fall under the umbrella of gun dogs. It is a term that refers to dogs that are often companions on hunting trips.
It is a broad category, divided into three groups: retrievers, Clues, and blushing dogs. Each is named based on how they help a person during the hunt. In the case of the retriever, they bring back the hunted game without damaging it.
This retrieving method is a behavior for which retrievers were bred. So it has been ingrained in their makeup for a long time and still benefits hunters today.
The 6 types of retriever dogs
As you can imagine, many dog breeds are categorized as retrievers. However, only six main types of retriever have been bred for their retrieving ability. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look at these faithful hunting companions.
1. Golden retrievers
Golden Retrievers couldn’t have a better attitude as a family dog. These sweet bundles of joy make first-class companions for the whole family. Most people find it difficult to find even 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 is not only due to their friendliness. Goldens are among the more versatile dog breeds. They are versatile. You will see them working as eye dogs, search/rescue and other service roles.
However, these dogs do require a physical outlet to meet their needs. Golden Retrievers are not for a hands-off owner; their energy levels are the graphs. They need a present and devoted owner to keep them happy and healthy.
Otherwise, their 55 to 75 pound frame will soon become a terror in your home. Their boredom will make you tear sweet gold things apart left and right. For example, my Golden Retriever, Leo,’s preferred method of destruction in childhood was tearing apart shoes.
2. Labrador retrievers
Labrador Retrievers are even more popular than goldens within the dog community. You will find that these dogs are everywhere and represent a perfect family dog. Their activity level, calm demeanor and loyalty match what any owner wants.
I find myself loving these retrievers because of the movie Marley and Me. But do not worry; most labs are tamer than Marley, especially if trained and socialized. These 55 to 80 pound dogs will usually make perfect companions if their extensive exercise needs are met.
It is crucial to realize that Labrador Retrievers are not just available in a single coat style. You can find them in three primary colors: chocolate, yellow and black. There are also secondary colors such as white, silver and fox red.
So you have plenty of choice when it comes to their labs. Personally, I find the black color scheme the most attractive. But every Labrador Retriever looks adorable and is 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 gets its name from fishermen and hunters who patrolled the area in the 19th century. So they chose the Chesapeake bay Retriever because the bay was the closest landmark.
At the time, these retrievers were superstars. Hunters and fishermen would use them to make their daily lives easier. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers were incredibly effective at retrieving ducks and assisting during dangerous water-related adventures.
Some notable physical characteristics include a double coat with wavy fur, a body size of 55 to 80 pounds, and various brown/yellow/red colors. But honestly, I find them breathtaking, even compared to the other five primary retriever types.
In terms of temperament, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are slightly more reserved than a Labrador or Golden. Do not worry; They are not known for being aggressive or overly combative with strangers. But these retrievers prefer to be around people they trust so they can hide or cower.
So it is essential to be a little careful when they are around strangers. You want them to feel comfortable and happy instead of stressed. Early socialization will make this problem much less troublesome.
4. Flat-coated retrievers
Flat-coated retrievers differ in that they are a newer breed type. In fact, most people confuse them with Labradors because they look almost identical. Shockingly, the main difference between them lies in the name: they have a flat-lying coat.
Another important difference is that flat-coated types are more suitable for hunting and outdoor activities. It sounds ridiculous, since Labradors are excellent in these situations. But flat-coated retrievers are on a different level.
After all, these dogs have energy levels that are hard to believe. All flat coated dogs want to do is explore outside and go on adventures while sniffing everywhere. So it takes someone with enormous 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 make the perfect companion for any outdoor activity. They will be your 60 to 70 pound best friend who is always up for an adventure.
5. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers have a separate title among retrievers. These dogs are the smallest variety and only weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. It’s remarkable to see, as most variations reach over 70 pounds.
However, these dogs still pack quite a punch when it comes to their hunting duties. They compensate for their lack of size with excessive amounts of energy. It can be a little overwhelming if you’re not up for the challenge.
An intriguing aspect of Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers is their webbed feet. It makes them excellent swimmers who will not miss a single opportunity to get into the water. So anyone who wants this type should plan some time in the pool or at the lake.
I would also be doing a disservice if I didn’t mention their barking. Every time a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling barks, it sounds like a horror movie. It is a high-pitched scream that makes people doubt what is happening around them. Here’s a great one video of this dynamic and impressive bark.
6. Curly Coated Retrievers
Our final type, Curly-coated Retrievers, is distinguished from the others by its curly coat. You can also expect them to be larger than flat-coated varieties. They are among the largest species, weighing as much as 95 pounds.
But the most important feature of Curly-coated Retrievers is their coats. It’s a dense, curly masterpiece that’s strangely perfect for dealing with harsh environments. So if you are planning to go hiking in the mountains, these dogs are an ideal companion for companionship.
Another intriguing aspect of these dogs is their calm, docile personality. They do not often get excited and like to relax in the house. It makes them a perfect companion for a Sunday full of football or other sports.
Is a retriever the right choice for you?
In most cases, people will decide that a retriever meets their ideal canine companion. It’s not hard to see why, since they all have such endearing personalities. That’s why I haven’t met anyone who has anything negative to say about these dogs.
Another notable feature of retrievers is that they are among the easiest dogs to train. These canines respond to all types of positive reinforcement without much hesitation. So I would even bet that a novice owner won’t have much trouble with it.
On the other hand, retrievers will not like being left alone for long periods of time. These dogs love their people and need constant attention. Furthermore, their training needs are not a joke or something to be overlooked.
Given this information, retrievers need an attentive owner who is constantly nearby. It is not a dog for someone who is always working. In these situations, a retriever will be way too much for your particular home.
But anyone who can handle the exercise and other needs should consider purchasing one. I promise it’s not a decision that many will ultimately regret. All you have to do now is decide which type best suits your personality and home.
There are six main types of retriever dogs: Golden, Labrador, Chesapeake Bay, Flat-Coated, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling and Curly-Coated Retrievers. They all have different traits that allow them to adapt to certain situations better than others.
For example, someone who wants a calmer retriever would do best with a Curly-Coated. If the size of Golden or Labs is too large, the small size of a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling may be for you.
Understanding these little details can help you decide which retriever is best for your home. So trust what you learned from this article and make a responsible decision. Let me know how the process goes in the comments section. I like to hear from you!