The Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers (Puppies, Price, Facts, Shedding & More) – Golden Hearts

The Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers (Puppies, Price, Facts, Shedding & More)


golden retriever

Are you thinking about getting a golden retriever?

Or do you already have one?

This guide will show you everything you need to know about them, from how big they get, to how to choose a breeder, to how to train your puppy, to what to feed your golden retriever and everything in between.

You’ll even learn the history of the breed and some fun facts about them that not many people know.

But before we get into that, ask yourself this: why do you want a dog in the first place?

Do you want a guard dog?

Do you want a dog to sit around and watch Netflix with all day every day?

Do you want a dog you can put in your purse and take shopping with you?

If you answered yes to any of those, a golden retriever may not be the best choice for you.

But if you want a beautiful, fun, loving, family-friendly dog that will be a loyal companion and fun adventure partner, then keep reading!

This guide will show you everything you need to know to raise the best friend you’ve always wanted.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Golden retriever history and facts
  • Pre-Puppy stage
  • Puppy stage
  • Adult stage

Let’s dive in!

Golden Retriever Facts & History

golden retriever facts

Here’s what you’ll learn in this section:

  • Golden retriever history
  • Size
  • Lifespan
  • Types of golden retrievers
  • Are golden retrievers smart?
  • Temperament
  • Behavior issues
  • Golden retrievers in the workforce
  • Famous golden retrievers
  • Is a golden retriever right for you?
  • Do golden retrievers shed?
  • How much do golden retrievers cost?

Let’s start with their history.

Golden Retriever History

golden retriever history
Tomich, Scotland, where golden retrievers are said to have originated.

Most people credit Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland with breeding a wavy-coated retriever and a Tweed water spaniel in 1868 to create the first litter of what we now know as golden retrievers.

However, there is a bit of controversy surrounding that story, with some saying that dogs similar to golden retrievers existed before Lord Tweedmouth’s goldens.

Either way, we do know that Golden retrievers are sporting dogs from Great Britain over 150 years ago that were bred to hunt and retrieve waterfowl.

Golden Retriever Size

golden retriever size

Golden retrievers are medium-sized dogs with males typically growing larger than females.

Below is the breed standard for golden retriever size, according to the AKC.

Males: 23-24 inches, 65-75 pounds

Females: 21.5-22.5 inches, 55-65 pounds

Height for dogs is measured from the ground to its withers (the highest point of a dog’s shoulder blades).

How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live?

Golden retrievers typically live about 10-12 years, although, like any living being, they can live a few years longer or shorter than that.

The longest golden retriever ever to live was 19 years old, and there are many accounts of golden retrievers living up to 17 and 18 years old.

Related articles:

Are There Different Types Of Golden Retrievers?

types of golden retrievers

You might have heard that there are three types of golden retrievers

But is it really true?

Well, there are gold goldens, white goldens, red goldens, and all sorts of shades in between.

So it would make sense that there are different types…

But according to the Golden Retriever Club of America and the Golden Retriever Club of Canada, there is just one type of golden retriever.

Of course, some goldens are darker, some are lighter, some are more athletic, and some are stockier, but they’re all still golden retrievers.

It’s kinda like football.

You might think the 300 lb lineman and the 100 lb cheerleader are different species, but nope, both humans!

Related articles:

Are Golden Retrievers Smart?

Don’t let their sweet smile or goofy play style fool you.

Golden retrievers are very smart.

According to canine psychologist, Stanley Coren, golden retrievers are the fourth smartest dog breed (out of 138 evaluated breeds).

This can be an advantage when it comes to training them, but it is also something to watch out for, as their intelligence can lead to mischievousness, and they need to mentally stimulated often.

Archie The Thieving Golden Retriever [VIDEO]

Archie is clearly very smart!

Golden Retriever Temperament

golden retriever temperament

The picture above says it all.

They’re sweet, goofy, loving dogs.

Here is a quote from the United Kennel Club about their personality: “A Golden Retriever is friendly, calm, compliant and compatible with people and other dogs.”

Because of their good-naturedness, they’re great for families with children.

In fact, it’s this sweet personality that makes them some of the most popular service and therapy dogs.

