Grooming your Golden Retriever can be a pleasurable bonding experience for both you and your dog! With the right tools and a little bit of practice, any owner can give their dog a pro-quality grooming at home. Regular brushings will keep your dog’s double coat mat-free and in top condition. Look for good quality slicker brushes, steel combs, scissors, and thinning shears.
Regular grooming for up to half an hour a week will help control their heavy shedding, prevent painful knotting and matting. Remember that tangles are unattractive, uncomfortable and can even lead to sensitive skin and sore spots.
Your Golden Retriever’s coat will not need a full haircut, and remember to never shave your dog, even in summer. Golden Retriever trimming is normally just done on the ears, feet, neck, and tail.
How To Groom A Golden Retriever
The beautiful Golden Retriever is one of the most popular and best loved dog breeds. They are a famously loving, gentle and devoted canine companion. The breed is also admired for that lovely golden coat. You know, the one that gave the Golden Retriever its name!
A traditional working, hunting or service dog, as well as pet, all Golden Retriever families of every variety are familiar with that sheen of lost fur that drapes itself around your home, furniture and rugs!
Sharing your life with a Golden can bring you countless hours of joy, but will you also be spending countless hours grooming your dog’s coat? The Golden Retriever is known as a shedder, and regular grooming is required. But there’s no need to spend tons of money at the dog grooming salon. You also don’t have to be intimidated by the idea of grooming your Golden at home yourself.
Golden Retriever Coat Type
When considering this brilliant breed, one of the first questions that springs to mind is inevitably how to groom a Golden Retriever. The Golden Retriever has a coat that’s striking to look at, but what is it about a Golden’s fur that makes it prone to shedding and in need of regular brushing?
The Golden has a medium length double coat. The top coat is dense and water repellant, and the undercoat is substantial.
Goldens, like other animals with undercoats, go through seasonal shedding, often called “blowing the coat.” This means that the undercoat will grow thick in cold weather and shed in warm weather.
The Golden also has longer fur, called feathering, on some areas of the body, particularly the neck, back of the legs, underbody, and tail. But all this fur doesn’t mean you are going to need to rush off to the poodle parlor every five minutes.
How to Groom a Golden Retriever at Home
Let’s talk about how to groom a Golden Retriever with different kinds of brushes (and combs), and how trim the fur with scissors and thinning shears. We’ll look at the pros and cons of this popular grooming tool.
- One hard and fast rule shared by all professional groomers is to never shave your Golden.
- Your dog needs that double coat year-round, so keep it trimmed but not shaved.
- Plan on a once weekly brushing session at minimum. Many Goldens will require more frequent grooming.
How To Groom A Golden Retriever with the Right Tools
When you’re learning how to groom a Golden Retriever, the right tools are important. What is the best brush for Golden Retriever dogs? What other grooming tools do you need besides a brush?
Your basic grooming kit should contain a brush, comb, scissors, and thinning shears. Let’s look at each tool in more detail.
Golden Retriever Brushes
Most experienced Golden groomers like using a slicker brush. A slicker brush has a wide surface covered in pins. It’s also called a pin brush. Sometimes the pins are bare, and sometimes they have rubber tips.
Slicker brushes are a great choice for working through the mats of loose hair in medium to long coated dogs like the Golden. Bristle brushes are better suited to dogs with shorter coats, but can still be used on Goldens in addition to the slicker brush, if you like.
If you’re learning how to groom a Golden Retriever at home, you’ll need a slicker brush. Here are a few top pics for the best brush for Golden Retriever dogs.
HappyDogz Pro Slicker Brush for Dogs and Cats
This popular slicker brush* has gentle bristles and an ergonomic handle. The larger size option is perfect for Goldens.
Miracle Care Pet Slicker Brush
This slicker brush* also comes in a larger size for big dogs. It has a soft pad and angled, flexible pins for dogs with sensitive skin.
Pro Quality Self Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs and Cats
This popular slicker brush* comes in a larger size for Golden Retrievers. It also has a button you press to release the fur for easy cleaning.
