If you’ve had your Golden Retriever since he or she was a puppy it’s easy to know exactly how old they are, but for those of us who’ve gotten our Goldens as rescue dogs, or adopted them when they were already adults, it can be difficult to determine their age. So, how can you tell how old your Golden Retriever is?
In general, you can determine the approximate age of your Golden Retriever by looking at their teeth, body shape, fur color, and behavior. Looking at these attributes together can give you a pretty good idea as to the age of your Golden Retriever.
Looking for ways to determine or approximate the age of your Golden? If so, then this article will give you the info you need! Read on as we discuss some specific ways to determine the age of your Golden Retriever.
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Look at Your Golden Retriever’s Teeth To Determine Age
The number one way to get an idea of how old your Golden Retriever is, is to look closely at their teeth. A dog’s teeth will give many clues as to the age range of your dog, and is the factor that a veterinarian will use most often to determine age. Naturally, puppies and young adults will have better teeth than their older counterparts.
A Golden Retriever puppy will reach their adult size in about a year, and will get their adult teeth by around 7 months of age. These new permanent teeth will remain very white, and non-stained until they reach approximately 1.5 to 2 years of age. So, if your full-grown Golden Retriever pup has very bright white teeth you can safely assume he is under two years of age.
After reaching two years old, a Golden’s teeth will start to dull, and begin to develop some tartar buildup (look at the back molars) by the time your dog is three years old. From five years on, most Goldens usually have stained teeth, with a large number exhibiting some damage and cavities.
|Golden Retriever Age Range||Condition of Teeth|
|0 to 1 year old||– Baby teeth or adult teeth coming in|
|1 to 2 years old||– Permanent teeth|
– Bright white teeth
– No stains
|3 to 5 years old||– Dulling teeth|
– Tartar buildup beginning to show
|5 to 7 years old||– Stained teeth|
– Slight damage or wear
|7 + years||– Increasing amount of damage and wear|
– Use wear of teeth along with other factors
to narrow age range.
Therefore, by examining your Golden’s dental structure, it’s possible to estimate his years. Extra white teeth allude to a Golden still in the puppy stage. Strong but slightly stained teeth point towards early adulthood, while extremely worn down, and stained teeth indicate you’ve got a senior dog.
From seven years on, a Golden’s teeth will begin to wear down, and more wear indicates increasing age. At this point you will need to combine some other factors (noted below) to help narrow down your dogs age.
Also, you may be wondering if a Golden who has had his teeth brushed regularly might throw off this calculation? While brushing a Golden’s teeth might help reduce tartar buildup somewhat, his teeth will still discolor as he grows older making this a reliable way to gauge your Golden’s age.
Recommended Reading: When Do Golden Retrievers Lose Their Baby Teeth? (Explained)
Body Shape Gives Clues About a Golden Retriever’s Age
Looking carefully at a Golden Retriever’s body shape can give some clues that will help you determine their age, as well.
Golden Retrievers are medium to large-sized dogs that grow to their full adult size very quickly (within their first year). This can make it hard to tell a juvenile Golden from an adult. As a rule, younger pups will have slightly smaller body frames than adult Goldens. In addition, a juvenile Golden Retriever won’t have any fat buildup like an older dog will.
Also, adult Goldens between three and six years, due to their high energy levels and love for physical activity, will have a more muscular physique than their younger or older counterparts.
Once your Golden reaches the eight-year mark he is considered a senior, and will gradually reduce his physical activities. At this point he’ll start to develop mild muscle wasting. This reduced muscle tone will lead to a slightly swayback appearance, which is common in an older, large dog.
Observing Behavior Gives a Sense of a Golden’s Age
Although Golden Retrievers tend to retain most of their playful puppy behavior well into their adult years, they will start to slow down on unnecessary physical activity as they age. A Golden puppy will have nearly insatiable energy levels, and will participate fully in almost any physical activity if given a chance.
Puppies will also be more curious, adventurous, and have slight inconsistencies when it comes to temperament.
A fully grown Golden Retriever, however, will be calmer but still highly active and adventurous. A senior Golden retriever, despite being more active than most senior dogs of other breeds, will begin to have reduced energy levels as he passes the decade mark.
How Old? Examining a Golden’s Hearing and Eyesight
Hearing and eyesight are two other things that can give you some insight into the age of your Golden Retriever. Any hearing problems or the appearance of cloudy eyes will most likely indicate your Golden is seven years of age or older.
After seven or eight years of age, a Golden Retriever usually begins to develop some level of hardened lens protein (i.e. cataracts), which leads to an increasingly cloudy appearance over time. The cloudier your dog’s eyes, the older he is.
Puppies and young adults will have clear eyes, while more mature Goldens will have slightly cloudy eyes that become increasingly cloudy over time. An older Golden will also have pronounced wrinkles beside their eyes.