Related article:

Golden Retriever Behavior Issues

golden retriever behavior issues

Although golden retrievers have amazing personalities, they can still have some behavior problems if you don’t train and exercise them sufficiently.

Because golden retrievers are so loving, many of them have the bad habit of jumping up on people.

And because they’re so smart, they can be mischevious and destructive if they’re not mentally stimulated.

And because they were bred to be hunting dogs, they naturally have tons of energy that can turn into destroying the house or pulling on the leash.

Here’s a good quote to keep in mind with your golden: “A tired dog is a good dog.”

Oftentimes kids turn to criminal behaviors because they’re bored.

It’s not that they’re bad kids, it’s just that they don’t have any other outlets for their hormones and energy.

Dogs are the same way.

Here’s how you can tire them out both physically and mentally:

  • Play games like fetch and tug
  • Train them and make them think
  • Teach them to chew on chew toys instead of your furniture
  • Feed them their meals through puzzle toys or frozen kongs instead of food bowls
  • Take them on long walks and let them sniff

If you keep your golden both physically and mentally tired, they’ll be satisfied and won’t release pent up energy on unwanted behaviors.

Golden Retrievers In The Workforce

Golden retrievers don’t just make good companion pets, they’re also great workers.

Here are some of the most common jobs golden retrievers excel at:

  • Therapy dog
  • Service dog
  • Search & Rescue
  • Hunting dog

Their sweet, calm demeanor makes them good therapy and service dogs, their excellent sense of smell makes them good search and rescue dogs, and their drive for retrieving makes them great hunting dogs.

But these aren’t the only jobs golden retrievers do.

Some also have jobs in professional sports or are actors!

And speaking of actors…

Famous Golden Retrievers

There are many famous golden retrievers in America’s history, but here’s a short list of them:

Buddy, who plays himself in Air Bud and Comet in Full House

Rookie, the Bat Dog for the Trenton Thunder (Yankees minor league affiliate)

Shadow from Homeward Bound

Todd, the golden retriever who took a rattlesnake bite for his mom

And here are a few goldens with celebrity parents…

Jennifer Garner’s golden, Birdie

Betty White’s golden, Pontiac

Oprah’s goldens, Luke & Layla

Nick Jonas’ golden, Elvis

Jackie Chan’s goldens, JJ and Jones

Emma Stone’s golden mix, Ren

Mike “The Situation”‘s golden, Moses

Now you know more about the golden retriever breed and its history.

If you’re still interested in getting a golden retriever (after seeing that Betty White has a golden, how can you not be?) below is a little discussion on how to tell if a golden retriever is right for you.

Should I Get A Golden Retriever?

should i get a golden retriever

What’s your lifestyle currently like?

So many dogs get abandoned at shelters because the lifestyle the dog owner has does not match up with the lifestyle the dog requires.

Golden retrievers have a lot of energy and they’re not exactly small.

If this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, that’s ok!

Golden retrievers are not for everybody.

But if you like running around the backyard, or going for long walks or hikes, and cuddling with big fluffy teddy bears, then you’d probably enjoy a golden retriever.

Another question is, why do you want a dog?

Do you want a dog that will be a protective guard dog?

Most goldens are too friendly to be of any service here (but they’d probably bark very loudly to let you know someone is at the door).

Do you want a dog to cuddle with in bed all day?

Remember, goldens have a lot of energy, so they’ll need to do something active every day (although after a game of fetch they make great pillows).

Here’s the bottom line with golden retrievers: they’re full of love and make great family dogs for active families.

Related article:

Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

do golden retrievers shed

Yes, golden retrievers shed, but so do most all dogs, so no matter what type of dog you decide to get, you’ll likely have to deal with some degree of shedding.

To decrease shedding, be sure to brush your golden several times per week, and to help keep the house clean, you can vacuum regularly, or get a Roomba.

Related article:

How Much Do Golden Retrievers Cost?

So if you’re still interested in getting a golden retriever, here’s another big question: how much do they cost?

Golden retrievers aren’t cheap.

They’re definitely worth every penny, but still, they’re not cheap.

