Let’s introduce you to the wonderful breed of Golden Retrievers in case you have never heard of them, which I really doubt. They are one of the most popular dog breeds in America, and actually, in the world, so I am certain that you must know a thing or two about them.
But, nevertheless, meet the Goldies — friendly, smart, hopelessly devoted, and goofy pups that are the perfect choice for a family dog and the best dogs in general. How wouldn’t they be when exceptional obedience and easy-going nature are just some of their many wonderful qualities.
But, did you ever ask yourself why they are called Golden Retrievers? Are they just golden, or are there other Golden Retriever colors besides gold?
There are actually more shades of Golden Retrievers, but if you want to know what those beautiful coat colors are, you’ll have to stay with us a little bit more. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about a Golden Retriever’s coat colors, and much more!
Psst… some grooming tips will also wait for you at the end, so check them out!
An Overview Of Five Golden Retriever Colors
The truth is that even though they are called Golden Retrievers, these pups can actually come in five different colors. The American Kennel Club recognizes only three of those colors as breed standard: golden, of course, along with light golden, and dark golden.
If you plan to participate in dog show competitions, your doggo will have to sport one of these coat colors; however, if you are just looking for a normal companion dog, then I am sure that you won’t mind if your puppy is also some other color.
Besides those three, there are also two more Golden Retriever colors: cream, and red. No matter which coat color your Golden Retriever has, the important thing is that he is healthy and happy.
Nevertheless, let’s spin the golden color wheel together and see what each color has to provide…
1. Standard Golden Retriever
It would be such a crime to start with any other color besides gold, of course. Some might say they are the only true Golden Retriever dogs.
While, yes… this might be the original color of the Golden Retriever breed that ultimately gave them their name, this doesn’t have to mean that they are anything better or more special than other Golden dogs.
These traditional or standard Golden Retrievers have a bright, honey/gold-colored coat. It is what most people think of when someone mentions these dogs, and what is considered to be the quintessence of Golden Retriever dogs.
Golden Retrievers have double-coated, shiny, and luscious fur that sheds a lot, and these gold Golden Retrievers are no exception. However, they are definitely extremely beautiful looking and charming, so that should make up for lots of shedding.
This is one of the colors of Golden Retrievers that are the most appreciated by the AKC, and preferred at show rings.
Read also: Show Golden Retriever Vs. Field Golden Retriever – Understand The Differences
2. Light Golden Retriever
Even though some ordinary people will probably not recognize any difference in various shades of gold, there are actually light Golden Retrievers.
The best way to describe this color is something darker than cream-colored Retrievers (we are going to talk about them later on) and lighter than standard gold Golden Retrievers.
You have probably seen many of these dogs since they are quite popular, but you just didn’t know or didn’t see the difference between the different shades. After the traditional gold color, this light gold is the most popular and most common.
To be quite frank, it is really difficult sometimes to see the difference if you are not into dogs, and if you don’t see this particular breed every day.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter the color, your Golden Retriever dog should have the same happy-go-lucky temperament as a gold or any other purebred Golden Retriever.
3. Dark Golden Retriever
And… the last color that is officially recognized as the breed standard in America is dark gold. Dark Golden Retrievers are, by many, the most impressive-looking ones. Their color is, as their name says, literally just a much darker shade of gold, which can be seen in standard Golden Retrievers.
People will often confuse them with red-colored Retrievers; however, the difference is that dark Golden Retrievers don’t have any red or amber pigments. They are just extremely dark golden boys.
These dark Golden Retriever puppies are always born with a lighter shade, but as they grow up, their color gets darker and darker until they are dark gold. The best hint of the true color should always be in the ears, which, even while they are still small puppies, are much darker than the rest of the coat.
As is the case with previously-mentioned golden pups, these dark golden ones don’t have any difference in temperament. Basically, the only difference is the different shades of gold.
4. Cream Golden Retriever
Even though this cream color, and the red one that we are going to mention next, are not technically accepted if you ask the AKC, they still exist, and are quite popular in some other parts of the world. Where, you might ask?
Well, they are also often known as English Cream Golden Retrievers or British Golden Retrievers, so this should answer your question. They are quite common and normal to see in England, Europe, and other parts of the world.
They are also recognized by The Kennel Club, so in the UK, you will be able to see Cream Golden Retrievers competing in dog shows. The Golden Retriever Club of America also states that cream color has always been part of this dog breed.
This is the lightest color of the Golden coat, which is often described as off-white or light cream. Because of their coat color, they are also often confused with Labrador Retrievers.
These dogs will shed as much as their other colored variations, but due to their thinner hair, it should be less visible. Other than that, you should expect to have the same sweet, easy-going, and friendly doggy that will simply enchant you with their amazing personality.
Read also: Are Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic? Amazing Tips For People With Allergies
5. Red Golden Retriever
Lastly are the red Golden Retrievers — remarkable and stunning Golden boys. Their fur has a reddish-gold color, with mahogany or amber pigments. Sometimes, it can also be dark brown, but it will still have a reddish tone to it.
While it can never be one-hundred percent proven, many believe that these red Golden Retrievers were developed in Ireland when breeders started crossbreeding Golden Retrievers and Irish Setters to achieve the darker coat that we can see now on some Goldies.
Red Golden Retrievers are the most different from others when it comes to physical appearance. Other than different colors, obviously, their fur is usually shorter, straighter, and thinner than standard Goldens.
