I have always owned Golden Retrievers, the “American” kind. They have ranged in color from light gold to a deep reddish brown. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I stumbled upon the English Cream Golden Retriever.
I was intrigued by their look and wondered how different they were from their American cousins that I had grown to love. Five years ago, Koda came into my life, two years later, we welcomed home his brother Jake.
Like the American Golden, English Creams are intelligent, loyal and eager to please. In fact, as you will learn they have more similarities than differences.
- English Creams Are Still Golden Retrievers
- A Retriever By Any Other Name …
- You Shouldn’t Pay More Because of Color
- English Creams Are Not From England
- English Creams Shed Less
- Fetch, Sit, Lay Down
- Beware of Health Problems
- These are Mouthy Dogs
- They Make Great Family Pets
- Don’t Expect Them to Protect Your Valuables
English Creams Are Still Golden Retrievers
While the lighter variety are still referred to as simply “Golden Retrievers” around the rest of the world, the United States and Canada refers to them as “English Cream” to differentiate them based, not only on their lighter color, but also on other features.
If you want to get technical about it, the English Cream is bred to British Kennel Club standards, while the American Golden Retriever is bred to American Kennel Club standards. The Golden Retriever was first AKC registered in 1925 and the English Cream was first accepted beginning in 1936. If you have ever watched an AKC dog show, you have never seen an English Cream competing. That’s because the AKC only recognizes dark golden, like my Taylor, Golden, like my Cassie and light golden, like my Tyler.
Aside from color, the English Cream tends to have rounder eyes, a broader head, a straighter top line and a stockier build than the American Golden.
Left to right Koda, Taylor and Jake. English Creams differ in appearance from American Goldens not only in color, but in other features.
A Retriever By Any Other Name …
Just like American Golden Retrievers, English Creams come in a variety of shades, from nearly pure white, to, well, a cream color. If you are in the market for one, you might see ads in the paper for White Goldens, Platinum Blond, Light and of course English Cream.
You Shouldn’t Pay More Because of Color
If you’ve purchased a Golden Retriever, then you know they can be expensive, especially if you buy one from a reputable breeder and they have their AKC papers. Unfortunately, there are some breeders who charge more for the English Cream version because “they are more rare” than their American counterparts. Truth be told, while you are likely to see more American Goldens than English Creams in dog parks around the country, that is not a good reason for them to cost more. More important than color is a Golden’s bloodline. If you plan to add one to your family, ask the breeder to see the parents and, if possible, to see their paperwork.
Jake was purchased from a reputable local breeder who had parents on the premises and whose paperwork reflected his AKC breeding history
English Creams Are Not From England
Despite their name, English Creams actually trace their roots back to Scotland, along with their American Golden counterparts. According to the AKC, the Golden Retriever can be traced back to Lord Tweedmouth who bred a Wavy-coated Retriever named Nous, to a Tweed Water Spaniel named Belle. The English Cream was first bred in North America and descended from dogs coming from Europe, Scandinavia, New Zealand and Australia.
English Creams Shed Less
As someone who has owned both American and English Cream Golden Retrievers, I can tell you that is not the case. Any long-haired dog is going to shed. In my experience, my English Creams shed worse than my Americans. No matter how often I vacuum, there are always white tumbleweeds of fur in my home. My advice is to brush, brush, brush! I generally brush my boys Koda and Jake a few times each week, and even more during the spring and summer when their coats are in full-shed mode.
Most long-hair dogs shed. Regular brushing is important to keep the fur to a minimum.
Fetch, Sit, Lay Down
Like all Golden Retrievers, English Creams are eager to please, which makes them fairly easy to train. It’s also one of the reasons Goldens are among the most popular dogs, coming in at No. 3 on the list of most popular dogs in the U.S.
Like people, dogs have different talents. Jake can catch a treat in mid-air, while Koda simply does not have the paw-eye coordination it has to accomplish this feat. On the other hand, Koda is significantly better at responding to the “lie down” command than his younger brother.
As with any dog, start training early, six to eight weeks is a good starting point. Remain consistent and use rewards and positive reinforcement. Never use punishment to train. You will be surprised just how quickly this breed can learn.
English Creams are quick studies. Jake is a master at catching cookies in mid-air.
Beware of Health Problems
Many big dog breeds are prone to hip-related problems and the English Cream is no exception. Hip and elbow dysplasia are inherited health issues. Sadly, English Creams also have a high rate of cancer, though not quite as high as American Goldens. A study conducted in 1998 found that a little over 60 percent of American Goldens died from cancers, while a British Kennel Club Health Survey found that only about 39 percent of English Creams were impacted by cancer. When it comes to cancer, however, there are no guarantees. Generally speaking, you can expect your English Cream to live up to 12 years.
Koda (left) and Jake (right) are biological brothers from different litters. Koda is five and Jake is three. Their life expectancy is 10 to 12 years.
These are Mouthy Dogs
If you own an English Cream, you will quickly learn that teaching them the “drop” command is critical. They were bred to retrieve and they do it quite well, even when not asked to. Retrievers have “soft mouths” so they can carry things without breaking them, such as raw eggs. There was even an “egg challenge” going around that people conducted to show just how gentle they can be. Though gentle, they often also don’t like giving up their prey. So while they probably won’t tear up your favorite pair of heels, getting them back can also prove to be a challenge sometimes.
They Make Great Family Pets
Gentle, intelligent and always looking to please, English Creams make great family pets, even around young children and other pets. English Creams have a sweet temper and love a good belly rub. Despite their size, they won’t think twice about trying to climb in your lap. In my experience, English Creams are a bit more mellow than American Goldens.
Don’t Expect Them to Protect Your Valuables
Don’t expect your English Cream to serve as a watchdog. These dogs are more likely to show a burglar where you keep your valuables. That said, however, they do have a healthy bark and can serve as a deterrent if a prowler comes around.
English Creams, like American Goldens make great family pets. If you’ve been considering adding one to your family, be sure to find a reputable breeder and don’t get fooled into paying more than for an American Golden based on color alone.