Here’s a quick breakdown of how much you can expect to pay for a golden retriever, as well as yearly costs:

  • Golden retriever puppy: $500-3,000
  • Adopting a golden retriever: $200-500
  • Estimated costs for the first year: $2,077.53 – $2,947.53
  • Estimated yearly costs in the dog’s adult years: $1,506 – $2,464

Check out this article for a full breakdown of how we got those numbers.

Does this sound like it’s doable?

If it’s not, that’s totally ok!

It’s better that you realize this now than realizing it after you get one and then have to give them up.

Alright, assuming you’re still on board with getting a golden retriever, below is everything you need to consider before you get a golden retriever puppy.

Related article:

Everything You Need To Know Before You Get A Golden Retriever

golden retriever puppy
Oliver, one of the first nights we got him

Great, you’ve decided to get a golden retriever!

Here’s what we’ll cover in this next section:

  • How to find a golden retriever breeder
  • What you will need for a new puppy
  • 6 things to do before you bring your new puppy home
  • How to choose a puppy

Now, will you rescue an adult golden retriever, or get a puppy from a breeder?

If you decide to rescue one, here’s a list of golden retriever rescues by state.

If you decide to get a puppy, this next section is key.

How To Find A Golden Retriever Breeder

In life, you usually get what you pay for.

Getting a golden retriever puppy is no different.

Golden retriever puppies cost between $500-3,000.

That’s a pretty big range, right?

Well, a big part of that has to do with the fact that there’s a range of golden retriever breeders.

You’ve got your professional breeders— the people who have been doing this for a long time, who thoroughly vet the dogs they’re breeding, who take great care of the puppies, and set them up for success before sending them off to you…

And then you’ve got the “backyard breeders”— the people who are just in it to make a quick buck.

Here are a few things that you want to look for in a golden retriever breeder:

  • They have several generations of health and temperament history for each parent
  • The parents are more than just pets— they have shown some aptitude for conformation (show dog), obedience, or field (even if you just want a golden retriever for a pet, having the genes of a dog that is proven to be trainable and successful will help you with that)
  • Their females have one or fewer litters per year (more than one can be bad for their health and the health of the puppies)
  • They’re properly socializing and stimulating the puppies before adopting them out
  • Most reputable breeders will not have puppies ready for you to adopt immediately
  • They ask you as many questions as you ask them to make sure that you’re a good fit for one of their puppies
  • They’ll require you to sign a contract that will likely restrict things like breeding or showing the dog
  • They have some sort of health guarantee

What Do You Need For A New Puppy?

what do you need for a golden retriever puppy

Now that you’ve chosen a breeder and we assume you have a puppy on the way, it’s time to start getting everything you need.

This article will show you everything you’ll need for your new golden retriever puppy, which is a mix of basic things (food and water bowls, leash, collar), grooming items (shampoo, brush, nail clippers, toothbrush), and other important things, like a crate and pee cleaner.

It’s important that you get these things before you bring your new puppy home.

You don’t want to be waiting on Amazon to deliver the pee cleaner after your puppy has already peed on the floor, and you don’t want to be frantically running around running errands and shopping with a brand new puppy.

You want all of your focus to be on them and making sure they’re getting comfortable in their new home.

6 Things To Do Before You Bring Your New Puppy Home

In addition to getting all of the things you need for your new puppy, there are several other things you need to do before you bring home your new puppy.

  1. Puppy proof your home and backyard
  2. Find a veterinarian and schedule an appointment with them (your breeder may require an appointment within a certain time)
  3. Locate the nearest emergency animal hospital
  4. Read this list of foods poisonous to dogs and find a list of local poisonous plants, bugs, and animals
  5. Find a puppy kindergarten class
  6. Have their crate and food and water bowls all set up

Now you’re all ready to bring your puppy home!

The last thing you need to do is find a name for your new puppy.

Check out this list of golden retriever puppy names for some inspiration.

How To Choose A Golden Retriever Puppy

how to choose a golden retriever puppy

Sometimes breeders will choose the puppy for you, sometimes you’ll choose the puppy ahead of time, and sometimes you’ll choose the puppy on the day you go to pick them up.