These working dogs have a more compact and slender body as well, and most of the time, less feathering around their legs and tail. However, nothing changes in the shedding department, and you can still expect to see a lot of hair around.
Related: 17 Best Red Golden Retriever Breeders
Which Color Of Golden Retriever Is The Best?
There is no best when it comes to different colored Golden Retrievers. They simply just have different colors of their fur, and everything else stays the same. Their personality is in no way affected by possible changes in their shades of gold.
They will still be awesome dogs that are great with children, as well as affectionate, obedient, and at the same time, a bit goofy and sweet. Color is and should be your last priority when choosing a new puppy.
Of course, everyone has their preferences, and it is possible that you will prefer the looks of one colored Golden over the other, which is completely okay and normal. The good thing is that you can be reassured that nothing but the color will be different.
Beware Of Golden Scammers
As we have mentioned above, there are five Golden Retriever colors, ranging from light cream to dark red.
Unfortunately, as with anything in life, there are always some breeders or sellers who try to scam people by claiming they have a purebred Golden Retriever when that is not the actual truth.
You should know that there are some colors that Golden Retrievers cannot possibly have; for example, white and black.
While cream Golden Retrievers are really light-colored and whiteish, they are never pure white as some other white breeds, so there should never be a white Golden Retriever.
The same goes for a black Golden Retriever, but in this case, it is literally genetically impossible for a purebred Golden Retriever to be black. To not go into science too much, if you see a black dog that looks like a Golden Retriever, you must know that it is not actually a Goldie.
It is probably a mixed breed (usually a black Labrador Retriever X Golden Retriever), or a Flat-Coated Retriever.
There are other dog breeds that can look like a Golden Retriever, such as different Retrievers and Spaniels, since Golden Retrievers actually originated in Scotland as a mix of a Yellow Retriever and a Tweed Water Spaniel.
Types Of Golden Retrievers
There are three different types of Golden Retrievers; however, these differences are mostly just physical. Regardless of the color, body shape, or other physical characteristics, the temperament always stays the same.
English Golden Retrievers
English (or British Golden Retrievers) are usually much lighter when it comes to their coat colors, so this is the reason why cream-colored Retrievers are usually known as English Cream Golden Retrievers.
They have shorter, thicker, and water-resistant fur. Some other important characteristics are:
• a muscular and stockier build
• a blocky head
• a longer lifespan (average twelve years)
American Golden Retrievers
American Golden Retrievers can have any of the three coat colors that are recognized by the AKC, so extremely light or dark tones are out of the question. They have slightly longer hair, with the same amount of shedding as the other two.
• less muscular appearance
• slanted shape (a bit like German Shepherds)
• ten-year lifespan
See also: English Vs American Golden Retriever – Goldie Comparison Guide
Canadian Golden Retrievers
Canadian Golden Retrievers have a much thinner coat, but also one that is denser than the English or American one. The Canadian Kennel Club, just like the AKC, accepts only three basic Golden colors.
• taller and leaner appearance
• broad skull
• fewer feathering
How Does The Golden Retriever Get Its Color?
Most Golden Retriever puppies will have a lighter shade when they are born, and as they grow up, their color might also darken. There are some ways that can help you determine the true Golden color.
The obvious way is to look at the parents and their coat colors; however, sometimes this isn’t the best way because of different bloodlines and genes that might resurface.
The only true way of knowing the exact Golden shade of your puppy might be only by observing the details about their coat.
For example, the tip of the ears or the fur behind the ears are great indicators of true hair color. If the fur in those places is a little bit darker than the rest of the coat, there are great chances that your dog will be exactly that color once it grows up.
The feathering around the tail and the legs can also be a great example of the final fur color since those locks might be darker than the rest of the body. If the coat is of a light shade, even in those places, then you will have a light-coated pup.
However, no matter what the golden color wheel brings you in terms of your Golden Retriever, the most important thing is that you take good care of him or her, and provide them with a healthy and happy life.
Golden Retriever Grooming Tips
Regardless of the color, Golden Retrievers have always been known for their luscious coat. They are double-coated dogs, which means that they shed a lot and need regular grooming to keep their beautiful Golden coat in tiptop shape.
• Brushing – it is important to frequently brush your pup, especially during the shedding season. A high-quality brush, and also an undercoat rake will be your best friends when it comes to brushing a Golden.
• Bathing – your Golden Retriever will also need regular bathing, but the good thing is that they love water, so there shouldn’t be a problem. Please use only shampoos that are specifically made for dogs.
Related: How Often Should You Bathe A Golden Retriever: All You Need To Know
• Haircuts – they should never get shaved, but at times, they do require a bit of trimming, especially around their feet, their ears, and along their tail.
• Ear care – to avoid ear infections, it is important to do regular ear cleanings, and also trim or pluck the hair on the inside of the ear and on the top of the ear.
Final Golden Thoughts
Golden Retrievers are, for a good reason, one of the most loved dog breeds in the entire world. Not only do they look absolutely stunning with different shades of Golden Retriever colors, but they also have one of the best personalities that any dog breed can have.
If you are looking for a dog that will be good with children, gentle, and have the happiest temperament ever, then look no further – choose a Golden and see why so many people around the world are simply head-over-heels in love with them.
Do you have your favorite Golden Retriever color, or are you just simply obsessed with them like us, no matter whether they are cream, red, or simply golden?
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