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Golden Retriever Shedding: How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

Let's get this out of the way: Yes, Golden Retrievers shed. Read on to find out just how much, and find out what kind of tools you'll need to manage the hair.

Emma Braby

Last Updated: August 7, 2020 | 9 min read

Golden Retriever Puppy

Do Golden Retrievers shed? The short answer is yes, they definitely shed. But just how much? Well, that’s somewhat of a subjective question, depending on the type of breeds you have experience with. If you own a fluffy dog that’s on the larger size side of the spectrum, the Golden Retriever may be a piece of cake compared to what you are used to.

Before we get into the details, you should know that the Golden Retriever sheds moderately throughout the year and heavily during shedding seasons. There is no escaping this fact or preventing it. But what you can do is manage your Golden Retriever’s shedding effectively, and here we are going to show you exactly how to do it.

Reading this guide is a must for those struggling with the Golden Retriever shed because, as the cool kids say, the struggle is real. But with our tips and tricks, there is a golden light at the end of the tunnel. From his coat type, how often he sheds and when, to the best products for managing his shed, we’ll cover everything you need to know. Without any further ado, let’s learn everything there is to know about our favorite canine Goldilocks.

Golden Retriever Coats

The Golden Retriever’s coat is his most recognized feature. His long golden lustrous hair is one of the things that we love about him. But for Golden Retriever moms and dads out there, it can also be a humongous pain in the butt.

He has a double coat, which has two layers of hair. Each layer has different roles that help to protect his skin and keep him warm. His undercoat is dense and fluffy, which is what keeps him warm. His outer layer is the long hair that shields him from the elements. Together they create a fantastically warm jacket.

Working dog breeds are the heaviest shedders because they all have coats designed to keep them warm, or cool, in different climates. The Golden Retriever, originally from the Scottish Highlands, needed a thick jacket to allow him to work with his master all day long.

Golden Retriever Colors

Golden Retriever laying in grass
Golden Retrievers can have lighter colored coats and deep red coats.

The Golden Retriever is always golden, but there are many shades of gold that he can sport. From pale English cream Golden Retrievers to red Golden Retrievers, they all shed the same. Which means they also have the same grooming schedule and needs.

Now you know that you cannot escape the golden shed, some owners find it useful to match the color of their Golden Retriever to their décor. For example, if you have white or light-colored furniture, you’ll find that the paler cream Golden Retriever’s hair is less visible compared to the hair of a fox red Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever Shedding Frequency

Golden Retrievers are moderate shedders all year round. So, it’s safe to say that if you are looking for a dog that doesn’t shed, you and this golden boy aren’t going to get on. When it comes to shedding season, he is a heavy shedder. Essentially this means that their coat ‘blows off’, and they grow a new one ready for the new season.

Because he has a long coat, his shedding is going to be a lot more obvious when compared to other low-shedding dog breeds. There are things that you can do to manage it, but you’ll likely spend extra time vacuuming your house with a Golden Retriever around.

When Golden Retrievers Shed

Shedding seasons are the periods where the Golden Retriever will shed the most. This is when owners talk about their dogs’ blowing their coat’. You’ll have to groom your Golden Retriever every day when he is blowing his coat. When it is not shedding season, a thorough brush once every other day will be sufficient to manage his coat.

Shedding seasons usually happen during the winter and spring months. He will shift his light summer coat ready for when the colder months hit, making way for his thick winter coat. Then during springtime, he will lose his heavy-duty winter jacket and make way for a lightweight summer coat. This is his body’s way of regulating his body temperature.

Shedding Triggers

Golden Retriever on Porch
Golden Retrievers can shed for a variety of reasons, including seasonality and increased stress.

There are several things that can trigger additional shedding in Golden Retrievers. Some are more common than others, and some require veterinary intervention. Let’s take a look at what’s cause for concern and what is not.

Trigger #1: Weather Changes

The change in weather is the biggest trigger for shedding, but this is something that you cannot change. Thankfully, there are other shedding triggers that you can influence.

Trigger #2: Stress or Anxiety

Stress is another significant factor that can affect the rate at which he sheds. Dogs are very in tune with their family’s feelings, especially Golden Retrievers, and he will pick up on your stress. Owners often find that if they are experiencing any anxiety or a significant change in their life, their dog’s hair can fall out quicker than it usually would. Examples could be as a result of relationship breakdown or moving house

Trigger #3: Parasites, Fleas, or Allergies

Excess shedding could be a sign that he has parasites of some sort, such as fleas, or that he is allergic to something, be that his diet, grass, or chemicals. The extra scratching will cause increased hair loss.

Trigger #4: Skin Infections

Similarly, hair loss could also be a sign of a skin infection. These are more serious, but are usually visible on the skin, just beneath the coat. This typically requires veterinary intervention, and we’d recommend you reach out to your vet if you think that your Golden Retriever is shedding more than they should be.

Trigger #5: Other Health Problems

Excess shedding can also be a result of medically related conditions. This can include cancer, or other serious health problems. Just like a skin infection, recommend a trip to the vet for anything that looks out of the ordinary when it comes to your Golden Retriever’s coat.

Managing Your Golden Retriever’s Shedding

Golden Retriever bathing
Regular brushing and bathing can help keep your Golden Retriever’s shedding to a minimum.

Here we are going to take you through our top tips to manage your Golden Retriever’s shedding. Remember that all dogs are different, and some techniques may work on your pooch, and others may not. Be patient and stick with it, and if it helps in any way, it can only be a bonus.

