Last Updated on April 26, 2023
Golden Retrievers have undeniably beautiful coats. Those long, glossy, golden locks make them stand out amongst other breeds.
But how do you keep that coat looking good? It isn’t as hard as you might think. Grooming a Golden is a pretty straightforward process.
We’ll show you everything you need to know about how to groom and trim a Golden Retriever by yourself.
When and how often should you groom your Golden Retriever’s hair
A Golden Retriever has a dense, silky coat that’s water repellent.
It comes in a light, medium, or dark golden color and has an undercoat. Their hair can be wavy or straight, and the feathering is often lighter than the rest of their fur.
As a general rule, brushing should be done once a week. Baths shouldn’t be done too often, so every 3 to 4 weeks is good.
Not only will brushing keep your Golden’s coat looking glossy, but it also helps in keeping the tangles away. On top of that, you’ll find less hair around your house when you brush them often.
Do you want to minimize pet hair indoors? Take the grooming routine outside!
If your pup gets dirty or stinky, then it’s time for a bath – no matter how long ago his last one was. It’s also best to bathe your dog before trimming. It will make the whole process easier, and the final result looks better.
Proper grooming begins before you ever pull out the brush, however. Lay down the foundation by teaching your dog to be patient while you work on them. Praise them and give them treats when they behave well. As always, calm and consistent training is vital.
Bath time for your Golden!
When bathing your doggo, soak his coat thoroughly before working in an excellent dog-specific shampoo.
It can be a challenge to get that water-repellent fur wet and sudsy, but just lift the hair and work in the water and shampoo.
Rinse the hair well until you can’t feel any soap, and the water runs clear. Then, give your Golden Retriever a second rinse, paying attention behind his ears, and where his legs meet his body. Rinse under the tail, as well.
If you need to improve your dog’s coat, add a little conditioner and rinse or leave it in, depending on the type you use.
Then, squeeze the excess water out of the hair and towel dry your dog. Do this somewhere you don’t mind getting wet because your Golden will give a good shake after getting out of the water.
You can let your dog air dry, but if you plan on trimming them, a good blow dry will make the coat lie flat, which makes trimming easier. Stick cotton balls in your dog’s ears, so the air and noise doesn’t bother them and work in sections.
The grooming basics for a Golden Retriever
Before you start, give your dog a spritz of coat conditioner, then brush your fur baby with a slicker brush. Move through the hair in sections, starting at the top and moving your way down and back. Push the brush into the coat at the base near the skin and pull out from their body.
Use an undercoat rake to remove excess hair. Lift the coat one section at a time and move the rake from the base to the end. As you work, you can add another spray of coat conditioner as needed.
Then, use a comb to go through your dog’s tail and ears. If you encounter any mats, use a dematting rake to work through them.
One of the best grooming tools for Golden Retrievers is the Hertzko self-cleaning brush. Some people also swear by the Furminator for removing loose undercoat hair.
Then, clean the ears with an ear-cleaning solution. Put in a few drops, work it in gently, and wipe away any excess.
Trim the nails with a clipper or grinder. Watch out for the quick, which is the red center of the nail where the blood supply is. If you nick it and you see a little blood, dip the nail in styptic powder.
This video will show you how to trim your dog’s nails on your own:
Finally, brush their teeth twice a week or so. You can use a toothbrush made just for dogs or a piece of cotton wrapped around your finger. Apply some doggie toothpaste and scrub each tooth.
Ready? Here’s how to trim your Golden Retriever at home
After the bath, grab your scissors and thinning shears. Electric clippers aren’t necessary, but depending on the trim, you can use them. Invest in a good pair of scissors because it will pay off in making the job go more smoothly.
Note that you should NEVER shave your pup bald unless they have a severe matting issue. Their hair protects them from the sun, wind, and from getting too cold or hot.
And if you’re wondering, Red and English Golden Retrievers are cut the same way as standard Goldens.
There are many different styles of trims you can give your dog. These include summer trim, swimmers trim, a show trim, field trim, or teddy cut. You can also give them a sanitary trim, which is when you tidy up their rear to keep them clean.
