7 Crazy Facts About Golden Retriever Lifespans (And 7 Tips To Increase It)

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click on a link and purchase the item. This comes at no extra cost to you.

Want to know how long golden retrievers live?

In this post, you’ll learn the average lifespan for golden retrievers.

And not only that, but I’m also going to share with you 7 tips to help your golden live a long and happy life and hopefully increase that life expectancy!

Ready to give your golden the longest, healthiest life possible?

Let’s dive in!

Fact #1: Golden Retrievers Live An Average Of 10-12 Years

The average golden retriever lifespan is 10-12 years, which is about the same as other breeds of dogs their size.

For comparison, German shepherds live between 7-10 years, and labradors live between 10-12 years.

Smaller breeds typically live longer lives (Yorkies live an average of 11-15 years), while larger breeds typically live shorter lives (Great Danes live an average of 7-10 years).

Of course, these are just averages, and many dogs live longer or shorter lives than these ranges.

Fact #2: The Oldest Golden Retriever Is 20 Years Old

average golden retriever lifespan

Augie, a golden retriever who lives in Tennessee, is currently the oldest golden retriever at 20 years old.

She was born on April 24, 2000.

Learn more about Augie here.

Fact #3: 60% Of Golden Retrievers Are Impacted By Cancer

One of the biggest causes of death for golden retrievers is cancer.

According to the Morris Animal Foundation Golden Retriever Lifetime Study, 60% of golden retrievers are impacted by cancer.

This is about double the rate of any other breed of dog.

Fact #4: 3,000 Golden Retrievers Are Participating In A Study To Help Increase Golden Retriever Health

The Morris Animal Foundation launched the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study in 2012.

Together with veterinarians and the participating golden retrievers and their owners, they’re collecting data about their health, environment, and behavior to find potential risk factors for cancer and other diseases.

Fact #5: Golden Retrievers Suffer From These Health Issues Most Commonly

golden retriever lifespan tips

Here are some of the most common golden retriever health issues:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sub-aortic stenosis (SAS)
  • Eye disorders
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Seizures
  • Lymphoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Skin problems

Don’t worry, in the next section, we’ll show you how to prevent these!

Fact #6: Golden Retrievers Are “Puppies For Life”

Most golden retriever owners say their goldens are “puppies for life.”

Their playful puppy attitudes often last well past their puppy years, so if you have a golden at home be ready for a lifetime of fun!

Fact #7: Golden Retrievers Faces Turn Gray Or White As They Age

golden retriever life expectancy

Whenever you see a gray-faced golden retriever it’s fun to think about how many smiles they’ve sparked, or how many happy faces they’ve licked.

Although a gray face may give one indication of a golden’s age, their playful demeanor usually says otherwise.

7 Tips To Increase Your Golden Retriever’s Lifespan

This next section will cover seven tips to help increase your golden retriever’s life expectancy.

Of course, they aren’t foolproof, but they will give your dog the best shot possible at having a long and healthy life.

Tip #1: To Have A Healthy Dog, Start With Healthy Parents

english cream golden retriever mom and puppy

The best way for you to get a healthy dog is to purchase one from a good breeder.

Yes, you may pay more for a high-quality puppy, but it will be worth it.

Do your research on breeders, ask about their dogs’ health histories, their temperaments, and what they’re bred for.

Unfortunately, many people are breeding dogs with money as their #1 priority, not their puppies’ health.

Tip #2: Feed Your Dog A Quality Dog Food

Like choosing a breeder, dog food is definitely not something you want to go cheap on.

Plus, if you pay a little more upfront for food, you’ll likely save down the line in vet bills.

When trying to decide which food to feed your golden retriever, check out this article about puppy food and this article about adult food.

And read this to learn more about how much it costs to feed golden retrievers.

Tip #3: Groom Your Golden Regularly

golden retriever average life expectancy

Maintaining your golden retriever’s coat, nails, paws, teeth, and ears can not only keep them looking sharp, but also keep them healthy.

By not brushing their teeth, they can be at a greater risk to develop dental diseases, and by not cleaning their ears, they can develop ear infections.

Grooming them also gives you a chance to check them for lumps or painful spots.

Tip #4: Exercise Your Golden Retriever Regularly

how long do golden retrievers live

Like people, dogs benefit from regular exercise.

It keeps their bones, muscles, and heart strong, as well as keeps their potty habits regular.

