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How To Groom A Golden Retriever (Including the Lion Cut!)

How To Groom A Golden Retriever (Including the Lion Cut!)

As the name already implies, a Golden Retriever comes with a beautifully soft and thick golden coat.

Most Golden Retriever owners know the daily work that goes into brushing their fur in order to keep the coat shiny and mat-free.

But what is the best way to groom a Golden Retriever and can you cut their coat into different styles?

In this ultimate guide to grooming your Golden Retriever, we will cover all of this and provide you with useful tips and tricks collected from experienced Golden Retriever owners.

On top of that, we will give you a guide on how to groom a Golden Retriever into a little lion, with the fancy lion cut!


How To Groom A Golden Retriever – Step-by-step Home Grooming

Grooming a Golden Retriever is not just to keep the shedding at bay, but also to engage with your dog. Consider it a special bonding time that will also assist you in figuring out if your dog is healthy and in good shape.

Below, we will walk you through how to groom a Golden Retriever successfully at home.

1. Brush your Golden Retriever

Using a pin brush, slicker brush, or thistle brush, brush your Golden Retriever from head to toe. This will remove mats or tangled fur and clean any dirt or debris off your dog’s hair.

We recommend doing this at least once a week, although committing to brushing them daily will be better and also keep loose fur off your furniture and clothing.

If you brush your dog regularly, there won’t be too many mats. Try brushing mats out by holding the fur above the mat so that you do not pull excessively on the dog’s skin. Then try to brush the mat out gently, starting at the tip and making your way upwards.

If you do come across some really difficult patches, it might be easier to cut them out. Be careful not to cut your dog accidentally!

2. Bathe your Golden Retriever

There is some debate about whether you should wash your Golden Retriever before or after trimming the coat. And there’s yet more debate about whether you should wash your dog at all and when you do, if you need shampoo.

Confused yet?

In our experience, for every opinion, there is a counterargument, so it’s best to do it exactly what you feel is right for you and your dog.

If your dog happens to be filthy and smells like…well like a dog, we recommend using a high-quality, mild dog shampoo and warm water to wash your pup.

After lathering and rinsing your Golden Retriever’s coat thoroughly, rub it dry with a big towel and make sure to clean and dry the inside of your Golden’s ears properly. They are prone to ear infections and this is a good time to check whether everything looks healthy in there.

If you are planning to show off your Golden Retriever afterward, you might want to whip out the blow dryer and style your dog’s fur properly. Please remember to do this on low heat!

3. Brush your Golden Retriever again

Brushing Goldens after bathing will straighten the coat and give the fur a nice shiny look, as it spreads the natural oils their skin produces evenly.

We recommend doing this with an undercoat comb or slicker brush, so you can get as much loose undercoat out. This will make the grooming process (and especially the thinning out) a lot easier and quicker.

4. Trim your Golden Retriever’s coat

A Golden Retriever has a double coat; it consists of an undercoat as well as an overcoat. This specific coat is made for every season. On hot days, the coat traps cool air, and warm air on cold days.

We recommend never trimming the entire coat, as it inhibits this natural air conditioning/heating system. Instead, with a pair of scissors and a pair of trimming shears, you are good to go.

First, trim the fuzzy fur edges on the bottom of your dog’s feet with scissors. Then, carefully trim the fur between the toes. This can be a bit tricky as a dog’s paws are very sensitive and they might pull their feet back. So be careful not to cut your dog.

The fur around your dog’s paws should be around 1/2 inch long. If you notice that their paw pads are dry and cracked, apply some Vaseline.

Decide whether your dog’s nails need some trimming too. Many people decide to have this done by the vet to avoid cutting too deep and hurting their dog.

You can slowly make your way up your Golden Retriever’s legs. First, trim the fur on the back of the legs with your shears. Don’t cut it too short; just focus on the fuzzy and unkempt parts!

5. Thin the undercoat

The area of the neck and chest usually has the most excess hair growth and can be trimmed using your thinning shears. Make sure to trim the hair so it still looks natural and falls flat against the body.

You can also trim your dog’s ears around the front and back. This is an important part of your dog’s health. As we already stated, ear infections are common with this dog breed, and therefore, trimming the ears will protect them against it.

