Do Golden Retrievers Shed?
An Expert Explains

April 13, 2021

There are fewer dogs more iconic than the Golden Retriever. When you see these dogs, you automatically think of a great family dog that is friendly, loyal, and full of energy.

As great as these dogs are, their fur is definitely something to be reckoned with! Goldens are notorious for shedding a lot of hair.

In this article, we will talk about how to manage the shedding, reasons why it happens, and what you can do to help reduce it.

Keep reading to find out all this and more.

golden sitting
Coming up
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents

    How Much Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

    To put it simply – a lot.

    The breed sheds moderately during summer and winter, so be ready to find quite a lot of hair on carpets, clothing, and furniture (and be armed with a vacuum, too) most of the year.

    However, for most Goldens, you will find that they shed even more during the spring and fall season. During these periods is when summer and winter coats are grown by the dog, so pretty much everything is covered in shed dog hair.

    This process is known as "blowing coats," and they are getting ready to essentially put on brand-new coats for the summer and winter seasons. Each Golden varies from dog to dog, so yours might shed a lot during this time… or just a little.

    Either way, it' is a good idea to have a good brush available plus some other grooming tools so you can keep things clean and neat while your dog goes through this time.

    Why Do Golden Retrievers Shed So Much?

    Golden retrievers are the sort of dog that has a double coat. What does this mean? It simply means they have a thick and soft undercoat under their lustrous top coat.

    These dogs are known to love the outdoors. So, their coats have evolved to handle all that nature throws at them. The outer coat is rough and equipped to handle the elements as well as all the playtime a Golden can have, such as swimming in the water, rolling on the grass, walking through the woods with you, and so on.

    The outer guard coat protects the dog from water and dirt, keeping it clean and dry. The undercoat, on the other hand, is soft, short, and woolly, and it helps a Golden Retriever regulate its body temperature when it's hot or cold. While the double coat is a great thing for the dog, owners may have a hard time keeping their home clean with all the hair that is being shed.

    Golden Retriever shedding

    In the fall, the Golden's coat adapts to the changing cold temperatures and becomes extra thick. While this happens, the thinner summer coat is shed away to make room for the warmer winter fur. Then, all that extra thick hair falls out during the spring to help the dog to adapt to warmer weather. This, of course, means that there are heaps of thick winter hair to be shed.

    It is the main reason why golden retrievers are heavy shedders. Those of you living in warmer climates, take note: your golden may shed more often because they are trying to keep cool.

    Factors That Can Affect Your Golden Retriever's Shedding

    There are lots of outside factors aside from just normal shedding during the year and the twice-yearly shedding season that takes place. Read on to discover them all.

    Seasons

    As we have discussed at length, the season plays a significant role in the shedding activity of your Golden Retriever. During the summer months, your golden will sport a thinner coat, and during the colder months, he will wear a thicker coat. It is all mother nature's way of helping your dog stay nice and regulated no matter what the weather. 

    Type of Coat

    How much a dog sheds depends on the type of coat he or she has. And as we explained earlier, the main reason Golden Retrievers are such heavy shedders is that they have a thick undercoat.

    The length of the coat can matter as well. Although the dog may shed pretty much the same, it looks like there is more when the hair is longer.

    Losing the Puppy Hair

    Between the ages of 4 to 6 months old, your puppy will start to shed his fur. It can vary from dog to dog and is dependent on breed. For goldens, expect this to happen around 6 months- but bear in mind it is different for every pup.

    You may even see this begin at 12 weeks old, or even once they hit one year old. Sometimes you might not even notice your puppy shedding, especially if you're dealing with a shorthair breed. And in some cases, your pup might look a bit rough as he goes through his growth, with hair coming in patchy or shaggy.

    Age

    Puppies can shed, as they are growing into adult dogs and must lose their puppy hair in order for that to happen- this we know.

    However, older dogs are undergoing changes of their own. Some dogs who are of the geriatric age will begin to develop ailments like alopecia (hair loss) or hypotrichosis (a thin coat). It is a normal part of getting older for a dog, even if they do not have any pre-existing hormonal illnesses. It is the older dog's body's way of responding to aging. For example, the hair follicles may be exhausted or unable to produce any longer.

