Black Golden Retriever: Facts, Genetics, Appearance & More

Black Golden Retriever standing on the grass

Many people adore the Golden Retriever for its well-rounded personality, cuddly appearance, and stunning gold color of its fur, but did you know that there is such a thing as a black Golden Retriever?

You’re not alone if it’s your first time hearing about the black Golden Retriever. Many pet enthusiasts believe that the Golden Retriever only comes in shades of gold, but that’s not entirely true. 

If you are confused as to why the Golden Retriever sports a black coloring aside from the “golden” shade their name bears, this guide has all the answers.

What Is a Black Golden Retriever? Do Black Golden Retrievers Really Exist?

Black Golden Retriever side profile

Black Golden Retrievers are dogs that look like Golden Retrievers but have black fur. Simply put, a black dog that has the physical appearance of a Golden Retriever may be referred to as a black Golden Retriever. One example of this is the Flat-Coated Retriever.

Black Golden Retrievers exist, but probably not in the same way you initially thought. Instead, it is simply a collective term used to describe black dogs that look like the Golden Retriever. 

The offspring of a Golden Retriever and any other breed with a black coat may also result in what may have the same physical appearance as a black Golden Retriever.

Can Black Golden Retrievers Be Purebred?

Strictly speaking, a black Golden Retriever breed can not be a purebred dog based on the American Kennel Club (AKC) standards for the Golden Retriever. 

In fact, these dogs only come in light golden to dark golden, and as discussed in the previous section, “black Golden Retriever” is simply a collective term.

On the other hand, a dog does not have to be a purebred Golden Retriever to be called a black Golden Retriever. Hence, a Golden Retriever mix may be considered a black Retriever.

Further, Golden Retriever breeders have found a way to create a black Golden Retriever through genetic diversity that was added to the bloodline of a purebred Golden Retriever, resulting in a flat-coat Retriever. 

Flat-coated Retrievers are about the same size as traditional Golden Retrievers. They also both have floppy ears and thick coats. Hence, it is sometimes hard to distinguish between these two breeds.

Other Dog Breeds That Look Like the Black Golden Retriever

Other breeds may satisfy the two criteria in order to be called a black Golden Retriever, which is having a black coat and looking like a Golden Retriever.

Hence, a purebred dog that underwent genetic mutation or even a black-coated mixed breed can fall under this category too.

Let’s take a closer look at what other black breed dogs may appear like black Golden Retrievers. There are quite a few, and they are as follows.

Flat-Coated Retriever

Black Flat Coated Retriever sitting on the grass

Flat-Coated Retrievers, also called “flatties,” are gundogs originally bred for hunting. These dogs excel in swimming and retrieving fishnets as well as in herding.

The Flat-Coated Retriever is also famous for sharing the same characteristics as the Golden Retriever, the only difference being the coat color.

Like the Golden Retriever breed, the Flat-Coated Retriever also has a long, wavy coat. Its ears are also floppy, and its tail is hairy.

One hardly noticeable difference between the Flat-Coated Retriever and the Golden Retriever is in their muzzles. The former has a muzzle that is slightly longer.

When people talk about a “purebred” black Golden Retriever, chances are, they are talking about the Flat-Coated Retriever.

Watch this insightful video to learn more about the Flat-Coated Retriever:

Dog Breed Video: Flat Coated Retriever

Black Labrador Retriever

Black Labrador Retriever running on the grass

Of course, this list wouldn’t be complete without the black Labrador Retriever, which is an almost similar breed to the Golden Retriever.

Just like traditional Golden Retrievers, black Labrador Retrievers have athletic builds. These two have very few physical differences. In fact, they share the same full-grown height and weight.

Black labradors are also excellent family companions and are extremely sociable. If it weren’t for their differences in coat length, we would have trouble telling which one is which when it comes to their overall traits.

Black Gordon Setter

Black Gordon Setter exploring outdoors

The black Gordon Setter is another dog breed that could potentially be mistaken as a black Golden Retriever. This dog has the overall shape, gait, and long, silky coat of the Golden Retriever.

