Golden Retrievers are beautiful dogs with long wavy golden hair. Their magnificent coats make them easy to pick out at a crowded dog park. Perhaps you’ve seen some dogs that look similar to Goldens but with shorter hair and wondered if you can get a short haired Golden Retriever?
The truth is there is no such thing as a purebred Golden Retriever with short hair. Though you may have seen what appears to be a short-haired Golden, it is more than likely a mixed breed. A Golden and Labrador Retriever mix, for instance, will often give the appearance of a short haired Golden Retriever.
This article will discuss the physical attributes of a Golden Retriever’s coat and where short-haired Goldens fit into the mix.
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Golden Retriever Coats
Golden Retrievers, along with a few other dog breeds, have what is known as a double coat. First there is the undercoat which is made up of short densly packed hair, meant to keep the dog warm and dry.
The second coat is known as the top coat. The medium to long hair of the top coat completely covers the undercoat and is the coat we will be focusing on in this article.
The long top coat on a Golden Retriever starts to appear on a puppy at around 3 months in age but it can take over a year before all of their long haired top coat grows in and starts to “feather”.
While most of a Golden Retrievers top coat fur lays close to the body, there are areas where the hair grows out longer and begins to feather out away from the body.
An adult Golden will have feathers on their stomach, chest, legs, and tail. This is longer, slightly darker hair that should initially grow on the tail. Once started, it will slowly spread over your Golden’s body.
Where some puppies shed their baby fur, Goldens grow their longer coat through their baby fur. It can take up to 18 months for the topcoat to fully come through, leaving the fluffier coat underneath.
I’ve gone into detail of the whole process in another article you can read here entitled: When Does a Golden Retriever Get Long Hair (at What Age?).
Short Haired Golden Retrievers
Not to split hairs here (pardon the pun), but even though there is no such thing as a purebred short haired Golden Retriever, some purebred Goldens do have shorter hair than average.
Whether you have one yourself, have seen one, or are looking into getting one, there are shorter-haired Goldens out there. It can happen over years of breeding, and though rare, they do exist.
In this case, ‘shorter’ refers to a coat that is not as long as the average Golden’s coat. It does not refer to the short coat you would see on a Labrador for instance, and probably isn’t what you’re thinking of when asking about a short-haired Golden Retriever.
But when looking at what you think is a short-haired Golden Retriever, it’s important to note if they seem to have a completely different kind of coat. If the coat’s different the reason for this is that the dog is not actually a purebred Golden Retriever. This leads us to the topic of Golden Retriever mixed breeds.
A Short-Haired Golden Retriever is Probably Not a Purebred
If you have or are looking at getting a short-haired Golden, chances are it is not 100% Golden Retriever. Which is perfectly okay as Golden Retriever mixes make for wonderful dogs! It’s only if you plan to register, breed or show the dog in competition does its purebred status really matter.
Golden Retrievers with short hair are usually one of two things, a Golden Retriever mix or a different breed of retriever altogether. Retrievers of all breeds have a lot of visual and behavioral similarities.
Golden Retriever Mixed Breeds
Due to their similarities, Goldens are often bred with Yellow Labradors. This particular mix will many times look like a Golden Retriever but with the short hair of a Lab, making their coat one of the only discerning factors.
In the table below, you can see just how physically similar Goldens and Labradors can be:
|Height||21-24 inch |
|21.5-24.5 inches |
|Weight||55-75 lbs |
|55- 80 lbs |
|Coat||Long, wavy||Short, straight|
|Major Shedding||Twice per year||Twice per year|
|Color||Range of gold||Black, yellow, chocolate|
Given that they’re very similar in size, it’s clear to see how a mix of a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab would be easy to mistake for a purebred Golden Retriever.
Furthermore, both are intelligent, friendly, and great family dogs. Though Labradors tend to be a little more energetic, especially as puppies, it wouldn’t be unusual to see a rowdy Golden puppy.
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Different Types of Retrievers Are Sometimes Confused For Goldens
Other than a mixed breed, another option would be that you don’t have a Golden Retriever at all, but another retriever breed altogether.
Other common retriever breeds can include:
- Curly-coated Retriever – the tallest of the breed, the curly-coated retriever is easy to spot with its mane of tight curls. This breed can be black and even silver and often produce a more wavy coat when mixed with a pure Golden.
