Do Golden Retrievers Shed?

The golden retriever is a long-haired breed and prospective owners often ask whether they shed. The brutal answer is yes, copiously! Buyer beware. If your home is a shrine to spotlessness, perhaps you should consider a different breed.

Golden retrievers shed hair all the time. Twice each year this shedding is profuse. Brace yourself because it is pretty certain that there will be hair everywhere (with the possible exception of the attic).


This shedding relates to the function for which the dogs have been bred. Because they spend time in water, they are double-coated. They have a water-resistant topcoat of long wavy hair, and an undercoat which is dense and wooly. The undercoat keeps them warm in cold water and throughout the winter. It is this undercoat that causes the shedding problem – it grows during the winter and is shed in the spring.

If you still want a golden retriever despite the hair problem – and there is so much to commend these dogs (it is no accident that they are one of the most popular breeds in the world) – you can mitigate the worst effects with grooming.

Golden retrievers should be brushed daily to avoid matting. In addition, the use of an undercoat rake will make a big difference. This tool is designed to remove the dead undercoat entirely, though be prepared for a lot of hair when you brush the first few times. Once you’ve removed the undercoat, the additional daily use of a porcupine bristle brush should greatly reduce hair shedding and your dog will have a beautiful coat.


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