For an overview about the Golden Retriever breed, here's a short video from Animal Planet: http://animal.discovery.com/videos/breed-all-about-it-golden-retriever.html
The breed was developed by Lord Tweedmouth at Inverness Shire in Scotland. Lord Tweedmouth bred Nous, a yellow Wavy-Coated Retriever to Belle, a Tweed Water Spaniel, and they had a litter of four puppies. Over the years he crossbred with black Wavy-Coated Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Bloodhounds to improve the breed. He wanted to create a strong, agile hunting dog that could gently retrieve waterfowl under conditions of extreme wet and cold. Initially, Golden Retrievers were registered as Flat-Coated Retrievers, but by around 1912, the breed was recognized as a separate breed, the Yellow or Golden Retriever and several years later Yellow was dropped from the name.
Golden Retrievers were first brought into the United States in the 1890's and were first registered with the American Kennel Club in 1925.
The Golden Retriever Club of America was formed in 1938, and it is one of the largest parent breed clubs in the AKC with 5,000+ members.
Goldens physically mature in around 2 years and may take as long as 2-3 years to mentally mature.
They have a dense, water-repellent outer coat and a soft, wooly undercoat.
Males average 23-24 inches in height and 65-75 pounds while females average 21-22 inches in height and 55-65 pounds.