Your Golden Retriever’s tail is next. Make sure you don’t cut the tail fur too short. Always move the thinning shears in the direction in which the hair is growing.

6. Wipe the eyes and clean the ears

Your canine companion can use some further TLC and pet grooming after you’re done with the fur trimming.

You can use a cotton ball and some lukewarm water to gently clean their eyes and ears. Make sure you dry them properly afterward.

7. Apply flea and tick preventative

Your monthly grooming ritual isn’t complete without applying tick and flea treatment to protect your Golden Retriever against those nasty parasites.

Keeping fleas away from your dog’s coat will also avoid dander and flea dust and make sure your dog will always have a silky coat.


Best Golden Retriever Grooming Products

Ok so now you know how to groom your beautiful Golden Retriever (or at least, they will be beautiful by the time you’re finished). But what are the best tools for the job?

It can be a bit overwhelming shopping for doggy grooming items, so look out for the following and you’ll be good to go:

  • Slicker Brush
  • Soft Pin Brush
  • Undercoat Rake
  • Natural Shampoo for Sensitive Skin
  • Grooming Scissors
  • Nail Trimmer
  • Thinning Shears


Benefits of Grooming a Dog’s Coat at Home

The reason we want you to know how to groom a Golden Retriever at home is not that we want to cause you extra work – we know how time-consuming it is to groom a Golden Retriever! But, we believe that there are lots of benefits to grooming your dog at home.

Unfortunately, many dog owners think it is not necessary to groom their dogs at all!

It’s actually a crucial part of their health and well-being. Not only does it eliminate the chance of fleas and ticks, but it also keeps stray hairs at bay and is a lovely way to spend time with your dog.

As you are getting so close to your dog, you might even be able to detect any condition that might be worrisome. Lumps, bald batches, or a skin condition that went undetected because of your Golden Retriever’s thick fur – you can check for all of these in a good grooming session.

Here are all the reasons why you should know how to groom a Golden Retriever at home:

  • Pest Prevention: Especially if your Golden Retriever is busy outdoors, the chances of nasty ticks or fleas finding their way into their fur can be quite high. As soon as fleas settle into your home, getting rid of them can be quite a challenge. Therefore, it is best to detect the problem during pet grooming and take action right away.
  • Health issue detection: Pet grooming is important because you might be able to detect lesions, rashes or lumps before they become bigger issues. Early detection will make it much more manageable to cure illnesses in most dog breeds.
  • Keeps the coat healthy: Getting rid of longer fur and mats in the top coat will prevent hotspots for pests. It’ll also spread the natural oils of your dog’s coat evenly to protect it against the weather and other threats. On top of that, brushing regularly will prevent heavy shedding. This means you won’t come across nasty hair balls in your apartment!
  • Regular grooming fosters positive behavior: If your dog feels good and healthy in their skin and coat, they will be happier and more fun to interact with (just like us!). Regular brushing will be a good bonding experience for both you and your dog. And the more often you do it, the more your dog will get used to the ritual and connect it with a positive experience.


Grooming Styles for Golden Retrievers

There is a lot more that you can do with a slicker brush and thinning shears than just trimming your dog’s hair. If you feel brave or are experienced in it, you can go as far as giving your pup a full haircut!

There are a lot of dogs with a fancy haircuts out and about these days, and to make your Golden Retrievers stand out from the crowd, you might want to take the usual pet grooming to the next level!

Here are some commonly seen grooming techniques and cuts for Golden Retrievers:

Puppy Cut

If you want a Golden Retriever puppy forever, this cut will be perfect. On top of that, it is a fairly simple cut. Simply use thinning shears to trim the fur to the same length across their body (about half an inch long). This cut is extremely easy to maintain and does not make your dog feel uncomfortable or cold. There is still enough fur left to protect it against the weather.

Simple Trim

If you want to keep it easy and just make your dog’s fur look a little neater, just trim the coat and use your thinning shears to feather your Golden Retriever’s hair a little. Especially thin it out around the chest and neck area. This trim is the most traditional cut, as it remains true to the Golden Retriever’s shape.

Show Cut

This one is very similar to the simple trim. The rule of thumb is to not cut much at all and rather use your thinning shears sparingly. The bigger, the better with a show cut! This is where you can really let your Golden Retriever’s fur speak for itself and have your doggo show off its sleek golden coat.

