Can I Shave My Golden Retriever?

Most people end up making the mistake of shaving their dog when summer arrives, but some dogs aren’t meant to be shaved.

The thinking behind shaving the coat of the dog is that it will help keep the dog cool, but that depends on what type of dog you have and their coat. There have been numerous instances of people shaving the coat of their dog and permanently ruining it.

It may seem like a good idea to shave your dog for the summer. However, you should be careful because it may be one of the worst things you can do to your dog’s cost.

This article is divided into two parts. The first part will focus on things you should know before shaving your dog.

Can I Shave My Golden Retriever?

The second part is going to discuss whether you should shave your Golden Retriever. So, if you’ve been wondering whether you should shave your Golden Retriever, you came to the right place.

What You Should Know Before Shaving Your Dog

Have you ever thought about shaving your dog when summer arrives? Of course, you have. People tend to go above and beyond for their furry little companions. You may think that you’re doing them a favor by helping them keep cool in summer but shaving your dog can have the opposite effect as well.

The most important thing you should know before you decide to shave your dog is what type of coat your dog has.

Yes, the type of coat your dog has will determine if they should be shaved or not. So, if you’re thinking about shaving your dog, just remember that double-coated dogs shouldn’t be shaved. You will not help double-coated dogs to keep cool by shaving their coat. Instead, you can make things worse for them.

Single coated breeds like Poodles can have their fur shaved down to the skin or clipped and it will grow back again the way it was. However, the case is different for double-coated breeds. Not all dogs should be shaved, and we are going to look at that in greater detail below.

Why You Shouldn’t Shave Double Coated Dogs

When deciding if you’re going to shave your dog, you must determine whether your dog has a single coat or a double coat. Double coated dog breeds have two layers of fur. The top layer consists of tough guard hairs while the bottom layer will have a thick layer of fur known as the undercoat.

The undercoat has a layer of fine hair that is close to the dog’s skin to keep them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. When spring arrives, they will go through a shedding period where most of the undercoat will be released, so that a lighter summer coat can come in its place.

Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, Labradors, Pomeranian’s, Chows, and Huskies are some common double coated breeds. Most herding dog breeds are double coated as well. You can permanently damage the fur of a double coated dog if you decide to shave it.

Shaving them doesn’t keep them cool in the summer. You should only consider shaving double coated dogs if they have a skin condition or in extreme cases of matting. Here are the main reasons why double coated dog shouldn’t be shaved:

Shaving Doesn’t Help Cool Them Down

Most people decide to shave their dogs because they assume it will keep them cool in the summer. You shouldn’t do that with double coated dogs since their coat acts like natural insulation from both cold and hot weather. Your dog will warm up more if they don’t have that layer of insulation to protect them.

Shaving Increases Risks of Skin Cancer & Sun Burn

The top layer of your dog’s fur helps protect them against the harmful rays of the sun and bug bites. If you shave their top layer, you leave them exposed to the sun which increases their risk of developing skin cancer or getting sunburn.

Shaving Can Permanently Damage Their Fur

When you shave a double coated dog, there is no guarantee that their top guard coat is going to grow back naturally. If the dog is older, the chances are even less that is going to grow. The undercoat will come back, but most dogs don’t manage to grow back the guard hairs.

This leaves them with a coat with a frizzy, patchy, and dull appearance. So, you should think twice about shaving them since their coat can be permanently altered.

Shaving Doesn’t Help with Allergies

If you’re thinking that shaving your dog will help with allergies, think again. Per allergies are caused by dander on the fur and skin of your pet. Dead skin cells collect and sit in the undercoat of double coated dogs, and when you shave them, you’ll be exposed to more irritants.

Shaving Doesn’t Decrease Shedding

Shaving your dog has no impact on their ability to shed since they will continue shedding after shaving. It is the undercoat that sheds and removing their top guard layer will not stop them from shedding.

There Are Better Ways to Manage the Coat of Your Dog

Double coated dog breeds need regular grooming. In spring and fall, they will go through their process of shedding which you should be prepared for. There will be hair all over the place and including large tufts that will come out.

