Dog Breeds Dog Health

Do Golden Retrievers Shed? – The Owner’s Guide to Golden Retriever Shedding

Golden Retrievers are moderate to heavy shedding due to their double coats.

Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs, no one will argue otherwise! They’re friendly, lively and pretty much the perfect family dog. But one question that is often asked is do Golden Retrievers shed?

Golden Retrievers are moderate to heavy shedders – primarily because they have double coats. Twice a year, they’ll excessively shed as their bodies adjusts to a change in season (and in temperature). Depending on your dog, expect to spend a lot of time on grooming.

However, there are lots of different ways to manage the shedding so that you don’t have to live with tumbleweeds of fur in all corners of your home. Read on to find out how much Golden Retrievers shed, when shedding is a problem and how you can manage their shedding.

RECOMMENDED: Here’s Why Golden Retrievers Are Smart

How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

Golden Retrievers are one of the top 5 dog breeds that shed the most, according to VetStreet.

Sadly to say, a Golden Retriever sheds a lot. As a matter of fact, VetStreet ranked them 5th for “dog breeds that shed the most.” There’s no way to avoid Golden Retriever shedding. 

If you are currently thinking about getting a Golden Retriever, then you need to know that you are going to be dealing with a lot of loose furs.

However, don’t be put off by this. This “negative” aspect of owning a Golden Retriever is by far outweighed by all of the positive things such a dog will bring to your life and home.

Things will be worse during shedding season and you can expect to be vacuuming daily and using a lint roller frequently. Compared to short-haired dogs, Golden Retrievers need a bit more attention to their fur but, with a regular routine, you will find it manageable.

But if you’re allergic to dogs, then I’d highly suggest opting for a hypoallergenic dog breed instead. People are allergic to the “dog dandruff” (called dander) that’s expelled into the air during the process of shedding.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed So Much?

Golden Retrievers shed because they have a double coat.

Shedding is a very natural process for animals. Even humans shed old or damaged hair. It just so happens that dogs have much more hair than we do. So, their shedding is obviously going to be much more noticeable.

But why do Golden Retrievers, specifically, shed so much? Unlike most dog breeds, Golden Retrievers have a double coat. This means these dogs have a topcoat and undercoat. Both of which, will shed heavily during different times of the year. 

Bred to Shed

Golden Retrievers were bred to retrieve shot waterfowl game (such as ducks, geese and other large aquatic birds). Because of this job, they were also bred to have double coats.

The double coat serves a purpose for waterfowl retrieving. The undercoat acts as an insulator, keeping the Golden Retriever warm in the harsh temperatures of the sometimes freezing water. 

Not only is the outer coat water-resistant, but also protects the dog from the potentially hazardous elements of the water.

Without a double coat, the Golden Retriever would not be as effective at waterfowl retrieving. 

Some may argue that there are other ways to breed a dog to be protected in the water, such as with the low-shedding Poodle (also a water retriever). However, this was how the Golden Retriever was bred, like it or not.

Peak Shedding Seasons

Typically, dogs with double coats tend to shed heavily during spring and fall. When winter season approaches, the weather tends to become much cooler.

So, Golden Retrievers shed their summer coats in preparation for their winter coats during the fall. Likewise, as spring approaches, a Golden Retriever will shed its winter coat for a cooler, summer coat.

Expect your Golden Retriever to experience the worst shedding of the year during these times. Despite excessive shedding during these two periods, they’ll still shed quite a bit throughout the year.

Excessive Shedding in Golden Retrievers

There are reasons other than obedience that makes the Golden Retriever intelligent dogs.

Sometimes a Golden Retriever may experience excessive shedding. As an owner, this can be a scary thing. It could be be health-related, or it could be perfectly normal.

Although we always suggest consulting with a veterinarian, here are some reasons why they may be shedding a lot more than usual. 

Indoor vs. Outdoor Dog

A dog’s coat is clever. It will adjust itself based on the surrounding temperatures and its exposure to daylight.

This means that if your dog spends most of its time outside, its coat will become warmer and thicker for winter with more shedding occurring during springtime.

If a dog is more of an indoor dog, the shedding will be higher throughout the year, as they won’t need to build up their coat to stay warmer or lose their coat to stay cooler.

So if your Golden Retriever is an indoor dog and you plan on moving him or her outside, expect more shedding during seasonal changes.

Losing the Golden Puppy Coat

When dogs, including Golden Retrievers, are puppies, they have a coat that’s extra thick and padded. This is so that they are extra warm for the first 4 to 6 months after birth.

When puppies are around six months old, they will shed this puppy coat and develop their adult coat. You can expect to be dealing with more shedding, therefore, when your dog is around six months old.

