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How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost? – The Guide to Golden Prices

How much do Golden Retrievers cost?
Written by Richard Jeng

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dog breeds on the planet. Many dog lovers would be happy to add a Golden Retriever to their family, and the only thing standing in the way of that is cost. 

So, how much do Golden Retrievers cost? Golden Retrievers can cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 – depending on where you buy your Golden from, whether you’re buying a mix, the pedigree, color, breeder reputation and more. Plus, there are also numerous care costs to consider; these necessities can increase the cost of ownership dramatically. 

In this article, we’ll use a comparative approach to try to narrow down the average cost of a Golden Retriever. Plus, we’ll explain the factors that make some dogs more expensive than others. To learn more, read on. 

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Factors of Golden Retriever Prices

How to groom a Golden Retriever.

As you’ve already seen, the price of a Golden Retriever can vary greatly. That’s because there are so many factors that can determine the cost of buying a Golden.

While free may always seem like the best deal, it really isn’t. Sure, it may cost you just the gas price to the “breeder.” However, you could end up paying a lot more for your dog down the road.

Here are the factors that determine how much a dog costs:

  • Dog breed
  • Purity of the breed (pure or mixed)
  • Breeding cost
  • Country, state or city you live in
  • Social popularity of the breed
  • Whether you’re buying the dog from a breeder or a rescue shelter
  • The strength of the dog’s bloodline
  • Whether the dog’s breeder is an AKC Breeder of Merit

Although this article is specifically about the cost of Golden Retrievers, it’s important to fully understand the factors that impact the cost of all dogs.

This is fundamental of appreciating why Golden Retrievers go for the prices they do. That being said, here are the factors that most affect Golden Retriever prices.

Health of Bloodline

By bloodline, we mean check the pedigree of the Golden Retriever. But what exactly is a pedigree? In short, it’s the family history of the puppy.

Good and responsible breeders will almost always have a pedigree that goes back several generations while providing information on temperament and health issues. If you find an AKC breeder, there will be always be a pedigree.

However, just because a Golden Retriever has a pedigree doesn’t mean the puppy will be healthy or a “quality” dog. Any breeder that’s willing to pay the registration fee can form the pedigree for their line of dogs.

Some valuable information on the Golden pup’s pedigree include health factors. Those with little to no health issues indicated on the pedigree will command a higher price.

For example, “OFA” on the pedigree means the dog suffers from hip dysplasia. Each dog can be examined and graded as, E (excellent), G (good) or F(fair). Sometimes, there will be other health information on eye conditions, elbow dysplasia and more.

Champion Pedigree

Your Golden Retriever’s pedigree can tell you a lot about their potential health. What’s more interesting is that it can also tell you how much potential your dog has for a certain skill.

If you look at the pedigree of a Golden pup, you may see the abbreviation, “CH” next to an early relative. This actually stands for Champion. In other words, that one dog competed in an AKC competition and won it!

Did I mention agility training is a great exercise idea for Golden Retrievers? They’re sneaky athletic and agile, making them formidable competitors in these AKC events. So don’t be surprised to see “CH” in a Golden pup’s pedigree.

Of course, having a champion in a pup’s line will increase the price of the dog. In fact, the more champions in the line, the more expensive they’ll be. Golden Retrievers closer to $2,000 are likely ones with a decorated champion pedigree.

Location

Believe it or not, where you (and your potential new dog) are can greatly affect the price of this dog. There are two reasons for this variance in Golden Retriever prices: popularity and the location’s standard of living.

Just in every USA states alone, there are differences in dog breed popularity. For example, Goldens are most popular in Alaska, Delaware, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut and Florida. If you break it down by city, there will be slight variances as well.

So depending on popularity, prices of Golden Retrievers will vary. This goes back to basic economics: supply and demand. When there is more demand in a location, the price of these dogs will go up.

Also, the standard of living will be different in each country, state and city. Locations with a generally higher disposable income will see higher prices for everything. Of course, these dogs are no exception.

