All About English Golden Retrievers

February 28, 2012

You may have recently heard of “English Cream”, “British Whites”, or “European Creme” Golden Retrievers.  So what is the difference between American Golden Retrievers and English Golden Retrievers? We’re going to use the term “English” but they can also be referred to the names previously mentioned.

The muzzle of the English type is wider, shorter, and its forehead is blockier.
Muzzle of english golden retriever

It has shorter legs, with a slightly deeper chest, and shorter tail. Its features make it heavier than the American type. Males should be between 22–24 inches at the withers and females slightly shorter at between 20–22 inches. The Kennel Club standard calls for a level topline and straight hindquarters without the slight rear angulation found in American lines.

The eyes of the English type are often rounder and darker in comparison to the triangular shape of their American counterparts. A Golden Retriever of English/ British breeding can have a coat color of any shade from gold to cream,  but  red is not allowed in the ring.

Choosing an English Golden Puppy
When researching breeders, always make sure they test for hip displasia, elbow displaysia, eye and heart clearances. Golden Retrievers in general are prone to a number of health problems, so the more clearances you can get the better.  It took over 2 years to find the right Ellvy!  One thing to note is that the health clearances are different from America and other countries, so if you are trying to import a pup you will need to learn to read their specifications.

In America, the main health clearances are:


They should be checked after 2 years of age as that gives time for the hips to set in and the dog should be full grown.  Hip Dysplasia is a genetic disease because of the various degrees of arthritis (also called degenerative joint disease, arthrosis, osteoarthrosis) it can eventually produce, leading to pain and debilitation. The results chart and and an example of hip clearances here:  GR-99600G25F-VPI = GoldenRetriever-RegistryNumber Good 25mos Female-PermanentIdentification.

OFA results for hips

OFFA results for hip clearance

See for more information.


Results for Elbow tests include:

Grade I Elbow Dysplasia: Minimal bone change along anconeal process of ulna (less than 3mm).

Grade II Elbow Dysplasia: Additional bone proliferation along anconeal process (3-5 mm) and subchondral bone changes (trochlear notch sclerosis).

Grade III Elbow Dysplasia: Well developed degenerative joint disease with bone proliferation along anconeal process being greater than than 5 mm.

GR-EL21213F25-VPI = GoldenRetriever-Elbows RegistryNumberofBreed Female 25mos-PermanentIdentfication


Congenital heart diseases in dogs are malformations of the heart or great vessels. The lesions characterizing congenital heart defects are present at birth and may develop more fully during perinatal and growth periods.

The Congenital Cardiac Database is for dogs 12 months and over. Grading of heart murmurs:
Grade 1: A very soft murmur only detected after very careful auscultation
Grade 2: A soft murmur that is readily evident
Grade 3: A moderately intense murmur not associated with a palpable precordial thrill (vibration)
Grade 4: A loud murmur; a palpable precordial thrill is not present or is intermittent
Grade 5: A loud cardiac murmur associated with a palpable precordial thrill; the murmur is not audible when the stethoscope is lifted from the thoracic body wall
Grade 6: A loud cardiac murmur associated with a palpable precordial thrill and audible even when the stethoscope is lifted from the thoracic wall
Example Heart Clearance: OFA GR-CA17229/25F/P-VPI translates to GoldenRetriever-Cardiac Number/25 mos female/Practictioner-Permanent Identification


The Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) is a centralized, national registry founded by a group of concerned, purebred owner/breeders who recognized that the quality of their dog’s lives were being affected by heritable eye disease. CERF was established in conjunction with board certified, veterinary ophthalmologists, as a means to eliminate eye disease from heredity factors in dogs.

The CERF Registry registers dogs certified free of heritable eye disease by board certified Veterinary Ophthalmologists (A.C.V.O. ), and also collects data on all dogs examined by A.C.V.O. Diplomates.

CERF GR-43070/2009-26 = GoldenRetriever-RegistryNumberofDog/Year taken-Age


Here’s a great article that explains it all:

Leave a Comment