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Long Hair vs Short-Haired Golden Retriever

Long Hair vs Short-Haired Golden Retriever

Many dog breeds have different styles in terms of hair length and color. This can make it challenging to select a preference if you are interested in one as a family pet.

The Golden Retriever is one of the most instantly recognizable breeds and has been among the most popular in the U.S. for a number of years.

This article will explore Golden Retriever hair lengths. We will also cover what is seen as the breed standard and all the other important information you need to know about the breed’s coat.


What Length of Hair Do Golden Retrievers Have?

There is a lot of confusion around the length of Golden Retriever hair, including whether the breed should have long or short hair. So we thought we would clear things up for you!

Golden Retrievers have medium-length coats. However, they can sometimes be slightly longer and sometimes slightly shorter. Because of this, you could argue that there are three types of Golden Retrievers.

OK, so we didn’t exactly clear that up but on the plus side, this wonderful breed doesn’t make it difficult for you to choose!

The length of Golden Retriever hair will be determined by a number of factors that will all be covered in this article.

The most significant factor that determines Golden Retriever hair length is a specific gene. This is the recessive genetic mutation gene fibroblast growth factor 5 (FGF5).

The recessive trait indicates that the dog must inherit the gene from both parents to have longer hair. The purpose of the gene is to control the hair cycle.

A dog’s parents might both have relatively short hair, but both carry the gene which would produce a longer-haired litter. The gene carries a 25% chance of being passed on to the puppy.


Are All Golden Retrievers Long-Haired Dogs?

As we have mentioned, the length of Golden Retriever coats can vary. The coat can be either wavy or straight, and the breed is known for its double coat.

Double coats have two layers with a dense undercoat and a top coat that has longer guard hairs.

Fluffier dogs typically have denser undercoats as these are made up of short, wooly hairs. Golden Retrievers can often appear fluffy.

The purpose of a dog’s undercoat is to protect it from temperature extremes with the top coat repelling dirt and moisture.


Are Short Hair Golden Retrievers Not Considered Purebred?

The American Kennel Club states that the outer coat of a Golden Retriever should be resilient and firm. It should not lie too close to the dog’s body and should not be silky or coarse.

The coat around the dog’s paws, front of the legs, and head should be even and short. Feathering is expected on the breed with a moderate amount on the dog’s underbody and backs of their forelegs.

Longer feathering is accepted on the tail’s underside, back of the thighs, and front of the neck.

Open, soft, and limp coats are considered undesirable in a purebred Golden Retriever, particularly in show dogs. Excessive length is also frowned upon.

The dog’s coat appearance should not be altered by clipping or cutting apart from neatening stray hairs and trimming the feet.


What Can Cause A Golden Retriever To Have Short Hair?

As well as the FGF5 gene impacting the length of hair a Golden Retriever might have, other factors can have a significant impact. Short-haired Golden Retrievers may be a result of the following factors:


A dog’s nutrition is essential to its development. A poor diet can result in a number of health issues. It is essential that your puppy receives a healthy, balanced diet that continues through adulthood.

A poor diet can result in the fluffy, fuzzy hair that looks so adorable on a Golden Retriever puppy growing into short adult hair.


The dog’s general health and well-being can also affect how long its hair can grow. Some conditions that are known to affect the coat include:

  • Chronic diarrhea
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Parasites
  • Intestinal worms
  • Fleas
  • Mange mites
  • Ticks
  • Cancer
  • Skin infections

Keeping a close eye on your dog and taking them for regular checkups will minimize the risk of conditions worsening. It will also allow the vet to check the dog’s development.


Golden Retriever puppies naturally have short, soft hair that will grow as they develop. For the first few years of a Golden Retriever’s life, its hair will gradually grow until it reaches full maturity.

It can be difficult to know what length a dog’s hair will grow to be looking at a Golden Retriever puppy. As the dog grows it will become more obvious.

Grooming Habits

How a Golden Retriever is groomed will significantly affect its hair. Using the wrong brushes and grooming products can damage the hair and skin.

