Are Golden Retrievers Expensive to Get and Care For? (Costs)

Golden retrievers are among the most popular breeds of dogs and are seen as some of the friendliest and most intelligent pets. However, they’ll need many products and services as they grow, so you might guess that they’re expensive, not only to get but to care for. So, how expensive is it to get and care for a Golden Retriever?

Depending on where you buy, a Golden Retriever can be expensive to get and care for. Golden Retrievers can cost up to $300 when adopting from an animal shelter and up to $3000 when buying from a reputable breeder. It is estimated to cost an average of $1381 annually to take care of a golden retriever. 

There are many products and services to consider when buying and caring for a golden retriever. This article will cover how much it costs to buy a golden retriever, how much it costs to care for one, and how to prevent large vet bills (which can be the most expensive aspect of owning a dog). 

How Much Do Golden Retrievers Cost? 

Before we get into the cost of care, let’s look at how much golden retrievers initially cost to buy. You can buy golden retrievers from different places, and the difference in the quality of raising the puppies contributes to the cost. You can get a Golden Retriever from an animal shelter, a national breeder, or from local owners. 

The Cost to Buy From a Reputable Breeder

If you buy from a reputable breeder, the cost can be quite high. If you think about the entire process and cost of breeding healthy puppies, it will make sense as to why the cost is much higher when buying from a breeder. Knowing the level of care that some breeders put into raising the puppies can also help you decide where you want to buy from. 

What it cost to buy a Golden Retriever from a good breeder?

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The breeders pay for everything it takes to keep the puppies happy and healthy. They start the breeding process by looking at the health of the parent dogs. 

This includes medical testing and screening and other costs of dog equipment like blankets, toys, brushes, food bowls, and other products for the parents. A lot of reputable breeders buy the highest quality products, which also contributes to the cost of the dog. 

The cost of breeding raises with the actual birthing and raising of the puppies. The breeders cover all expenses, including the costs associated with birthing, feeding, bedding, toys, hygiene products, and other materials. It’s estimated that a litter of puppies cost an average of $15,828 to raise. A litter of show quality dogs can cost up to $24,000 to raise and care for. 

Since so much time and care are put into breeding and raising the golden retriever puppies, buying from a breeder will be more expensive. Golden retriever puppies can cost anywhere from $500 to $3000 when buying from a reputable breeder.

The cost can depend on multiple factors such as what breeder you buy from, how healthy the puppy is, and if it’s destined to be a companion puppy or a show dog. 

The Cost to Buy From a Local Animal Shelter

Since animal shelters do not put as much time into raising puppies, the price will be lower. Although this does not mean that animal shelters don’t take proper care of animals, because they do. 

An animal shelter is usually a non-profit entity that’s main purpose is to provide good homes to lost or abandoned animals. If your goal is to find a Golden Retriever as a companion dog, I highly recommend going the shelter route.

All of my dogs over the years have been shelter or rescue dogs and they have been the most wonderful dogs ever! By getting a Golden Retriever from a shelter or rescue group, you’re not only providing a home to a loving animal that really needs one, but you’re also saving a lot of money in the process!

A Golden Retriever can cost anywhere from $50 to $300 if you buy or adopt from an animal shelter. 

Who Should I Buy From?

Since the price ranges can differ substantially between buying from a reputable breeder and buying from another source like an animal shelter or private owner, some thought should go into it before deciding how much you’re willing to pay and from where? 

If you buy from a reputable breeder, the cost up front will be more expensive and although quality breeders make sure to raise the puppies as healthy as possible, there are no guarantees that a dog from a breeder will be any healthier overall, and canine health issues are the most expensive part of owning a dog since the bills can be so expensive and unexpected. 

If you buy from an animal shelter or a breeder that doesn’t have AKC documentation, the up front cost will be lower. For those who don’t know, AKC documentation is a document that shows the dog’s pedigree going back four generations. If you plan on showing your dog in competition, this is an important document to have because it will guarantee the dog’s purebred ancestry.

So the issue of where to buy a Golden Retriever really comes down to whether you plan to enter your golden in dog shows or not. If not, do you really need to pay thousands of dollars for a verifiably purebred Golden Retriever?

How Much Does It Cost to Care for Golden Retrievers? 

Golden retrievers are amazing companions, but they require a lot of care, just like any other dog. Let’s look at the different products and services your dog will need, and how much they cost. Many of the listed costs are averages, and costs can vary greatly depending on personal preferences of quality and brand. 

Looking After a Puppy

When you first get your golden retriever puppy, you will have to watch it as you would a toddler. When they’re a puppy, it’s important to keep doors shut, block off stairwells, keep food out of reach and make sure he or she doesn’t get into anything harmful around the house. 

