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Golden Retriever with coat that hasn't been shaved

Should I Shave My Golden Retriever? Will It Damage Their Coat?

When a Golden Retriever is hot in the summer, it’s tempting to want to shave their coat. Here’s why it’s not a good idea.

Among the many outstanding qualities of Golden Retrievers are their wonderful coats. Long, soft, and flowing, a Golden Retriever’s coat contributes to its beauty and function. But during warmer months, it can seem like their heavy coats are making them uncomfortable, and shaving them might sound like a solution. So, should you shave a Golden Retriever? 

It is rarely a good idea to shave a Golden Retriever’s coat as it helps regulate their body temperature, even in hot weather. Shaving it can also permanently ruin their coat. The only appropriate times to shave a Golden Retriever’s coat is when a veterinarian recommends it for medical reasons.

Let’s look at the nature of a Golden Retriever’s coat, their grooming needs, and whether or not a Golden Retriever should be shaved.

Type of Coat

It is important to understand the type of coat a Golden Retriever has. This will help give a better idea of their grooming needs.

A Golden Retriever has a double coat. This double coat is treated differently than a standard coat because it consists of a thick undercoat, and a dense top coat.

The top coat of a Golden Retriever’s fur is water resistant, and helps to keep the undercoat dry. The undercoat provides insulation.

The beauty of their double coat is that it helps them to regulate their own temperature. The undercoat and top coat grow separately from each other. This is part of the temperature regulating process.

Some Goldens will have a straight double coat, whereas others will have a curly coat, depending on their genetics. They will also have “feathers” on their legs, tail, and thighs. These feathers are sections of fur that are thinner than the rest of the coat.

Should A Golden Retriever Be Shaved Or Clipped?

A Golden Retriever should certainly not be shaved. Due to their double coat, this will prevent them from being able to regulate their body’s own temperature. Their fur is designed to shed when necessary, and their top coat helps to provide them with protection.

Occasionally, it may be necessary to clip areas of a Golden’s fur, such as when they’ve rolled in something that has matted the fur and you are unable to get it out with washing and brushing. But they are not a breed that should get regular trimming.

Will Shaving A Golden Retriever Affect Its Coat?

Yes, shaving a Golden Retriever will affect its coat, and can even cause permanent damage, so it should always be avoided.

If shaved, the coat may begin to grow back incorrectly and can cause skin issues, sunspots, and give no protection against different weather conditions. The hair can begin to grow unevenly.

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Shave A Golden Retriever

As discussed, shaving a Golden Retriever can greatly affect its coat, and can permanently damage it. A Golden Retriever’s double coat is created in such a way to help protect them.

If you over groom or shave a Golden Retriever, this will interfere with how their body regulates their temperature, which can potentially be dangerous. It will also prevent protection from parasites, harmful rays from the sun, and will not provide protection when the dog is in the water.

The coat will begin to grow unevenly, and can become patchy in places if it is clipped. As the undercoat and top coat grow to separate lengths and thicknesses, you will be interfering with this when shaving.

The texture of the dog’s coat can become ruined, and it will also change. Instead of being soft and smooth, the coat can become sticky, coarse, and feel almost wiry. This can have an impact on how much dirt and debris clings to the coat, too.

How Short Can A Golden Retriever’s Coat Be Cut?

A Golden Retriever’s coat should not really be cut. While you can brush them, the length should be left. You can trim the feathers on the legs, tail, and stomach of the dog slightly, and this should be by one inch or less. This should be done with a pair of grooming scissors.

How Do I Keep A Golden Retriever’s Coat Soft?

The best way to keep a Golden Retriever’s coat soft is through regular brushing and grooming. This will help to ensure that any excess dirt and oils are removed from the fur. You will be removing the dead skin cells, which allows the natural oils to work through the fur.

Golden Retriever puppy with coat not shaved

Will Shaving Their Coat Keep Them Cool?

Shaving a Golden Retriever’s fur will have the opposite effect and will not keep them cool. When you remove the fur coat, this will increase the chances of a dog overheating. It prevents them from self-regulating their temperature and increases the chances of sun damage and burning.

How Should I Groom A Golden Retriever During Summer?