However, the Gordon Setter is not entirely black. In fact, it has reddish markings near the muzzle, above the eyes, and on the lower parts of its legs. 

That said, some Gordon Setters, especially Gordon Setter mixes, can have pure black coats. 

Black Goldador (Labrador & Golden Retriever Mix)

Black Golden Labrador Retriever mix puppy sitting outdoors

Crossing a black Labrador and a Golden Retriever is likely to produce a black-coated pooch. And as expected, this mixed breed pup can definitely be tagged as a black Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever Lab mixes, also known as Goldadors, are usually about the same size as these two breeds. This hybrid can sport either a medium-length or a long coat.

In some cases, subtle gold markings are also visible on this pup.

Black Golden Shepherd (German Shepherd & Golden Retriever Mix)

Black German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix tongue out

The German Shepherd Golden Retriever mix is another mixed breed that looks more like a black Golden Retriever, with a thick body, a sturdy frame, and a deep chest.

The coat of this mix is medium to long and is very thick and dense, which also takes more after its Golden Retriever parent. This dog also tends to be very active, so it needs enough exercise to satisfy its energy levels.

These dogs are also fantastic companions since they can be very friendly to all family members and even with other pets. 

Further, the intelligence of this mixed breed makes it respond very well to training and can be trusted to follow its owner, even when off leash. 

Black Golden Retriever Appearance

Black Golden Retriever exploring in the grasslands

Technically, there’s no one-size-fits-all description of how a black Golden Retriever should look like. This is expected as the “black Golden Retriever” is not an actual dog breed but an informal collective term. 

Dogs that are considered “black Golden Retrievers” have appearances that vary widely. However, their differences are subtle enough to fool the untrained eye. 

For starters, black Golden Retriever dogs are black dogs that resemble the Golden Retriever. This means they are medium to large dogs that have well-balanced physiques.

Many of these dogs may stand between 22 and 24.5 inches tall and weigh between 60 and 80 pounds.

These dogs also have floppy ears and squarish faces. In terms of their coat, these dogs may sport wavy or straight fur.

All of these features are present on these so-called black Goldens, such as the Flat-Coated Retriever, black Lab, black Gordon Setter, and a few other hybrids. 

Black Golden Retriever Color Genetics

Black is not a possible coat color for purebred Golden Retrievers. The reason behind this lies in their genetics. But to understand this, let’s have a quick refresher about canine coat genetics.

For starters, all dog colors are derived from two primary pigments, eumelanin (black) and pheomelanin (red). 

All colors aside from black and red are merely manifested by separate genes interfering with eumelanin and pheomelanin production.

A black dog has a dominant E-Locus gene. This is what makes them retain their eumelanin pigmentation and, effectively, their black coats. 

Because all Golden Retrievers have a pair of recessive e genes, they cannot carry the dominant E gene. 

These two recessive alleles restrict them from having black coats. Of course, that’s unless another dog is thrown into the mix.

So if you’re wondering what exactly makes a “black Golden Retriever” black, the short answer is a dominant E gene. 

If a dog carries this gene and shares similar qualities with the Golden Retriever, it can loosely be considered in canine communities as a black Golden. 

Flat-Coated Retrievers and other mixed breeds carry the dominant E allele. As a result, they sport black coats and sometimes dark liver-colored coats.

In general, any black breed dog mixed with a Golden Retriever can result in black Golden Retriever puppies. While the breeding process is not that simple, this rule works pretty much all the time.

That said, black Golden Retriever puppies in the same litter are not always all black. There may be dogs that are mainly gold with a large black patch or small black markings. 

Similarly, genetic mutations may also cause other coat patterns and patches to appear.

Does AKC Recognize Black Golden Retrievers?

Black Golden Retriever running in the backyard

If you plan to register your black dog that looks like a Golden Retriever with the American Kennel Club (AKC), you must know that you can’t register it following the Golden Retriever standard. Instead, you can register your dog under its actual breed.

