The Golden Retriever has been one of America’s top breeds since its recognition by the AKC in 1925. They’re known for their good-hearted nature, trainability, soft mouth—and among other things, their dense golden coats.
But despite their name, not all Golden Retrievers are distinctly “Golden”. In fact, they have a few different coat colors although not all of them are acceptable in traditional dog shows.
And while we’ll go over the different color coats, this article still stands as a great excuse to look at pictures of adorable Golden Retrievers!
Golden Retriever Colors: An Adorable Overview
As far as Golden Retrievers are concerned, there are five different color variations. You may see people trying to sell you “Ultra-Rare” or “Exotic-Colored” Retrievers. Do not fall for these traps.
If the color isn’t one of these recognized coats, you’re probably not getting a pure-bred Golden Retriever. Not to say, that those Good Boys and Girls don’t deserve love. It’s just that if you’re looking for a show dog, you’ll need to steer clear of these Snake Oil Salespeople.
Standard Golden Retreiver Colors
Golden Retreivers come in five colors, although these can be mixed and matched into different combinations.
Those 5 colors are:
Standard Golden Retrievers
This is probably the first thing that comes to mind when picturing a Golden Retriever. It’s not too light and not too dark. They’re the quintessential Golden Retriever!
If you can’t tell just by looking, these pups are notorious shedders. Be sure to give them a good proper brushing at least twice a week to keep their golden coats shining their best. Another key to keeping their coats at their peak condition is to ensure that your Golden maintains a healthy diet full of Omega-3s.
Light Golden Retrievers
The light Golden Retriever is actually one of those most common color varieties of the breed. As a matter of fact, there’s a good chance you’ve seen many of these pups before and just didn’t know it.
They’re extremely similar to their standard colored cousins, but a bit lighter. They fall between the cream-colored Golden Retrievers and the standards on the color spectrum.
This is the second variety of coat color that is accepted by International Kennel Clubs for show.
Dark Golden Retrievers
The final color accepted by US Kennel Clubs for show is dark Golden Retrievers. These are often among the most striking of Goldens with their deep gold coats.
One thing to note about their color is that while they do bear a close semblance to the Red Golden Retriever–more on them later—they lack the amber or red hues found on the former. Their golden coat is a pure gold color just deeper than that of the standard variation.
Dark Golden Retrievers are often born much lighter than they’ll end up becoming. One simple way to estimate how dark they’ll get is to look at the color of their ears while they’re young. Often, the ears will be darker than the rest of the coat and a good sign of how dark these pups will get as they mature.
Cream Colored Golden Retrievers
The popularity of Cream Colored Goldens is on the rise—more so in the UK. They’re also commonly referred to as “English Golden Retrievers” for this reason alone. But there are also some different peculiarities about this color when compared to the rest.
Cream Colored Retrievers normally have a thinner coat than their darker haired relatives. However, they shed just as much. So, while the thinner nature of their hair may make you believe there’s less shedding, rest assured…it’s not.
Also, these dogs have stockier builds, broader heads, and rounder eyes than the “true” Golden Retrievers. However, this variation isn’t formally recognized by any major Kennel Club.
The biggest issue you’ll encounter when purchasing a Cream Colored Golden, though, doesn’t come from the dog itself—but rather the individual selling them. Sellers will often use words such as “platinum”, “rare”, or “pure white” in order to draw your attention. However, these are just shameless marketing tactics.
Red Golden Retrievers
Red Golden Retrievers are considered by many to be the most beautiful variety of the breed. And it’s easy to see why. They have a rich dark golden coat that’s mixed with highlights of red and amber hues. This gives the dog a breathtaking mahogany red coat that’s just gorgeous.
The origin of this breed is believed to come from Ireland where standard Golden Retrievers were crossbred with Irish Setters. This theory does make sense as the dogs are generally leaner and more compact than other Golden Retrievers. They also have less feathering around their legs and tail.
As of now, they’re not recognized as an official dog breed for any Kennel Club. However, that may change in the future.
Grooming and Care for Your Golden Retriever’s Coat
When compared to other dogs, the good kind-hearted nature of the Golden Retriever makes them relatively low maintenance. They’re normally far from picky eaters happily chomping away on just about anything you give them. But there’s one thing they are notorious for shedding.
Golden Retrievers shed a lot, especially during peak seasons. And they’re going require some special attention to keep their coats in tiptop shape. Your Golden may require 2 or 3 brushings a week when they start blowing their coat. And the best way to do this is with a slicker brush.
A slicker brush is a normally a wide, rectangular brush with firm wire bristles. These are absolutely perfect for grooming Golden Retrievers as the brush is designed to easily pull out tangles without causing any damage to their skin. Just ask any Golden owner around, and they’ll let you know that this is a must-have accessory.
There are 5 true color variations of the Golden Retriever each of which shares the same wonderful, loving temperament. However, if you’re looking for a show dog, you’re going to want to stick with the standard, light, or dark Golden Retriever coat color.
But whichever coat color you choose, understand that you’ll need to dedicate a little bit of time each week to brushing out their coats to keep them nice, slick, and healthy.
Featured image credit: DanielTwal, Pixabay