Unhealthy skin and hair won’t grow as freely as a healthy dog’s hair will. Grooming a dog with a double coat can be challenging. But ensuring your dog’s hair follicles are well looked after, clean, and healthy will significantly improve the health of its hair.

Keep reading to find out how to properly groom your Golden Retriever to ensure its hair can grow to its maximum length.


Do Long Hair Golden Retrievers Shed More?

A long-haired Golden Retriever will not shed more than a Golden Retriever with shorter hair. However, it should be noted that Golden Retrievers shed a lot.

They shed all year round and have two significant shedding seasons. The seasons typically come around in Spring and Fall as the dog’s coat prepares itself for Summer and Winter.

Good grooming habits can reduce the amount of hair around your home, while certain health conditions can also cause Golden Retrievers to shed more. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • Infections
  • Cushing’s Disease


How Do You Keep A Golden Retriever’s Coat Healthy?

A good grooming regime for Golden Retrievers is key to keeping their hair and skin healthy and minimizing the risk of your goldie having short and loose hair.

Routine grooming helps to remove dead hair and skin particles and minimize the amount of hair you find around your home and clothing. If you have a goldie, you already know the struggle of loose hair!

The following Golden Retriever grooming tips are perfect for dogs with long hair or those that already have shorter hair. The main consideration should be to care for the double coat and keep it in good condition.


Brushing your Golden Retrievers’ hair will help keep it clean and tangle-free. It will also help to remove dead hair from the coat minimizing the amount that will be shed.

Good grooming and brushing routine is essential for the health of your dog’s skin and hair. However, hair care for Golden Retrievers can be challenging because of the thick double coat.

Incorrect hair care procedures can damage hair and lead to issues with its growth. Because of this, the following tips should help your dog achieve full and healthy hair growth.

How Often Should I Brush A Golden Retriever?

Brushing a Golden Retriever between one and three times a week should typically be enough to keep the coat in good condition. During shedding season, this can be upped to daily brushing to keep the dog comfortable.

Undercoat rakes can be great tools that help to remove excess fur from the undercoat. Using a slicker brush for the hair also produces excellent results.

A pin brush works wonders for removing dead hair, while wide tooth combs are perfect for brushing the feathered regions on the dog’s legs, ears, and chest.

How Do I Brush A Golden Retriever?

The American Kennel Club advises that Golden Retriever owners back brush their dogs’ coats using a pin brush. This helps to collect debris from the hair while loosening the undercoat’s dead hair.

The coat can then be brushed in the direction of growth to remove the dead hair and tidy the coat up.


Bathing a Golden Retriever will also improve the coat’s quality and ensure the skin is healthy. Brushing is essential prior to bathing a long or short-haired Golden Retriever.

This not only removes dead hair and debris but can also remove tangles that are more difficult to deal with when the coat is wet.

Failure to bathe your Golden Retriever can result in the dog suffering from skin irritations and a dry coat. Both of which can result in the coat becoming matted and not growing to its full potential.

How Often Should A Golden Retriever Be Bathed?

Bathing Golden Retrievers regularly is often necessary. You should bathe them at least every six weeks, but you may need to do this more often if they get mucky on their regular walks.

How Do I Bathe A Golden Retriever?

Before bathing your Golden Retriever, it is essential that you have the correct dog shampoo. Using human shampoo can disrupt the natural pH level of the dog’s skin, which can lead to irritations and make them more vulnerable to parasites.

Getting your water temperature right before you start is also important. Lukewarm water should be used to keep the dog comfortable. Constant praising and reassuring are also recommended. A rubber bath mat can also help them stand without slipping which can cause distress.

When your dog is in the bath you should soak the coat thoroughly and work the shampoo into the coat to build a lather. Always keep the water and soap away from the dog’s face which can be cleaned with a washcloth afterward.

After leaving the soap in for a few minutes, rinse it off. This can take a bit of time to ensure all the soap has been removed. If you don’t wash off all products, your pooch could suffer from skin irritation.