This means black Flat-Coated Retrievers, black Labrador Retrievers, and black Gordon Setters are eligible for registration. These dogs can appear on AKC show rings! 

On the flip side, most kennel clubs do not recognize hybrid black Golden Retrievers. However, you always have the option to register your hybrid pooch to kennel clubs that are specially for hybrids.

Black Golden Retriever Temperament and Personality

Like the actual Golden Retriever, black Golden Retrievers are cheerful, playful, and lively. You can expect these dogs to have a similar disposition as the ever-goofy Golden.

In terms of socialization, these dogs have excellent social skills. These purebred black Golden lookalikes will get along with other pets and kids just fine.

As for black Golden mixes, early socialization and training might be necessary before they adopt a friendly disposition. That said, rest assured that these mixes are usually gentle and non-aggressive.

Most of these dogs are also very energetic, love swimming, and appreciate mental stimulation activities like playing fetch, which is a favorite game by purebred Golden Retrievers.

Their intelligence also makes them easy to train, and they can even focus on one game for a long time. That means they’re all obedient people-pleasers that are relatively easy to train!

One thing to watch out for with these pooches is their tendency to exhibit same-sex aggression. This is present in the Flat-Coated Retriever, black Lab, and especially the black Gordon Setter. 

If you want to learn more about the temperament of your particular black Golden Retriever, you can always look up its actual breed. But regardless of that, these dogs can grow up to be well-behaved pups. 

All in all, a black Golden Retriever has the potential to be a perfect family dog as long as it’s trained properly. After all, they have a similar, if not the same, temperament as the Golden Retrievers we all adore.

Black Golden Retriever Lifespan and Health Issues

Black Golden Retriever out in the woods

The life expectancy of most black Golden Retrievers is somewhere between 8 and 14 years. Depending on your dog’s actual breed, it may live more or less within this range.

Fortunately, black Golden Retrievers are gifted with good health. However, their health is still not perfect. In fact, they are susceptible to a handful of health issues.

Here are some common health problems of black Golden Retrievers:

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): PRA is a group of degenerative diseases pertinent to canines. This condition targets the eyesight of a dog, causing it to have a deteriorating vision. If left untreated, PRA can eventually lead to blindness.
  • Hypothyroidism: This health issue affects the thyroid gland of a black Golden Retriever. It slows down the dog’s metabolic rate drastically, affecting many internal organs. Hypothyroidism causes weight gain, excessive fur loss, lethargy, and cold intolerance.
  • Skin Disorders: The black Golden Retriever has pretty sensitive skin under their long and beautiful coat. In fact, there are a handful of skin disorders that can affect them. Signs of skin disorders in dogs are excessive itching, skin redness, paw chewing, and the sudden appearance of skin sores.

Most of these health issues are manageable. Some are treatable through oral medication, while others require surgery. 

How Much Does a Black Golden Retriever Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

The usual price of a black Golden Retriever puppy ranges between $800 and $3,000. Depending on the exact breed you get, you may end up paying more or less than this price range.

One of the most expensive black Golden Retriever look-alikes is the Flat-Coated Retriever. These pups can run you between $1,500 and $3,000. They are also a bit harder to find in the US market.

On the flip side, one of the most affordable black Golden Retrievers is a black Goldador. You can get this pup for around $800 to $1,200. 

If you plan to get a black Golden Retriever, you should watch out for breeders who are advertising “purebred black Golden Retriever,” as there is no such thing.

Here is a summary of the initial expenses you need to prepare for when considering a black Golden Retriever:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$70 – $150
Bowls$10 – $40
Toys$30 – $100
Beds$40 – $300
Collars and Leashes$15 – $50
Crates and Carriers$50 – $500
Grooming Essentials$50 – $250
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $500
Initial Vaccine Shots$50 – $300
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$40 – $300
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Microchipping$40 – $60
Dog License$10 – $20
Other Essentials$20 – $80
Total Initial Cost$505 – $3,150

Many of these items are one-time purchases, such as the food and water bowl, crate, bed, leash, and collar. It is recommended to get high-quality items that are sturdy and would last the lifetime of the pet.

