The Amazing Story Of Forest, The World's First Green Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers

The protagonist of this story is a Golden Retriever, but before we get into this, let me ask you a question: how well do you know this breed? Golden Retrievers are one of the most beautiful, playful, and friendly dog breeds in the world. They are the third most popular dog in America, and it’s easy to see why!

Their most remarkable physical trait is their water-resistant two-layer coat which makes them stand very low temperatures. Sure, they lose plenty of hair, which may be a bit annoying, but aren’t they beautiful?

Where Do They Come From?

Very few people know that Golden Retrievers were originated in Scotland during the mid 19th century. At first, they were bred as gun dogs that were meant to retrieve shot birds from the water during hunting parties. But people soon realized that they weren’t very talented swimmers.

Therefore, around the 1850s, they were crossed with the Water Spaniel, giving birth to the Golden Retriever as we know it today. It was only in the late 19th century that this breed began to be spread to the other continents, including North America.

The Adoption

Almost one and a half centuries later, and also in Scotland, a woman named Louise Sutherland decided she wanted to adopt a pet. She lived in a pretty little house in a small rural town named Golspie, located in the middle of the Scottish Highlands.

She had a rather big backyard, so she was hoping to adopt a large-sized dog. Eventually, she adopted a Golden Retriever and named her Rio. She was the friendliest dog ever, and both Louise and her daughter Claire were completely in love with her.

Rio Becomes A Mother

Louise loved to boast on her Golden Retriever all the time. And when Rio was already two years old, she decided she wanted her pet to have pups. She wasn’t interested in selling them or making a profit; what she longed for was for other people to experience the same love that Rio had given her.

So when she was two and a half years old, Rio became a mother and had her first litter of pups. She went through normal five-hour labor and had five pups, which is the average amount for a Golden Retriever. She had two girls and three boys, and the five pups were adopted in no time.

Rio Becomes A Mother

One year later, Louise decided she wanted her dog to have a second litter of pups. By that time, Rio was already three years old. As any responsible owner should do, Louise made sure to keep Rio in tip-top shape and condition throughout her pregnancy.

But when Louise took Rio to the clinic for the routine pregnancy studies, the vets gave her some unexpected news. Apparently, she was carrying nine pups, nearly twice as much as her first pregnancy! Even though this was still a normal amount – as Goldens may have from 4 to 12 pups -, Louise was shocked.

Labor Day

The week before labor, Louise looked for a safe nesting place in her house. On July 7, 2017, the day finally came, and Louise assisted her dog’s labor with the help of her daughter Claire. She stood beside her, armed with gloves, towels, paper tissues, and plenty of water.

Next to Rio were also nine tiny puppy-sized collars. Louise had bought them in different colors so that she could remember which puppy was born when. Finally, the delivery came, and Louise recorded each of the births.

Nobody Saw It Coming

Rio took her time with the first of the pups. In fact, Louise began to feel worried, as it seemed that the first pup was stuck. A few minutes passed and he just didn’t come out! As she said in an interview: “The first pup was stuck, so myself and my daughter Claire managed to free him and pull him out safely“.

Shortly after, the other pups began to arrive. But halfway through her litter, just when the fourth puppy was about to be delivered, Rio took a bit of a rest. It was only 15 minutes later that the fourth puppy was born. But when the fourth pup was delivered, Louise and Claire saw something that they didn’t even think was possible.

Could It Be True?

Louise and Claire couldn’t help but gasp when the fourth pup was born. It wasn’t because he was ugly or malformed; in fact, he was the exact same size and weight compared to the previous three.

The thing was that the puppy had the most peculiar color they had ever seen on a dog. His hair had a mossy green color, just like a plant. They wondered whether they were seeing correctly. After all, what could have caused such a strange-colored dog to even be born?

The Green Puppy

Louise and Claire were no vets, but they were definitely sure that green fur was far from normal for a dog. As to Golden Retrievers, even though you can get variations on the color, they’re usually either dark golden, light golden, golden or cream.

But green? What had happened to this pup? As Louise told the Daily Mail, “we noticed that one of the puppies had green fur! We couldn’t believe it“. Was there a scientific explanation behind this? You’ll soon find out!

Forest, The Golden

After all the other puppies were born, Louise and Claire had to come up with a name for each of them. But what they were really wondering was how to name the green dog. You can’t just name him Goldie or Blackie!

