Close to 500 Golden Retrievers Meet in Scotland to Celebrate the Breed

Nevena Nacic
by Nevena Nacic
Tanya Consaul Photography/Shutterstock

Close to 500 golden retrievers gathered in Scottish Highlands at their ancestral home to celebrate 155 years of the breed’s first litter. The five-day event, held from the 10th to the 14th of July was organized by the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland. 

This year’s celebration - which brought together 466 golden retrievers - was one of the world’s largest and cutest gatherings of goldies in one place. The event held at the ruins of the Guisachan House, in Glen Affric, welcomed hundreds of dogs and their owners from more than 12 countries. 

Golden retrievers from far away as Japan, New Zealand, and Australia participated in this event, alongside goldies from the United States, Canada, Netherlands, Romania, Croatia, Germany, the UK, Italy, Estonia, and other countries.

The Golden Retriever Club of Scotland organized events for dogs and their two-legged companions. These included an afternoon tea for humans, a torchlight procession where owners walked their dogs one mile to the Guisachan House, and a training seminar where a canine behaviorist offered tips on dealing with common behavioral issues such as separation anxiety and destructive chewing.

During “The Gathering” event at the Guisachan House, dogs and their owners could participate in several games, such as haggis hurling, scurry, tug of war, and the Grand old Duke of York, which involved counting the number of golden retrievers present. And, of course, a gathering of this scale wouldn’t be complete without a group photo!

Carol Henry, secretary of the Golden Retriever Club of Scotland told the BBC that the goal of this event is to share knowledge about this breed and put a stop to irresponsible breeding practices. "We want to hold on to confidence, the biddability, the companionship, and loyalty - all things the golden retriever was built on,” she said. 

This event happens every five years at the remains of Guisachan House, the ancestral home of the golden retriever breed. “A lot of golden retriever owners find there’s an emotional attachment to the Guisachan House and it’s where they want to go and look and experience,” said Mrs Henry. 

The golden retriever was bred by Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, also known as the first Baron Tweedmouth. The first litter of golden retrievers was born in 1868 to a now-extinct Tweed water spaniel and a yellow-colored flat-coated retriever. The four puppies from that litter - Primrose, Cowslip, Ada, and Crocus were used to establish the golden retriever breed as we know it today. 

Deborah Robbins, who attended this year’s event with her two dogs, said “It was well worth it. I would go again next weekend if it was on.” Visiting the breed’s place of origin and being surrounded by goldens made her feel very emotional. “To see them all together was just so special, especially in the place where first golden retrievers were bred,” she said

Robbins is already excited about the next Guisachan golden retriever gathering, which should take place in 2028 - on the 160th anniversary of the golden retriever breed. “I’ll be booking as soon as it’s announced,” she said. 

Nevena Nacic
Nevena Nacic

Nevena is a freelance writer and a proud mom of Teo, a 17-year-old poodle, and Bob, a rescued grey tabby cat. Since childhood, she had a habit of picking up strays and bringing them home (luckily, her parents didn't know how to say NO). When she's not writing for her fellow pet parents, Nevena can be found watching Teo sleep. To her defense, that's not as creepy as it sounds!

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