Golden Retriever Colors: Everything You Need to Know

Many people consider golden retriever as a pet due to their loyalty and wonderful demeanor. The dogs also look gorgeous with their lush, shiny coat. And the best thing is that they are available in a lot of different colors.

From gold and black to white and creamy color, golden retrievers have many different shades of the coat.

But are the different color golden retriever the same breed? Why is there such as large variety when it comes to golden retrievers? What makes them different from one another? This article will look at the different colors of golden retrievers and explain the diversity is their coat colors.

Why Do Golden Retrievers Have Different Shades of Coat?

The different coats of golden retrievers are due to purely genetics. Similar to humans, these dogs have different complexions due to pigmentation that determines the tone and shade of our four-legged dog’s fur.

The color of a dog is determined by genes that control the production of melanin named Phaeomelanin. There is no exact science to know what color a golden retriever puppy will grow into. You can only guestimate on the probable color of the little pet friend when it grows into a dog.

To understand why golden retrievers have so many different colors, you need to understand their origins.

Origin of Golden Retrievers

During the Victorian era, the nobles went on a hunting expedition carrying with them hunting dogs that they called retrievers. The early retrievers were actually black with some dogs having a recessive yellow gene. Back then the retrievers were classified according to the texture of the coat — flat coated, wavy coated, and curly coated.

Dudley Marjoribanks, a Scottish aristocrat, is credited with breeding the first golden retriever. The baron had bought a big forest at Guisachan where he hunted deer. Near the forest, he had established different dog breeding kennels and it was there that a new breed of dog was created.

Marjoribanks was not satisfied with the retriever and wanted a dog that could hunt on land as well as water. He had a yellow retriever dog that he bred with a now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.

The Tweed Water Spaniel was a great waterfowl and bird hunter. The dog was also an adept swimmer. This dog has originated by breeding purebred water Spaniel with another breed mostly likely the St. John’s Water Spaniel.

The golden retrievers had the hunting skills of the retriever and the adeptness in swimming of the Tweed Water Spaniel. These were initially categorized as flat-coats by the Kennel Club. But in 1925 they were considered a separate breed that led to the formation of the Golden Retriever Club in 1938.

Different Colors of Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers don’t have just one color. Their coats come in luxurious shades of dark golden, cream white, red golden, black, and more. However, most golden retrievers don’t have a pure black or white color coat. Majority of them have a golden color coat with different shade color on the limbs and tail. Any other color of golden retrievers is considered a flaw and is, therefore, not accepted in the show ring.

But the fact is golden retrievers of different colors are not any different from others. All of them have the same personality and behavior. Similar to humans, the only thing that differentiates them is the color.

1. Dark Golden Retriever

Dark Golden Retrievers have the darkest shade of gold. Despite being a golden color, they are not allowed to compete in most ring shows.

The dark golden color is the most striking of all the different colors. The dogs have full solid coats from the top to the bottom. Puppies with dark golden fur from the tip to the root retain their color during adulthood. However, those with different color undercoat change color as they age.

2. Light Golden Retriever

Light golden retriever color is one of the only ones that is allowed in Kennel shows. The light golden color is darker as compared to cream golden retriever but lighter than other colors. This is the traditional color that most people think of about golden retrievers.

3. Red Golden Retriever

Many dog breeders prefer red golden retriever due to an attractive and memorable coat. The red golden retrievers are rare. Due to the unusual coat color, golden retrievers with red golden furs are often mistaken for the Irish Setter.

The coat of red golden retrievers tends to be straighter and shorter. They have less feathering on the tail and limbs. The body of these retrievers is generally more compact as compared to other golden retrievers.

4. Cream Golden Retrievers

Cream golden retrievers appear to have a white fur coat. But upon close inspection, it can be seen that they actually have a cream color coat. There is a slight difference in the appearance of cream and light golden retrievers.

The light golden retrievers tend to have a bulkier appearance. Cream-colored golden retrievers appear slimmer than other retrievers. Ears are generally more forward set and there is a deep wide mussel. Also, they have a level tail and back.

Cream colored golden retrievers also have a visible difference between male and female dogs. They differ in terms of weight and height.

The cream-colored golden retriever is considered a golden retriever standard breed. However, some less up-front dog breeders consider them to be rare and market the coat color as platinum and white.

The color is not due to a genetic defect and is purebred similarly to other dogs. They are just as healthy as compared to other types of golden retrievers.

The cream golden retriever will appear pure white in some light condition. They particularly appear plain white when they are puppies. But when they mature you can see a tinge of cream or gold becoming visible in the coat.

5. Black Golden Retriever

The black golden retriever is one of the traditional breeds of a golden retriever. The dogs have the same characteristics as other dogs. They have a classic black shade that looks appealing to many breeders.