Good forms of exercise include walks, swimming, playing fetch, and playing with other dogs.

It also helps a lot with tip #5…

Tip #5: Keep Your Golden Retriever’s Weight Under Control

Golden retrievers love to eat, so they do have a tendency to become overweight if they’re overfed.

Since they’re already susceptible to joint and heart issues, you definitely don’t want them to gain too much weight.

To keep their weight under control make sure that they get enough exercise and are fed the proper amount.

For males, golden retrievers should weigh between 65-75 pounds, and for females, they should weigh between 55-65 pounds.

Tip #6: Have A Good Relationship With Your Vet

Having a relationship where you talk about what’s going on in your dog’s life will help them get to know your dog and care for them the best they can.

They’ll be able to tell you what’s best for your pup so that they’re living up to their healthiest potential.

Tip #7: Fix Your Dog, But Not Too Early

According to this research article, dogs that are fixed may live longer than those who are not.

And, according to this article, dogs that are fixed a little later in life (after their first heat cycle for females and between 12-24 months for males) may be better off than dogs who are fixed too early (usually around 6 months old).

Interestingly enough, there’s also evidence that suggests “fixed” men may live longer than “intact” men, if we’re using canine terms here.

I’ll let you decide how you want to process that information!


expected golden retriever lifespan

Although the golden retriever life expectancy is between 10-12 years, this often varies and goldens can live longer or shorter lives.

To help them live as long as possible, follow these 7 tips:

  1. Choose a good breeder
  2. Feed your dog a high-quality food
  3. Groom them regularly
  4. Exercise them regularly
  5. Keep their weight under control
  6. Have a good relationship with your vet
  7. Fix your dog, but not too early

Have any more questions about golden retriever lifespans?

Have you had goldens before? How long did they live?

Let me know in the comments below!

And if you liked this article, you’ll love these 63 facts about golden retrievers!

Related articles:

66 thoughts on “7 Crazy Facts About Golden Retriever Lifespans (And 7 Tips To Increase It)”

  1. My golden is 10 years old and will turn 11 in may. She had cancer and has hip problems but her big heart never gives up. Golden retriever’s hearts are truly golden!

  2. Our baby Golden Scannon passed away peacefully in our arms at home. He was nearly 14 years old. He refused to eat on Sunday morning and by night passed away.
    RIP my baby doggie.. Carrots, Walks, Hide & Seek for life..

  3. Hi my golden retriever is 13and 6 months old. But. He thinks he is a puppy loves people and children loves to be with kids of all ages he is a big boy kids think he looks like a polar bear. He has cancer and arthritis but I have a good Vet and medication is working he has had his boy bits removed 4 weeks ago he is doing very well and happy would love another golden they are the best.

  4. There was a golden retriever that got to 21 in Lincoln in England. We saw it at the vets when the took it to be put down. My oldest golden it 15 in May and still very healthy. She has slight arthritis but only minor. She still runs about. I think there is definitely a lot to be said for the quality of the breeding and the food.

  5. I have a 15 year old golden. The love of our lives. She can’t stand on her own anymore. We help her get up to go outside. She can’t hear us and have been told she can’t see much at all. The vet said she’s got cataracts. She barks continuously throughout the day and more than half of the night for hours on end. We take her out, feed her and just sit with her. The vet says the constant barking is dementia. But I worry constantly what if he’s wrong and this sweet loving family member is in pain. It is an unbearable thought that keeps me up at night… along with her barking. Have any of you with older fur babes gone through this constant barking?

    • Hi we have a big boy Charlie retriever he is 14 this year he has arthritis and is on medication to help. He struggles to get up unless it is dinner time then he can up and jog like no tomorrow. He bark barks frequently but not very loud but not at anything in particular we do love him so

  6. I have a 15 almost 16 year old golden! We bought her at a pet store in a mall in Sydney Australia and brought her over to the US. She now has bad arthritis in her knees and spends most her days sleeping but other than that she’s had no health issues. No special diet, just regular old dog food, and the occasional table scraps. She’s outlived all our friends Goldens who got special treatment and special food, we think she’s lived this long because she knows she’s loved.. such an amazing companion, she used to stay up at night and walk into each of our rooms and check on us! Goldens just need all the love and affection you can give them.