Teddy Cut

This cut requires a visit to a professional grooming salon. The haircut focuses on really short fur around the body while keeping the legs in their natural shape. The rear end, i.e. the tail, is also trimmed and cut into shape.

This cut will make your Golden Retriever look like a teddy bear while keeping it cool, minus the risk of taking too much of the vital undercoat away. It is basically a great cut for the hot summer months and it looks ADORABLE!

Lion’s Mane Haircuts

If you want to make your Golden Retriever dogs look like majestic African cats, then a lion cut might be the right haircut for your dog.

This style works by cutting most of the hair on your dog’s body quite short, while the hair around the head remains long and thick. This will literally make your dog’s coat look like a lion’s mane.

Most people go for this cute cut as a fashion statement, as there is not much practicality around it. It is a funny look that not many dogs can pull off, but a Golden Retriever is definitely capable, thanks to its beautiful, lush and long coat. In fact, we could argue that no other dogs look as nice with a lion cut as a Golden Retriever.

Here is how to make your Golden Retriever look like a lion:

  1. Take a trimmer and shave your dog’s hair on the sides as well as on the back. Make sure it is short but do not shave down to the skin! A bit shorter than half an inch is ideal.
  2. Shave your dog’s tail, but make sure you leave enough hair at the end of it to form a little bush – just like a lion’s tail.
  3. Now start shaving the hair on your dog’s legs. Start at the top, and leave the lower quarter of the legs natural.
  4. With scissors or thinning shears, trim the hair around your dog’s head a bit, just to remove the fuzzy parts. Do not thin it out too much, so that the “mane” still looks nice and bushy.
  5. If you want to be bold, you can use some natural hair dye that is free from harsh chemicals to dye your dog’s fur. We do not recommend you try this at home, though, as you can irritate your dog’s skin. It would be best to leave the fur-dyeing up to the professionals who know which products to use!



How long does it take for my dog’s hair to regrow after a lion cut?

Luckily, Retrievers have a fast hair growth cycle.

If you have tried the lion cut and are not the biggest fan, or if winter is fast approaching and you are worried about your dog’s wellbeing – do not worry.

It takes about eight weeks for your dog’s hair to grow back fully.

Will my Golden Retriever get cold with a lion cut?

Yes, your Golden Retriever can definitely get cold if you have trimmed its coat too short.

A lion cut is only suitable for summer, and even then it might not be the right cut for your Golden Retriever. These dogs have a thick double coat that provides them with their very own air conditioning or heating system, depending on the weather.

We, therefore, recommend only trying out the lion cut during the really hot summer months and making sure that your dog stays in the shade a lot in order to avoid sunburn or overheating.

As for winter – without all the hair of its double coat to protect it against the cold winter weather, your Golden Retriever is definitely going to get cold really fast.

What other breeds can get a lion cut?

A Golden Retriever is not the only dog that can rock this look, but thanks to its double coat, it can definitely do so best.

There are several other breeds (most of them small dogs, funnily enough) that look absolutely adorable with a lion cut:

  • Goldendoodles
  • Chow Chows
  • Pomeranians
  • Yorkies
  • Pekingese
  • Labradoodles
  • German Shepherd
  • Poodle

Do short-haired Golden Retrievers exist?

While the length of a Golden Retriever’s coat can vary, there is no such thing as a short-haired Golden Retriever. So if you are wondering whether to get a long-haired or short-haired Golden Retriever, we can honestly tell you, if someone is trying to sell you a short-haired Golden, they are definitely lying to you.

With that being said, a Golden Retriever puppy always has significantly shorter hair than a fully grown Golden Retriever. The growth of their lush golden hair only kicks in after about six months to one year.


Final Thoughts

We hope that this article helped you to answer your questions about how to groom a Golden Retriever and that we gave you some useful insights into why grooming your dog’s hair yourself might not be such a bad idea after all. Apart from saving yourself the costs of taking your dog to a professional groomer, obviously!

Remember, lion cuts will definitely make your dog stand out, but you don’t want to risk your dog getting cold during winter! So make sure you keep the lion cuts to the summer months and rather opt for a lush show cut or even a teddy bear cut for the winter months!

If you would like to learn more about Golden Retrievers and other breeds, visit our homepage!