Grooming a Golden Retriever during the summer should consist of regular bathing (every 6-8 weeks or so). cutting back the feathers, and regular brushing.

The grooming should not involve shaving the fur in any way. Ensure you are cleaning around their eyes and ears, and their nails are clipped to the correct length.

How To Keep A Golden Retriever Cool In The Heat

It is important to ensure that you are keeping your Golden Retriever cool in the summer months. While their double coat helps to keep them cooler in the heat than if shaved, it can still cause them to be warm.

To help prevent them from overheating, you should avoid taking them for a walk in the heat of the sun. Either skip a walk or two if it is too warm, or take them in the morning or evening, when it is cooler.

You need to ensure that they always have access to fresh water to drink, and that they are not lying in the sun when it is too warm. Instead, keep your dog inside and provide them with things such as cooling matscooling jackets, and fresh cool water.

You can also give them ice cubes, or cool treats, to keep them refreshed. Sun screen should be applied to their paws, ears, and nose to keep them from burning if they will be spending lots of time in the sun.

Do Golden Retrievers Need the Fur on Their Feet Trimmed?

Yes, the hair between their paw pads should be clipped back. If the fur is too long, this can cause the Golden Retriever to slip, especially on hardwood floors. In addition to this, the fur can become matted, or dirt and debris can get stuck in them, which can be a problem.

In cold winter climates, this fur can easily get frozen, creating a mass of ice on their paws. Keeping them trimmed will avoid this.

How To Correctly Brush A Golden Retriever

Ideally, you will want to brush your Golden Retriever a few times a week, even daily if they are going through a period of heavier shedding. This will help to remove the excess dead fur, and stop the fur from becoming matted or compacted.

The ideal brush you will want to use is an undercoat rake or a deshedder. These will help you to get through the top coat to the bottom coat, to remove any of the excess dead fur.

Standard brushes are not the best options to use, but the rakes are useful. However, care should be taken when using the rakes and deshedders as the brushes are metal and can hurt the dog if they are used too roughly and overuse can actually harm the coat.

How Do I Correctly Groom Their Tail?

Grooming a Golden Retriever’s tail is easy. You want to regularly brush out the fur to help ensure that it doesn’t become matted. You can cut the feathers at the ends of the tail if they are too long. You should not cut more than one inch off the length.

How To Clean A Golden Retrievers Ears

Cleaning a Golden Retriever’s ears is important. This helps ensure excess wax and dirt is removed. This can be done with ear wipes, or an ear cleaning solution. Both are safe and easy to use. You should only clean just inside the ear, rather than further down the ear canal.

How Do I Cut A Golden Retriever’s Nails?

Care needs to be taken when you cut a Golden Retriever’s nails. Blood circulation runs through their nails, you need to ensure you are only cutting off the tip and not into the quick, which is the main “vein” in the center of the nail. If you cut too far down the nail and into the quick, it will be painful for the dog and will cause the nail to bleed.

The best way to avoid pain to your dog is to trim very small slivers at a time on each nail rather than taking a large chunk with a single cut. The more you do this, the easier it will be for you to recognize when the quick (a different colored circle in the center of the nail) starts appearing and you can then stop without hurting the dog.

How To Groom A Golden Retriever

Grooming a Golden Retriever is actually fairly easy, especially once you’ve done it a few times and get the hang of it. Brushing is important and is probably the easiest aspect of grooming.

Ideally, a Golden Retriever should be brushed daily, or at least a few times a week to ensure their coat remains healthy and in a good condition. When it comes to washing their fur, this should occur every six to eight weeks. Anything more than this can affect the natural oils in the dog’s fur.

Always ensure that you are keeping the eyes, ears, and mouth of the dog clean. Regular teeth brushing is significant, and you should never be tempted to shave back a golden retriever’s fur.

Final Thoughts

You should never shave your Golden Retriever. By doing this, you are affecting the way in which they regulate their body temperature.

Instead, you will want to brush their coat regularly and trim any of the feathers that become too long. This is fairly easy to do, and while a double coat can seem daunting, it is fine to upkeep when you are aware of the correct methods.

If you are ever unsure, it is always best to contact a professional groomer, as they will be able to help you with any concerns you may have.

Superb Dog Editor

Superb Dog Editor