There are few dog breeds as friendly and affectionate as the Golden Retriever. As a matter of fact, they’re one of the best family dogs available. Goldens are a great balance between obedience and playfulness. They’re always well mannered and get along great with kids.
If you’re planning on raising a Golden Retriever, then you’ve made a great decision. However, did you know that not all Golden Retrievers are the same color? Despite their name “golden,” these dogs actually come in 4 various shades of the color.
These colors include, cream, dark golden, light golden and of course, the classic golden. Let’s break down these gorgeous color coats of the Golden Retriever.
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Table of Contents
4 Golden Retriever Colors
1. Cream Golden Retrievers
The cream color isn’t what comes to mind when you first think of a Golden Retriever. Yet, cream is still a widely popular color in these dogs. To call these dogs anything but a Golden Retriever is incorrect, though sometimes they get mistaken for Labradors.
The coat color of cream Golden Retrievers looks like an off-white. Furthermore, they’re much more popular in the United Kingdom than the United States, or anywhere else for that matter.
For this reason, they’re sometimes referred to as “English Golden Retrievers” or “English Cream Golden Retrievers.” Unsurprisingly, the cream coat color is not officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. Consequently, they don’t accept these dogs in the show ring.
But if you don’t plan to competitively show your dog, who really cares? They have the same great personality as any other Golden Retriever.
Are Cream Colored Golden Retrievers Rare?
In your specific country, they may be slightly more rare. But on the international scene, they aren’t super special. Don’t be fooled by breeders that want to charge a high premium for these “ultra rare” cream colored Golden Retrievers.
They may use other buzz words, such as “white” or “platinum” to try to sell you on their rarity. But in actuality, there is not such thing as a pure white Golden Retriever. In fact, the pure white color gene isn’t possible with these dogs.
Differences With Cream Golden Retriever
Other than the color, there are some minor differences between cream colored Golden Retrievers and their other golden counterparts. For instance, cream Goldens typically have less hair, so you may less hair around the home. However, they shed just as much.
Physically, the cream versions have rounder eyes with a stockier build. In some cases, they’ll have broader heads and a longer neck. Even so, they’re usually slightly shorter than the American Goldens.
2. Red Golden Retrievers
The red Golden Retrievers are strikingly beautiful with a lush coat in what seems like a mahogany red and highlights of amber hue. The coats can be a dark brown, reddish gold, hence the name. Sometimes, they can be confused with dark Golden Retrievers as well.
And like the cream colored Golden, the red Golden is not recognized by the AKC and not permitted to be shown at shows.
This dark red color can range from dog to dog. However, to classify as a red Golden, the coats need to be redder than the “standard” dark Golden.
Origins of the Red Golden Retrievers
Origins of these special colored dogs aren’t 100% confirmed. However, most researchers suspect that these dogs originated from Ireland. They believe that breeders were able to achieve this color by crossbreeding the standard Golden Retriever with the Irish Setter, thus getting this magnificent color.
It makes a lot of sense because the Irish Setter has this very same hue of color. In addition, these red colored Goldens have a lot of physical features that resemble that of an Irish Setter more than a typical standard Golden.
Differences of the Red Golden Retriever
Make no mistake, these dogs are very much Golden Retrievers. However, there are differences in appearances other than the coat color.
Just like with the cream Goldens, these dogs tend to have shorter hair. Their hair can sometimes be straighter too – almost like a Labrador Retriever (though much longer in most cases). You can also expect these dogs to have less feathering on the legs and tail.
Red Golden Retrievers also have a leaner and more compact frame than the standard Golden.
3. Dark Golden Retriever
As mentioned, the dark Golden Retriever looks fairly similar to the red version. However, the difference is that they don’t have the amber / red hue. Instead, they’re a much darker shade of the standard Golden Retriever.
This is the first color of the Golden Retriever on this list that actually is recognized by the AKC. As a result, you are able to competitively show these dogs at AKC shows.
In terms of temperament and personality, they’re not much different from any of the other Golden Retrievers on this list. It’s just that their coats are a darker color, which is perfectly fine. Many people think think this color is the most stunning of them all.
4. Light Golden Retriever
The light Golden Retriever is another coat color officially recognized by the AKC. In fact, it’s one of three that is: dark golden, light golden and standard gold.
The color is difficult to differentiate to the average person. However, dog enthusiasts and breeders will tell you that the color is somewhere between the standard gold and cream color for these dogs.
The light Golden Retriever may be the second most common color for these dogs – second only to the standard gold. You probably have seen a lot of these in your life, you just weren’t able to tell there was a minimal difference in shade.
The light color, like with the dark, also has the same temperament as any other Golden Retrievers. Colors don’t matter with these dogs, so expect to get a cheerful and loving Golden Retriever no matter what color.
5. Standard Golden Retriever
The standard gold is by far the most popular colors of Golden Retrievers, hence standard. They are the epitome of this breed and what most people think of when they think Golden Retriever.
There’s not much to say about the colors of the Golden Retriever. You know what they are.
Why Keep a Golden Retriever
There’s a reason why these dogs rank the 3rd most popular dog breeds in America. In fact, they have been top three for a very long time and there’s no reason to think they’ll slip anytime soon.
It doesn’t really matter what color your Golden Retriever comes in because at the end of the day, you are getting a dog known for an excellent temperament. They’re dogs that are pet-friendly, children-friendly, highly intelligent (4th smartest dog breed!), playful and super affectionate.
Though they do shed, especially during peak seasons, Goldens are relatively low maintenance. Like with most large dogs, they still require a moderate amount of physical activity on the daily basis.
Still, they aren’t anywhere close to an Australian Shepherd or German Shepherd in terms of exercise needs.
If you’re considering a Golden Retriever, look no further. They are some of the best dogs in the world. Why do you think they’re such popular dogs?
And if you’re looking for a dog breed that’s a little more different, consider the Golden Retriever Husky mix.
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