The Golden Retriever, with its intelligence and eager to please attitude, is one of the most popular breeds in the United States according to AKC registration statistics. The working ability that has made the Golden Retriever such a useful hunting companion also make him an ideal guide, assistance, and search and rescue dog. The lustrous golden color is the hallmark of this versatile breed.
This active and energetic Sporting breed can adapt to many different living situations but does require daily exercise. His water repellant double coat sheds and needs regular brushing. With his friendly temperament and striking golden color, this breed is both beautiful to look at and a joy to own.
The Golden Retriever does require regular bathing and grooming. This energetic sporting dog can be bathed as frequently as every week up to no longer than every 6 weeks. With this double coated breed, regular baths and proper drying sets the foundation to maintaining healthy skin and coat. It is essential to select the proper products to match your pet’s skin and coat needs in order to achieve the optimal end result.
Before bathing a Golden Retriever, take a few extra minutes to take a high velocity dryer over the coat to loosen the debris and dirt from the skin, and to blow out any loose hair. Then use an undercoat rake, stone, shedding blade, carding tool, or a slicker brush to remove additional loose coat. The more coat you remove before the bath, the better. Once you have selected the proper shampoo and conditioner to meet the dog’s needs, it is time for a bath. Since the Golden Retriever’s are so active and energetic, two baths are recommended. The pre-bath for general cleaning to remove any dirt and grime and to bring the coat back to a neutral state. The final bath is designed to target the need of the dog’s skin and coat. Following up with a conditioner to keep the coat properly hydrated is highly recommended.
Once the bath is complete, it is imperative to get the dog completely dry. There is an art to the blow dry process on a Golden Retriever in order to achieve a nice, straight coat. One important habit to master is drying the hair in the direction it should lay. Then go over with a comb and a heated dryer to remove any traces of remaining dampness.
Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming
The coat should be light, straight, and stand off of the body with no loose hair. Any loose hair or fuzziness to the coat should be carded. Everything about the finish should be natural. The feet and the outside edges of the ear are trimmed with thinning shears. In the warmer months, many pet owners try to keep the dog cooler by shaving the coat. The Golden Retriever’s double coat is designed to protect them during any season. If you are trying to keep the dog cooler, you should elect to remove the undercoat with a good bath and blow out. When you shave this breed, you are exposing their skin to the elements and take away their ability to stay cool.
General Health Care
Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, anal gland expression, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every bathing and grooming appointment. All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned on a regular basis. Some need to have the hair plucked from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation. It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is also very important. Long, unsightly nails are uncomfortable for the dog, as well as anyone they might jump on. Long nails also compromise the shape of the foot. Trimming the pads of the foot helps give the dog good traction on different surfaces and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house. It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions. Anal glands should at least be checked by the professional pet stylist. Some caring pet owners prefer to have their veterinarian express the anal glands rather than their pet stylist. Good dental hygiene is essential for a healthy pet as well.
In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through a well-balanced diet, vitamins, and healthy treats.
Do they require a lot of grooming?
Golden Retrievers are a very active breed. A bath and a blowout are necessary to keep the shedding under control and maintain healthy skin and coat. Regular grooming should be done every 4 – 6 weeks. Make it a habit to spend some quality time brushing your dog to keep the coat separated and divided which, in turn, will allow the skin to breathe.
What is a common problem in Golden Retrievers?
Golden Retrievers are sensitive to dermatology disorders. The dense undercoat and long outer coat create the perfect environment for dermatitis, hot spots, allergic reactions, and infection. That is why it is so important to stay on a consistent routine for professional bath and blow outs.
Does the Golden Retriever shed or cause allergies?
They shed, but basic maintenance will significantly reduce the amount of hair in your house. For most of the year, weekly brushing is sufficient. However, daily brushing is almost mandatory during major shedding cycles.
Are Golden Retrievers good with children?
Golden Retrievers have a wonderful reputation for being great family dogs, and absolutely wonderful with children. However, as with any breed, a small child should never be left alone with any dog.
What if I have a show dog?
Whether you have a show dog or a companion dog, the same basic care is given regarding nutrition, socialization, and hygiene. The difference is the grooming maintenance and training for the show ring. It is always helpful if your breeder is willing to help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the show ring. A great place to start is with the national breed club like the Golden Retriever Club of America, www.grca.org.