Brushing

Regular brushing is the best way to manage a Golden Retriever’s coat. Not only will it ensure that his coat does not tangle, but it will help to pull any excess hair from his jacket. This also prevents his hair from landing on your sofa, and it’ll save you a lot of time vacuuming too.

Brush him every day during shedding season, and every other day throughout the rest of the year. A thorough Golden Retriever brushing session will take around 20 minutes. He also has feathering fur (longer fur) around his ears, neck, legs, and tail. And this hair will get tangled much easier, so take extra care here.

Not only does grooming make your life much easier by managing his shedding, but it is also a great way to bond with him. So, kill two birds with one stone, and everyone is happy! Make sure you get a Golden Retriever approved dog brush before you start your grooming routine.

Deshedding Products

Golden Retriever slicker brush
A good deshedding brush will help during your Golden Retriever’s bi-annual shedding season.

To get the best out of your brushing session, you need the right tools. For the Golden Retriever, we suggest one brush and one deshedding tool, and yes, they are different. We recommend either a slicker or a pin brush for his everyday grooming, with a deshedding tool for the times that he blows his coat. 

The deshedding tool looks like a rake, and it is designed to penetrate his overcoat and reach underneath to loosen the underlayer and scoop it up. That way, you can put it straight into the bin rather than finding it around your home.

Once you have spent time raking his undercoat, you can use the slicker brush to whip up excess hair and keep his coat looking healthy and shiny. It also helps to spread his natural coat oils, which in turn, will help to keep his skin nourished.

Some Golden Retriver owners will opt to just shave their dogs down. This is especially true for dog owners in warmer climates. This makes it easier for your Golden Retriever to keep cool, and solves the shedding problem in the process. You’ll want to use a pair of dog-friendly clippers for the job if you decide to go this route.

Shampoo

It’s always important to find the right shampoo for your Golden Retriever. So, whether he is a show dog who needs a brightening shampoo or a sensitive pooch who needs a gentle oatmeal solution, you should get something that suits his needs.

If you find that a regular brushing and bathing routine does nothing to reduce his shedding, you could try using an anti-shed formula. However, be sure never to wash your Golden Retriever more than every 8 to 12 weeks. It will irritate his skin even more, and strip his skin of the natural oils it produces. This will upset his natural pH balance and could increase his shedding.

If your Golden Retriever has a skin condition that is causing him to shed, your vet will likely suggest a medicated shampoo. Medicated shampoos are designed to relieve the source of the skin concern, which in turn will reduce his shedding. 

Diet

You might be surprised to know that a dog’s diet can affect the amount that he sheds. Feeding high-quality dog food to your Golden Retriever is not only the best way to keep him healthy, but will also keep his coat looking soft and supple. You don’t have to feed him the most premium dog food, but always feed him the best that you can afford.

High-quality kibbles are full of omega fatty acids, and it is these that will nourish your Golden Retriever’s coat from the inside out. If his skin is nourished, his coat will not shed excessively. Ingredients such as fish, fish oil, flaxseed, and egg products are great ingredients to look for. Vitamin E, folic acid, and biotin will also contribute to a shiny and healthy coat.

Supplements

If your Golden Retriever is not getting enough omega fatty acids from his food, be sure to give him supplements. Fish oil supplements are the best way to make sure his body gets everything that he needs, and they come in pill or liquid form.

Omega fatty acid supplements not only care for his skin and coat but they are also essential for his overall wellbeing. Their other health benefits include heightened brain function, eye, and cardiac health, healthy blood cells, and they deliver joint support too.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to the Golden Retriever, his coat, and how to manage his shedding.

Q: Why do Golden Retrievers shed so much?
A: Golden Retrievers are double-coated dogs, and all double-coated dogs shed. It’s natural and healthy for dogs to shed. Without this, he wouldn’t be able to regulate his body temperature or stay warm/cool. Most Golden Retriever owners cope with his shedding, but if you are looking for a dog that doesn’t shed, the Golden Retriever is not the dog for you.

Q: Can I shave my Golden Retriever to avoid him shedding?
A: Absolutely not. Whatever you do, never shave your Golden Retriever. He has a double coat so that he can regulate his body temperature effectively, and protect him from the elements, such as snow, rain, and UV rays. Without it, you risk his health, and he could become very poorly.

Q: I love Golden Retrievers, but what I don’t want a dog that sheds heavily, what shall I do?
A: Unfortunately, if you want a Golden Retriever, you need to learn to live with it. If you don’t think that you can, you need to consider another dog breed altogether. A Goldendoodle might be better because his hypoallergenic Poodle genes usually mean he sheds much less.

Q: How do I know if it is time to see the vet?
A: If your Golden Retriever sheds much more than other Goldens that you know, it might be because of the reasons outlined above, such as allergies, stress, or infections. If you still can’t understand why he sheds, or he sheds in patches or his skin is flakey or inflamed, it’s time to visit the vet.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that the Golden Retriever sheds all year round and quite heavily during shedding season. And because his coat is long, it will be noticeable. So it’s super important to manage it as best as you can. With the steps in this guide, you will ensure your best chance of managing it effectively.

Invest in the right grooming brushes, an effective shampoo, and feed him the best diet that you can afford. Feeding him a kibble that is full of omega fatty acids is also crucial to his skin and coat health, and it has many other benefits too. But overall, the Golden Retriever is totally worth the extra shedding hassle.

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