When it comes to the cost of literally looking after a puppy, this could include possible days off work when it’s first brought home, purchasing dog gates like this one on amazon, and even cameras so you can monitor the dog in the house when you’re not there. (Although you shouldn’t leave a puppy alone for long periods of time.)

Proper Diet

To stay healthy, golden retrievers require a high-quality diet that is suitable for their age. When it comes to puppy food, the food needs to have twice the protein and fat that food for adult dogs have. Puppy kibble usually ranges from $15 to $30 per package or $4 a can for wet puppy food. 

Adult dog food is generally in the same price range. If you decide to home cook food for your golden retriever, you’ll be saving a bit of money and possibly be a healthier option, but it will cost a lot more time. On average, a high-quality diet for a golden retriever can cost anywhere from $200 – $576 annually.

If you want to do as much as you can to prevent health issues, consult with your veterinarian, and buy the best quality food for your dog. I recommend checking out this adult dog kibble blend (amazon). It’s got real meat as the first ingredient and doesn’t contain any by-products or preservatives.

By purchasing higher quality food for your dog, you’re likely saving money on medical bills down the line.

Proper Dental Care

There are a few things you must do regularly in regard to hygiene practices, in order to care for, and prevent health issues in your furry companion.

To maintain dental health, you should be brushing their teeth twice a week. If you want the highest quality toothbrush set, you can buy a toothbrush and toothpaste for your dog like the Vet’s Best Brushing Kit (amazon).

If you want a cheaper option (this is what I use), you can buy finger toothbrushes that don’t come with toothpaste. If you are currently looking for a toothbrush option, check out the Vet’s Best Finger Toothbrush (amazon).  

As you will find out, dog teeth are not the cleanest thing in the world. For this reason, be sure to replace the toothbrush every three months. This will annually cost $40 if you are purchasing high-quality toothbrushes (and toothpaste) and under $10 a year if you’re buying economy-efficient brushes like the finger toothbrushes. 

If you invest and are dedicated to dental maintenance at home, you’ll only have to take your dog for a dental appointment every few years. At least that’s what’s recommended. In my experience, large breed dogs, like Golden Retrievers, don’t usually require dental appointments if you’re being proactive at home.

That’s good because canine teeth cleaning appointments can cost anywhere from $200 to $1000! The price depends on if anesthesia or X-rays are required and can also depend on what dental clinic you go to. 

Proper Hygiene

A few last things you’ll have to invest in are dog brushes and ear cleaners. An ear cleaner kit can cost around $22, while the best dog brushes usually go for under $20 depending on the brand. Both hygiene practices should be done weekly. 

Dog shampoo and conditioner are available and cost between $8 to $30 or more, depending on what brand you buy. It’s essential never to use human shampoo or conditioner on dogs. A golden retriever should be washed every six weeks, so you’ll have to replace the shampoo and conditioner a few times a year. 

Routine Exercise

Of all the care products you need for your golden retriever, the cost of routine exercise will be the lowest since it doesn’t cost anything to go outside or to visit the park. Take a look at the list of products you might have to consider buying and replacing every few months or annually:

  • Dog leash and collar
  • Fetch balls, frisbees, and other toys
  • Water containers 
  • Harness 

Even if you need to replace these items every once in a while, they are relatively cheap, so you won’t have to worry much about the cost. 

Vet Expenses

Even if you try your best to prevent health issues, something can still happen. The most expensive vet bills are related to cataracts, ichthyosis, entropion, hip dysplasia, and cancer. The cost of treating these health issues can be $200 to $15,000 depending on the issue and its severity. Embrace Pet Insurance also lists a few more conditions you may run into and the estimated cost of each: 

  • Bite wounds – $409
  • Allergies – $520
  • Urinary tract infection – $525
  • Intestinal issues – $860
  • Cruciate ligament injury – $3,000

Even though many different health issues can happen, if you keep your dog happy and healthy, you will likely only be spending a few hundred dollars every year for annual check-ups and less severe issues. 

Pet Insurance

Depending on how healthy your golden retriever is, something to consider is pet insurance. On average, the annual cost of insurance for golden retrievers is $396 to $588 depending on location, age, and insurance option.

If your dog was born healthy, and if you keep up with hygiene care and a healthy diet for them, it might be cheaper to pay for the vet bills as they come. Talking with your vet is a great way to decide whether you should invest in health insurance since they know your pet well. 

Dog Training

Something that a lot of new dog owners invest in is dog training. Golden retrievers have a great temperament, to begin with, which will make training easy. Obedience training usually costs from $50 to $125 for an hour every week for four to eight weeks. 

Group obedience training is most common. Even though golden retrievers usually have a good temperament, it’s worth it to get training when they’re young since it can become more difficult to train a dog as they get older.

With the rise of the internet, another option is online dog training. For a fraction of the cost of in person training, you can train your dog without ever leaving your house! Here’s an online dog training course that I highly recommend. See if it will work for you!

