The Truth and Facts About Short-Haired Golden Retrievers

Short Haired Golden Retriever tongue out

Golden Retrievers are well-known for their lustrous, long, and wavy golden hair, but can there be a Golden Retriever with short hair?

Generally, Golden Retrievers have long coats that can be wavy or straight. Hence, many are surprised when they hear owners claiming that their Golden Retrievers have short hair. 

If Golden Retrievers are supposed to have long hair, does it mean that Goldens with short hair are mixed breeds? Or are they other dog breeds that look like Golden Retrievers?

Read on and find out the truth about short-haired Golden Retrievers in this guide!

Are There Short-Haired Golden Retrievers?

Short Haired Golden Retriever side profile

The Golden Retriever breed has no official short-haired variant; therefore, short-haired Golden Retrievers technically do not exist. However, there are a handful of short-haired dog breeds that look like Golden Retrievers. Collectively, these breeds are the so-called short-haired Golden Retrievers. 

The coat of a Golden Retriever should not be too short that it can be mistaken for a Labrador Retriever. 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard even states that a Golden Retriever should only have short hairs on its head, paws, and front of the legs. 

Nevertheless, some variants of Golden Retrievers may have relatively shorter fur compared to other variants.

A Golden Retriever can be short-haired for two reasons. The first potential reason is crossbreeding, and the second one is genetics. 

If you mix a purebred Golden Retriever with dogs that have short coats, just like Labrador Retrievers or Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, there’s a big possibility that some puppies will also be short-haired. 

Meanwhile, some Golden Retrievers can turn out short-haired even if they are purebred due to genetic variation. However, cases like this are very rare. 

Which Types of Golden Retrievers Have Shorter Hair?

There is only one variant of the Golden Retriever breed recognized by major kennel clubs. 

However, dog enthusiasts usually categorize Golden Retrievers into field Golden Retrievers, show Golden Retrievers, Canadian Golden Retrievers, American Golden Retrievers, and English Golden Retrievers. 

Some of these unofficial Golden Retriever varieties have relatively shorter hair compared to other Goldies. Let’s take a closer look.

Field Golden Retriever and Show Golden Retriever 

Typically, field Golden Retrievers have darker pigmentation and relatively shorter hair than show-quality Golden Retrievers. 

Their smooth outer coat protects them from dirt and debris when working on the field, while their undercoat regulates their body temperature.

The length of a field Golden Retriever’s coat is not really an issue since it is not required by sporting or hunting events. 

Hence, owners and breeders of field Golden Retrievers don’t care much if their dogs have shorter hair than show dogs. 

Meanwhile, Golden Retrievers bred for conformation shows should retain their long and lustrous golden coats as prescribed by the standards. Golden Retrievers with long hair are more favored by judges in show competitions.

Canadian, American, and English Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are categorized based on the region where they are developed and bred. 

Basically, there are three subtypes of Golden Retrievers based on region. These are Canadian, American, and English Golden Retrievers. 

Among the three subtypes, Canadian Golden Retrievers have relatively shorter and thinner coats. Their coat colors are also darker than the coats on the American and English Golden Retrievers. 

Instead of light golden color or yellow, Canadian Golden Retrievers often come in dark golden shades. 

Watch this video if you want to learn more about Canadian, American, and English Golden Retrievers:

3 Types of Golden Retrievers and How to Identify Them?

Dog Breeds That Can Be Mistaken as Short-Haired Golden Retrievers

Due to uncanny similarities, some dog breeds are mistaken as short-haired Golden Retrievers. Most of these Golden Retriever look-alikes are also large-sized dogs that can come in gold or yellowish coats.

Interestingly, these dog breeds are also loved for their sweet and gentle demeanors, just like the Goldies! 

Here are some of the dog breeds that are usually mistaken as short as short-haired Golden Retrievers: 

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

Labrador Retrievers, especially yellow ones, are often mistaken for short-haired Golden Retrievers because of the similarities they share. 

Both dog breeds are medium-sized and are also bred as working dogs. Nevertheless, the coat of a Labrador Retriever is significantly shorter than a purebred Golden Retriever’s coat. 

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a large-sized dog that is equally proficient as the Golden Retriever in terms of hunting. 

To untrained eyes, deadgrass and sedge Chesapeake Bay Retrievers look identical to Golden Retrievers with short hair. Hence, many assume that they are from the same dog breed. 

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever greatly resembles a Golden Retriever with short hair. This retriever dog can come in a red or red-gold coat which can appear identical to the fur of a field Golden Retriever. 

Just like with Goldies, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever excels in hunting and retrieving waterfowl. 

Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat Coated Retriever dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

If not only for the flat-lying coat of Flat-Coated Retrievers, no one would be able to distinguish them from Golden Retrievers with short hair. 

A Flat-Coated Retriever has a medium-length coat that can come in yellow, black, and liver coloration. 

People often think that a yellow Flat-Coated Retriever and a short-haired Golden Retriever are the same because of their similar appearances.

Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

The formidable Great Pyrenees is a light-colored dog with a thick coat. Although they commonly come in white coloration, some may have tinges of orange or yellow in their body, making them look like short-haired Golden Retrievers. 


Leonberger dog breed looks like short haired Golden Retriever

Red and yellow Leonbergers indeed look like short-haired Golden Retrievers. These large-sized dogs also have featherings on the back of their legs and ears. Just like Golden Retrievers, Leonbergers are also deemed to be gentle giants. 