Reputable Golden Breeders

Another big factor that influences Golden Retriever prices is the reputation of the breeder. Not all Golden Retriever breeders are equal. Some are much more knowledgeable and go by ethical breeding procedures.

Reputable breeders and casual breeders are far apart in terms of care and attention put into breeding Golden Retrievers. And, the price difference will show. So if you can afford it, I always recommend reputable breeders.

You know that saying, “you get what you paid for?” In most cases, that applies to dogs too. So how do you spot a reputable breeder from a non-reputable breeder?

For those living in America, the first place I would look is AKC’s Breeder of Merit Program. The kennel club examines each breeder and their operation, honoring those who go “above and beyond” on attention to heath, temperament, genetic screening and more.

If you want to look for all Golden Retriever breeders in this program, click here. Otherwise, you can check a breeder to verify they’re part of this prestigious list here.

Golden Retriever Colors

No, Golden Retrievers don’t actually come in one color (gold). Rather, they come in many different shades of gold, ranging from a dark gold to a cream. Even so, the color of these dogs can also affect the price.

In general, cream colored Golden Retrievers cost the most. That’s because they’re more “rare.” But in reality, these dogs aren’t purposely bred by reputable AKC breeders because this color isn’t part of the Golden Retriever standard.

If you ever meet a breeder that charges more for a color of a Golden Retriever pup, run as far away as possible! These breeders likely aren’t ethical and responsible breeders. Rather than breeding for good temperament and health, they breed for color.

On the bright side, some reputable breeders do not charge extra for a cream color Golden Retriever. Most of the time, they’ll just register the cream retriever as a “light gold” Golden Retriever with the AKC.

Mixed or Purebred

Needless to say, a Golden Retriever mix will likely cost much less than a purebred Golden Retriever with a few exceptions. For example, Goldendoodles are perhaps the most popular Golden mix and can cost just as much as a purebred.

Other notable mixed Golden Retrievers that are extremely popular include the Goberian, which is a mix of the Golden and Siberian Husky. With much less demand for other mixes, it’s possible to find a Golden mix for a few hundred dollars.

Initial Cost of Golden Retrievers

Owning dogs is more common in certain parts of the globe than in others. A study in 2019 reports dog ownership in households at 26% in the UK, 39% in Australia, and 49% in the US. According to this study, almost half of American homes have a dog.

As we’ve already discussed, the country you’re in has a large impact on the overall cost of a Golden Retriever. Let’s look at the relative cost of buying a Golden in some of the world’s most populous countries:

Goldens in United States

If you’re in the US, the price of the Golden Retriever will range between $500 and $2,000. I know that seems like a wide range, but there are just so many factors that determine the price of a Golden Retriever.

Goldens in United Kingdom

According to animalfriend.co.uk, a puppy Golden sells for around £500 in the UK. A mature Golden may sell for as much as £1,000. 

As in the US, the cost of individual Goldens will also vary depending on whether the dog is a pedigree or a mixed breed, with pure breed costing a lot more than the mixed-blood.

Goldens in India

In India, you can buy a Golden Retriever for a price between Rs.7,000 and 30,000. Here, too, the credibility of the breeder is crucial in determining the price of each Golden because breeder credibility is associated with the health of the Golden.

While these initial costs of the Golden Retriever may not appear to be extremely high, the expenses that you incur in maintaining your pet will certainly take a toll on your finances – especially in the long run.

Hidden Costs of Maintaining a Golden Retriever

We know Golden Retrievers are intelligent dogs, but how smart are they actually?

After purchasing the Golden pup, we have the “hidden costs” of owning a Golden Retriever. Few people think about this, but there are many additional costs in maintaining a Golden retriever. Let’s explore the two most prominent ones.

Cost of Feeding a Golden Retriever

Dogs require a consistently healthy diet. If you buy a dog, you’re taking on the responsibility of feeding it properly. A dog can’t feed itself, so you are now responsible for providing this bare necessity for living.

Feeding a Golden can be costly when you are trying to maintain a healthy diet. This is not only because pet food is expensive, but also because Goldens love to eat. This love for food is partially because they’re such an active breed. 