We like to think that our puppy, Oliver, chose us.

We didn’t have a puppy picked out on the day we went to go get him, and we had our pick of four boys.

There were two tiny, wild ones, and two big, calm ones.

Going into it, we wanted a big, calm one, but we also wanted one that was friendly and wanted to be with us.

The wild ones were all over us, but the big calm ones were doing their own thing on the other side of the pen.

Since we wanted to give each one a chance, I distracted the wild ones, while my wife went to play with the big calm ones.

After she played with each of them, she came back to ask me what I wanted to do.

We were torn because the wild ones seemed to really love us, even though they weren’t exactly what we were looking for.

While we were discussing it, one of the big calm ones came over and started snuggling up to my wife.

And that’s when we knew he was the one.

A year and a half later and “calm” is the last word I’d use to describe Oliver.

If the breeder chooses the puppy for you, that’s great since they know the puppies best.

If you get to choose the puppy, think about what you want, talk to the breeder about it, and look at the litter to try to see which one has those qualities.

But just know that whatever you see in those puppies is just a snapshot in time (maybe Oliver was calm because he let out all his energy with the people that chose their puppy before us) and you don’t really know what that puppy will be like as an adult.

As long as you pick a good breeder who breeds the type of dog you’re looking for, you’ll likely end up with a good one.

Now, once you have your puppy home, what should you expect?

What To Expect With A Golden Retriever Puppy

expecting a new puppy

Golden retriever puppies are the cutest things in the world.

They’re fluffy little teddy bears that are full of joy, playfulness, and curiosity.

But…

It can be really difficult raising a puppy.

They don’t know not to potty in the house yet, so you have to take them out about every half hour to two hours so that they don’t have an accident (although expect accidents to happen).

When you first bring them home, they can only hold their bladders for about 2-3 hours at a time, so expect to wake up 2-3 times per night to take them to potty.

They’ll probably hate their crate at first and bark and cry.

They bite a lot, they’ll try to chew everything, and they need constant supervision so that they don’t ruin your house or hurt themselves.

Plus, they have tons of energy!

They’re a lot like having a toddler.

And all of this is totally normal.

Expect that raising a golden retriever puppy will be difficult, but know that it will be worth it.

In this section you’ll learn:

  • How to train your puppy
  • How to potty train your puppy
  • How to crate train your puppy
  • The best toys for your puppy
  • Common golden retriever puppy health issues
  • What to feed your golden retriever puppy

How To Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy

how to train your golden retriever puppy

Training your puppy is one of the best things you can do with them.

It helps you bond with them and teaches them to be good members of society.

Plus, they will like it because they like being mentally stimulated and pleasing you.

Now you might be thinking you don’t want your dog to be a robot and just do everything you say, but it’s actually the opposite.

The better trained your golden retriever is, the more freedom they can have.

For instance, if they aren’t trained to walk on a leash properly, then you can’t take them on walks around the town.

And if they aren’t trained to not jump on people, then you can’t take them to hang out with friends and family with you.

See how that works?

The best way to train golden retrievers is through positive reinforcement.

If they do something you want them to do, then you reward them with a treat, praise, or toy.

Keep training sessions short (2-5 minutes) and practice repetition of commands and behaviors using games.

For instance, if you’re practicing recall, you might throw a treat across the room to get them to run away from you, then show them that you have a treat and get them to run back to you.

How To Potty Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy

how to potty train your golden retriever
Within an hour of bringing Oliver home…

Potty training is pretty straight forward.

You bring them outside to potty and praise them for going outside.

That’s it!

But like many things in life, just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s easy.

The best way to teach your puppy to go outside is to never let them go inside.

That means taking them out very frequently.

Some people recommend taking them out every 30 minutes, while others recommend every 1-2 hours.

And when your puppy does go potty outside, make sure to praise them a lot and give them treats.

Let them know they’re the best outside-pottying puppy in the world!

