Should You Shave Your Golden Retriever?

Written by Cory Eckert

No. Please DO NOT shave your golden retriever. Goldens need their hair to help them keep warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and to protect their skin against the elements. Shaving them will hinder their ability to maintain their body temperature. 

Why Would Someone Want To Shave a Golden Retriever?

I've heard two reasons from most people who shave or would like to shave a golden retriever...

1. It's cruel to let them wear that heavy fur when it's this hot.

False... It's actually considerably more cruel to send your golden retriever outside with a shaved coat. Without their coat, they are not as equipped to regulate their body temperature and their skin is susceptible to the elements and way more likely to burn in the sun or develop irritated spots (hot spots) as they hair grows back.

2. I'm sick of the shedding, this hair has to go!

Please consider creating a brushing routine with your golden retriever first. Weekly combing with an undercoat rake paired with a daily brushing with a slicker brush will cut down your shedding problems SIGNIFICANTLY.

Also, you did know golden retrievers shed before you got one right?

Why you shouldn't shave your Golden Retriever: 

  1. Shaving your dog can expose them to sunburns and hot spots. 
  2. If you shave a golden retriever's coat you can actually cause areas of skin irritation which can be extremely painful and difficult to heal.
  3. Shaving their coat can also inhibit regrowth of their undercoat.. If your dog can't regrow their undercoat, then they cannot keep themselves warm when winter hits.
  4. If there is no outer coat to protect the undercoat, then the undercoat can become brittle and damaged. This could effect your dog's coat for a long time.
  5. It increases allergens on dog's skin. Just think of all the bad stuff that can't make it through that heavy double coat and now that it's shaved, it can!

Unless there is a medical reason given by your doctor, there is no good reason to shave your golden retriever's coat.

Understanding your dog's hair. All about Golden Retriever's Double Coat:

A double coat is two separate layers of fur: an undercoat and a top coat. 

The undercoat is dense short fur that is woolly in nature and helps golden retrievers maintain body temperature, it  also helps protect your dog from hot and cold temperatures when outdoors.

In the winter, the dog's undercoat will keep the dog warm by providing insulation and by helping keep their skin dry. In the summer, the dog's undercoat keeps your dog cool. 

Double coats are very common among water fowl dogs.

The top coat consists of longer fur called guard hairs that help repel moisture and dirt.

The top coat is oilier and waterproof. To properly maintain a healthy coat with as little shedding as possible, you will need to get two different types of brushes in order to maintain your dog's hair (a slicker brush and an undercoat rake). Check out our article for Best Golden Retriever Brush for more information.

Final Thoughts...

Please keep in mind that it takes the average golden retriever nearly 2 years to fully grow their adult double coat. Unless directed by a vet to do so, shaving your dog's coat is more for you than for the dog.

All that said, We don't know everything and we love to learn. If you know something we didn't mention or would like to correct us on misinformation, please leave a comment below!

About the author

Cory Eckert

Cory is the co-creator of and a life long dog enthusiast. From training livestock dogs as a child to working with obedience classes as an adult, it's hard to imagine Cory without a dog. Currently enjoying being a dog parent to Remi (a chocolate lab) and Annie (a golden retriever).

  • Becky leuthold says:

    My golden has one of his whiskers touching his eye. Can it be trimmed. I don’t want to hurt him but sometimes it actually is touching his eyeball. He has such long whiskers. Please advise.

    • AnnieTheGolden says:

      Of course, go ahead and trim it 🙂 Once trimmed whisker won’t bother your pup one bit and he/she will be glad it’s out of their eyes.

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