    Nutrition

    What your dog eats has a major impact on the health of their coat and skin. Proper nutrition leads to healthy skin, which leads to healthy hair follicles that provide your dog with beautiful, shiny, and of course, golden hair!

    However, skin that is unhealthy lacks oils needed to sustain hair growth and breaks down, falling off all over the place. The hair also has a tendency to be brittle and lacking in shine.

    So, what can we, as owners, do? Begin by making sure your dog is eating quality food. Also, make sure clean and fresh water is in constant supply.

    golden retriever coat

    Health

    Dogs that are healthy are less apt to shed than unhealthy ones. Unhealthy dogs may have parasites that sap their nutrition, which leads to dogs not getting vitamins and minerals needed to sustain healthy hair growth.

    Dogs with high fevers sometimes retain damage in their skin and hair follicles. Other dogs may end up with chronic conditions that have to be treated on a regular basis – these conditions can prevent blood from reaching all parts of the skin, which is necessary for hair growth.

    Make sure you and your vet work together to create any necessary treatment plans that help your dog stay well and support healthy hair.

    Baths

    Bathing a Golden Retriever is not needed as often as you think. If your dog is dirty- say, they played a little hard at the dog park that day and is now covered in mud- then yes, a bath to get them clean is OK.

    However, normal circumstances dictate that bathing just once per month is OK for a Golden Retriever. Any more than that, and you are washing away the oils needed to promote a healthy and beautiful coat.

    Bathing a dog too much can dry out the skin, cause excessive dander, and leave the hair to fall out. Keep baths occasional, and you will keep your dog's hair healthier.

    Hormonal Cycles

    Female goldens in heat or dogs just undergoing hormonal changes can have a huge impact on your dog's shedding.

    Hormones like cortisol, progesterone, growth hormone, estrogen, and thyroid hormones, among others, can all have an impact on how much your dog sheds.

    For instance, dogs with lower thyroid levels tend to have thin and dry coats as the hormone thyroxine cannot activate hair follicles.

    How to Reduce A Golden Retriever's Shedding?

    We cannot stop a golden from shedding completely. But there are steps you can take to help reduce the shedding.

    1. Brushing

    Keeping up with regular brushing will help your golden look and feel great. Opt for a high-quality brush and a good de-shedding tool to stay on top of this. A pin brush is also a good tool to have, as it will help you dislodge any embedded clumps of dirt in your dog's fur.

    Brushing is not only a great way to help your dog stay neat and clean, but it is a great way to bond with your pet. Dogs enjoy the feeling of being brushed. Just be sure to brush with the grain and be gentle.

    Related reading: Best Brush for a Golden Retriever in 2021

    2. De-shedding

    For a Golden Retriever, a good de-shedding tool is absolutely required if you would like to keep hair from taking over your home. These tools work to get rid of loose undercoat and hair that is going to fall out anyway – you are gently pulling it out and discarding it before it becomes a dust bunny or tumbleweed blowing around.

    For golden retrievers, using the de-shedding tool once or twice per week will help significantly reduce the amount of hair you have to deal with.

    slicker brush

    3. Bathing

    Giving your dog a bath is one way to help reduce the amount of shed dog hair you experience. Keep the baths to a minimum, though- just once a month is really all your Golden Retriever needs in order to look and feel his best.

    Good dog shampoos for Golden Retrievers are out there, and they have special formulas packed with vitamins, minerals, and moisturizers to keep hair looking clean, healthy, and hair follicles growing as they should. Too frequent bathing or not using a proper dog shampoo can lead to dry hair, more dander, and more shedding as a result.

    4. Grooming

    Grooming your Golden Retriever is one way to control shedding. You can groom at home using an easy-to-use dog clipper, or you can go to a professional groomer for a cut.

    Shorter and trimmed hair will be easier to brush, and your pet will have less hair to end up on the furniture.

    For instance, the "teddy cut" is an excellent way to trim the Golden's hair, help him look really cute, and of course, keep him cool in warm weather. For Goldens, going to the groomer every four to six weeks will be all you need to have healthy and beautiful fur.

    5. Healthy Nutrition

    Good nutrition matters, and it has a serious influence on your dog's skin health and coat texture. Healthy skin leads to healthy hair follicles, which provide the dog with shiny, strong, and beautiful hair.