And if they do have an accident in the house, here’s what to do:

  1. Never punish them for going inside
  2. If you’ve caught them in the act, take them outside to finish and then praise them for going outside
  3. Clean it up with an enzymatic cleaner (puppies like to go where they smell pee and poo and enzymatic cleaners get rid of the smell)

Finally, here are some quick tips and facts about potty training:

  • Puppies can hold their bladders for about an hour per their age in months, which means that if your puppy is two months old, they can hold it for about two hours
  • Take your puppy out after spending time in their crate, playing, eating, drinking, sleeping, or chewing a toy
  • It can take two weeks to six months to potty train your puppy (so be patient!)
  • Take them outside to the same place every time (remember, they like to go where they smell other pee and poo)

Click here to download the free potty training cheat sheet.

Now, one thing that really helps with potty training is crate training.

Dogs are clean animals and prefer not to go potty where they sleep, so crate training is a great way to teach them to hold it, as well as keep your house accident-free.

How To Crate Train Your Golden Retriever Puppy

crate training golden retriever with chew toys

Have you ever seen a dog lay down under a table or chair?

Dogs are den animals and they naturally like to be in sheltered spaces.

Yes, they won’t like their crate at first, but they’ll learn to love it eventually and it will be one of the best tools you have for raising your puppy.

Here are some advantages of crate training your puppy.

  • It helps with potty training
  • It can keep your house safe from your puppy chewing up everything
  • It can keep your puppy safe from accidentally swallowing something dangerous
  • It’s a safe way to teach your puppy to be calm when alone

You might be thinking, “Isn’t it mean to put my dog in a cage?”

Considering the fact that dogs are den animals (so they have a natural desire for a space like a crate) and all of the advantages of crate training, it’s not mean to crate train your puppy.

Instead, it’s great and necessary.

why crate train your golden retriever

Yes, the above meme is funny, but that’s at least a couple hundred bucks in home repairs, plus the dog might have ingested some wood or drywall that could get lodged in their stomach and I’ll bet there are a few exposed nails in there.

If your dog is in a crate when they’re home alone, this won’t happen.

So now that you’ve decided to crate train your golden retriever, how do you actually do it?

Like potty training, it’s simple, but not easy.

Here are some tips to get your puppy to like their crate:

  • Introduce them to the crate slowly and gradually increase the time they’re in there alone. Don’t just throw them in there for two hours alone the first time.
  • Play games involving the crate
  • Feed their meals in the crate
  • Give them chew toys to keep them occupied while they’re in the crate
  • Never use the crate as punishment
  • Put the crate next to your bed where the puppy can hear and smell you
  • Set your puppy up for success (don’t put them in the crate if they’re full of energy or need to potty)
  • Remember that puppies can hold their bladders for about one hour per their age in months, so don’t try to push their limits

A good way to keep puppies occupied in their crate is to give them chew toys to chew while they’re in there, and this next section will help you learn all about toys for your new golden retriever puppy.

Best Toys For Golden Retriever Puppies

type of dog chew toy

There are four types of dog toys:

  1. Chew toys
  2. Dental toys
  3. Plush toys
  4. Interactive toys

Chew Toys

nylabone puppy chew toy

Chew toys are toys that are made of hard substances like rubber, nylon, or natural ingredients like beef tendons.

These are toys that satisfy dogs’ natural urge to chew.

Some examples of chew toys are Nylabone toys, Kong toys, and bully sticks.

Click here to learn more about the best puppy chew toys.

Dental Toys

chew toys for golden retrievers

Dental toys are very similar to chew toys in that they’re hard and made for chewing, but the difference is that they have more ridges and knobs on them made to scrape plaque off of your dog’s teeth.

One example is this bone from Nylabone.

Plush Toys

multipet gumby plush dog toy

Plush toys are stuffed animals or characters, often with a squeaker inside.

Your puppy will love to run around the house with these toys in their mouth, tossing them in the air and shaking them.

One word of caution with these toys is that your golden retriever will likely tear them apart easily, so don’t let them play with them unsupervised and don’t leave them in the crate with them.

Oliver loves this Gumby plush toy.

Guy Dresses Up As Dog’s Favorite Toy [VIDEO]

Interactive Toys

interactive toys for golden retrievers

Interactive toys are toys that you and your dog play with together, such as frisbees, balls and tug ropes.