Similar to other senior dogs, your Golden Retriever may also develop hearing problems. Reduced responsiveness to commands or loud noises should be a sign that your canine companions hearing is diminishing. By the time your dog can barely seem to hear, you can assume he is ten or more years old.
A Golden Retriever’s Muzzle: How Much Gray Fur?
Another thing you can look for to help you find out the age of your Golden Retriever is gray or white fur, which is a sign of an aging dog. Goldens are known for their beautiful golden fur, but it’s right around the age of five that a Golden Retriever will begin to get some gray or white fur developing around their muzzle, eyes, and on their face.
If your Golden just has the first signs of white fur, you can assume that they are near the age of five or six. By seven or eight you can expect your Golden to be showing a noticeably white face (this is, of course, more difficult to tell with cream colored Goldens).
Recommended Reading: Why Golden Retrievers’ Faces Turn White (And at What Age)
Golden Retriever Dog Age vs. Human Age
It’s no secret that dogs age at a different rate than humans. So, how can we put a Golden Retriever’s age into human terms? We’ve all heard the formula that says that a dog ages seven years for every one human year. Unfortunately, that is not accurate because it doesn’t take into consideration the size and breed of the dog.
Not every dog breed ages in the same way. So let’s take a look at how a Golden Retriever specifically ages in human years with a dog age calculator.
|Golden Retriever’s Age||Golden Retriever Age|
in Human Years
|1 year||12 years old|
|2 to 3 years||19 to 26 years old|
|4 to 6 years||33 to 47 years old|
|7 to 8 years||54 to 61 years old|
|9 years||68 years old|
|10 years||75 years old|
|11 years||82 years old|
|12 years||89 years old|
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!
Fun Fact: The world’s oldest Golden Retriever, named Augie, is currently 20 years old and still going strong, while the world’s oldest dog was an Australian Cattle Dog named Bluey that was reliably recorded to live to be 29 and a half years old.
How To Prolong Your Golden Retriever’s Life
Golden Retrievers have an average lifespan of 10-12 years, and as a pet parent, it’s only natural to for you to want your furry friend to live as long as possible. So, let’s take a look at some proven ways to prolong your Golden Retriever’s life.
The number one secret to extending your dog’s life is through healthy nutrition. Nothing prolongs life more than a healthy diet (for both pets and humans), and is why you should ensure your Golden consumes a high-quality dog food. Inquiring with your vet about the best foods for different growth stages will almost certainly ensure your pet gets the diet he needs.
If you’re the type that prefers raw diets to manufactured dog foods, it’s advisable to include supplements in your dog’s diet. Supplements will ensure your dog gets the basic nutrients required for proper bone and organ health.
Reduce Overall Stress Levels
Much like people, your Golden Retriever is likely to develop chronic ailments when stressed. Therefore, if you want to prolong his years, you’ll need to expose him to as little stress as possible. Ensure your dog receives the attention he needs to prevent him from becoming lonely and depressed. As suckers for attention, Golden Retrievers thrive when included in all family activities.
Training your Golden retriever to socialize and anticipate separation from working and school-going family members is a sure way to prevent stress and anxiety during their adult stages. If your dog has separation anxiety, he might not live for as long as you may want, meaning you’ll need to consult a dog trainer to curb the behavior.
Golden Retrievers are highly active dogs that require at least an hour of physical activity daily. And as most Golden Retriever owners will agree, the surest way to keep the veterinarian away is by engaging a Golden in as much physical activity as possible.
Therefore, ensure your dog engages in play and exercises as frequently as possible, more specifically during his formative and adult ages. The extra play and physical exercises will ensure your dog develops and maintains a strong skeletal structure, which will come in handy during his senior years.
Recommended Reading: How Long Should a Golden Retriever Be Walked? (Explained!)
Regular Checkups Before Illness Strikes
Unfortunately, a dog owner generally takes their furry friend to the vet only when signs of illness are present. While this might help treat an injury or underlying ailment, it won’t be as effective as taking your Golden for regular checkups. Taking your Golden to the vet ensures that underlying diseases or organ complications can be detected early enough, which increases the chances of successful treatment.
The best way to determine your Golden Retriever’s age is by observing his physical condition. Most senior Goldens will have stained teeth and will develop a somewhat swayback physique as they near the 10-year mark. Other physical changes also include a change in fur color (especially in the muzzle and eye areas), cloudy eyes, and hearing problems.
Another way to determine the age of a Golden Retriever is by examining his behavior. Puppies are a bit hard to control and extra aggressive, while mature and senior Goldens tend to have a calmer temperament despite remaining fairly active.
If you look at all of these items together, you should be able to determine your Golden Retrievers age within a reliable range.