Can You Find Short-Haired Golden Retrievers? (Where/When To Find Them)

Golden Retrievers are known for their silky, long golden coat. It’s one of their defining characteristics. For this reason, a lot of people are completely shocked at the thought of a short-haired Golden Retriever.

Most Golden Retrievers have long coats. There are a couple of factors that could influence the length of that coat, so you could find Golden Retrievers with shorter hair than your regular Golden Retriever. But let’s be clear, a short-haired Golden Retriever is not a separate breed of dog.

In this blog post, we’ll examine those factors that can influence the length of the well-recognized Golden Retriever long silky coat and also explore some dog breeds that often get mistaken as short-haired Golden Retrievers.

short haired golden retriever

What Factors Influence The Length of a Golden’s Hair?

These are six factors that can influence the length of a Golden Retrievers coat. If any of these factors are present in a Golden Retriever, then this dog could have a shorter coat than a regular Golden Retriever.

  • Presence of the FGF5 gene which stop the hairs on a dog from growing
  • Golden Retrievers aged under 2 years. Their coat length is not fully matured.
  • Poor nutrition can negatively impact the hair follicles, meaning their hair won’t grow long.
  • Excessively hot or dry weather can dry out dog hair causing hair to fall off your Golden Retriever.
  • Certain health conditions can cause hair loss in Golden Retrievers.
  • Poor grooming can also lead to shorter coats than normal.

Presence of the FGF5 Gene

A genetic mutation, known as the FGF5 Gene, will stop the hair growth cycle. It will influence how long it is possible for the hair to keep growing before the gene sends a signal to make it stop.

Long hair is a recessive trait in dogs. This means the genetic coding for the long silky coat in a Golden Retriever needs to be inherited from both parents. So both parents need to be 100% Golden Retriever.

If one parent is a 100% Golden Retriever and the other is a 100% Labrador Retriever (the Golden Labrador), there’s a strong chance the offspring will be a short-haired Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers aged under 2 years

A Golden Retriever generally doesn’t grow its whole mature coat until it gets to roughly two years of age. If your dog is still younger than this then there’s a good chance that their hair is still growing and they could be considered a short-haired Golden Retriever.

The longer adult coats tend to start coming in when your dog gets to three months of age.

At first, your Golden will begin to grow feathered hair around the tail, and then the fur starts to grow over the rest of the body. The tail is usually the starting point though. Eventually, the fur will start growing longer towards the head too.

A Golden can sometimes begin to grow the feathers on the tail when they reach 3 months old. Sometimes though the feathers will grow much later in life.

In the vast majority of cases, Goldens don’t tend to grow their mature coats until they reach 3 years of age. Not only that, but gender can also come into play since males and females can grow their fur at different speeds.

Poor nutrition can negatively impact a dog’s hair follicles

The nutritional status of your dog can influence the condition and health of the Golden’s coat as a whole.

For instance, if there are foods that are high in Omega 6 and Omega 3 in your dog’s diet, their coats are more likely to be in a better condition. This is because the hair follicles will be much stronger meaning that the hairs can grow longer.

Excessively dry or hot weather

You may not be surprised to learn that the weather can have a pretty big impact on how healthy your golden’s coat is.

If you are living in an area that’s excessively dry or hot, for instance, then that dry air can result in the skin drying, which can then mean that your dog’s hair may also get dry and then fall out of the skin.

Hair falling out can lead to a perception that the hair is shorter, though in reality they just have less hair in a certain area. This can make it look shorter than it should be, which isn’t the case. 

If you do happen to live in a particularly dry and warm area then it’s certainly worth your time to look into some strategies to help your Golden Retriever to deal with the hot weather. This will help to keep their coat in better condition and will be good for their wellbeing

Certain health conditions can cause hair loss

If you think your Golden’s hair is shorter than it should be, you should take your dog to the vet to double-check that health conditions aren’t having an effect on their coat. It can be especially problematic when certain health conditions are contracted at a young age since it can result in permanent damage to the dog’s coat. 

In some bad situations, health conditions can result in hair loss for your dog. Sometimes dogs may even lose their hair in clumps.

For this reason, you may begin to think that your dog’s hair is shorter than it necessarily needs to be. In reality, though, your dog just has less hair because they have lost it, which isn’t a good thing.

Poor grooming

As a new dog owner, you will likely have been told how important it is to groom your dog, especially when it comes to Goldens that traditionally have long hair.

Of course, it’s also very easy to make rookie mistakes that can cause some serious permanent damage to your dog’s coat. Shaving is the worst mistake that you can possibly make with your Golden Retriever.

If you shave your Golden Retriever then it can result in some nasty, long-lasting damage to the coat. As a result, the coat may end up never growing back as it did before. If it does grow back then it may result in the fur being much rougher and shorter than it was previously.

If your dog does need to be shaved, then you should not do it yourself – you should instead make sure that it is done by a medical professional.

Golden Retriever with short hair

What Kinds of Golden Retrievers Tend to Have the Shortest Hair? 

Just as there are different colors of Golden Retrievers, there are also different types of goldens, that is, those bred for working and hunting vs. those bred for the show ring. The type of Golden is another factor that influences the length of their coat.

Field Golden Retrievers

You will usually find that the goldens with the shortest fur are the field Golden Retrievers. These are the ones that come from a long history of working and hunting dogs.

