How Many Golden Retriever Colors Are There?

Pet Type


May 20, 2020

Goldens are incredibly loyal and loving dogs. They make great family pets, as they are both gentle and patient with children. These dogs will forever be a puppy at heart, so they’ll want to play just as much as your children do, and they’ll happily put up with all of the fuss. Often, they display strong nurturing behaviors, especially females, when it comes to children, which can be pretty useful if you have a house full of them.

You’ll find that your Golden will rarely stray from your side, and typically want to be with you and doing what you are doing. As they are so eager to please, this makes them fairly easy to train as well. The positive personality of Golden retrievers makes them extremely successful guide dogs. This well-mannered and trustworthy breed is also pretty easygoing, meaning that they often get along with most other animals and people alike.

Due to their nature, they don’t make very good guard dogs! This breed is more likely to lick a stranger to death than attack them. Despite these common personality traits, every dog is an individual who will have their own quirks and characteristics. Some may be shyer than others, and some may be completely off the rails excitable.

All Golden Retriever Colors

While most Golden retrievers have a warm and cuddly temperament, some confusion arises when it comes to their color. There are five Golden retriever coat color shades, but the American Kennel Club recognizes only three. These five colors are dark golden, classic (standard) golden, cream, red, and light golden. Only dark golden, classic golden and light golden are recognized officially.    

  • Dark Golden

Dark Golden retrievers look quite similar to the red variation, but they don’t have a red hue. These dogs are just a much darker shade of the classic Golden retriever coat. This color is actually recognized by the AKC, whereas the red Golden is not. This is good news if you think you fancy owning a competition pooch, and they are easy to find with local breeders. They are a lighter shade in color when born, but a good indicator of the shade of gold is their ears, especially when older.    

  • Red Golden

These dogs are often mistaken for Irish setters because of their distinct red coat color. Interestingly, having shorter fur and straighter, less feathering hair on the limbs and tail. While the AKC does not recognize the coat pattern, you can still get purebred pedigree Goldens with this fur shade. Also, if you’re looking for a working dog rather than a family pet, or have an interest in competing in athletics with your pet, a red Golden retriever might be a perfect choice. This is partly due to this type of Golden retriever’s more compact and streamlined body.    

  • Cream Golden

This type of Golden retriever is often called the “English” Golden retriever, simply because this type of coat color is more prevalent in the UK than in the US, and much more popular. The cream Golden retriever is slimmer and sleeker in appearance, with a level back and tail. Their ears are more forward-set, and there is overall a wider range of variability in their height.    

  • White Golden

Their coats are not ‘pure white’ per se. The fur shade is more of a very light cream that looks white under certain lighting conditions. Currently, the coat color is not recognized in the UK or the US, but it’s very popular among pet owners and breeders alike. During puppyhood is when these beautiful dogs will appear closest to white, and as they age, you may see hints of gold and cream in their coat pattern.    

  • Black Golden

Amazing as it may seem, the black Golden retriever is yet another variety of the traditional golden retriever dog. You might already be aware that the main Labrador colors include golden, chocolate, and black, but there are also some black Golden retrievers out there. Many believe this variation comes from the Flat-coated retriever dogs that were used during selective breeding to produce the Golden retriever breed, and the black coat is the product of a recessive gene.

  • Light Golden

Light Golden is one of the AKC recognized colors. This coat color is darker than cream but still lighter than the classic Golden retriever. It’s also quite a popular coat pattern for these breeds.    

  • Standard Classic Golden 

This is the most common and most popular coat color for Golden retrievers. They’ll have a vibrant and bright golden coat, though the feathering on their limbs and tail may be a shade lighter.


If you’re adding a Golden to your beautiful home or apartment, get ready for it to become a Golden retriever apartment. By that, we mean that Golden retriever hair will cover just about every inch of your home!

This is because Golden retrievers are one of the few dog breeds that are equipped with a double coat. This double coat is composed of a thick undercoat with an oily waterproof outer coat. The undercoat sheds to allow new hair to grow in, adapting to the weather and temperature needs of your dog. During winter, the undercoat grows thick and sheds in the spring. Generally, the hotter the place you live, the more your Golden retriever will shed. If you don’t think you’ll need a high-powered dog hair vacuum for most of the year, you’ll certainly need one in the shedding seasons!

For most Goldens, the shedding is most prevalent twice a year during the spring and fall seasons. They shed their thick winter undercoat in spring and the thinner summer undercoat in fall to allow the thick winter coat to begin to grow back in. It’s impossible to say how much an individual dog will shed as it depends on the dog itself, but for these dogs, it’s quite a significant amount in their shedding months.

Health Reasons for Shedding

While most shedding is natural, some health reasons could contribute to your dog shedding heavier. One of these reasons is that your pet may have allergies, as this can cause your dog’s hair follicles to loosen and irritates their skin. As a result, the hair falls out very easily and more often than usual. These could come from your dog’s shampoo, environment, or even their food.

There are usually other accompanying symptoms that could indicate your dog has an allergy, so if your dog is also showing other symptoms, or even just increased shedding and you’re concerned, you should speak to your veterinarian. This will help to diagnose the allergy, provide a treatment where possible, and you’ll be able to understand how to manage this allergy in your pet.

Parasite infestation can also cause increased shedding, especially fleas and ticks. These will burrow into your pet’s skin and quickly cause irritation through biting, which allows them to feed on your pet’s blood. In some cases, your pet’s skin will become red and itchy, and this may even cause the hair to fall out. Sometimes increased scratching of the affected area can cause bald patches in the fur and may indicate that they’re dealing with parasites like these. You can remove ticks yourself with tweezers, and treatments will be available from your local veterinarian.

There are various methods to try if you want to make the general shedding of your pet more manageable. You should commit to a daily brushing schedule, which will allow you to remove dead, stray hairs from your pet’s coat, reducing matting and tangles. Secondly, you should make sure that your pooch’s coat is as healthy as possible. This can be done by feeding your pet a healthy, balanced diet and avoiding low-quality pet food.


Their famously thick and wavy coat requires basic grooming – and quite a lot of it! You’ll want multiple types of grooming brushes on hand when combing your dog’s fur. The different styles of brush will help to make sure that you get all of the dirt and debris out of your pet’s gorgeous thick coat. To help maintain the health of your dog’s coat and skin, make sure you take some time to choose the right Golden retriever shampoo for your pet. You should aim to give them a brush every few days, but you may not need to bathe them more than once a week.

Final Thoughts

Before you adopt a Golden retriever, make sure that you go and visit them in person, whether you’re going to adopt an adult dog or one of a litter of puppies. These wonderful creatures rank in the top three most popular dogs because of their child-friendly, pet-friendly, super affectionate temperament. Despite their shedding, these dogs are pretty low maintenance but require lots of physical activity on a daily basis.

When picking a puppy, think about their personality differences. Some Goldens are happy to join in with whatever’s happening, such as playing with the kids and relaxing on the sofa. Others prefer lots of exercise to burn their high-energy levels and boisterous personality. Pick the pup that you feel would be right for you and your family.