    Unhealthy, dry skin leads to hair follicles that underperform and skin oils that do not adequately support hair growth. This leads to brittle and dull hair. The hair breaks off and falls out easily. It is common in dogs that do not get enough calories or nutrients.

    As a result, make sure your dog is eating healthy, balanced food that contains whole grains, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and protein. It will help your dog stay nourished and support his healthy and beautiful coat.

    6. Clean Water

    Everybody is always saying to drink water, and for a good reason- it moves things.

    Even for dogs, water is the way in which nutrients are spread around the body. Water helps move nutrients into and out of the cell so that food digests easier, elimination of wastes is easier, and the body can take in the proper amount of nutrients.

    Water is also critical for helping your dog stay healthy in changing environments – for example, having a dish of water when it is hot out is one way for your pet to keep his body temp regulated and stay comfortable. Keep an unlimited supply of water on hand so your dog can help himself get the proper nutrients for healthy fur.

    7. Prevent and Treat Skin Diseases

    Allergies, parasites, infections, and more can all plague your golden, so make sure vet checkups are regularly scheduled.

    It will keep you "in the know" about what's going on with your dog, and your vet can help you treat and prevent diseases that could cause hair follicles to become unhealthy.

    Some afflictions cause dogs to scratch excessively, which causes hair loss, and can be treated with medicine from your vet.

    Causes of Excessive Shedding

    Do you notice any of the following symptoms in your dog? If so, get your dog to a vet right away. 

    • Hair that is pulled out easily
    • Open sores
    • Licking of the foot or the face on a constant basis
    • Thinning coat, patches of bald skin

    These are all examples of excessive shedding, and could be signs of:

    • Food allergy
    • Cancer
    • Contact with a skin irritant
    • Bacterial infection
    • Medication side effect
    • Fleas, lice, mites

    Excessive shedding is more than just how your dog looks- it could be the sign of a serious health condition that requires immediate attention.

    FAQ

    Can You Stop Golden Retrievers from Shedding?

    There is no way to stop a Golden Retriever from shedding completely. However, there are steps you can take to keep shedding at a minimum. Make sure you make grooming a habit while at home and consider making appointments with a professional groomer, too.

    Brush your dog at minimum three times a week- if you can manage, do this every day. Use a great slicker brush to keep the dog's hair looking clean and neat, a de-shedding tool to prevent mats, tangles, and excess shedding, and be sure to bathe just once a month with dog shampoo.

    Lastly, make sure your dog's nutrition is on point- this will keep hair healthy and prevent it from falling out.

    Do Golden Retrievers Shed More Than Labs?

    These two breeds shed just about the same amount of hair. Labs may have shorter hair, but by no means do they shed any less. They shed as much as, if not more, than other dogs- even Golden Retrievers!

    Labs are like Goldens in that they have a double coat. That double coat falls out during spring and comes back thick in the fall. Lab owners, just like owners of Golden Retrievers, need de-shedding tools to help manage the undercoat hair, bathing their dogs monthly, and of course, engaging in frequent brushings.

    The only advantage? You can brush a lab a bit less often than a Golden – every other day is OK for a lab, whereas Goldens should be brushed every day.

    What Time of Year Do Golden Retrievers Shed Most?

    You can expect your golden retriever to shed the very most during the spring and fall months.

    This is when their summer and winter coats are coming in, and the body has to make room for the said coat. As a result, there will be hair everywhere!

    The entire process of growing this new coat can take anywhere from 3-8 weeks, so be armed with your tools, which should include a good brush, a de-shedding tool, and of course, a bottle of good de-shedding shampoo. Also, get ready to ramp up your vacuuming efforts!

    Being prepared and ready to handle your dog's shedding will make the process easier on yourself and your pooch.

    Conclusion

    Keeping your golden retriever from shedding excessively is just a matter of staying on top of good grooming and brushing habits. Make time every day to care for your golden, and you both will feel a lot happier!

    Matt Clayton

    Matt Clayton

    Chief Editor & Founder of PetHairPatrol

    Matt is the founder of PetHairPatrol.com and has years of experience helping pet owners keep their homes clean. He's been featured in publications like Reader's Digest, Money, and BestLifeOnline. When this neat freak is not searching for better ways to get rid of pet hair, dander, and other messes pets leave behind, he's usually enjoying outdoors with his two (hairy) Goldens: Ben and Jerry. Read more.

    Scroll to Top