The glamorous black color makes them strikingly different than other golden retrievers. In fact, some consider them to be a different breed. These dogs are not as common as compared to another golden retriever.

One of the reasons most breeders eagerly look for black golden retrievers is that they are purebred similar to other retrievers but appear different. The original retrievers were black so some consider them to be representative of the original breed.

The black golden retriever is also considered by some to be the result of mixing a flat-coated retriever with the golden retriever. Some even confuse the flat-coated retriever with the black coated retrievers. But they are two different breeds of dogs.

Flat-coated black retries are a totally different breed of dogs. They are actually not suitable as a pet, unlike golden retriever. These have a higher impulse to roam free without the leash. They also require more exercise.

In contrast, black golden retrievers make the perfect pet friends. They are easy to train and have a calmer demeanor. They are less likely to irritate by donk barking as compared to other breeds of dogs. These dogs will also stick with the family for a long time.

While they may not be eligible for competition or exhibition, the black golden retrievers are purebred, similar to the other retrievers in this list.

Breeding Different Color Golden Retrievers

By adopting a different color, golden retrievers have certain advantages. They are generally healthier as compared to the purebred golden retrievers. Another advantage is that the genes variety protects them from disorders that affect certain pure breeds.

You cannot tell what color a golden retriever will turn out when fully grown up. Many light golden retriever puppies turn out to be dark golden retrievers when grown up.

To get an idea about what color your cuddly friend will turn out during adulthood, you should look at the ear of the puppies. The color of the puppies changes at the tip of the dog’s ear when they start to grow up. This will give an indication of the color of the pups when grown up.

When buying a golden retriever puppy, you should look at the tips of the puppies. This will give an idea of how the golden retriever will change color during adulthood. The puppy with a darker shade on the tip of the ear will turn out to be much darker as compared to a puppy with a lighter shade ear.

The true fur coat color will become evident once the puppies will reach one year age. Most golden retrievers will have a more pronounced dark feathering as compared to others.

Affect of Golden Retriever Colors on Clothing

A lot of people are concerned about the effect of the golden retriever color on the shedding of the fur. The fact is shedding is not affected by the color of the fur. It is generally due to the breed of a dog. All the golden retrievers irrespective of color with similar health shed hair at the same rate.

Golden retrievers tend to shed a lot of hair regardless of the breed. Most shed hairs during fall and spring. Shedding of hair is something that you have to become used to when having a golden retriever as a pet.

The rate of shedding also depends on the health of the dog. The hair stops growing break off in dogs suffering from a disease. Older dogs also naturally shed hair at the end of the hairs’ life cycle when it stops growing and breaks off.

Brushing the hair regularly can help reduce the rate at which the dog sheds the hair. In addition, you can make an appointment with a professional groomer instead of bathing at home. The groomer applies special shampoo and properly dry and rinse the dog that reduces the chances of shedding of fur.

Kennel Club Specifications for Different Golden Retrievers

Kennel clubs have different specifications when it comes to golden retrievers. The Kennel clubs in different countries accept different dogs for competition and display.

In the UK and Canada, Kennel Clubs tend to accept golden retrievers with a broad range of colors. On the other hand, the American Kennel Clubs are stricter as to which color golden retriever is considered acceptable.

American Kennel Club

The American Kennel club website states that the standard golden retriever color is lustrous shades. The club also says that extremely dark and pale colors are not accepted. This means that that club does not accept dogs with black or cream colored golden retrievers.

The club does ease restrictions for puppies that show signs of growing up with a deeper color. The acceptable codes of golden retrievers include

  • 080 – Dark Golden
  • 093 – Golden
  • 119 – Light Golden

Canada Kennel Club

Canadian Kennel Club is less restrictive when it comes to golden retriever colors. They accept cream and darker gold color puppies. As long as the color is within the range of medium gold colors, the dogs will be accepted for competition.

UK Kennel Club

The UK kennel club is also lax similar to Canadian Kennel club. The club accepts cream and a lighter shade of golden retrievers. However, mahogany and red colored golden retrievers are not acceptable.

Our Final Thoughts

You will find it difficult to register a darker or very pale color puppy or adult dog in the American Kennel Club. The color won’t pass the test of standard color for golden retroverted.

So, if you want to raise a puppy for challenges and competitions, you should stick with the standard colors specified above. However, if you want to buy a golden retriever as a pet-friendly, you can pick any of the colors to describe above.

One thing you should be aware of is premium pricing charged by some breeders. Some breeders tend to charge a premium for cream and black colored golden retrievers. Instead of the average $1,300 to $1,500 for an average golden retriever, you may be charged $2,800 using marketing gimmick. Avoid falling for the trick as the coat color doesn’t justify a higher price tag.

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