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever – usually a variation of brown, they can be slightly red or lean more toward golden straw. They have a shorter, slightly wavy coat, and a mix would produce a long wavy coat.
- Flat-Coated Retriever – as the name would suggest, this breed has long flat hair, though its usual black coat easily identifies it. You can read more about Flat-Coated Retrievers in my article here.
Shorter Haired Golden Retriever Genes
As mentioned above, it is possible to have shorter-haired Goldens. That is not to say their coats are cropped like a Labrador, only that they are slightly shorter than the average for a Golden.
If you are sure your Golden is a purebred, chances are its parents were shorter haired.
Coat length is hereditary, and though it is rare, if your breeder happens to have a shorter-haired male and female, then the puppies will almost certainly follow suit. Again, however, we’re not talking about true “short hair” just “shorter hair” than average for a Golden.
Disreputable Breeders & DNA Testing
Checking with the original breeder is the easiest way to ensure you have or are getting a purebred Golden Retriever. However, in some instances, disreputable breeders have been less than honest.
Purebred Golden Retriever puppies are quite expensive, and given their similarities, it would be easy to offer puppies as purebred when they are a mixed breed so make sure that you are talking to a reputable breeder.
If you are unsure about your Golden, you can have your vet run a test to see what their DNA says. These tests will tell you if you have a purebred dog or not.
A less expensive option is to order a canine DNA test kit (Amazon) and do it at home. It involves gathering a saliva sample through your dog’s mouth and sending it to the lab. Results are usually available after a few weeks. These test kits are quite accurate and test for over 350 breeds and varieties of dogs.
Shaving Your Golden Retriever
If you are looking for a short-haired Golden because you are worried about shedding, you might be tempted to shave a typical long-haired Golden.
However, that is absolutely not recommended. Don’t shave a Golden Retriever!!!
- Dogs with double coats have quite sensitive skin. Their coats protect them from the sun, irritation, and bug bites and, without it, will leave them vulnerable to hot-spots and other ailments.
- Double coats are waterproof and help to regulate body temperature. Even in the summer, Goldens need their coats. When properly groomed, it will insulate them in the winter and keep them cool in the warmer months.
- Shaving can cause permanent damage to your Golden’s coat. The undercoat and the top coat grow at different speeds. If you shave the topcoat, it will take a long time to grow through, if at all. It is not uncommon to see the undercoat become brittle and dry when no longer protected by the topcoat.
If the excessive shedding is a major concern to you, then it may be advisable to do more research and find a dog that will better suit your needs.
Unfortunately, Labradors will shed an equal amount as they have a double coat too. Though they do have a shorter coat, chances are you will need to brush just as often, and they shed twice a year in the same way Goldens do.
However, Golden Doodles (Golden Retriever and Poodle mix) are known to be soft and hardly shed. Much like Golden Retrievers, the longer-haired Doodle will need grooming every six weeks or so, but their shedding will generally be much less.
Grooming Your Golden Retrievers Coat
Being double-coated, Goldens will shed often and require a lot of brushing. The thickness of their coat can depend on their lifestyle and the temperature outside.
Grooming at home usually means brushing your Golden’s coat at least twice a week:
- Undercoat rakes (Amazon) are specifically designed to target the undercoat of Goldens. Used to remove debris and help with detangling loose hair,
- For the top coat, you should use a pin brush (Amazon). Great for getting rid of mats and loose hair, regular brushing will help with their shedding.
For a detailed step-by-step guide on how to properly groom and take care of a Golden Retriever’s coat be sure to read my article here.
Purebred Golden Retrievers don’t have short hair. Though uncommon, it’s possible to find a Golden Retriever with a slightly shorter coat but this will generally be the result of genetics, having been inherited from its parents.
If you’ve encounted what you think is a Short Haired Golden Retriever, chances are it is actually a mixed breed dog. Most likely it is a cross between a Golden Retriever and a yellow Labrador Retriever.
More Golden Retriever Articles You’ll Love!
- The World of Golden Retriever Coat Colors (with Pictures!)
- Are Golden Retrievers Smarter Than Other Dogs? (Explained!)
- Are Golden Retrievers Expensive to Get and Care For? (Costs)
- 15 Reasons Golden Retrievers Are Great First Time Dogs!