Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs, from temperament to energy level and right down to their long golden coats. Some of these good boys have hair that is as lustrious as s model!
Just thinking about it got me to thinking about how the kind of maintenance and upkeep it must require to keep that beautiful sheen. Not only that, but how long does it take to get so long?
How fast does a Golden Retriever’s hair take to grow? After spending the first three months of its life as a fluffy short-haired puppy, a Golden Retriever’s hair begins to change, growing into a longer coat until the age of eighteen months. Although there are cases where this varies slightly, the best point of reference is the parents of the pup. If they were late-bloomers, you can probably expect the same from the pup as well.
Considering how active this breed is, I’m pretty sure there’s a significant amount of effort on the part of the owner to keep that beautiful coat so well maintained. That’s without even considering that with all that hair, the shedding is likely to be pretty heavy as well.
I looked into the breed a bit more to find out what it takes to keep these beasts so beautiful and was a little surprised as to what I fond out.
How Long Does it Take for a Golden Retriever to Get its Full Coat?
Golden Retriever puppies are tiny little balls of yellow fluff that tend to look more like a Yellow Lab than Golden. There is no denying that they are cute.
When a Golden reaches about three months of age, their coat begins to transition from fluff to a more mature adult coat.
Starting at the tail, you’ll notice some darker long hair begin to appear. This is the beginning of what is often referred to as feathering. These feathers will eventually cover the legs, stomach, and tail of his body. The transition is usually complete by around 18 months.
While most breeds will shed their puppy fur, this is not true of Golden Retrievers. As the darker adult coat begins to come in, it pushes the fluff aside, and the fluff actually becomes the undercoat. This undercoat will thicken over time until the pup reaches roughly eighteen months of age.
Although you may think you have gotten off easy avoiding puppyhood shedding, you’re not out of the woods yet! Adult Golden Retrievers are notorious shedders who require their fair share of grooming.
Double Coated Canines
Golden Retrievers are double-coated dogs. This means they have a dense, lighter-colored undercoat and a slightly coarser and darker outercoat. The thickness of this coat depends greatly upon the dog’s environment.
Goldens who spend more time outdoors will have thicker coats than the ones who tend to stay predominantly indoors.
As the temperature changes, the outdoor dog’s body regulates the amount of fur he needs. In contrast, seasonal shedding of the indoor dog will be dictated instead by daylight since they don’t normally experience temperature changes the same way. The amount of daylight stimulates hormones controlling hair growth.
Wouldn’t it Make More Sense to Just Shave a Golden?
I always thought it would be a lot smarter and easier just to shave the pup to make him more comfortable in the summer months and reduce the mess around the house. It didn’t take very long for me to learn, and that there is no good reason to shave a Golden.
In addition to the obvious benefit of that thick coat keeping the dog warm during the winter months, it also acts as an insulator to keep him cool and comfortable in the hot summer months.
Mother nature provided all that hair for a reason! It will protect the delicate skin that lies beneath from getting sunburned as well.
If you are still concerned with the heat affecting the dog, there are different protective measures to be taken. Keeping your Golden indoors or providing ample shade during extreme heat is much better.
Always be sure your dog has plenty of drinking and water as well. In fact, it’s a great idea to fill a kiddie pool with water to provide swim time.
Adverse Effects of Shaving a Golden Retriever
Shaving the Golden’s coat can lead to some pretty severe health problems. Anytime a double-coated canine us shaved, the chances of developing coat-funk are far higher.
Coat-funk occurring from the absence or destruction of the guard coat is a general term used to refer to different skin diseases. These include, but are not limited to:
- Black Skin Disease
- Alopecia X
- Sebaceous Adenitis
- Post Shaving or Clipping Alopecia
Although medical researchers aren’t sure as to exactly the reason, there is no limit of evidence that coat-funk has a very high incident rate as a result of shave-downs. Shaving simply for cosmetic reasons or as a means to reduce shedding is completely unacceptable.
