There has been much confusion regarding the classifications of Golden Retrievers. First and foremost, Golden Retrievers refer to the medium-sized breed that were historically bred as gundogs to retrieve (hence the name) shot fowls and other animals during hunting. As the breed was accepted in several countries, specifically England and the United States, two major different standards of breeding the Golden Retriever developed.
Basically, if you follow all technical correctness, the Eurpean Cream Golden Retriever is basically "a Golden Retriever bred to the KC standards" and an American Golden Retriever is "a Golden Retriever bred to the AKC standards."
American Golden Retriever: The AKC describes an American Golden Retriever's color to be "rich, lustrous golden of various shades". Extremely dark or extremely light colors are not accepted within the breeding standards. This would mean that judging of the acceptability of color is, to an extent, left to the judge's discretion.
English Cream Golden Retriever: The KC describes the English Cream Retriever to be of the shades of cream and to some extent gold. Mahogany and reds are not accepted.
There are certain health differences between the American Goldens and the European Cream. American Goldens have a significantly higher chance of getting cancer as compared to European Creams. This is based on research and statistics done. The median age of American Goldens is 10 years and 8 months, while the median age for European Creams is 12 years and 3 months.
The answer truly lies in the eye of the beholder. As you can see, the different standards in breeding are generally all with an aesthetic purpose in mind. Some people like their Retrievers in rich golden color while others prefer a creamy light color. AKC and KC retrievers have rather different facial features; hence, it may be completely up to the very moment of entering the breeder's home or store and you fall in love with either one of them on the spot. Regardless, Golden Retrievers in general are fun, loving, and perfect family dogs. They are great around children and are acclaimed for their superior intelligence with the capability to memorize and understand around 240 human expressions, words or phrases.
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