Dogs are loved by most humans, and the Golden Retriever happens to be one of the most popular breeds in America. They are beautiful, hardworking, and fun-loving dogs who are unconditionally affectionate toward their owners.
According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers are part of the Sporting Group, but they can also be classified in the Worker Group. They are very competitive and are often used in hunting scenes for sniffing out and retrieving game for hunters. Others are employed as walking guides for the blind.
The Golden Retriever’s long hair is its most prominent feature, the characteristic after which it was named. The high-spirited nature of puppies tends to last longer in this breed up until adulthood, so you are sure to have lots of fun with your Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever’s Coat
While some Golden Retrievers have shorter hair than others, the majority have a dense and lustrous coat of hair that needs to be well taken care of. Knowledge about their coat from pup to adulthood can help you better care for your Golden Retriever.
As puppies, they are born with soft and fluffy hair coats which help to keep them warm. This hair begins to change as they grow, starting from the tail. The new growth is darker and coarser, pushing the soft and fluffy hair aside so that it forms an undercoat; this is what makes them double-coated. The new growth called ‘guard hairs’ starts at around three months and lasts until they are about eighteen months old.
The Golden Retriever is quite a generous shedder, dropping the most hair during late Spring and late Fall. The Golden’s shedding routine is fairly consistent:
- Blowing off the excess undercoat in the Spring to be well prepared for the hot days ahead
- Thickening up of the undercoat in the Fall in preparation for the cold of winter
While Golden Retrievers are known to shed a lot, extra care must be put into observing its shedding. If it does so off-season in large amounts and large patches, it’s best to contact your veterinarian to make sure your dog is not experiencing any hormonal imbalances.
Care of the Coat
As most Golden Retrievers have long hair, it is important to properly manage their coat. Especially as they get older, dogs of this breed may not be able to groom their fur properly, and when the thick coat is shed it may clump together and form mats.
To avoid matted fur, and keep your Golden’s coat in top condition, make sure you are covering these four aspects of coat care.
Remember to check your Golden’s long hair before bathing to find and remove anything that is caught up in it. If there are twigs, leaves or grass seeds tangled up in their hair, they will be even more difficult to remove after the bath.
Adult Golden Retrievers might not need to be bathed any more than once in six to eight weeks, but as puppies are much more energetic and prone to dirtying up, they might need to be bathed twice a week. You can find the best shampoo to use on a Golden Retriever's fur here.
BRUSHING THE COAT
Brushing the Golden Retriever’s coat aids the shedding process by minimizing how much hair it sheds and controlling where the loose hair ends up. Brushing the Golden once or twice a week is good for their coat; this should, however, be increased to a daily activity during the shedding season.
If you own a puppy, then you should start brushing them sooner so that they get used to it. Start with a soft brush and progress to a stiff-bristled one as they grow.
Just as human hair needs proper nutrition, so does the Golden Retriever’s. A lot of commercial dog foods are well formulated to cater to those needs. There are also numerous supplements available for a long, shiny coat.
If you are feeding a commercial diet but want advice on the best diet or supplement for your dog’s coat, your local veterinary clinic will be happy to advise you on the best options available. If you decide to feed them homemade food, it may help to enlist the help of a veterinary nutritionist to ensure you are meeting all their nutritional needs.
COLLARING YOUR GOLDEN RETRIEVER
It is important to learn how to collar your Golden Retriever to avoid matting. We recommend using an inch-wide collar for your long-haired Golden Retriever, as using a wider collar could lead to matting, and using a narrower one can cause skin irritation, asphyxiation, and hair loss.
Also, while this breed is great in search and rescue operations, they can be just as clumsy and may still go missing. This is why a GPS tracking collar such as Fi is ideal, as it provides 24/7 location as well as activity tracking to find their Golden Retrievers if they ever go missing.
If you find it difficult to bathe your Golden Retriever yourself, you may want to take it to the dog grooming salon instead. They will bathe your dog, clean their ears, and cut their nails. A grooming salon also takes care of trimming their coat to the length you want.
If your Golden has a skin condition that requires special shampoo, you can discuss this with your groomer so that they use the prescribed skincare on your dog during their grooming session.
Golden Retrievers are a lovable breed of pets that are loyal to their families. But that beautiful coat needs care and attention to avoid getting matted. Taking proper care of them is part of our responsibility as pet owners to ensure our Golden Retrievers are healthy and happy.