Some of Oliver’s favorite interactive toys are tennis balls and tug ropes.

Golden Retriever Puppy Health Issues

Puppies, like kids, get sick a lot more than adults do.

This is because their immune systems aren’t fully developed and they try to put everything in their mouth (including poop).

Here are 6 common puppy illnesses, according to PetMD:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Kennel Cough
  • Adenovirus
  • Leptospirosis
  • Vomiting & Diarrhea

The best thing to protect against these diseases is to talk to your vet of course, but here are a few other tips:

  • Don’t let your puppy eat poop (or really anything besides their food) which can potentially be infected with a virus, bacteria or parasites
  • Don’t let your puppy drink from standing water (puddles can often hold bacteria and parasites)
  • Choose a good food to help strengthen your puppy’s immune system
  • Avoid popular dog places like the dog park before your puppy is fully vaccinated
  • Talk to your veterinarian about supplementing with vitamins
  • Talk to your veterinarian about necessary vaccinations

Check out these articles if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms below:

What Should You Feed Your Golden Retriever Puppy?

what to feed your golden retriever puppy

If you do a little research on dog food, you’ll find that lots of people have (strong) differing opinions on what to feed your golden retriever puppy.

The main difference between puppy food and adult food is that puppy food has more protein and fat than adult food.

Puppies need these extra nutrients because they’re growing, whereas dogs are just maintaining their size.

Typically, you’ll switch your dog from puppy food to adult food when they’re done growing, which, for golden retrievers, is when they’re about one year old.

Of course, this is something to consult your veterinarian on.

As for which type of food, there are tons of healthy dogs who have had a variety of diets, but here are three tips to help you decide what to feed your puppy:

  1. Talk to your vet
  2. Talk to your breeder (if they’re a good breeder)
  3. Read this article about grain-free and BEG diets

As for us, we feed Oliver Royal Canin’s Golden Retriever dry dog food (he eats the adult food now) after it was recommended to us by several veterinarians and golden retriever breeders.

Before we switched to the Royal Canin food, Oliver was eating a different brand of dog food.

He wasn’t very interested in it and we thought he was sick for the longest time (our vet did a ton of tests but everything came back negative), but when we switched to Royal Canin he started gobbling it up like his usual self.

One final note about puppy food is that if you ever do switch your puppy from one brand to another, do so very slowly.

If you make the switch too quickly, your puppy will probably have diarrhea.

A good rule of thumb is to add 10% of the new food each day.

So day 1 would be 90%/10% old food/new food, day 2 would be 80%/20% old food/new food and so on until you’re only feeding them the new food.

To learn more about what to feed (and what not to feed) your golden retriever puppy, check out this article.

Everything You Need To Know About Adult Golden Retrievers

golden retrievers

Once you get through the puppy stage, things become a lot easier.

Most golden retrievers have that crazy puppy energy and attitude until about 2-3 years old, although many people say that goldens are playful puppies for life.

This next section will cover everything you need to know about owning an adult golden retriever, including:

  • How to groom your golden
  • Common golden retriever health issues
  • What to feed your golden retriever

How To Groom Your Golden Retriever

Grooming your golden retriever is a good way for you two to bond, as well as for you to give them a mini health check.

Grooming them is an opportunity to check them for lumps, bumps, cuts, hot spots, or any other pain.

When most people think about grooming, they think about brushing and bathing their dog, but there’s lots more to it.

Below are the five things you’ll need to regularly care for with your golden.

Ears

Goldens’ big, floppy ears easily trap moisture in them, so they’re prone to ear infections.

Also, many goldens like swimming, which makes this problem even more prevalent.

You should clean your goldens ears a few times a month, or more if they’re having issues.

Talk to your veterinarian about the best ways to clean their ears, and which ear cleaning solution to use.

Nails

Long nails can cause issues in their joints and bones in their feet, or get caught on things and break or tear, leading to lots of pain and potentially infection.

To prevent this, according to the ASPCA, you’ll want to make sure that your dog’s nails are trimmed when they just about touch the ground when they walk.

This means you’ll need to cut your golden’s nails about once or twice a month, although this will vary quite a bit based on their age, activity levels, environment, and other factors.