Aside from the breeds listed in this section, other dogs that may look like short-haired Golden Retrievers are Golden Retriever mixed breeds. These include the Golden Pit mix, Golden Rottie Retriever, Goldmaraner, and others.

At What Age Do Golden Retrievers Grow Hair?

Golden Retriever puppies are born with short, soft, and fluffy hair. Their puppy coats have the texture and appearance of an adult Golden Retriever undercoat. 

It is only when they turn three months old that long strands of hair will start growing on their body. 

Usually, feathering begins on the pup’s tail, stomach, and back of the legs. As a Golden Retriever puppy matures, you will notice that its soft and fluffy fur will be gradually covered by long strands of hair that have darker coloration.

Most Golden Retrievers complete the coat transition in their 18th month. At this age, most Goldies already have thick undercoats and long wavy/straight topcoats that lay flat on their bodies.

Nevertheless, not all full-grown Golden Retrievers will achieve their complete coat at the same rate. Genetics plays a vital role in determining a dog’s hair’s growth rate, length, and coloration. 

Can You Keep Your Golden Retriever Hair Short?

Short Haired Golden Retriever during morning walk

Shaving and trimming your Golden Retriever’s coat too short is extremely discouraged. You might think that you are doing your Goldie a favor by shaving its golden fur, but you’re not — you are actually risking its health. 

The undercoat and topcoat of a Golden Retriever serve essential functions. The soft undercoat helps in regulating the body temperature, while the waterproof topcoat protects your dog from debris, dirt, and bugs.

Cutting the hair of your Golden Retriever too short might expose it to health problems such as skin irritation, bug bites, hypothermia, and hyperthermia.

Hence, you should never shave your Golden Retriever’s long coat, even if it sheds a lot. 

However, there are specific areas that should be regularly trimmed for health reasons. 

The paws and the toes of your Golden Retriever should be trimmed smoothly and short as dirt easily gets stuck in these areas. 

The hair around the ears and inside the ear canals should also be cut from time to time, as it can lead to ear infections. The fur on the head can also be trimmed shortly, especially around the eyes.

The featherings on the bum, tail, and behind the legs can also be trimmed to give your Golden Retriever a neater and more hygienic look. 

Short-Haired Dog Breeds That Are Similar to Golden Retrievers

A short-haired Golden Retriever could have been the perfect pet for families who would like to adopt a well-behaving and gentle dog that sheds lightly — if only they truly exist naturally. 

Nevertheless, you still have a lot of dog breeds to choose from that are similar to Golden Retrievers but have naturally short coats. Among these are Curly-coated Retrievers, Boxers, and more.

Check out the list below for the popular short-haired dog breeds that look like pure Golden Retrievers:

  • Boxer
  • Bulldog
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Beagle
  • Rottweiler
  • Weimaraner
  • Mastiff
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog
  • Curly Coated Retriever

These popular dog breeds are all equally well-behaved and tempered, just like Golden Retrievers. 

They make perfect family companions, guardians, and working dogs. They also have short coats that come in various colorations. 

You can also try adopting short hair Golden Retriever mixes such as the Goldendoodle and Goldador. 

These popular mixed dog breeds not only look like the short-haired Golden Retrievers but also behave like one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Short Haired Golden Retriever standing on the grass

Why Is My Golden Retriever Short-Haired?

A short-haired Golden Retriever can either be a product of crossbreeding or heredity. 

Crossbred Golden Retrievers will have short coats, especially if they have inherited the gene of their parent that has short fur. 

Some examples of Golden Retriever mixed breeds are Goldendoodle — the cross between the Poodle breed and Golden Retriever dogs — and Goldador, which is a Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever mix.

If you are unsure if your Golden Retriever is a purebred dog, you might want to ask for its pedigree from the breeder or take a DNA test to find out its lineage.

On the other hand, it is also possible that your Golden Retriever has a short coat, even though it is purebred because of genetics. 

Although rare, some Golden Retrievers are naturally born with short hair due to genetic variation. 

What Are the Three Types of Golden Retrievers?

The Golden Retrievers breed has three subtypes, American, English, and Canadian Golden Retrievers. The differences between the three variants mainly lie in their appearance. 

However, these Golden Retriever subtypes are not officially acknowledged by any major kennel clubs. 

These subtypes emerge because of the development of the breed in different regions. The American Kennel Club (AKC), Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), and United Kennel Club (UKC) only recognize one variant of Golden Retrievers. 

Do Golden Retrievers Shed a Lot of Fur?

Just like most double-coated dogs with long hair, Golden Retrievers tend to shed moderately throughout the year. 

Hence, you should expect to see golden strands of hair on your furniture, carpet, and around your house from time to time. 

It is also worth noting that their shedding can become heavier during the end of fall and spring as they prepare themselves for season shifting. Regular brushing and a good vacuum will help you manage their shedding.

Are Golden Retrievers Hypoallergenic?

There’s no denying that Golden Retrievers are good family pets, but unfortunately, they are not hypoallergenic. 

Golden Retrievers are moderate shedders. Their loose hair and dander can trigger hypersensitivity in people with allergies.

Final Thoughts

Even though purebred short-haired Golden Retrievers do not naturally exist, some Goldens can sport shorter coats. If you really want a short-haired dog that looks like a Golden Retriever, your best bet is to look at similar-looking breeds.

Likewise, you can look at Golden Retriever mixed breeds for a chance to spot a short-haired variant. 

So, would you like to own one of these short-haired pooches? Let us know what you think about these so-called short-haired Golden Retrievers in the comments below!

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