Taking Your Golden to the Groomer for Shaving
Any groomer performing a shave down on a double-coated canine is assumed legally responsible for any resulting coat-funk.
The only way a groomer will even consider shaving these types of dogs if the owner provides written verification from a veterinarian deeming the shave-down medically necessary. Even with such documentation, some groomers require the owner to sign a waiver releasing the groomer from responsibility as well.
Once the dog has been shaved, it’s nearly certain its hair will never regrow the same way again. Due to the nature of its coat, hair follicle damage could occur, resulting in permanent bald spots.
Even in the best case, it will take anywhere between three months to a year for the coat to regrow. Some medications administered can cause the regrowth to take even longer.
Will my Golden Retriever’s Hair Grow Back if I Shave Him? How Long Will it Take?
If you accidentally shaved your Golden’s hair or they needed an area shaved for medical reasons, there is good news. It will grow back.
The bad news… it won’t grow back very quickly. It will likely take 3-4 months for your dog’s hair to reach its pre-shaven length.
Most of the time, you will not experience any issues with it growing back, but you’ll need to keep an eye out for any skin issues that can arise until your Golden’s coat is fully grown.
How to Deal with Golden Retriever Shedding without Shaving?
First of all, if shedding is really that much of a concern for you and your family, perhaps a Golden Retriever is not the right breed for you. It is inevitable there will be shedding twice a year with these dogs. There are a lot of things you can do to reduce the amount of flying fur during these times.
If you’re set on a Golden, and I can’t say that I blame you, there are some ways you can minimize how all that shedding impacts your life and home. The most important of which will be frequent brushing and grooming.
How to Groom Your Golden Retriever: The Basics
The Golden Retriever Rescue of Mid-Florida put together a great resource for basic grooming tips to reduce the shedding of your Golden. Here’s a list of the basics:
- Brushing – I cannot express enough the importance of brushing your Golden. In addition to the obvious benefits of hair removal and preventing mats of fur developing, It’s a great way for you and your pup to take some one-on-one bonding time.
Initially, brushing should be done with a soft brush when they are small to help get them used to the process. After the adult coat has grown in, supplement your grooming supply kit with a pin brush and slicker. Continue to brush him daily (a minimum of once a week) to help make way for new growth and greatly reduce shedding.
Make brushing a part of your nighttime routine, and you’ll find a lot less hair on your furniture!
- Nail Care and Maintenance – Golden’s nails grow pretty quickly, and your dog needs you to help keep them routinely trimmed to ensure he has the best possible mobility. Nal trimming can be rather intimidating for some owners.
If you can’t get yourself comfortable with the process, you can schedule an appointment with your veterinarian or a groomer to take care of it for you.
Keep in mind that if you are nervous, your dog will be nervous as well, which will only make the job harder. Be sure to trim the nails regularly, so you only have to remove the tips each time.
Cutting too far down the nail can result in cutting inside of the quick, which results in bleeding. Much like a split lip in humans, the quick will bleed heavily and is difficult to stop.
Products like Qwick Stop Styptic Powder are really helpful in stopping a quick bleed. Once the nails have been properly trimmed and tended to, use a nail file to lightly round off the nail tips to prevent them from catching on carpets or clothing.
- Feet – Golden Retrievers have excess hair on their feet and between their toes that look a lot like slippers. It’s easy to control and trim using round nose grooming sheers. Try to maintain a length that is equal to the paw pads themselves. This helps your dog keep traction on slick surfaces.
- Ears – Goldens are subject to frequent ear infections. Preventative and regular cleaning reduces the frequency quite a bit. It’s easy to do the basic trimming that needs to be done on both the outside and the inside of the ears.
Using your round nose grooming sheers, carefully trim the hair inside the ears to keep it thin. On the outside of the ears, be sure to keep the hair along the edges neat and even. Using a quality ear cleaning solution, clean the inside of the ears weekly to prevent ear infections and mite infestations.
