About GRCA

Share Your Passion. Get Involved. 


The Golden Retriever Club of America is one of the American Kennel Club’s (AKC’s) largest national breed clubs, full of talented members working to steward the well-being of our dogs. GRCA has over 4,000 voting members, 61 local member clubs, and members in many countries and supports the Golden Retriever Foundation. As an important AKC parent club, our committed membership base has significant influence to shape the policies affecting our interests and breed.

GRCA is the primary guardian of the Golden Retriever breed. Members determine the breed standard, code of ethics and performance standards. No other organization’s members care more about the Golden Retriever, or try harder to protect and improve the breed in America. GRCA is committed to providing education to help pet owners obtain and care for healthy Goldens from reputable breeders.

Education is an important member benefit. Members receive the bi-monthly Golden Retriever News, a large, informative, coffee-table-quality magazine filled with educational articles about canine health and research; canine structure and movement; breeding; training for obedience, field, and agility; and articles about our history, news from local Golden clubs around the country, and news and photos of recent member and dog accomplishments.

As a GRCA member, you’ll have opportunities to support veterinary health research, Golden Retriever rescue operations and to provide education on responsible dog ownership via The Golden Retriever Foundation.

Equally rewarding, as an active member, you’ll join a community – with a chance to be involved and develop friendships through volunteer opportunities – all aimed at improving the organization and the breed. Join a community that shares the Golden Retriever Passion!

GRCA Membership Benefits

GRCA Members receive the Golden Retriever News, a bimonthly, color magazine rich with educational content, photos, news & events, and member accomplishments (only available to GRCA members).
Use of a special GRCA Member Emblem for your personal website.
GRCA WC/WCX Video on Field Tests and how you can get involved.
Members’ entries are drawn first at CCA events held at GRCA Regional and National Specialties.
Eligible to compete for GRCA Challenge & Perpetual Trophies & Awards.
Access to GRCA’s Golden Retriever Title & Award online database.
Access and listing in the online Kennel Prefix List.
Weekly Hot Topics email – a summary of Board discussions and resolutions before they are voted on so you have a voice in your club. It’s also filled with announcements from AKC, the Golden Retriever Foundation and other organizations.
You join a special community – where you can develop friendships with those that proudly share your passion for the breed.

Why Join GRCA? A Member and Leader’s Perspective

By John Cotter, Past President

Recently, leaders of several breed clubs were discussing the value their national club provided. I have been pondering a similar question and would like to share my perspective on why the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) is important and why all local golden retriever club members should join.

First, unabashedly, I believe the Golden Retriever Club of America is the best breed club by far. We are one of the largest, best organized, and have the most talented members and best dogs. We have over 4,000 members, many in different countries, one of the best foundations, and our affiliated 100 rescue groups that each year rescue and re-home 10,000 to 12,000 displaced Goldens into their “forever home.” If we were a football team, we would be the super bowl champion. People want to be with a winner; you would be joining a winning team.

GRCA is the primary guardian of the Golden Retriever breed. GRCA members determine the breed standard, code of ethics and performance awards. No other organization cares more for the Golden Retriever or tries harder to protect the breed and performance standard across the country. GRCA provides educational information to pet owners to help them obtain healthy dogs from reputable breeders.

GRCA is the link to the American Kennel Club (AKC). We are the largest parent club in AKC and with a committed membership base we can be more influential in policies affecting our interests. For example, GRCA was instrumental in lowering obedience jump heights. GRCA has an excellent reputation within the AKC and with other breed clubs.

GRCA believes education is important and never ending. GRCA members receive the bi-monthly Golden Retriever News, a highly informative magazine filled with articles about our history, training tips from experienced experts, news from different clubs, pictures of recent member and dog accomplishments, etc. And, of course, my highly anticipated President’s column.

GRCA members can compete for Club recognition, awards and trophies in many different areas. GRCA, through local host clubs, sponsors a rotating National Specialty each year which brings together top competitors from across the country and beyond our borders. This prestigious event typically includes competition in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking and field events. In addition, educational seminars, welcoming dinners and banquets and the Golden Retriever Foundation’s (GRF) Gala make this a fun filled event.

In 1997, GRCA created the Golden Retriever Foundation (GRF), our tax exempt operation to fund and support veterinary health research, support for Golden Retriever rescue operations, and to provide education on responsible dog ownership. To date, more than two million dollars have been dedicated to these goals. The GRF is recognized as one of the largest supporters of the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation health research programs. And the GRF is actively involved with the Morris Animal Foundation in the ground breaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Health Study.

GRCA has many volunteer opportunities for members to make the organization and our breed better and stronger. The standing committees and task forces are important contributors to GRCA success. For example, the Legal Legislative Liaison follows and provides advice on the many anti-dog legislative proposals across the country. The Health and Genetics committee provides guidance on health issues affecting the breed, and our Research Facilitator coordinates with researchers and funding sources to ensure that the top projects move forward. Our Archives task force is working to identify and preserve our early history. But equally important are the many education committees, technical committees and writers who work to make the organization the best it can be.

We are continually thinking of ways to make membership more valuable. For example, members receive priority entry in the popular CCA at the National Specialty and Regional Specialties. The website, GRCA.org, has a “members only” section which provides additional educational information, and makes it easy to renew your membership on-line.

And one of the best advantages of being a GRCA member is the opportunity to meet Golden people from different parts of the country and develop lasting friendships.

The wonderful world of Golden Retrievers would not be what it is today without the establishment and continued evolution of the Golden Retriever Club of America. GRCA is the linchpin that connects the past, manages the present, and plans for the future. Whether members actively compete in dog trials or just want a quality dog, GRCA helps provide those opportunities. If you are not currently a member, I invite you to join GRCA. How to join? Simply click on JOIN GRCA and follow the process. You, and I, will be glad you did!

And remember to kiss your dog today.

John Cotter
Past President (2009-2013) and Life Member
Golden Retriever Club of America

Published by permission from Mr. John Cotter © GRCA 2015