Golden Retrievers are a medium sized dog that was bred in Scotland during the mid 1800’s to help hunters retrieve ducks and other game birds. And they’ve since become one of the most popular breeds in America, which is no surprise given their calm, friendly and intelligent nature.
How much do they shed? Golden Retrievers shed a moderate amount of hair throughout most of the year, but because they’re a double coated breed they tend to shed more heavily during spring and fall. However, you can significantly reduce the shedding by brushing each day with a pin brush or slicker brush.
Let’s take a closer look at how much Goldens shed and what you can do to get this under control, so that you can spend more time enjoying their company and less time vacuuming!
Golden Retriever Shedding – What to Expect
Golden Retrievers are a moderate shedding breed.
But they are on the top end of moderate because they shed an average amount of hair throughout most of the year, and considerably more a couple times per year as they “blow coat.”
And this is because they are a double coated breed. They have a soft undercoat and a medium length, water resistant top coat that comes in lighter and darker shades of gold.
So, because they have a thick double coat, come spring and fall, the shedding goes from average to heavy, which is a normal occurrence in most dogs with a double coat.
All that is happening is they are shedding (or blowing) their thick winter coat in spring to prepare for the warmer summer months. And likewise they are shedding their summer coat in fall (autumn) to grow a thicker coat for winter.
Also worth noting is that when puppies reach 6 months of age they shed their thick, fluffy puppy coat completely, to make way for their adult coat. So during this time you’re going to notice a “once in a lifetime” shedding event.
To give you some perspective on the shedding of an adult Golden compared with other breeds, they lose about the same amount of fur as breeds like the Labrador and Great Pyranees, but not quite as much as breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog and Leonberger for example.
So, as amazing as Goldens are, they’re probably not the best choice if you want a low shedding breed. And definitely not suitable if you’re looking for a hypoallergenic breed, like the Poodle.
However, getting the shedding under control isn’t difficult, so you can win the battle. And in the next section, we’ll be looking at how it’s done.
How to Stop Your Golden Shedding Excessively
When you boil it down, reducing “normal” levels of shedding in a Golden Retriever, and keeping their fur off your furniture, comes down to these three things:
Brushing is the simplest and most effective method of reducing shedding in your Golden. And there are two main reasons for this.
Firstly, brushing removes the dead fur from the dogs coat before it falls out and onto your furniture, floors, clothes and anywhere else it lands.
Second, brushing distributes the oils of your Golden’s coat evenly over their skin. Which helps to promote a healthier coat overall and combat dryness in the skin and hair. And since dryness is a leading cause of shedding in dogs, this can make a difference.
What sort of brush should you use?
The best brush for a Golden Retriever is either a pin brush or slicker brush for the outer coat and an undercoat rake for the undercoat. You could also use a deshedding tool, which works well on most breeds, but some find that these cut their coat and irritate their sensitive skin.
How do you brush a Golden?
Start with a pin or slicker brush, brushing with the direction of the coat. This will remove the bulk of loose hair and is when you should carefully work out any mats and tangles they’ve developed. And finish up with an undercoat rake which will help you remove the dead undercoat fur. This step will become especially important during spring and autumn.
How often should you brush?
Brushing once or twice per week is generally all it takes to maintain your Golden’s coat, they’re not a very high maintenance breed when it comes to grooming. However, during spring and fall when they shed more heavily, brushing daily is worthwhile and can significantly reduce the shedding. Or at least, how much fur ends up in your home.
Bathing your Golden occasionally, like once per month or every other month for instance, is a good idea. This helps to keep his coat in good shape, eliminates that “doggy odor” and can loosen the dead coat fur prior to a brushing session.
However, it is important to allow their coat to dry before brushing. If you’re in a hurry, one way to go about it is to bath your Golden, then use a blower to dry the coat as well as blow the loose fur out from the coat as you brush.
Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to bathing, is to only use a good quality dog shampoo. Avoid cheap shampoos and human shampoo because these can cause dryness and irritation, which can not only worsen shedding but just isn’t good for them.
The same can be true for over bathing. Constantly bathing your Golden Retriever is simply not necessary and can dry out the skin, so this is something to keep in mind.
