How to groom a Golden Retriever- The complete guide

Grooming a Golden Retriever is an intensive job but it is not as hard as you may expect on the first look of the dog.

Being one of the most beautiful dogs, the Golden Retriever will need some fairly high amount of work to keep him looking great and to maintain his wavy coat. 

Part of the reason this dog became so popular is his “golden” and lovely coat.

But this is not the only reason for that popularity.

These dogs have a great personality and loveable demeanor which makes them incredible family dogs that are great with children.

Goldies love to spend time with their loved ones and grooming is one of the ways that you and this dog get to spend some quality time together and strengthen your bond.

You do not have to spend a lot of money visiting a professional groomer.

However, grooming your Golden Retriever by yourself requires that you know the “how-tos” and grooming basics. That is why we prepared this guide for you to follow when you are grooming your Golden Retriever.

But before we get into how you can groom a Goldie, you need to understand how his coat looks like. 


The Golden Retriever coat

The first question that crosses a dog lover’s mind when he/she sees a Goldie is how to maintain the dog and keep him glowing.

Golden Retrievers have a striking double coat that can come in various lengths. The coat should be wavy or slightly wavy but should never be curly according to the breed standards.

These canines have a dense and water-resistant outer coat with a fair amount of undercoat.

Unfortunately, these dogs shed throughout the year and have two heavy shedding seasons.

Heavy shedding occurs when the dog is blowing out his coat in preparation for warm or cold weather. The coat gets thick for the cold season and thinner for the warmer season.

Every coated dog sheds and grooming is the best way to minimize shedding as you cannot completely stop it.

Learn why dogs sheds and other ways to can minimize it apart from grooming.

Retrievers also have featherings(longer fur) around the neck, the back of the legs, the tail, and under the body.

These areas require a bit more work to maintain to prevent tangling.

So, now that you have learned about the Golden Retriever’s coat, let us look at how you should groom him. 

Golden Retriver after grooming

How to groom a Golden Retriever

When compared to most double-coated dog breeds, Goldens do not have extensive grooming.

However, this does not mean that they should be not be groomed regularly.

Regular and consistent grooming is important for the following reasons; 

  1. To remove dead and loose hair from the dog’s double coat which helps them to stay cooler and also minimizes shedding.
  2. The Golden Retriever’s coat is prone to tangling and even matting if left ungroomed for a long time. Regular grooming will help to get rid of knots, tangle, and mats which can be uncomfortable and painful for the pooch.
  3. Regular grooming keeps these dogs smelling fresh.
  4. It will help you check for parasites such as fleas and control them if there are any.
  5. Your dog may have had an injury, abrasion, or growth under the dense coat that you may not have spotted.
  6. This is a great way for you and your doggie to spend some quality time and strengthen your bond.

A Retriever that has not been groomed for quite some time leading to the formation of mats is unattractive. In this case, you will need the help of a professional groomer after which you can start a fresh grooming routine.

Golden retriever grooming tools

  • A slicker brush(wire pins)
  • Steel comb(greyhound comb with a rubber handle)
  • Scissors
  • Thinning shears
  • A spray
  • Vet recommended shampoo
  • Nail clippers
  • Blow dryer
  • Grooming table

Golden Retriever grooming tools

Step by step Golden Retriever grooming

1. Bath the dog

Bathing your dog is an important part of grooming.

However, you need to make sure that you are not bathing your Golden Retriever too often. Bathing this dog too many times can do more harm than good as it strips the coat of essential coat oils leaving the skin dry and irritable.

It is recommended that you bathe your Golden Retriever only once a month or after ever 6 weeks.

This may vary depending on;

  • where you live
  • the amount of time that you spend outdoors
  • how much your Retriever swims

However, this does not apply to all Retrievers. Some are usually under medication due to a skin condition and are bathed using a medicated shampoo as part of treatment. These pooches are, therefore bathed often.

But unless your dog is under medication a bath once a month will be enough.

How to bath a Golden retriever

What should you do if your dog gets dirty in between the planned bathing periods?

In this case, if your Retriever is not so dirty or smelly you can use a damp cloth to wipe the dog. Make sure that the cloth is clean and damp but not too damp.

Wipe the dog’s coat gently throughout reaching all areas.

While doing this rinse the cloth regularly.

However, if your dog happened to play in a muddy pool, you will need to give him a full bath.

What to do

  1. Wet the dog making sure that you saturate the whole coat.
  2. In the direction of the hair growth apply the recommended shampoo in a circular motion and let it sit for between 5 and 10 minutes.
  3. Rinse the dog and repeat the process.
  4. Thoroughly rinse the dog removing all the shampoo then dry him/her.

Use a shampoo recommended for dogs and one that is approved by your veterinarian.

Some shampoos come as pastes and will need to be mixed with water according to the instructions given. Even some of the liquid shampoos may need to be mixed with water before applying them to the dog. Make sure that you check on the instruction label.

If you want to improve the shine of the coat and male it softer you can use a dog conditioner.

There also other shampoos that can improve a dull Golden Retriever coat making it shiny. In that case, you may not need to use a shampoo.

How to dry a Golden Retriever

Grooming dog dryer

Use a clean towel to dry the dog as much as possible. You may need to use more than one towel to get rid of most of the water form the thick coat.