Before bringing home your Golden, it would be good to take a tour of the grocer’s shop near you and make a note of the prices of high-quality dog food.

People go to discount stores, buy a 40-pound bag of cheap food. Even though the food meets the minimum quality requirements, it may not have enough protein or nutrients for your pet.

– Roy Cruzen DVM

According to Roy Cruzen DVM, “the number one reason for excessive shedding is a poor diet.” Now you don’t have to break your bank for your dog’s food. Cruzen estimates that you can find quality food for $4 a pound.

Your Golden will eat around 2-4 cups of food a day, depending on their age, gender, and size. The cost of all that food depends on the quality of the food you’re buying, but you can expect to spend about $2 per day on food. 

Don’t forget that Goldens also love their treats, especially during training, and that too is an additional cost. The average bag of treats costs between $5 – $10, and will typically last about a month or two with a moderate treat-feeding schedule. 

Cost of Golden Retriever Healthcare

The Golden Retriever is generally a healthy breed with few health problems down the line. However, there are still health issues associated with the breed. 

For example, a study published in 2018 indicated that Golden Retrievers are at a higher risk of cancer than other breeds. In the study, the records of 655 Goldens showed that 22.64% of the dogs had died of hemangiosarcoma.

In addition, 18.40% had succumbed to lymphoma. Both conditions are common forms of cancers among Goldens. Plus, Goldens can be prone to eye and ear infections, elbow dysplasia, and heart disease.

Also mentioned in the study is the fact that your retriever’s health may be determined by whether your dog is neutered or spayed. This is especially true for female dogs. So, it’s a good idea to get your Golden spayed/neutered if you don’t intend to breed.

All this indicates that you could be incurring high costs for your Golden’s veterinarian visits, procedures, medicine and more. As such, it is recommended that you buy your Golden pet-specific health insurance, and that is not cheap either.

Dog Health Insurance Cost

According to labradortraininghq.com, the average cost of pet insurance in the US is around $492 per year. This rate may vary depending on these factors: 

  • The type of pet (the rate for dogs is higher than that of cats)
  • The rates of the insurance company
  • The state you live in
  • The age of your dog
  • The amount you will pay before the insurance company begins to cover the cost of your pet’s medical bills (deductibles)
  • The type of insurance policy (partial, complete, specific to health issues such as accidents)

To be on the optimistic side, you will only need to pay a few hundred dollars for medical checkups and common health issues if your dog does not have serious health problems. 

Here’s an overview of what basic Golden Retriever medical costs might look like:

  • A full physical exam ($45-$55)
  • Recommended vaccines ($15-$28 per shot)
  • Dental cleaning ($70-$400)
  • Heartworm test ($45-$50)

Other Golden Retriever Costs

The initial purchase price, food expenses, and medical expenses may be the highest costs of owning a Golden Retriever. But there are other costs of Golden ownership are also worth mentioning:

  • Training costs, especially if you opt for a professional trainer
  • The cost of other supplies including the leash, play toys, grooming brushes, shampoo, collar, bowls, poop bags, towels, a kennel, and bedding
  • Travel costs, especially if you fly with your dog.
  • Registering with the AKC, however some breeders will do that for you.

Are Goldens Worth the Cost?

If you want to buy and care for a Golden Retriever, it’s not going to be cheap. The average cost of buying a Golden Retriever is between $0 and $2,000. 

Occasionally you can find a shelter or person giving away a Golden for free, but you can usually expect to pay at least $300 when buying a dog from a rescue shelter. However, if you spend $0, you will likely end up spending much more on future healthcare.

The higher end of that range comes into play when buying a purebred Golden Retriever with an impressive pedigree from a reputable breeder. 

On top of the purchase cost, there are also food expenses, medical expenses, and other costs of ownership. The exact cost of these expenses is difficult to estimate, but you should allot at least $100 per month for food, vet visits, and necessary equipment purchases. 

So, is the Golden Retriever worth the price? Absolutely. They’re not nearly as expensive as some other dog breeds. Plus, their lovable personalities and adorable looks will melt your heart in no time! And if you can put up with the shedding, you won’t regret it.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

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