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Can You Shave a Golden Retriever? Breed Grooming Needs & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

golden retriever dog lying on couch with tv remote

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds of dogs in the world, known for their friendly nature and easy-going personality. Goldens are gentle and easy to care for, making them perfect for families with children. However, like all dog breeds, Golden Retrievers need to be properly groomed to keep them looking their best.

The golden retriever’s thick and lustrous coat is a hallmark of the breed. Most Golden Retrievers shed year-round, but the amount of hair they shed can vary. Some Goldens shed more than others, and within the breed, some dogs have different types of fur than others. Many people love their soft, bright fur, but what happens when it starts to get a little too long or thick?

When summer hits, concerned owners may want to shave their Goldens to give them a break from the heat. However, there is no need to shave a golden retriever. Golden retrievers are a breed that may benefit from a good grooming session once a month or so, but under normal circumstances, they really shouldn’t be shaved.



Golden Retrievers Coat

Golden Retrievers have a double coat that helps them stay warm in cold climates and keep cool in hot climates. The coat is also water repellent and protects from scratches and bites. The undercoat is dense and soft, while the outer coat is tough and shiny. The hair on the Golden Retriever’s body is also very curly, which makes it difficult for water to penetrate the coat and keep the dog dry. They also have “feathering” on their ears, legs, chest, and tail.

Golden Retriever standing on the ground
Image Credit: Melanie Mai, Pixabay

Other Reasons Why Someone Might Want to Shave a Golden Retriever

There are many potential reasons why someone might want to shave a golden retriever. Perhaps the owner wants to make the dog look neater or more stylish. Another popular reason is that the owner would like to make them more comfortable in the summer heat. Many people believe that because Golden retrievers have a lot of hair, they should be shaved in order to help them cool down during hot weather. However, shaving is actually bad for dogs with double coats.

Why You Shouldn’t Shave Your Golden Retriever

There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t shave your golden retriever. First and foremost, they actually have a natural water repellent coat that helps keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Shaving your dog can lead to skin problems, including skin infections, sunburns, and even razor burns.

Despite what you might think, shaving your Golden Retriever actually makes them hotter. They are at risk of sunburn, overheating, and even skin cancer if they are shaved. During the summer, the undercoat sheds, leaving the guard hairs of the overcoat to provide insulation. In addition to protecting them from sunburn, guard hairs also reflect the sun’s rays and allow cool air to flow near the skin.

The Golden Retriever’s Coat After Shaving

It is possible to permanently damage a Golden Retriever’s coat by shaving it because a shaved coat cannot be guaranteed to grow back naturally. When the hair grows back it often looks lumpy and uneven. The undercoat hair appears first, with the top layer of guard hairs appearing later. This gives the new double coat an unnatural texture that can feel wooly, almost like Velcro. As a result, grass, twigs, and seeds will stick to your Golden’s coat more readily.

Golden retriever lying on light floor
Image Credit: Tatyana Vyc, Shutterstock

When is it Appropriate to Fully Shave a Golden Retriever?

Golden retrievers are beautiful dogs with thick coats that protect them from the weather. However, there is one instance when shaving a golden retriever is actually necessary. A full shave is typically done when the dog has a lot of hair growth and the hair is matted. If a dog is severely matted, it may be best to shave their fur back to the skin rather than try to clip out the tangled hair.

Will Dog Groomers Perform a Full Shave on a Golden?

The answer to this question depends on the definition of “full shave” and your reasons for wanting to do this to your dog. Generally, a full shave would remove all of the dog’s hair, back to the skin. Generally, most groomers will not want to do this unless it is medically necessary. Some groomers may choose to give a Golden a full shave, while others may simply trim the excess hair around the dog’s body.

Ultimately, it is up to the dog groomer to decide what is best for each animal. Most won’t agree to doing a shave to the animal’s skin, and instead, most will recommend simply trimming the fur around the ears, paws, legs, belly, and hindquarters. Even if you do find a groomer willing to take your money and shave your Golden back to the skin, that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea!

How Should You Groom Your Golden Retriever in Summer?

Golden Retrievers should be groomed every few weeks during the summer to remove any built-up dirt, sweat, and other debris. The most important areas to groom are the ears, face, and paws. In between grooms, it’s important to check these areas for any ticks, fleas, or other parasites that may have attached themselves. Golden Retrievers should also be given a bath every few weeks during the summer to keep them cool and clean.

hand holding the brush while getting the golden retriever dog's hair
Image Credit: sonsart, Shutterstock

The Shortest Cut for a Golden Retriever

When trimming your Golden Retriever’s fur, the shortest recommended length is one inch. You should visit a groomer every 4–6 weeks to have them trimmed. It will be easy for them to maintain the coat of your Golden Retriever since they will have all the necessary equipment. You should make sure your groomer knows you only want a trim, not a shave. A groomer can blow out the undercoat with a high-powered dryer after bathing the dog. Taking care of damp spots and removing extra hair will be easier with a high-powered blower. The groomer will also use a tool like a rake to remove extra hair from the coat.




In conclusion, shaving a Golden Retriever is possible, but it is not recommended. The coat of a Golden Retriever is meant to protect them from the sun and other harsh elements. Shaving them can strip them of their natural protection and make them more vulnerable to the elements. The hair will grow back unevenly, and the dog will likely be uncomfortable after being shaved. If you must groom your Golden Retriever, be sure to use a light touch and only minimally trim them.

Featured Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

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