The Golden Retriever Club of America has a great tutorial grooming your Golden’s ears.
- Tail – The Golden’s tail should look quite a bit like a fan when properly groomed. The easiest way to achieve this is to twist the tail to the end, placing your thumb just below the tailbone and trim the end near your thumb. Carefully form a fan towards the base working from the ends.
Introducing Grooming to the Golden Retriever
It’s a good idea to begin a grooming routine with your Golden early on. Not only does this help along the growth process of its beautiful adult coat, but it also makes your pup much more comfortable with a process that will rake place throughout the rest of its life. In addition to those benefits, it also provides a great opportunity for bonding with your new pet.
Golden Retrievers are notoriously heavy shedders. The more often you brush his coat, the less often will you be cleaning hair throughout your home.
Regular brushing helps free the shedding hair from the body and trapping it in the brush rather than your couch. The tools you use in the beginning are going to be a little different than the ones you’ll be using later on.
If you are adopting an older Golden or your Golden has not had a chance to get used to the grooming process, you should do it more frequently until he or she becomes used to it. It may take a little time, but eventually, all dogs learn to enjoy a good brushing, or at least tolerate it.
Pro Tips For Controlling Seasonal Shedding
There are a lot of surprisingly simple things you can do to stay on top of the shedding situation. I found that by poking around in a few Golden Retriever forums, you can find years and years of experienced breed owners sharing their valuable secrets and wisdom.
Here are a few of the fur fighting tips I’ve learned from longtime owners of Golden Retrievers:
- Have a cleaning routine: To reduce the amount of dog hair tumbleweeds crossing your floors, make sure you are regularly sweeping and vacuuming at the very least once every two to three days. I personally find that a quick running of my vacuum across all floors (carpet or otherwise) daily makes all the difference in the world.
- Keep a lint roller on you at all times. As soon as you leave your house, give yourself a quick once over with it. As much as we’d like to take ur Golden with us everywhere we go, hairy clothing is not exactly what we had in mind.
- Get your golden groomed. Regular professional grooming (every six to eight weeks) helps drastically reduce shedding.
- Avoid de-shedding brushes like the FURminator. Even though the company says they can be used on Golden, many owners have said it rips and cuts at the hair of a double-coated canine rather than just remove the loose hair causing irregular regrowth.
- Schedule regular bath times. Regular bathing every six to eight weeks not only helps get rid of dirty, greasy, stinky fur but also aids in shedding reduction as well.
- Brush after a bath. Towel dry your pup after a bath and give him a brushing while he is still slightly damp. Slicked-down hair is easier to remove AND leaves your dog shed-free for up to two weeks!
- Try a blow a shop vac. If your dog is tolerant of the noise, a shop vac can be used on your pup to quickly remove loose hair.
- Or you could try blowdrying. A post-bath blow-dry helps reduce unwanted shedding. You will get the best results using a high-velocity pet dryer like the Double K 2000XL, Designed especially for pets, these are super quiet and dry double-coated canines in record time!
You can’t beat the wisdom of people who have cared for and loved Goldens for decades.
The Golden Retriever is indeed a magnificent breed. There is no doubt about it. They are easy to train and highly adaptable, making them one of the breed favorites for service dog training.
They are protective, yet docile enough to be around children. The only potential downside to Golden ownership is heavy shedding as far as I can see.
I think most of us can agree that the benefits of owning a Golden Retriever far outweigh the inconvenience of the hair accumulation when shedding season hits twice a year, especially when you know what it takes to keep the shedding to a minimum.
Please remember that unless medically necessary, there is never an acceptable reason to shave a Golden Retriever or any double-coated canine for that matter! Much like our children, our pups are dependant upon us for their care and overall health.
It’s our responsibility to be diligent in providing them to the best of our abilities, even if that means we are slightly inconvenienced.