English Cream Golden Retrievers
In recent years there has been a sharp increase in internet marketing strategies aimed at specifically promoting cream-colored Golden Retrievers. These light dogs are sometimes being presented to the general public as being exceptionally rare or extremely valuable and are often called ‘English Cream Golden Retrievers’ or ‘Rare White European Golden Retrievers’ or ‘Exquisite Platinum Imported Golden Retrievers’. Such cream Golden Retrievers are frequently being touted as being healthier, of having better temperament, of having stronger longevity and the implicit suggestion is that they therefore are more valuable than the more golden-colored Golden Retrievers bred in North America. Due to these common marketing ploys the average puppy buyer sometimes mistakes such light-colored Golden Retrievers for being a separate breed. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is only one Golden Retriever breed, governed by the breed standard endorsed by various recognized Kennel Clubs around the world.
The Golden Retriever Club of America would like to emphasize to breeders and puppy buyers alike that the cream color has always been part of the full spectrum of colors found in our breed. We furthermore direct you to the following section of our Golden Retriever Club of America Breed Standard (click here to view the GRCA Breed Standard): Color — rich, lustrous golden of various shades. Feathering may be lighter than rest of coat. With the exception of graying or whitening of face or body due to age, any white marking, other than a few white hairs on the chest, should be penalized according to its extent. Allowable light shadings are not to be confused with white markings. Predominant body color which is either extremely pale or extremely dark is undesirable. Some latitude should be given to the light puppy whose coloring shows promise of deepening with maturity. Any noticeable area of black or other off-color hair is a serious fault.
The photo below furthermore illustrates the common shades of cream and gold found on this continent and all of these particular dogs are bred right here in North America. This broad range of color is not only commonly found around the world, but both light and dark shades can also occur in the very same Golden Retriever litter, with full siblings varying in color from very light cream to a rich gold.
Some breeders favor different styles of Golden Retrievers and some may even have a personal preference for a lighter or a darker golden, but good breeders never focus exclusively on a specific color, since this would unnecessarily narrow the gene pool and may cause genetic predispositions towards hereditary health issues to become magnified over time. Furthermore, the various styles have nothing to do with color, but rather reflect the individual breeders’ aesthetic preferences and their interpretations of the breed standard. Good Golden Retrievers of differing styles should, however, all possess strong breed type. They should be readily recognized as Golden Retrievers, whether they are a rich gold or a pale cream.
The Golden Retriever breed originates from Scotland, which is a part of Great Britain. All Golden Retrievers across the world are descended from this original Scottish stock. To call the current light ones ‘English Cream Golden Retrievers’ is incorrect terminology, and in fact the majority of these dogs do not even come from England, but are bred right here in North America or are descended from dogs that have been imported from various European countries, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Australia. You can also find very dark colored Golden Retrievers overseas, just as you can find very pale cream North American bred Goldens.
The cream color of a Golden Retriever might be considered very attractive to some puppy buyers, but this color does not signify that such a light puppy is particularly superior or that it is necessarily well-bred, or that it should ever be referred to as an ‘English Cream Golden Retriever’. It is our position that a breeding program which focuses mainly on color should be viewed with some skepticism. If claims are being made that the light creams are more valuable or healthier than darker colored Golden Retrievers, then the buyer should be aware that such statements are blatantly incorrect.
We instead urge all new puppy owners to carefully review all recommended health clearances and ask the appropriate questions about longevity in the pedigree of any puppy. It is never the color of a Golden Retriever that determines its temperament and working ability or its health and potential longevity. Instead the quality of a Golden Retriever will be determined by the care the individual breeder has taken, by adhering to the standard when breeding, as well as by doing careful pedigree research and screening for soundness in mind and body.
© Golden Retriever Club of Canada 2014. Reprinted with permission from the Golden Retriever Club of Canada and adapted to reflect the Golden Retriever Club of America Breed Standard.