This is the reason why you should follow a schedule for grooming double coated dogs. You will be able to deal with all the excess fur they are shedding this way.

Regularly brushing their fur will not only remove excess fur but will help keep the hair of your dog in good condition by preventing tangles, removing dirt, and keeping their skin clean and free from irritants.

To Shave or Not to Shave Your Golden Retriever?>

Golden Retrievers are renowned for their long and luscious coats which protects them from the cold of winter. People living in areas that are prone to hot weather tend to assume that their Golden Retriever will overheat during summer due to that thick and long coat.

The common solution most of them come up with is shaving the coat off. But should you really shave the coat of your furry friend?

That is a question we will answer in greater detail below, along with what you should do instead of shaving off their long and luscious fur coat.

Getting to Know Your Golden Retriever: All About the Coat

Golden Retrievers are famous for their long and luscious fur, but do you really know why they have so much of it? To find out the answer to this question, let’s look into the two types of coat that your Golden Retriever has:

The Undercoat

The undercoat is the coat that is closest to the skin of your dog. It is also referred to as ‘down hair’ and mainly consists of wool hair that is curly and wavy. It also helps in maintaining a layer of dry skin and hair that repels water and offers thermal insulation to the dog.

The undercoat will grow quickly during the winter since it protects the dog from the cold weather. It will shed during the summer when the weather gets warmer.

The Overcoat

The overcoat is the top layer coat and is the luscious and beautiful golden fur that you love petting. It is also referred to as a guard layer and consists of long, straight, and coarse hair shafts that are above the undercoat.

This layer also has gloss and pigmentation to give your retriever that shines on their fur.

Should I Shave My Golden Retriever’s Fur?

It was mentioned in the previous section that the overcoat of your dog is designed to protect them in all weather conditions which is why you shouldn’t think about shaving it.

You can seriously compromise the way your dog’s natural fur acts to protect their body. Dogs tend to sweat from the pads of their feet, while they release heat through panting.

So, shaving the shiny coat of your Golden Retriever won’t help in making them cooler but will instead expose the skin to the heat and the sun. This will make it harder for the dog to cool down.

Golden Retrievers were bred primarily to retrieve waterfowl which is why their coat acts as water repellant as well. The coat of your dog is also designed to keep dirt away from the skin and can be easily brushed off.

So, after considering all things, you should definitely not shave your Golden Retriever’s fur. If you are worried about your Golden Retriever’s suffering during the summer heat, there are other ways you can help them.

What Should I Do to Help My Dog Beat the Heat?

There are several ways you can follow to help your Golden Retriever beat the heat during summer. None of them involve shaving their fur. The best advice is to groom them regularly, and here is how you should do that:

Brush Your Dog Regularly

You should invest in a good quality bristle brush to regularly brush your dog. An undercoat rake can also be used to brush your dog. It will reduce the intensity of shedding for your Golden Retriever and you will also get rid of any tangles in our dog’s fur.

Keep the Nails Trimmed

You should be trimming the nails of your dog on a regular basis since long nails can be extremely uncomfortable for them.

If left untrimmed, they can also interfere with their ability to walk properly and may also compromise the shape of your dog’s paw. It’s recommended to trim your dog’s nail every two weeks and be extra careful when clipping their nails.


The tail of your dog also needs to be groomed regularly. You give it the appearance of a fan by grooming it in a certain manner. The best way to do this is by twisting the end of the tail, placing your thumb on the end of the tailbone, and then trimming the area near the thumb.

Fuzzy Little Ears

The ears of your Golden Retriever also need to be groomed from the inside and the outside. You should ensure that the hair inside the ear is thin, while the hair on the outside of the ear and the edges should always be neat.

Golden Retrievers are also prone to getting ear infections, which is why you should regularly check their ears and get them clean.

In Conclusion: Don’t Shave Your Golden Retriever

It’s not the best idea to shave your Golden Retriever, even if you’re living in an extremely hot place. The fur of your dog will protect him naturally from parasites and the weather. You can give it a light trim but shaving it off completely isn’t recommended at all.

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