So prepare for that and have nothing to worry about. It’s all part of the natural puppy shedding cycle of all dogs. 

Spaying and Neutering

If your dog gets spayed or neutered, you might experience excess shedding for a number of months afterwards. This occurs due to changes in hormone levels that control hair follicles.

This doesn’t always happen in dogs that receive these procedures, but it can happen. If excessive shedding persists after half a year, contact your veterinarian. 

A Poor Diet

Just like humans that have poor nutrition, a dog with a poor diet will suffer physically. He might develop itchy, dry skin or could have damaged hair roots.

If your Golden Retriever is well fed, you will see this reflected in his coat. A poor diet will mean that your Golden Retriever may have more shedding.

Do some research about Golden Retrievers and the best food to feed them. They need a lot of fatty acids and healthy proteins for their coat health.

Keep in mind that a healthy dog coat should be shiny and smooth. On the other hand, an unhealthy dog coat is coarse and brittle

Dogs With Allergies

It is not uncommon for a dog to have allergies. If your pet is unfortunate enough to be an allergy sufferer, you might find yourself with excess shed fur.

This is because they will be itchy and scratch at their fur. Visit your local veterinarian to help treat your dog’s allergies. Fortunately, there are plenty of treatments for allergies in dogs.

A Stressed Dog

Is your Golden Retriever stressed? This can also cause excess shedding!

If you feel as if you Golden Retriever is excessively shedding because of stress, try to identify anything in their lives that can be causing this.

Moving homes (change of scenery), family changes, excessive noise, food changes, etc. are all reasons why your Golden Retriever might get stressed.

During stressful periods, your Golden Retriever will shed more fur. They are particularly sensitive when it comes to daily routines. Any change to their predictable routine can upset / stress them enough to shed excessively.

Controlling Your Golden Retriever’s Shedding

Golden Retrievers ranked the 4th smartest dog breed based on Stanley Coren's intelligence tests.

Although you cannot control a dog’s shedding, you can develop a good management routine when it comes to grooming. Here are some important things to add to your shed management routine.

Every Golden Retriever will differ. Some may need more brushing, while others need less. 

1. Brushing

This is the most important thing you can do to keep on top of your Golden’s shedding. You should invest wisely in a good brush that will detangle and de-shed. A good brush will be comfortable for your dog and will not irritate their delicate skin.

My favorite brush for Golden Retrievers is the Furminator. It’s a great investment and tons of Golden Retriever owners swear by this brush. Just have a look at the forums and see for yourself! 

This De-shedding tool was made specifically for double coated dog breeds, such as the Golden Retriever. It’s simple to use and gentle on your dog’s fur and skin. I highly recommend checking it out at Amazon here.

If you end up going with the Furminator, make sure to get a size Large for long haired dogs. Check out our other recommended dog brushes for Golden Retrievers here!

Ideally, you should brush your Golden Retriever every day. However, this may not be realistic for busy people. At the very least, you’ll want to brush them twice a week. Even more during peak season.

2. Bathing

Because of its long coat, a Golden Retriever needs regular bathing. It’s important to bathe him whenever he is dirty or a little smelly. As a general rule of thumb, you should bath him every six to eight weeks.

For baths at home, choose a shampoo with coconut or oatmeal. This will stop their skin from drying out. Personally, my favorite shampoo (that I use with my dogs) is the Earth Bath Oatmeal & Aloe Shampoo.
It’s 100% bio-degradable and cruelty-free! It’s gentle on the skin and comes with so many wonderful scents you can pick from. My favorite scent is the Vanilla & Almond! Check it out at Amazon here.

Once out of the bath, make sure to dry them off completely. Follow this up by brushing their coats, as it will remove a lot of shed hairs caught in the coat.

Controlling Fur at Home

There are certain things you might need to help you keep on top of the crazy shed fur in your home. Of course, these are optional, but it can certainly make life much easier for you.

  • A decent vacuum cleaner – These days, you can get vacuum cleaners that are specifically designed for pet hair. However, any vacuum should work. Just make sure it has a detachable hose for all of the nooks and crannies.
  • Lint rollers – These are a must. Even with daily vacuuming, you will find dog hairs on your clothing. A lint roller is essential for removing shed hairs from your clothing before you leave the house.

Routine, Routine, Routine

Just like maintaining a clean and tidy home, it’s best if you maintain a good routine. Dealing with a massive amount of dog hair is much more difficult!

If you own a Golden Retriever, you have to accept that you are going to need to vacuum a lot more than other people. The rewards are so worth it though!

Keeping up with grooming and brushing makes things really manageable, particularly during the times of the year when shedding occurs more.

Consider your dog brushing time as daily bonding time between you and your dog. This will make it seem less of a chore!

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