When trimming their nails, be sure to cut the nail before the quick, but have styptic powder on hand to quickly stop the bleeding just in case an accident happens.

Teeth

Your dog’s teeth are not so different from your own teeth, so ideally you should brush your dog’s teeth every day.

Do I know anyone who actually does this?

No, but that is ideal and is a goal we should all strive for.

PetMD concedes that you should brush your dog’s teeth at least 2-3 times per week

In addition to regular brushing, you should also take them in for teeth cleaning from your veterinarian once a year.

Dry kibble, chewing on chew toys and dental toys and treats made for dental health can also help keep your dog’s teeth clean.

If you don’t take care of their teeth, they can develop various dental diseases, as well as other types of diseases if bacteria gets into their bloodstream and spreads to other parts of their body.

Paws

There are two things you want to look at when it comes to your golden retriever’s paws.

  1. Their paw pads
  2. Their paw fur

Their paw pads can become dry or cracked, especially if they’re always walking on hot concrete, so talk to your veterinarian about creams or ointments if this is a problem.

Goldens have a tendency to have really fuzzy feet or grow “slippers.”

If you have wood or tile floors, this can reduce their traction and cause joint issues.

Another issue is that their paw fur can become matted, which could spread their toes or cause them to walk unnaturally.

To fix both of these issues, you can trim your golden’s paw fur (or get a professional groomer to do it).

Coat

Golden retrievers have beautiful gold, red or cream coats that need to be taken care of regularly.

Their coats are known as a “double coat” that is made up of a thick, soft undercoat and a soft, flowy outer coat.

This coat protects them from all elements including heat, cold, and water, and should never be shaved.

You should brush them several times per week and bathe them every month or two, depending on things like how often they swim and play outside.

It’s important to not bathe them too often because shampoo can get rid of their natural oils that can render their double coat less effective at protecting them, as well as make it less shiny.

Another important note for bathing your golden retriever is to dry them thoroughly.

Goldens are susceptible to hot spots which can be caused by moisture trapped in their coats.

In addition to hot spots, golden retrievers have several other common health issues, which we’ll cover in the next section.

Common Golden Retriever Health Issues

golden retriever health issues

Like we said earlier, a few decades ago, golden retrievers got so popular that people were breeding them just to make money, not worrying about potential health issues.

Unfortunately, that has decreased golden retrievers’ expected lifespan and caused a number of health issues to commonly appear in golden retrievers.

According to PetMD, some common golden retriever health problems include:

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

Here’s how you can help prevent these from happening to your golden:

  1. Choose a good breeder
  2. Choose a good food
  3. Give them regular exercise and keep them at a healthy weight
  4. Have a good relationship with your veterinarian

What You Should Feed Your Adult Golden Retriever

We covered the most important points in the puppy food section above, but it’s worth mentioning again since diet is so important.

There are loads of healthy dogs who eat a variety of diets, but here are three tips to help you decide what to feed your golden retriever:

  1. Talk to your vet
  2. Talk to your breeder (if they’re a good breeder)
  3. Read this article about grain-free and BEG diets

After trying a few different brands and talking to several veterinarians and breeders, we settled on feeding our dog Oliver Royal Canin Adult Golden Retriever Dry Dog Food.

Conclusion

golden retriever

Here’s the truth about golden retrievers: they can be a lot of work, but they’re more than worth it.

They’re sweet dogs with lots of energy who love to have fun with their families.

They shed a lot (nearly all dogs shed), but their soft, beautiful, fluffy coats make up for it.

They’re smart, which makes them easy to train, but also requires that they be intellectually stimulated.

Does this sound like the dog for you?

If so, great!

But if not, that’s totally fine too.

It’s awesome that you realize that now rather than discovering it when it’s too late.

Have any questions about raising golden retrievers?

Let us know in the comments below!

Related articles:

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Jake & Oliver

Jake (the human) and Oliver (thinks he's a human) are the two behind Golden Hearts. Jake believes that golden retrievers are the best dogs, and that you should always check your poop bags for holes. Oliver believes every day is the best day. Learn more about Jake & Oliver here.

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