Discover the World’s Oldest Golden Retriever

Written by Lisha Pace
Updated: September 30, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/chendongshan
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Key Points:

  • Golden Retrievers originated in Scotland and were bred to be hunting dogs.
  • Holding the top spot as the most popular dog in the United States, Golden Retriever’s sweet dispositions and trainable intelligence make them great family dogs.
  • Augie, a Golden from Tennessee, is believed to have been the oldest Golden Retriever. She lived 20 years and 11 months.
  • The average lifespan of Goldens is 10-12 years.

Our dogs are near and dear to our hearts in a way that non-pet owners just can’t understand. We love our pets and want to see them live long and happy lives. Thankfully, dogs can be somewhat long-lived when given the proper care and attention.

While dogs, on average, live to around 10-13 years, that’s just the average. Certain breeds can live much longer and can surprise even the most knowledgable dog lovers. Let’s look at one of the most famous dog breeds in the world and see just how long the oldest Golden Retriever has ever lived.

Where do Golden Retrievers come from originally?

golden retriever under blanket
Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs.

iStock.com/Prystai

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Currently, the AKC (American Kennel Club) recognizes 190 different species of dogs. So, where does the Golden Retriever fit among the other dog breeds of the world?

Golden Retrievers originated in Scotland and were originally used as gundogs for hunters. The man most often credited for developing the breed, Dudley Coutts Majoribanks, wanted a robust dog that could navigate water and land to search for grouse, red deer, and other fowl. He ended up with the first litter of what we today call “Golden Retrievers,” sometimes shortened to just “Goldens.” 

Goldens aren’t called “America’s Dog” for just any reason. Golden Retrievers are pretty much the perfect family dog. They are gentle, great around kids, and are among the most trainable breeds in the world. Those traits, paired with their occasionally goofy attitude, make them perfect for homes.

Additionally, Goldens have an incredible work ethic. Because of how smart and athletic they can be, you often find them working as service dogs. Goldens are great as bomb dogs, sniffers, rescue dogs, and seeing-eye dogs, securing them the spot as the go-to in most service needs.

As the ideal home and service dog, it’s clear to see why Goldens hold the top spot as the most popular family dog in America. 

How old do Golden Retrievers normally live?

Golden Retriever in a Field of Yellow Flowers
Golden Retrievers typically live 10 to 12 years.

Before we talk about the oldest Golden to ever live, let’s look at their average age. Typically, Golden Retrievers live 10-12 years. While this may seem short, it’s pretty standard for any medium to large dog breed.

Goldens have potentially experienced a shortening of their average life. For Dr. Michael Lappin, a veterinarian from Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, it appears that the average age has decreased from 16-17 years to the current 10-12 years. While the science isn’t exactly clear why yet, it appears that it is due to higher levels of diseases like bone cancer, lymphoma, and cancer of the blood vessels. In fact, Goldens die from those three diseases more than any other breed in the country.

These increases in deadly diseases may be due to a lack of breed diversity or dietary problems, but the data isn’t clear. Still, a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and responsible breeding practices are easy ways to ensure your pet lives a long and healthy life. 

Who was the oldest Golden Retriever to ever live?

While the average age for Golden Retrievers is currently between 10-12, one Golden from Tennessee has doubled it.

August (Augie, for short) is the oldest Golden on record, clocking in at 20-years-old on April 24th, 2020. The Hetterscheidts family adopted Augie after she had been rehomed twice. Thankfully, the Hetterscheidts knew it was love at first sight and took the pup home to live with them. When brought home from the adoption center in Nevada, Augie was already 14-years-old. As a senior dog, her owners watched her like a hawk, making sure she was healthy and happy whenever they could.

The news was confirmed after GoldHeart Golden Retrievers Rescue posted on Facebook. With the paperwork to back the information up, it became official that Augie was the oldest known Golden Retriever ever to live. 

What happened to Augie?

Augie’s family kept her on a regiment of supplements and fluids to help her as she got older. They kept her “perky” and allowed her to live the life of a younger dog far into her second decade of life.

Augie developed some kidney problems as she aged and started having trouble walking. Finally, on March 31st, 2021, Augie passed away peacefully. She was 20 years and 11 months old, putting her as the 19th oldest dog on record, and securing her spot as the oldest Golden Retriever to ever live.

What can you do to increase your Golden Retrievers life span?

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever

iagodina / freepik – License

Although Augie might be an outlier as far as age is concerned, it’s still possible to take action that can help your Golden live a longer and healthier life.

  1. One of the most important aspects of a dog’s health is its diet. Selecting a high-quality dog food is an easy way to help your dog live longer. The AACO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) is an organization that establishes scientific studies to determine the quality and nutrition of certain dog foods. 
  2. In addition to the quality of food, the quantity is also important. Overfeeding your pet can lead to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and an overall reduced lifespan. On average, a full-grown Golden Retriever eats between 2-3.5 cups of food per day, but this number can vary, and you should consult your local veterinarian for more specific numbers.
  3. Exercise and activity are vital to keeping your Golden healthy. Obesity in dogs is more likely where there is a lack of exercise. On average, Golden Retrievers need at least 90 minutes of exercise per day. Walks, runs, romps in the yard, and swims are all great ways to exercise your Golden and keep them healthy. 

Golden Retrievers Have Held Public Office

Mayor Max, a golden retriever, defeated fourteen other dogs and two cats to become Mayor of Idyllwild, California, in 2012. As an unincorporated town with no local government, the citizens were free to elect a dog to take on the symbolic position. Max’s duties included visiting with locals and out-of-town visitors, attending business grand openings and other town functions, being in two annual parades, and just promoting Idyllwild in general. What a good boy!

Should you get a Golden Retriever?

As some of the most amiable and loyal dogs on the planet, most people will find that a Golden Retriever is a great addition to their family. If you can provide ample exercise that a large breed needs, as well as a loving environment, a Golden might be great for you. 

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About the Author

After a career of working to provide opportunities for local communities to experience and create art, I am enjoying having time to write about two of my favorite things - nature and animals. Half of my life is spent outdoors, usually with my husband and sweet little fourteen year old dog. We love to take walks by the lake and take photos of the animals we meet including: otters, ospreys, Canadian geese, ducks and nesting bald eagles. I also enjoy reading, discovering books to add to my library, collecting and playing vinyl, and listening to my son's music.

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