Do All Golden Retrievers Have Long Hair?

Long Hair

The simple answer is yes! Although, some Golden Retrievers have long hair that is shorter than others with long hair. The Golden Retriever is known for its flowing hair. Now, to explain what it means that all Golden Retrievers have long hair, even if some are shorter than others.

The Golden Field Retriever has shorter fur, it is bred that way. They are slimmer and more athletic than a classic Golden Retriever. The Golden Field Retriever is smaller in stature, with more energy and drive and has a hunting and retrieving instinct.

Different Types

Long Hair

To reiterate, the Golden Field Retriever does have shorter hair than most other retrievers, but it would still not be considered short. Technically, there is only one type of Golden Retriever, however, there are multiple variations of the breed. One being the Golderman, one is the field Retriever.

A shorter coat is actually inherited. Yes, the coat comes from the parents. If one of the Golden parents has shorter hair, then there is a 50% chance the offspring will have shorter hair also.

What Age Will The Coat Grow?

Long Hair

Obviously, all breeds, all dogs grow at different rates. What is advanced for one, may not even be average for many. So at what age will your Golden Retriever begin to grow the long coat?

The Golden Retriever actually grows quite quickly. For the majority, they will reach their full growth by the time they are a year old. The coats, however, will take longer to grow. On average, the coat will not fully fill in until the dog is roughly 1.5 years old.

This does actually make it somewhat easy to estimate the age of a Golden Retriever. If they have long hair, then you know they are at least 1.5 years of age. Of course, their coat may still grow a little more.

Long Coats and Allergies

Long Hair

To be perfectly honest, it is not the coats that people are allergic to when they say they have an allergy with dogs. The allergy is likely from the dander, which is dead skin cells. The allergy could also be from the urine or the dog’s saliva.

This should be known before purchasing a Golden. Truth be told, when the coat on a Golden is trimmed or cut, this could cause health issues for the Retriever and it could also ruin the gorgeous coat of the Golden Retriever.

Another issue you will need to consider before choosing a Golden Retriever. If you are considering a Golden, but want short hair to eliminate the shedding. You likely do not want a Golden. Most animals, dogs and cats included, do shed at least twice a year. Some animals, it may be minimal, for others, it seems endless.

You may also find hair in some of the strangest locations. Even if you take your Retriever to a groomer, this will not entirely prevent loose hairs from floating all over the house. Including landing on your dinner plate. There is likely going to be dog hairs everywhere including the furniture and also rooms that the dog never enters.

There are a few things that you can do to help minimize the amount of hair floating through your home.

  • Brush your Golden Retriever on a daily basis
  • Bathe the Retriever every other month
  • Be sure to feed them a high quality dog food

Never Shave

Long Hair

Even in the hottest weather, or when you are tired of the dog hair, you cannot make a sudden decision to shave the hair off your Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever is gifted with a Double Coat. The undercoat is shorter and soft. This coat actually helps to regulate your dog’s temperature. The outer coat is lengthier, smooth and waterproof. This is meant to keep the dirt and debris off of them.

Again, you really are harming your Golden Retriever when you shave him. That undercoat is there to regulate the body temp even when it is hot outside.


Long Hair

There are options if you want a short haired Golden Retriever. Goldens are known for the long hair, even when the hair is shorter than some other dogs, the hair is longer than a short haired dog. One option is to consider a different breed of dog. You may want to consider one that has short hair or even very little hair.

However, even a short haired dog will shed at times. I was a parent to a Chihuahua, until she took a trip over the Rainbow Bridge. Very short hair on her, yet she still shed. There are times now, if I go into a storage tub, I will still find some of her short hairs. Basically, you will come across dog hair whether it is long or short.

You could consider a Golden Doodle, a Labrador or another breed known for short hair. There are breeders who specifically breed Golden Retrievers with short hair. This will take research on your part if you insist on a Golden Retriever, but prefer short hair.

The variations in hair length on the Golden Retrievers is due to mutant genes that have been passed down generations. To be considered a Golden Retriever, the American Kennel Association requires that the list of characteristics for each dog breed is adhered to tightly. This means to be a purebred Golden Retriever, the coat must be X inches in length. If it is not, that means that the dog has been mixed somewhere in the generations.

When originally bred over in Scotland, the intention was to accompany the owner and retrieve the game that is shot while on a hunting trip. The breeder knew the weather would be a factor for the animal, so the hair needed to be long, with a short undercoat to regulate the canine’s body heat.  The outer coat should resist water and debris and dirt.

What started as a need and requirement, soon became an aesthetic want in those who chose to have one of these Golden colored dogs. Breeding for a pure Golden Retriever created uniformity of the long hair. The uniformity also applied to the texture and the coloring.

The breeder needed to choose breeds that had long hair in order to obtain that in the offspring. Today, however, the length is unimportant when it comes to the Golden Retriever for families. These dogs spend less time outside versus dogs in the past.

Long Hair

The Growth

Long Hair

When a Golden Retriever is first born, he or she will have short hair. This hair will not complete growing in length until the dog is past the puppy stage. This will be approximately 1.5 years. It will actually start to feather in slowly around the time the Golden Retriever is 3 months old. Again, you will notice some, however, the thick and full coat will be completely in at around 1.5 years.

The original hair that the dog is born with does not fall out or disappear. The lengthier hair will grow out as a top coat of hair. As this longer hair begins to come in, it pushes the shorter hair to the sides, which will then become the undercoat. The new coat of hair coming in will also be slightly darker also. The top coat is known as the Guard coat once it comes in fully.

Shedding happens twice a year, Spring and Fall. The thick undercoat will mean more grooming is necessary to maintain a lower amount of shedding, however, it can not be avoided altogether. The other options that will help keep the shedding on the lower side is consistent grooming, a good quality food in the diet and avoiding a stressful environment.

All in all, to summarize clearly, the Golden Retriever is only recognized by the American Kennel Association if it has long hair. There may be a one in a million shot that your Golden Retriever has short hair and that you were sold the dog as a purebred Golden Retriever. There are genetic tests now available that will give you and the Kennel Association the information needed.

If the test comes back as a purebred Golden Retriever, this will mean that somewhere in the background there was a short haired dog used for breeding, or an ‘oops’ happened and the breeder may not have known about it.

The hair length should never be a factor when it comes to loving a fur baby. Dogs are not just four legged creatures. They should be loved, cared for and treated like family. Their overall health should be more important than the length of the hair on a Golden Retriever. The Golden Retrievers flowing coat is just outer beauty.

For breeders it is extremely important, for those who choose a purebred Golden Retriever, it is important to be able to see the long hair, however, it must be remembered that there is a tiny percentage that your purebred Golden Retriever will have short hair. This will not change the nature of the dog or the way the dog feels about you.