  7. Our wonderful, so beloved, golden retriever died the day he turned 9 years. He died of hemangiosarcoma. We did everything we could for him. Vet bills approached $20,000 at the UCD Vet School. They were wonderful, but there was nothing they could do. He had a splenectomy but had a comorbidity heart problem they found after his diagnosis. He lived one month after his initial diagnosis. He brought so much joy and life to our family. It’s been a year and half and we still so miss him. He was purchased from a reputable breeder, was exercised regularly, fed excellent food recommended by the vet as well as raw veggies, slept on the bed; so loved. His passing broke our hearts. I believe there is a genetic problem in US Goldens which I so hope they can figure out. I don’t know if I can have another golden and go through the pain again. They are so dear to your heart.

    • We are going through this right now. Our 10 year old golden was just diagnosed with hemangiosarcoma after a devastating spleen/tumor rupture. We opted for the spleenectomy where spleen and tumor were removed and now are faced with ‘what next’? The statistics are not good but I’m not ready to say goodbye. I feel cheated when I see all these other posts about goldens living 14-15 years. My pup was so loved, best food, exercise, slept in our bed…

    • Just went through this on Monday with our 13 year old Sunny. Saddest day of my life, truly struggling right now.

  8. My golden, Shiloh was put to sleep three weeks ago. He would’ve been 12 in July. He was diagnosed with a bone tumor in his elbow that started to eat away at his bone. He had a very active life and I miss him so much.

  9. My golden was only 7. He died of hemangiosarcoma. Our golden before that was only 8. I have not had the best luck. Does anyone have a place of recommendation to get a golden that seems to have a longer lifespan and healthier litter?

    • Where do you live? I know loads in the uk. I would recommend checking their health checks though, such as eye tests, hip and elbow scores of the parents. Even so called reputable breeders could breed from a dog with poor scores which is not good but there is nothing to stop them. My mum has had goldens and bred them all my life and I’m in my 40’s and I’ve had one litter. We got all out checks down and only bred if the dogs were exceptional scores. I have 2. My oldest is 15 in May and in incredible health. My mum kept 2 of her sisters but both have sadly recently died. My other one is 9 and is one I bred. Noone can believe his age because he just looks like a 3 year old. Neither of them have ever had any health issues and are still in excellent condition. I have always given them top quality food and I think it pays. If you can get a food called skippers which is 50% fish, mostly fresh, and 26% sweet potato, I think it is amazing. Read the ingredients. There isnt one cheap ingredient in it. Importantly, there is no wheat etc in it, which feeds cancers, while the ingredients aid the joints and brain etc

    • Yes. Try Cheyenne Farm Kennel in Ashaway, RI (Near Westerly). Contact Teresa via email. My male golden retriever will be 14 in June 2021. Patti

    • Not a name but many good breeders now import European goldens with better health histories. Ask lots of health questions, especially about cancer , how long their ancestors lived ( are they still living and how old are they ) Also good breeders have theie breeding dogs eyes, elbows & other things tested for passable genentic disorders. Pay more in the beginning and save on heart ache and vet bills down the road.

    • Both of my Goldens died at age 9, twelve years apart. Our first in 2009 has bone cancer, and our recent one, back on June 8 of this year, had a brain tumor we had no idea about. Longest 3 weeks of my life, and I miss my golden boy so much. Here for 9 years, and died within 12 hours. I share your pain and heart break 💔 😢

  10. sorry Lauren your wrong….
    I just wrote a long reply, but it disappeared when posted and not writing it all over again
    country is great, but a golden can be happy in town too! Im 10 min from Disneyand and have had 5 goldens, all very happy kids

  11. My golden is 11.5 yrs old. We rescued her when she was just over 1 year old. We were just reflecting on this article and we are now unsure how she made it this far unscathed… She ate a full bag of halloween candy when she was 3 and again when she was 5. Loved the chocolate best of all. My kids fed her grapes to get her to do all her tricks (who knew- I near fainted when I found out). She is so awesome and we love her to pieces. Oh – and she doesnt retrieve. Goes to the ball and sits down with it. Super hilarious.

  12. Wish the comments posted had a date on them. Your site is great for those of us who adore Goldens (our second one) and believe they are the sweetest kindest loving breed ever. They are the ultimate family dog. They shed tons…never wear dark clothes and pet them before going out! That is such a small inconvenience to put up with…considering the joy they bestow!

  13. Our Golden Retriever will complete 17 in end Dec 2020 end. Has survived cancer, tumour was removed when she was 9-10 years old, had seizures, had paralytic attack but recovered in 48 hours.
    No special food or only dog food, no, she ate what we eat at home both veg & non veg but yes she had best of the love, affection & care. She is a miracle baby in our family.