If you happen to be a Marvel fan and were in Louise’s position, you might have considered naming this puppy after the famous comic-book legend, the Incredible Hulk. But Louise went for a less extravagant option and named him Forest. It’s still an appropriate name for a green-colored dog, don’t you think?

Too Cute To Be True

Let’s be honest: any normal Golden Retriever is cute and adorable on its own. But a Golden with the particularity that Forest has is even more charming. Don’t you think so? If you’re still not sure, let’s take a look at the picture below.

This image shows Forest and one of his brothers resting one next to the other, just a few days after being born. When you compare the picture of a dog with normal coloration and that of this unusual green beauty, don’t you wish Forest was yours?

The Scientific Explanation

Believe it or not, Forest’s green pigment does have a scientific explanation. So, in case you were wondering, no, he’s not the rare cross between a Golden Retriever and an alien space dog. Let’s talk facts!

Veterinarians believe that this rare phenomenon happens when a light-colored puppy comes in contact with biliverdin, a green pigment found in bile. This is the same pigment that you can see when a bruise begins to turn green, so it’s pretty much the color of your body healing itself.

A Rare Medical Condition

In other words, this extremely rare medical condition occurs during pregnancy, as this green substance found in bile may dye the puppy’s fur while it is still in the womb. I know, you’re probably just as baffled as I am!

In case you were looking for even further detail, the biliverdin found in bile may get into the dog’s placenta and get mixed with the amniotic fluid, staining one of the pup’s coat. So yeah, Forest’s coat was stained while he was in her uterus because the level of biliverdin in his birth sack was way higher compared to the eight other pups.

A Magical Puppy

Let’s be honest; some of us were hoping that the green coloration meant that Forest was going to grow up to have special magical powers. But we must admit that he’s magical enough already. Or have you ever seen any other green mammal?

Besides, Forest is just the most adorable puppy ever. Even though the green pigment is just a temporary medical malformation, we just can’t deny that this little fella is special.

Different Shades Of Green

However, Forest is not 100% green. If you look closely at any of his images, you will see that Forest’s paws and ears, for instance, have a darker and more “normal” color. Also, the area around his stomach has a much lighter color. Can you guess why this is?

The reason behind this is that the hair is much shorter in those body parts. Therefore, if you thought it was a simple photoshop, you were quite mistaken. It’s 100% natural!

Not For Long

However, it’s important to mention that this green pigment is not a permanent feature. In fact, when dogs are born this way, the color begins to gradually fade off just after a few rinses, which means it’s a matter of weeks before it’s gone. So if you were hoping for an everlasting green dog, this fact may be a bit of a downer for you.

But even though Forest’s green coloration faded away quickly, we should feel happy for having the rare opportunity of witnessing such a cool effect in pictures. And the picture above shows Forest after his first month, already de-greened.

What About Rio?

Up until now, we’ve naturally focused on our attention on Forest, but what about the mother, Rio? She went through an endless 32-hour labor, but after such a lengthy ordeal, she’s doing great!

Sadly, one of the nine puppies passed away after birth, but according to Louise, the other 8 puppies, including Forest, are doing well. As Louise later claimed: “We were all shattered, but all that mattered was that Rio was OK“.

The Dogs’ Future

I know what you’re all thinking: which lucky guy or gal will look after Forest? Louise’s original intention was to give all the puppies away for adoption, but after such an ordeal, she decided she wanted to keep one of them for herself. But which one?

At first, Louise wasn’t sure which one to keep. As she told the news: “we’re keeping one of the boys but haven’t decided yet. we’re waiting until their personalities come out“. A couple of months later, they settled for Forest and gave the other 7 puppies to friends and neighbors.


Forest is truly one of a kind, but in spite of this, his condition is not unheard of. In fact, there have been two other recorded cases of “green” puppies. However, neither of those pups have received the same adoration and media coverage as Forest.

In February 2016, a chocolate-colored Labrador gave birth to a green puppy in Chorley, England. Funnily enough, her owner Elaine Cooper named her Fiona, after the princess of the Dreamworks film Shrek.

Forest, The World Star

Later that year, two spaniels were born green, but this time in Spain. The truth is that not many veterinarians have had the opportunity to look into the matter, precisely because of how rare it is. In fact, as Louise said in an interview: “Even the vet didn’t know much about it“.

Without a doubt, Forest will stay forever in our hearts, and he will always be remembered as history’s first famous green pooch. His story was covered by international news agencies all over the world, and he deserves it… because look how cute he is!