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 on the larger size side of the spectrum, this breed may be a piece of cake compared to what you are used to. Golden Retriever shedding is a challenge, but with proper coat care, it can be managed.
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 you can manage your Golden’s shedding effectively, and we will 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. We’ll cover everything you need to know, from his coat type, how often he sheds, and when shedding happens to the best products for managing his shed. Without any further ado, let’s learn everything there is to know about our favorite canine Goldilocks.
Golden Retriever Coats
A 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 the Golden version of the Retriever moms and dads out there, it can also be a humongous pain in the butt.
The Golden Retriever has a double coat with 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
The Golden Retriever is always golden, but he can sport many shades of gold. They all shed the same, from pale English cream to red Golden Retrievers. This means they also have the same grooming schedule and needs.
Having a Golden Retriever means having dog hair around all the time. Some owners find it useful to match the color of their Retriever to their décor. For example, if you have white or light-colored furniture, you’ll find that the paler cream 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. You will see excessive shedding during these seasonal changes.
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 Retriever around.
When Golden Retrievers Shed
Shedding seasons are the periods when dogs will shed the most. This is when owners talk about their dogs “blowing their coat.” You’ll have to groom them daily during these times. When it is not shedding season, a thorough brush once every other day will be sufficient to manage his coat.
Golden Retriever shedding seasons usually happen during the winter and spring months. He will shift his light summer coat 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.
Golden Retriever Shedding Triggers
Several things can trigger additional or excessive shedding in Goldens. Some are more common than others, and some require veterinary intervention. Let’s look at what’s cause for concern and what’s 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. Weather changes may also impact your dog’s mood.
Trigger #2: Stress or Anxiety
Stress is another significant factor that can affect the rate at which he sheds. Dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, are in tune with their family’s feelings and 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 a relationship breakdown or moving house.
Trigger #3: Parasites, Fleas, or Allergies
Trigger #4: Skin Infections
Similarly, hair loss could also be a sign of a skin infection. These are more serious but usually visible on the skin, just beneath the coat. Skin infection typically requires veterinary intervention, and we’d recommend contacting your vet if you think your dog is shedding more than he 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. Like a skin infection, recommend a trip to the vet for anything that looks out of the ordinary regarding a dog’s coat.
How To Manage Golden Retriever Shedding
Here, we take you through our top tips for how to manage Golden Retriever shedding. Remember that all dogs are different. Some techniques may work on your pooch, and others may not. Be patient and stick with it. If it helps in any way, it can only be a bonus. While you cannot eliminate shedding, proper management can reduce Golden Retriever shedding.
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 loose fur from the coat. This also prevents his hair from landing on your sofa and saves you time vacuuming.
Brush him every day during shedding season and every other day throughout the rest of the year. A thorough 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.
You need the right tools to get the best out of your brushing session. For this breed, we suggest one brush and one deshedding tool, and yes, they are different. We recommend a slicker or a pin brush for his everyday grooming, with a deshedding tool for when he blows his coat.
The deshedding tool looks like a rake, designed to penetrate his outer coat and reach underneath to loosen the underlayer and scoop it up. That way, you can put the loose fur straight into the trash rather than finding it around your home. These will not hurt a dog’s skin and are helpful to remove loose hair.
Once you have spent time raking his undercoat, you can use the slicker brush to whip up excess hair and keep his coat healthy and shiny. It also helps to spread his natural coat oils, which helps to keep his skin nourished.
Some owners will opt to trim their dog’s coat down. This is especially true for dog owners in warmer climates. This makes it easier for your Retriever to keep cool and can reduce Golden Retriever shedding. You’ll want to use a pair of dog-friendly clippers for the job if you decide to go this route.
It’s always important to use quality dog shampoo for your Golden Retriever. So, whether he is a show dog who needs a brightening shampoo or a sensitive pup 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 can try using an anti-shed formula. However, never wash your dog more than every 8 to 12 weeks. Washing too much can irritate a dog’s skin even more and strip the skin of the natural oils it produces. This will upset his natural pH balance and could increase his shedding. Never use human products on your pup. They will only make things worse, as these products are not made for use on canines. Stick to high-quality dog shampoo, or discuss with your vet how to make your own.
If your Retriever has a skin condition 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.
You might be surprised that a dog’s diet can affect the amount he sheds. Feeding high-quality dog food to your Golden Retriever is the best way to keep him healthy, but it will also keep his coat looking soft and supple. You don’t have to feed him the most premium dog food, but always provide him the best you can afford.
High-quality kibbles are full of omega fatty acids, nourishing your Golden’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.
Many owners have switched to fresh dog foods from high-quality, sometimes human-grade ingredients. These fresh foods are beneficial to coat health and taste great. The natural ingredients are made from healthy fats, quality proteins, and antioxidants, boosting skin and coat health. They can be served alone or mixed with your pup’s chow. Many come delivered right to your door.
If your doggo is not getting enough omega fatty acids from his food, be sure to give him supplements. Fish oil supplements are the best way to ensure his body gets everything he needs. They come in pill or liquid form.
Omega fatty acid supplements care for his skin and coat but are also essential for his overall well-being. Their other health benefits include heightened brain function, eye and cardiac health, healthy blood cells, and they deliver joint support.
Frequently Asked Questions
A huge part of managing a Golden Retriever’s shedding is to accept that it is just part of owning one of these beauties. We have covered a lot, but know there are still plenty of things owners want to know. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the Golden Retriever, his coat, and how to manage his shedding.
Why do Golden Retrievers shed so much?
Because they are double-coated dogs, and all double-coated dogs shed. It’s natural and healthy for dogs to shed. Without this, he could not regulate his body temperature or stay warm/cool. Most owners cope with his shedding, but if you are looking for a dog that doesn’t shed, this dog is not the dog for you.
Can I shave my Golden Retriever to avoid him shedding?
Absolutely not. Whatever you do, never shave your Retriever. He has a double coat to regulate his body temperature effectively and protect him from the elements, such as snow, rain, and UV rays. Without it, you risk his health.
I love Retrievers, but I don’t want a dog that sheds heavily. What should I do?
Unfortunately, if you want a dog, you must also learn to live with their hair. If you don’t think you can, consider another low-shedding dog breed. A Goldendoodle might be better because his hypoallergenic Poodle genes usually mean he sheds much less.
How do I know if it is time to see the vet?
If your dog sheds much more than other Goldens, it might be because of the above reasons, 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. Your vet will need to examine your pup and may want to run allergy tests or other diagnostic tests to determine the underlying issue.
Are You Looking For A Lower Shedding Dog Breed?
We love Golden Retrievers, but the fact of it is they shed a lot all the time. While this is acceptable for some owners, it may not work for everyone, especially people with dog allergies. The good news is plenty of other breeds, and even some Golden mixes, do not shed nearly as much. Along with the playful Goldendoodle, another Retriever mix, the Labradoodle also sheds much less. A Poodle or Poodle mix is also a good pick for low-shedding, as are both Havanese and Bichon Frise.
Do you have a trick or method for managing dog hair around the house? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.