Once your Golden Retriever has been thoroughly rinsed, apply a conditioner to the fur before rinsing again.

With bathtime complete, it’s time to dry your Golden Retriever with a towel to get rid of as much moisture as possible. Try to do this before they shake to avoid getting completely soaked!


What Is Considered Show-Quality Hair On A Golden Retriever?

One of the main reasons that Golden Retrievers tend to have different hair lengths is because of their intended purpose.

A Golden Retriever bred for shows typically has long hair, while short-haired Golden Retrievers are typically bred for the field.

Despite these differences, both Show and Field Golden Retrievers are of the same breed, with only slight variations between them. A field-bred Golden is also known as a flat-coated Retriever for their thick coat of fine hair

A Show Golden Retriever is bred for its appearance and is often larger and stockier. Field Golden Retrievers are bred to work and are more athletic. They typically have a slimmer frame that is more suitable for running and swimming. While Show Golden Retrievers have blocky heads, field-bred Golden Retrievers tend to have more wedge-shaped heads.

The coat length of both is slightly different. The Show Golden Retriever will typically have a long coat in comparison to the slightly shorter coat of a field-bred Golden.

Short-haired Golden Retrievers bred for the field also have slightly darker coats that range between gold and red. Many people might claim a short-haired Golden Retriever will shed less. This is not the case as they just have less volume than long hair Goldens, while the shedding cycle is the same for both.

Show Golden Retrievers are known for slightly longer coats and feathers with a lighter coloring.


Can You Give A Golden Retriever A Haircut?

The coats of Golden Retrievers offer the dogs natural protection from cold and warm weather. Cutting a Golden Retriever’s hair can cause skin irritation and can even damage the hair.

Some Golden Retrievers can be trimmed slightly in order to tidy up stray hairs and excessive feathering.



Can I trim the feathery hair on Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers can benefit from slight trimming to tidy the coat. The dog’s feathered areas around the chest and neck can help to neaten the appearance of the dog.

It is important to remember that the coats of Golden Retrievers should never be cut too much. It is always best to visit a professional groomer to handle your dog’s coat. They will be in a position to carry out a high-quality service. You can also ask for tips on upkeep to ensure your Golden Retriever looks great!

Is a long or short coat best for summer?

All Golden Retrievers have double coats that protect them from temperature extremes. The dog will shed before the summer which will help with air circulation to cool its body.

The best you can do for your Golden during the summer months is to provide them with plenty of shade and water. Also, avoid walking them during the hottest times of the day.

Will a Golden Retriever’s hair grow back if shaved?

Dog hair will typically grow back if it is shaved. However, it can take a long time for it to grow back. Shaving the coat can make it difficult for the dog to regulate their temperature. It can also cause skin irritations and damage the hair.

At what age will a Golden Retriever have its full adult coat?

A Golden Retriever puppy will have cute, fluffy fur for the first 18 months before the adult fur starts to grow in. The coat will typically reach full maturity as the dog enters adulthood at around two years of age.

What is good for a Golden Retriever’s coat?

A combination of Omega-3s and Omega-6s can be great for a Golden’s coat. Omege-3 is known to reduce inflammation and can be great for minimizing the risk of allergies and dander.

Omega-6s are known to stimulate the dog’s hair growth. Combining these fatty acids in a nutritious diet or with supplements can help your dog grow long hair and improve the health of the coat.


Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers tend to have medium-length hair. A short hair Golden Retriever may have been bred for field work, whereas longer-haired Golden retrievers are more likely to be shown.

A short-haired Golden Retriever may also be the result of an issue with the hair. Damaged hair follicles or skin conditions can prohibit the hair from growing.

A good grooming routine is essential for your Golden furry friend’s skin and hair health.

What truly matters when owning a Golden Retriever is that you are welcoming a loyal and affectionate pet into your family. Regardless of the length of their hair, Golden Retrievers are loving and devoted breeds!

To find out more about Golden Retrievers and other dog breeds, visit our homepage for an extensive collection of dog breed guides.