golden retrievers

Field vs. Show Goldens

Hey! I really liked that little lesson on goldens. I have a question though, are field goldens still taken to dog shows? Do they have their own category? I personally prefer a dog that looks more like a field golden than a show golden. Do field goldens still have a pedigree? Do breeders breed field and show golden retrievers together sometimes to get the best of both worlds out of them? If you know of a tumblr that could have a lot more information on the topic I’d really appreciate it!


Hi! It depends on the breeder, but there is usually a distinct difference in look between a field and show Golden.


This is my field line. He’s darker and trim with lots of feathers, but not a lot of fluff. Field lines do have a pedigree–hunting people are all about that pedigree, same as show people! These dogs are usually smaller and more compact, not just because they are more inclined to be athletic based on their use, but also because they need to be more portable! It’s easier to fit a 50lb-ish Golden into a canoe than it is a 100lb-ish Golden! They have more drive, but not necessarily more energy. See pawsitivelypowerful’s post on drive for more info on this distinction.

What a lovely stack, right? Well, maybe not lol, but you can still see how itty-bitty he is compared to your stereotypical Golden.

Meanwhile, here is a show line I trained. He’s lighter in color, thicker, and very fluffy! The show lines are stout and less “intense,” aka more likely to be couch potatoes. That’s not to say that they can’t be athletic–they totally can! But AKC likes a stout dog that’s yellow-gold, so that’s what a lot show lines are. 

Above is the AKC standard drawing of the preferred Golden. See how much it looks like the dogs after it? Fluffy, big ol head, thick body? Pretty different from my dark, slim and feathery boy.

AKC judges prefer the show line, but fields can do well in UKC! Some breeders (and ideally all breeders, eventually) will have a Golden that “has it all” for working and conformation, but–like most breeds–that is not always the case. 

I hope this helps!