    • My golden retriever Buddy is 11 yrs. Young. We rescued him when he was 3 months. He has been the biggest joy in our lives. Unfortunetly he is ridden with fluid filled tumors. Continplating removing one under his front leg. Worried about his age surviving the surgery, anesti. Anyone else have this issue? What is your take on removal?

      • Hi. My boy is 11 and we just got a tumour removed from his elbow. Apparently it was apocrine carcinoma.

        He took the surgery well and we are keeping fingers crossed.

        I don’t know how to deal with the news but I just keep telling him that he needn’t worry and that mommy will take care of him.

  14. My golden retriever, Ruckus would have celebrated his 12th birthday on 13th March 2021….but has passed away today with multiple organs failure. He was feeble the whole of Nov & eating less too !! He used to yelp instead of barking…& on Sunday had a big seizure. He never recovered after that !! Love u Ruckus….sad day today😪😪

  15. My 12 year old golden retriever was diagnosed with osteosarcoma 9 months ago. My daughters were desperate and got her started on Holistapet full spectrum CBD hemp extract for pets. Until this date, there is no sign of tumor spread. She didn’t get any surgery or chemotherapy. The Vet cannot explain this results and was amazed.

    • My 12 year old male golden retriever was diagnosed with anal sac cancer. Still eating fine, taking shorter walks and playing fetch for a short time. Where do you buy the Holistapet full spectrum CBD hemp extract? I also practice Reiki on him. He will be 13 in May. He is my best buddy and I want him to be with me for much longer.

      • I’m sitting here watching Benjamin my golden slowly leave he was fine a week ago now he just lays down not following me everywhere that is how he is I hate seeing him like this not eating if anyone know how he is going Down so fast he had a few accidents too Very worried he is my best friend please

  16. I have a beautiful golden who turned 14 on July 20. She is such a happy dog and we are so lucky to have her this long. She has walked almost every day since we got her at 8 weeks, very slowly now but still going!

  17. Thank you for this article.
    Our girl is 15yr and 4mo old. Unfortunately she’s at her final stage of life now and we have to think about putting her to sleep soon. The most beautiful and loving family member.

  18. My retriever is female of 10months age,her weight is 20KGS …she is bad in her food habits .she stopped eating dog food& eats only chicken rice,eggs& milk…How can I make her foodie and grow her weight

  19. Our Golden is 12.5 years and got a clean bill of health yesterday from the vet. Neutered him at 14 months, raw feed him, exercise him, work to keep his weight down (he loves food!) and keep him well loved! Fortunately no cancer. He has SAS- a breeder had dumped him when she realized she couldn’t sell him, so his genes are not great. But we have done all we could to give him as long a life as possible and he is still here. He is slower in the summer heat, but so am I!

  20. That article about early spay/neuter is 10 years old and I haven’t seen any more recent research. Have you seen anything more recent or less anecdotal? My female pup is only 5 months and I plan to wait until she is at least 12 – 18 months….

    • Golden Retrievers are the breed that is suitable for any type of environment. So if you are thinking of keeping a Golden Retriever in any part of India, you can keep them.

    • not exactly thats not true because what i have learned is golden retrievers need alot of space wich means not a small house were there is not alot of room they need alot of space for exersise or its harder to tire them out so they chill unless you want stuff broken and them nocing things over and another thing is goldens do not do well in town they do best in the country where they have lots of room to run so having a extra large yard is best other wise you will end up with more energy inside the house its also harder to train them because there are a lot more distractions.

      • All fiction. Fact, train a dog and they will be the best companion. Just like kids if not taught domesticated animals are a nightmare. That goes for all animals. I have had many dogs in my 50 years and all were good inside because we took the time to train and love them.

        • You don’t understand. Animals in general need as much space as possible and are better off with as much nature around them as possible, just like us. Dogs will content themselves with less as they are happy to be with us, but that does not mean they do not have their own needs. Has nothing to do with training. I would never get a golden without a reasonable sized yard. To me that’s pretty cruel.

          • Angie I’m sorry to disagree with you on this but I do agree that Golden needs room to move about as most dogs do, however they can achieve this even living in a small home if they are taking them to the dog park or on long walks.


Leave a Comment

 Potty Train Your Puppy Fast!

Download the FREE
Potty Training Cheat Sheet!