If you are looking for a large, loyal and energetic dog, consider one of the retrievers. There are 6 different retrievers: Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever and the Curly-Coated Retriever. They are all known as being affectionate, bright and sensitive. All six of them are known as the “sporting dog” with the American Kennel Club (AKC).

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever, also known as Chessie, is a strong, powerfully built dog. The distinctive breed trait is a wavy coat that is oily to the touch. Chessies are solid-colored, either chocolatey brown, sedge, or deadgrass, with keen yellow-amber eyes that nicely complement the coat. The Chessie is famous for his waterproof coat which repels moisture much the way a duck’s feathers do.

Chessies are more emotionally complex than the usual bird dog. Chessies take to training, but they have a mind of their own and can tenaciously pursue their own path. They are protective of their humans and polite, but not overtly friendly, to strangers. Chessies make excellent watchdogs and are versatile athletes. A well-socialized Chessie is a confident companion and world-class hunting partner.

The Labrador Retriever is known to be friendly, active and outgoing. My husband and I had a large black lab several years ago who lived to be 16 years old. I can honestly say that Sammie never settled down until she was 5 years old. Her energy level was extraordinary! The sweet-faced, lovable Labrador Retriever is America’s most popular dog breed. Labs are friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have more than enough affection to go around for a family looking for a medium-to-large dog.

The Golden Retriever, an exuberant Scottish bird dog of great beauty, stands among America’s most popular dog breeds. They are serious workers at hunting and field work, as guides for the blind, and in search-and-rescue, enjoy obedience and other competitive events, and have an endearing love of life when not at work. Known to be friendly, intelligent and devoted.

The Golden Retriever is a sturdy, muscular dog of medium size, famous for the dense, lustrous coat of gold that gives the breed its name. Some Goldens have long graceful hair hanging on their legs and tail areas known as “feathers.” The broad head, with its friendly and intelligent eyes, short ears, and straight muzzle, is a breed hallmark. In motion, Goldens move with a smooth, powerful gait, and the feathery tail is carried, as breed fanciers say, with a “merry action.”

Goldens are outgoing, trustworthy, and eager-to-please family dogs, and relatively easy to train. They take a joyous and playful approach to life and maintain this puppyish behavior into adulthood. These energetic, powerful dogs enjoy any type of play, including indoor or outdoor. For a breed built to retrieve waterfowl for hours on end, swimming and fetching are natural pastimes. In my research about Goldens, I never read where they tend to be a bit stubborn at times. My Murphy, now 2 years old, loves to retrieve a ball but when she brings it back to me, she doesn’t want to give it up.

The Novia Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is the smallest of all the retrievers. Tollers are upbeat athletes who require outlets for their boundless vigor: hunting, hiking, camping, and, of course, swimming (for which they are ideally suited, down to their webbed feet). Tollers are smart, handsome, affectionate companions, but these red tornadoes can be recommended only to those with enough time and energy to keep them usefully occupied.

The Flat Coated Retriever flat-lying coat comes in lustrous black or liver, with feathering at the legs and tail. Known for their long head, unique among retrievers, which projects a smart and kindly expression. A Flat-Coat will stand as tall as a Labrador Retriever; but in silhouette they present a leaner, more elegant look.

Flat-Coats are among the happiest of all retrievers. They mature slowly; some owners say that they never grow up at all, retaining a puppyish taste for rambunctious mischief into old age. This can be either delightful or exasperating, depending on your tolerance for such monkeyshines. This highly energetic breed requires lots of outdoorsy exercise.

The Curly-Coated Retriever, among the oldest of the retriever breeds, is a famously versatile bird dog and an extraordinary swimmer. Poised, proud, and wickedly smart, the Curly is a thinking person’s retriever who will never quit before you do.

The Curly’s tight, crisp curls of either black or liver serve as waterproof and thorn-resistant all-weather gear for work in thick bramble and icy lakes. The Curly is a big, durable bird dog, but more elegant and graceful than other retrievers. Another trait that sets Curly’s apart from the usual retriever is a tapered, wedge-shaped head.

Curly’s are affectionate and gentle, but they are a bit more independent and less needy than the other retrievers. They have a mindset like a Border Collie and they always need to be working. These tireless dogs need lots of outdoor exercise. Bored or underemployed, Curly’s can be a handful.

Now you know that a retriever can be a very good pet for your family. If you decide to get one or another type of dog or if you already have a dog, you might want to consider training for both you and your dog. The Heartland Dog Club is now taking names for the March classes. You can choose from Basic Obedience, Intermediate Obedience, AKC Canine Good Citizen, AKC Canine Good Citizen Advanced, Rally and AKC Star Puppy. For additional information, call 863 – 304 – 8582.

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