If it’s hot, you can give them a summer clip. A swimmer’s clip or field trim is ideal for working dogs. The teddy cut is a favorite for pets because it gives your dog an adorable teddy bear appearance.
How to do a standard trim on your Golden Retriever
First, brush your dog out one more time to make sure all the hair is lying flat and smooth.
For standard maintenance, trim any feathery bits with the scissors, including ears, legs (aka pants), and tail.
Next, trim the excess hair off the undersides and sides of the feet, so they’re neat. You can do this using scissors or an electric trimmer. Then, trim away any hair that sticks out on top of the foot using the scissors.
Then, shorten up the hair under the tail to keep things nice and sanitary. You can also shorten and tidy up the hair on the bloomers if needed. Trim the hair on the hocks into a half-moon shape.
Next, it’s time to move to the face. Don’t shorten your dog’s face or mask – leave that hair natural. What you can do is thin the hair on the ears using thinning shears. Then, trim the edges of the hair on their ears to make it look nice and even.
Don’t forget to remove the fuzzy hairs that sit behind the ears. Also, lift the ear and scissor or trim away the hair that grows there. If necessary, carefully remove or shorten any hair growing in the ear canal.
Tidy up the tail using scissors. You want the hairs to look even and uniform. You don’t need to remove much length along the tail, but you can shorten it if necessary. The longest part of the tail should hit your dog’s hock (the joint above the foot).
Don’t trim your golden’s topcoat at all. You should also leave belly, elbows, and rear long. If your dog has exceptionally long belly hair, you can use curved shears to tidy up long hairs there.
Using thinning shears, you can thin down the mane, neck, and chest of your dog if the hair there is long. You aren’t shortening the hair, just thinning it out.
Now, give your dog a once over and make sure they look clean and neat. Here’s a picture of a Golden Retriever before and after getting a haircut:
How should I groom a golden retriever puppy?
Golden puppies don’t need a trim until they’re six months old, but it doesn’t hurt to get them used to the tools they’ll encounter when they get older. You don’t need any special tools, just those you’ll be using on them as an adult.
Start brushing your new Golden Retriever pup right away and introduce them to the grooming tools you have and the sensation of being groomed. Just gently run the comb or rake through their hair and praise them constantly as you go. Give them lots of treats, too.
Then, open and close the scissors near their body without cutting the hair, just to get them familiar with it. Clean their ears and trim their nails as usual, but you may want to introduce them to the idea slowly.
For instance, lift and rub the ears now and then. After your dog is ok with that, work in the drops.
For their feet, let them see and sniff the trimmers. Then snip off one nail and give them lots of praise and treats. Do another nail the next day and repeat until your puppy seems to accept the idea.
Want to pay someone to groom your dog, instead?
There’s always an option of bringing your dog to a groomer to get the job done. The costs vary widely based on the region, the service requested, and the time it will take to completely groom your doggo.
You can expect to spend anywhere from $20 to $50 an hour.
Here are some professional groomers we found online:
- Paws N’ Pearls (Alpharetta, GA)
- Oak City Pets (Durham, NC)
- Hounds Lounge (Little Rock, AR)
Homeguide also offers an option where you can type in your zip code to find dog groomers near you!
Grooming a Golden Retriever doesn’t have to be difficult
You might think that a gorgeous coat takes a ton of work, but it doesn’t! A Golden is mostly a wash-and-wear kind of breed. As long as they get the basic nail trimming, teeth brushing, ear washing, and combing, you don’t need to worry about much more.
It’s important to note that the time you put into teaching your dog to accept grooming routines will pay off in the long run.
If your dog is being difficult, grooming will take twice as long. But if you teach them to enjoy the process, and wait calmly, it will go smoothly and be less stressful for you both.
With a little work, you may find that both of you enjoy the process and it can even be bonding time together.
Do you have grooming tips for fellow Golden Retriever parents? Share it with us by leaving a comment below.
Cess is the Head of Content Writing at K9 Web and a passionate dog care expert with over 5 years of experience in the Pet Industry. With a background in animal science, dog training, and behavior consulting, her hands-on experience and extensive knowledge make her a trusted source for dog owners.
When not writing or leading the K9 Web content team, Cess can be found volunteering at local shelters and participating in dog-related events.