Compared to show dogs, working dogs have been bred for practicality, not just for how they look.

Show Golden Retrievers

Show Golden Retrievers have a longer coat compared to field Golden Retrievers. This is mainly thanks to the fact that breeders will usually mate two long-haired Goldens to create even more long-haired goldens.

Show dogs have been bred purely for the sake of appearance, and this is mainly why their coats look a lot longer than the coats of field dogs.

Check Your Dog’s Ancestry

When thinking about why your dog has shorter hair, it’s worth checking the ancestry of the dog to check that it isn’t the reason for your dog’s slightly shorter fur.

There are some ways that you can do this.

  • Ask for the dog’s parents’ documents and then manually check the lineage.
  • If the above action is not an option then you can also conduct a DNA test on your dog.

It can be very helpful to do both of these things just to double-check.

Stages of a Golden Retrievers Coat Growth

AgeGrowth StageDescription
Up to 3 months oldFluffThe coat is very fluffy and soft. Run a soft brush over your puppy’s fur at least a few times a week.
Around 18 months oldFeatheringDarker longer hair (“feathers”) starts to appear, starting at the tail. Then moves to the legs and stomach. The baby fluff is not shed but becomes the undercoat (which thickens over time). A longer, newer outer coat will grow. Start a more serious grooming routine with a rake and pin brush. Any stray hairs of the outer coat will be caught by the pin brush while the rake will tackle the thicker undercoat.
Up to 2 to 3 years oldMaturationThey develop a thick, light-colored undercoat and a moderately rougher, darker outer coat. 

Which Dogs Can Be Mistaken for Short Haired Golden Retrievers?

There are four dog breeds that people sometimes confuse with short-haired Golden Retrievers. These include:

  • Labrador Retreiver
  • Flat-coated Retriever
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Curly coated Retriever.

We’re going to cover each of these breeds so that you can see the differences.

The Labrador Retriever

Labradors have short hair

There aren’t many differences in appearance between Labradors and Goldens, aside from the coat. You will usually find that a Labrador has a much shorter coat than a Golden Retriever does.

In most cases though, you’ll have a hard time telling the difference between a Labrador puppy and a Golden Retriever puppy. This is mainly because a Golden Retriever won’t start to grow that long and luscious coat until they’re older than three months old.

If you want the best of both worlds between a Labrador and a Golden Retriever – and with a shorter coat than a typical Golden Retriever – look into the Golden Labrador.

Flat-Coated Retriever

flat coated retriever

These dogs also look very different from Golden Retrievers. The distinct difference between the two is that a flat-coated Retriever usually has a black coat. In most cases, it’s easy to see the difference, but a lot of people will just think that they are simply black-coated Golden Retrievers instead.

It is possible for Golden Retrievers to have black hairs on their coats but you’re never going to find a Golden with a fully black coat. It’s worth keeping that in mind.

In addition to that, a golden’s fur will sometimes become darker as they get older.

Curly Coated Retriever

curly coated retriever

In terms of physical aspects, curly-coated Retrievers look a lot like Golden Retrievers. There are two key differences between them though – their coat color and how the coat looks.

Goldens tend to have hair that’s very smooth, whereas a curly coated retriever has a curly coat. These curls are very tight, and this often means that the coat looks a lot rougher than what you would see on your average Golden Retriever.

You will find curly-coated Retrievers in silver, black, or brown colors. If you make a curly coated Retriever reproduce with a Golden Retriever, you may sometimes get dogs that look even more curly in terms of their coat!

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

These dogs tend to look a lot like Labradors in terms of appearance. They don’t tend to look much like Golden Retrievers, but people sometimes get the two breeds confused.

These dogs have brown, red-gold, or slightly red coats. This is the main reason why they are confused with Golden Retrievers.

Most of these dogs tend to have wavy, short coats, which is in contrast to the long hair of the Golden Retriever.

A mix between the two breeds will often produce a dog that has a wavy and long coat.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I increase my Golden Retriever’s fur?

It’s really important that your Golden Retriever is taking in plenty of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids if you want them to have a healthy coat. It will also help them to grow longer fur.

Use vegetable oils like olive or coconut oil to achieve this. You can add a small teaspoon of it to your dog’s food.

How often should you bathe a Golden Retriever?

Golden Retrievers need to be bathed and groomed on a regular basis thanks to their long fur. You can bathe them as often as every week, but you shouldn’t go more than 6 weeks without bathing them.

Bathing them regularly will help them to have the best coat and skin.

Don’t do it too often, though.

If you have doubts, speak to your veterinarian for advice.


In summary, most Golden Retrievers have a long silky coat. There are six factors that could influence you finding a short haired Golden Retriever, including grooming, genetics, weather, health conditions, age, and nutrition. Field Golden Retrievers also have a short coat than a show Golden.

Author - Jacqueline

Jacqueline is surrounded by outdoor dogs. Her dog Riley, a Doberman mix, is 80+ pounds of muscle. Riley is very active and they both love to walk in the woods. They love camping too. Jacqueline's son is a dog dad to Cooper, a 95-pound Golden Retriever. Cooper swims and retrieves from land or water. Jacqueline's sister owns Tank, a 140-pound Great Pyrenees. Tank is a star along the San Antonio River. Tourists actually stop to take pics of him. Tank has his own Instagram page, thank you very much!

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