The pull out your blow dryer and using the lowest heat setting, dry the coat thoroughly.

To dry using a blow dryer, separate the fur so that you can see the skin and in the direction of the hair growth, dry the coat all over the body.

Drying the dog’s back completely is very important as leaving the damp gets them cold which in turn affects their nerves. This will help reduce any dead tail incidences.

2. Brush the Golden Retriever’s coat

Brushing should be done 3 times a week with each session taking between 10 and 20 minutes.

To start off spray the area of the coat that you will be working on using a detangling spray or any other high-quality coat spray.

Use a slicker brush to brush the coat in the opposite direction to the hair growth(from the tail to the head).

You will then need to brush your Golden Retriever from head to toe making sure that you spend more time in thick or matted areas.

Work in small sections using “pat and pull” movements. Spraying should also be done in sections before brushing section after section.

For the ears and the head, be careful during brushing or better still, use a steel comb.

A steel comb will also be helpful for you to catch any knots and tangles in the tail, chest, and at the back of the legs.

After you are done brushing the dog throughout with a slicker brush, use your greyhound comb to comb all the areas.

How to brush a Golden retriever

3. Trim the Golden’s toenails

When should you trim the toenails?

Generally, a Golden Retriever’s nails may need trimming when you hear them clicking on the floor.

Guillotine nail cutters are the most effective nail cutter. However, you should be careful as they are very sharp.

The aim of trimming the toenails is not to make them too short but give them a nice but clean cut.

You can also use a grinder to ensure that the nail edges and nice and smooth. Grinding the nails too much generates heat which is painful for the dog.

4. Trim the coat

Start with the feet

Pick the foot up backward and trim any excess hair from the pads using scissors.

Make the underside of the foot nice and tidy giving it a cat-like paw appearance. Trim little fur bits between the paws but not all the way to the skin.

Then using your thinning shears trim the tp of the feet giving it a nice rounded shape.

The hock:

The hock is the area behind the Golden Retriever’s back feet located between the paws and the stifle(knees). It bends backward creating a sharp angle at the dog’s rear legs. 

Curve the fur on the back of the hair slightly using scissors to give it a natural look.

The shoulders

The aim of trimming the shoulders is to remove the thickening from the undercoat but still maintain the dog’s natural look. Do not shave or make heavy cuts on the canine’s fur.

For this, you will need to use thinning shears to remove some of the hair from the shoulder area trimming in the direction to which the hair is growing.

Trimming the shoulder should be done slightly while avoiding any temptations to trim further. Do not trim to the point where you see the dog’s skin.

When you are done your Golden Retriever should not look trimmed.

The ears

Holding the dog’s ears upward trim behind the ears to remove any fuzziness and beaten that area up.

Then move to the front of the ears trim the exposed areas using your thinning shears carefully.

Trim the inner parts of the ears lightly in a way that is comfortable for your dog.

Make sure that you brush the hair after every 3 to 4 cuts to remove the excess hair and to look at the progress you are making.

The tail

Golden Retriever tails are prone to tangling and matting that is why it is important to tidy them up.

Before trimming the tail make sure that it is well brushed to get rid of any tangles and knots.

Hold the tail down at the tip of the bone.

Trim as close to the hock as possible and make your 1st cut around the hock area horizontally. Make sure that it is not pointed but rather rounded.

Then keeping your thinning shears parallel to the tail trim off any straggly hairs that are on the dog’s tail.

Make sure that you give the dog a nice and rounded look, maintaining the feathering.

5. Dental care

Taking care of your Golden’s teeth is an essential part of the Golden Retriever grooming.

The teeth should be cleaned weekly using specific dog teeth cleaning products and vet-approved dog toothpaste.

A finger brush is a great product for your Golden’s dental care and it is fairly easy to use.

Frequently asked questions

Do Golden Retrievers need their hair cut?

A Golden retriever needs his hair trimmed but it should not be a full haircut. Mostly it is the tail, the shoulder, the ears, the legs, and neck areas that will need a slight cut or trim.

Shaving may only be necessary if it is recommended by your vet for the dog’s health or when he is going for surgery.

In other instances, an abandoned Golden Retriever may be severely matted and may need to be shaved to get him looking great and healthy.

How do I make my Golden Retriever standstill during grooming?

The best way to make sure that your Golden Retriever is still during is by making grooming a positive experience for him. Reward him every time he gets through a certain stage of grooming. For example, if he is still as you trim his nails, give him a treat that he loves.

You should also get the dog used to being groomed by grooming him regularly and from an early age. Reward the dog every time he is calm during the process.

My final thoughts

Grooming a Golden Retriever should not be difficult as long as you start it from an early age.

Get the pooch used to various grooming methods and get him used to being touched.

Only bath or shave the dog when it is necessary.

You can use a toy for the Golden to focus on for a better grooming experience.

In case you are not comfortable with any of the processes, visit a professional groomer to get some tips and tricks as he/she does it.

You may also notice signs of infections during grooming and in that case, you should visit your vet immediately.

So, did you find this grooming guide helpful? 

Tell us and share your feedback and any questions in the comment section below.

There you go, WOOF!

You may also like

How to toilet train a puppy-Complete Step by Step guide