Dog Walker

If you live in a city or town and have a very tight schedule, something else you might want to consider is hiring a dog walker. Depending on the dog walker and how experienced they are, dog walkers usually charge between $15 to $40 per dog, per day. If you hire a dog walker for each day of the week, it can cost up to $10,000 a year! That’s probably a bit overkill! 

If you want to hire a dog walker but don’t want to invest a small fortune, consider hiring a dog walker on alternate days, like three days a week. You can also lookup dog walkers that are new to the business. Dog walkers that are still building their clientele will be much cheaper than very experienced dog walkers. 

And guess what? There’s an app for that! You can find a local dog walker using an app called Wag. It’s available for iOS and Android. Each dog walker is rated by reviews and comments from people who have used them previously so you’ll know that your dog is in good hands.


Within the span of your golden retriever’s life, you’ll probably go on an occasional vacation. The average cost of kenneling your dog is $40 a day. The nightly cost can span from $25 to $85. If you want the best possible option for your dog, there are luxury boarding locations available as well. These cost an average of $75 a night or more. 

Another option to consider when you want to board but aren’t willing to pay that much is to get a family friend to house sit and look after your dog. It’s always helpful to build relationships with friends since there will be many times when you need a dog babysitter. 

The best way to go about boarding your dog for free, is to find some friends with a dog who vacation about as often as you do. You can work out a plan to take care of each others dog during trips.
Some golden retriever facts…

Discover how to train your Golden Retriever by playing games: 21 games to play with your Golden that will make them smarter and better behaved!


When considering the cost of caring for a golden retriever, it’s easier to look at an entire list of everything you’ll have to buy. A complete list of what a dog needs will vary from person to person, of course, but this list includes the basic necessities: 

  • Food: Until your puppy is 6-12 months old, you’ll be feeding them three or four times per day. When you first buy your golden retriever puppy, it’s good to know what food they’re already eating so you can purchase the same brand. If you want to switch their food, do it gradually, and if you’re not sure what to buy then I’d suggest taking a look at Blue Buffalo Puppy Dry Dog Food (amazon). It’s a high quality, puppy food designed to give your golden puppy everything she needs.
  • Food and Water Bowls: You may have to buy smaller water and food bowls when they’re puppies, then buy another pair when they start to grow. It’s always good to buy multiple pairs of bowls since you’ll want to wash them every few days or weeks, and you’ll need a spare set when one is in the dishwasher. You can’t go wrong with these classic stainless steel pet bowls (amazon).
  • Food Storage Containers: As your golden retriever grows, they will require a lot of food. This is why some people buy big plastic containers to keep kibble in. When buying storage containers, make sure they’re airtight. Consider buying some oxygen absorbers (amazon) as well if you do buy containers. This will help keep your kibble fresh and will prevent the harmful effects of oxidation. Just don’t let your pup accidentally eat one of them!
  • Toys: It’s great to buy a few toys to keep your puppy happy and physically active. Golden retrievers love to play fetch, so make sure you include a ball for fetch when you buy toys. The Chuckit! Ball Launcher (amazon) is a classic that will save your arm and keep your ball loving golden very happy!
  • Treats: Treats can be very helpful when you’re training, or they can be a nice bedtime ritual for the dog. A lot of dog owners give their dogs sticks before bed to help them wind down. We like to give our dogs Greenies (amazon) as they’re a great chew with extra vitamins and minerals that also helps clean a dogs teeth.
  • Bedding: You might have to buy a few beds, one or two for the house and maybe one for the car if you travel a lot. Dog beds are really important to have because they create a safe space for your dog. This bed on amazon looks awfully comfortable and buyers abolutely love it!
  • Kennel: Kennels and crates are useful when traveling, training, or just putting the dog to bed for the night. You can get both plastic and metal kennels. Make sure to buy a plastic bottomed container for your golden retriever puppy. Here’s a crate that’s perfect and it will give your pup plenty of room to grow.
  • Collar & Leash: These are a few items that you will have to replace multiple times throughout the dog’s lifetime. Especially if your dog is active, the collars and leashes can get pretty dirty. I actually prefer a harness like this one (amazon) over a collar as it can help control pulling without chocking the dog.
  • Poop bags: These are important, especially if you live in the city and don’t have a backyard of your own. You’ll need more poop bags (amazon) that you can possibly imagine 🙂
  • Cleaning Supplies: Especially when you first bring the puppy home, cleaning supplies are a must-have. There will inevitably be a few messes around the house. The best supplies to have on hand are stain and smell remover (amazon) for carpet and hardwood. 
  • Gates: Doggy gates like this one (amazon) are great to have when you have a lot of stairs in your house. Especially as a puppy, the golden retriever will be curious and will want to explore the entire house. 

