Lifetime Study on Golden Retrievers Searching for Participants

Visit Dr. Ernie Ward at or on Facebook.

America is in love with Golden retrievers. Goldens have been a mainstay on the American Kennel Club’s Top 10 most popular breeds list for years. Golden retrievers star in movies, are featured on television programs, and have become synonymous with children playing in a park. Despite their popularity, little is known about the specific health risks this genial breed faces. The Morris Animal Foundation is looking to change that with an ambitious and important new study that hopes to learn more about diseases that threaten all dogs.

Dubbed the “Golden Retriever Lifetime Study,” researchers are looking for 3,000 volunteer Golden retrievers to follow for the next 10 to 14 years. The primary purpose of the study is to determine why cancer kills over half of all Golden retrievers and is the leading cause of death in adult dogs, regardless of breed. Other objectives for this landmark investigation include how genetics, environment,and diet affect health risks and what role they play in the development of cancer.

Morris Animal Foundation needs Goldens that are currently healthy, less than two years of age, and with at least three-generations of proven pedigree. Once you’re accepted, pet parents need to agree to participate for the lifetime of the dog, have a veterinarian willing to participate in the study, complete online questionnaires about your dog’s health and lifestyle, and have annual exams that include blood, urine, hair, toenail clippings, and fecal tests. If a study dog develops cancer, certain tests may be requested (special biopsies, etc.) and after death a necropsy (post mortem exam) is strongly encouraged. Pet owners are responsible for medical costs with reimbursements up to $75 per year when you submit test results and samples.

If you’re a dog lover who happens to share a home with a Golden retriever, I sincerely urge you to consider helping with this study. If you’re a Golden retriever enthusiast and want to help future generations live longer, healthier lives, this is a no-brainer. The efforts of dog owners today will have lasting impact for decades to come. It’s inspiring to witness the beginnings of such an impressive undertaking. Help spread the word in hopes of ridding the world of cancer one day. 

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.