Last but not least, ensuring your Golden Retriever is enjoying a healthy, balanced diet can make a real difference when it comes to shedding.
There are lots of great dog foods out there, and like anything, you get what you pay for. The general things to look for are that the dog food contains plenty of vitamins and minerals and a good amount of protein.
However, when it comes to shedding, you’ll want to ensure that the food you select has a healthy amount of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids in it. These are good for your dog and can help promote a healthy, moisture rich coat and skin. Which in turn can reduce excessive shedding.
If you’re looking for a natural home shedding remedy, try adding a small amount of quality virgin coconut oil to his food of an evening. This can make a difference, it’s natural, and is cost effective. Just don’t over do it, a small amount is all you need.
Other Factors to Consider
Reducing normal levels of shedding is pretty simple when you break it down, and we’ve discussed the main methods in which you can do this.
But what if the shedding isn’t normal? Well, like all dogs, Goldens can sometimes shed beyond what is considered normal. And in some cases there can be an underlying cause for this.
For example, if your Golden has dry, irritated skin, this can sometimes be due to an allergy arising from the food they’re eating, fleas, or their environment. And in some cases, it could be related to stress, because dogs that are stressed can shed excessively.
So if you are concerned that the amount he is shedding isn’t within the realms of “normal” then the best thing to do is contact your local veterinarian. They are going to be the best source of information here, and should be able to identify the cause and help you get it sorted.
Just keep in mind that normal shedding in a Golden Retriever is going to be higher than it is for a low shedding breed like the Norfolk Terrier for example. And, as mentioned, they do shed heavily a couple times per year. So an uptick in shedding is not always a cause for concern.
What Makes Golden Retrievers Unique?
The Golden Retriever is a medium to large breed that got its start in the mid-19th century as a Scottish gundog. At this time, Scottish hunters of waterfowl (game birds like duck and quail) would use Goldens to locate and retrieve what they’d shot.
This is a similar purpose that Irish Setters were given, a breed which they’re related to. As well as other related breeds they’re related to, like the extinct Tweed Water Spaniel, which is similar to the Irish Water Spaniel.
In any case, Goldens made excellent working dogs and were very good at the retrieval based tasks they were given.
And not just because of their athleticism, keen swimming ability, and soft mouth that doesn’t damage the birds they retrieved. But because of their obedience, confidence, and high level of intelligence.
These traits leave little wonder as to why they’ve gone onto become service dogs for law enforcement, search and rescue dogs, and guide dogs for the blind.
Not to mention, one of the most popular family dogs in the United States, as well as other countries like Canada and Britain. To the point there are actually three variations of the Golden:
- American Golden Retriever
- Canadian Golden Retriever
- British Golden Retriever
There’s not a huge difference in how they shed (moderate to heavy) or how much effort is needed to groom them (not much), but there some differences in their build and the color of their coat.
In any case, Goldens are friendly, confident, intelligent and highly obedient dogs that make excellent companions and service dogs alike. They do shed, but regular brushing, along with some of the other tips we’ve mentioned, can significantly reduce this. Which means you can enjoy the company of this amazing dog, without spending all day cleaning up their hair.
Are Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic?
No, Golden Retrievers are not a hypoallergenic breed because they shed fur and produce dander. No dog is truly hypoallergenic though, but lower shedding breeds, like the Italian Greyhound for example, are typically better for those with pet allergies.
At What Age Do Goldens Start Shedding?
Goldens typically shed their puppy coat at about 6 months of age, and from the on they develop an adult coat which sheds moderately most of the time, and heavier twice per year.
Does Shaving Your Golden Reduce Shedding?
Shaving your Golden Retriever is not a good idea. Their undercoat protects them from cold and hot weather, as well as sunburn. It might save you some effort, but they need their coat.
What Time of Year Do Golden Retrievers Shed Most?
Like most dogs with a double coat, the Golden Retriever sheds most during seasons like spring and fall. So you should expect heavier shedding during these times, especially in spring.
Golden Retrievers vs Labradors: Which Breed Sheds More?
Golden Retrievers shed a bit less than Labradors, which are considered to be quite a heavy shedding breed year round. So if you’re looking for a lower shedder, the Golden is for you.