How to Prevent Vet Expenses

As we’ve touched on a bit already, vet expenses are the highest expense that you can run into when caring for your golden retriever. If you’re interested in buying a golden retriever, or any dog for that matter, I’m sure you’d want to avoid paying $15,000 to treat your dog for an expensive medical condition. Luckily, there are some things you can do to prevent expensive vet bills. 

Get Pet Insurance or Have an Emergency Fund

If you find the right plan, pet insurance can be a great thing to have. This will take away the stress of unexpected payments when your dog has a surprising injury or health issue. There are always a few different plans for pet insurance, so make sure to take time and research what plan would be best for you. 

If you don’t want to invest in pet insurance, you should also consider having an emergency fund for unexpected vet bills. It’s almost guaranteed that your dog will have at least one very expensive bill for some reason. It’s always best to be prepared if you can. 

Ask About Wellness Plans

Wellness plans are beginning to grow in popularity. These plans cover routine checkups, products you might need, and discounts for other pet related services. The reason why wellness plans are appealing is that they focus on prevention. 

The routine checkups and procedures covered in a wellness program will prevent more serious health issues and save you money in the long run. Wellness plans are different at each veterinary clinic, so be sure to ask your veterinarian about what wellness plans they have available. 

Wellness plans are usually less expensive than pet insurance, so if you’re trying to be economically efficient but want some coverage for your pet, a wellness plan would be a good option. 

Maintain Hygiene Care

An easy way to prevent further health issues is to practice good hygiene care. The most significant factor in maintaining hygiene care is to be consistent. Make sure to build a regular weekly routine for your golden, and set reminders if you need to. Weekly hygiene care may be annoying at times, but the benefits are worth it. 

Groom Your Dog at Home

Grooming can cost up to $80 each appointment, so if you do it at home, it can save you a lot of money. Grooming can involve nail trimming, hair clipping, and washing. Many people trim their dogs’ nails at home, so it will be beneficial to learn how in order to save some extra cash every visit to the groomer. 

Grooming your pet at home might also make the process easier because your pet will be more comfortable in his own home compared to how he feels at the vet. Some dogs get very nervous at the vet or groomer which makes grooming a negative experience for both the pet owner and the dog. 

Furthermore, you can buy a trimming kit at just about any pet store or online. They are fairly easy to use and easy to do if you have another person helping. You can also purchase dog shampoo and conditioner to wash your dog at home. 

If you’re interested in learning how to trim your golden retriever’s hair at home, you can watch the video below. The video is 15 minutes long but it provides an extensive review of how to trim your dog’s hair:

What Is The Overall Cost of Owning a Golden Retriever? 

Determining the cost of everything broken down is hard to look at as a whole. There are many factors to consider when buying a dog, and a lot of things you’ll need to buy. With this in mind, remember that the cost for golden retrievers can vary from owner to owner. 

Some owners may want to buy the entire store for their dog, while others only buy what’s absolutely necessary. There are also different qualities for each item you buy and an expansive price range for each product. All of these factors will play into how much you’ll spend throughout the dog’s lifetime.

Another factor that will contribute to your golden retriever’s cost is how healthy they were when you bought them. If they’re healthy, you don’t have to pay as many health bills or give them the most expensive brand of food. 

If they’re not healthy, you’ll be paying hundreds of dollars in vet bills and will have to buy higher quality products to maintain their health. This is something you should keep in mind when deciding where you should buy your golden retriever. 

It’s estimated that a golden retriever will cost $14,480 to $15,782 over the span of their lifetime (approximately 13 years). According to the American Pet Products Association, the average annual cost of owning a dog is $1381. That breaks down to be about $115 per month. 

Personal Note: Remember that the numbers above are averages. I don’t think I’ve paid anywhere near that amount over the lifetime of my two goldens. Fortunately, they were both healthy and the biggest ongoing cost I had was food. Again, purchasing high quality food from the beginning may have saved me a lot in health care costs over the years.


When buying a golden retriever, it’s good to review all the possible expenses and make sure that you can cover them as they come up. A Golden Retriever can cost anywhere from $500 to $3000 if buying from a reputable breeder. If buying from an animal shelter, you’re looking more like $50 to $300. 

The average monthly cost of taking care of a golden retriever is about $115 a month, which is an annual cost of $1381. The cost of care can include vet bills, food, hygiene products, cleaning products, dog training and care, comfort products like bedding, and other miscellaneous items like collars and leashes. 

You can prevent expensive vet bills by maintaining consistent hygiene practices, buying quality food, and getting regular check-ups. 

Now you know what it will cost to get and maintain a Golden Retriever. A golden is an amazing animal and it’s almost guaranteed you will give each other many years of joy and happiness.

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Bryan Mullennix

Bryan's a freelance travel photographer and happy dog dad. He currently lives in Las Vegas with his wife, his son, and two dogs Nom Nom & Speck.

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