Places to Find Black Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Two black Golden Retrievers sitting side by side

If you want to own a black Golden Retriever, the first thing you should do is pick the actual breed you want. Your choice can either be a purebred or a hybrid dog.

The next thing to consider after coming up with your breed of choice is to select a reputable breeder for it.

Here are some reputable breeders where you can find similar breeds to the black Golden Retrievers:

  • Liberty Flat-Coated Retriever – If you fancy the Flat-Coated Retriever, this breeder is the one you should check out first. This South Carolina breeder was established in 2005 and has been in continuous service since then. They produce some of the most handsome and healthiest Flat-Coated Retrievers around!
  • Breacan Gordon Setters – Should you choose a black Gordon Setter for your black Golden Retriever, Breacan Gordon Setters should be able to take care of that for you. This AKC Breeder of Merit takes pride in producing well-adjusted, sweet-tempered, and very social Gordon Setter puppies.
  • Excalibur Labradors – If the black Lab is your cup of tea, check out Excalibur Labradors! This breeder prides itself on its well-earned AKC recognition. They breed black Labradors as well as Bernese Mountain dogs.

If buying from a reputable breeder may be a bit outside your budget, adoption is another option.

Here are some places where you can find black Golden Retrievers for adoption:

  • Golden Endings Golden Retriever Rescue (GEGRR) – GEGRR is a place for neglected and unwanted Golden Retrievers and Golden Retriever mixes. They are a non-profit organization that serves the states of Ohio and other nearby places. GEGRR occasionally fosters dogs that look like black Golden Retrievers.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever Society of America (FCRSA) – FCRSA is one of the best places to find adoptable Flat-Coated Retrievers. This organization is AKC’s official club for the breed. While they are not actually a rescue, they occasionally have dogs for adoption, and most of them look like black Golden Retrievers.
  • Lab Rescue LRCP – If you’re looking for a black Lab Golden mix, LRCP is the place to check out. This rescue adopts and fosters unwanted Lab and Lab mixes. Every year, LRCP fosters, treats, and rehomes over 1000 dogs. Surely, a couple of these pups are black Golden lookalikes! 

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find dogs that look like black Golden Retrievers from these sources. Some breed “black Goldens” but do not put them up for sale.

Frequently Asked Questions

Black Golden Retriever in the forest

What Are Black Golden Retrievers Called?

Black Golden Retrievers go by many names. Many refer to these dogs as black Goldens, black Golden mixes, or simply black Golden Retrievers. 

Others also call these pups Flat-Coated Retrievers or black Flat-Coated Retrievers, referring to one of the most well-known kinds of black Golden Retriever. 

Are Black Golden Retrievers Rare?

Black Golden Retrievers are not rare. They might be uncommon, but they are not entirely rare. In fact, they are easier to find than other Golden Retriever variants, such as the red Golden Retriever.

If you want a black Golden Retriever, you can always look for a Flat-Coated Retriever. Alternatively, a black Gordon Setter or a black Golden Lab mix can also pass as a black Golden Retriever. These dogs are relatively easy to find. 

Do Black Golden Retrievers Shed?

Black Golden Retrievers shed, depending on what breed you have. Some shed a lot, while others shed considerably less. 

If you want a low-shedding pup, a black Goldador is probably your best bet. These dogs are far from being hypoallergenic, but they shed less compared to other black Golden Retrievers. 

On the other hand, if shedding is not an issue for you, you can get a Flat-Coated Retriever. The flat coats on these dogs shed slightly more. 

Final Thoughts

The main selling point of black Golden Retrievers is their appearance. These pups are the stealthier version of the Golden Retriever we all know and love, no matter what breed of black Golden Retrievers these may be.

On the other hand, while these beautiful dogs may come at a hefty price, their physical traits and admirable behaviors are absolutely worth it.

Have you decided what black Golden Retriever fits you the most? We are interested to hear your thoughts by dropping a comment below!

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