Golden Retriever Combs
When learning how to groom a Golden Retriever at home, you’ll also want a comb. Choose a good quality steel comb for your grooming kit. Combs are great for putting the finishing touches on your Golden after brushing and trimming.
You may have heard of something called a Greyhound comb or Greyhound-style comb. Greyhound is a brand preferred by many professional groomers, but you can shop for less expensive steel combs as well.
Andis Pet Steel Grooming Comb
This good quality comb* is a great choice. A popular, well-priced steel comb that comes in a larger size for big dogs.
2 Pack Pet Comb by Hertzco
With this steel comb set*, you get a small and large comb to cover all areas of your dog. The handle is made of rubber, so you can get a good grip.
Golden Retriever Scissors and Thinning Shears
Learning how to groom a Golden Retriever doesn’t just include brushing them. Your grooming kit should also contain a pair of scissors and a pair of thinning shears.
Scissors are good for detail work around small areas like the ears and feet. Thinning shears are scissors with notches cut out of the blade, perfect for removing bulk from areas like the ruff, and softening edges.
Pet Magasin Grooming Scissors Kit
These popular scissors* come in a pack of two sizes, for both large and small areas. They also have rounded tips for safety and easy grip handles.
Dog Grooming Scissors by Boshel
These scissors* also come in a two-piece set so you can work on both large and small areas. They have rounded tips for safety, and comfortable, adjustable handles.
Sharf Gold Touch Pet Shears
These thinning shears* are made of high quality Japanese stainless steel. They are perfect for both debulking and styling.
Pet Magasin Pet Thinning Shears
A well-priced option, these shears* feature a 28-tooth comb blade and a sharp cutting blade, both made with surgical stainless steel.
How To Groom A Golden Retriever When Shedding
Golden Retrievers shed all year round, but sometimes they shed more than other times. When your Golden Retriever is fully shedding, which will happen once or twice a year, you’ll need to follow your usual routine but upgrade your kit to cope with the extra fur.
Best Brush for Golden Retriever Shedding
Should you use a shedding tool like an undercoat rake, stripping knife, or shedding blade when your Golden Retriever is dropping a lot of fur during peak shedding season?
While some home groomers do like to use these tools to cope with seasonal shedding, many professional dog groomers who work with Goldens advise owners to use heavy-duty shedding devices only with extreme caution.
Regular use of your thinning shears, and especially your slicker brush, can do the job of a more powerful bladed tool. And you won’t run the risk of damaging your Golden Retriever’s beautiful coat. Here are some good brushes for shedding.
Safari Self Cleaning Slicker Brush for Dogs
A well-priced slicker brush* that’s available in small, medium, and large sizes. The stainless-steel pins are retractable for easy cleaning.
Chris Christensen Oval Pin Brush
This brand* is popular with Golden owners. The smooth tipped pins are long enough to get through all the fur and they are made of quality stainless steel.
Golden Retriever Grooming Styles
Now that you have all the right tools to groom your Golden like a pro, what do you need to know about Golden Retriever grooming cuts?
Golden Retrievers and extreme cuts don’t mix! Professional groomers who work with show quality Goldens emphasize the importance of an overall balance and symmetry in a good cut. An untrimmed Golden Retriever has thick, long hair on areas like the neck, tail, and legs. A properly trimmed Golden should look neat, with the thickest hair on the neck, tail, and legs/feet trimmed to look smooth and even.
Severe “summer” cuts are generally not done on Golden Retrievers.
It’s important to remember that a Golden’s thick undercoat works as insulation in the winter.
The undercoat will be much thinner in the summer, but leaving the top coat intact will protect your Golden from sun and heat.
Golden Retriever Grooming Cuts
Besides giving your dog an overall brushing to remove mats and dead fur, the areas of your dog’s head and body with long feathery fur should be trimmed. Use thinning shears on the uneven hair in and around your dog’s ears to make them look neat, but still naturally soft.
You can trim the whisker area of your dog’s face with small, blunt-tipped scissors. Your dog’s feet will have tufts of fur growing around the toes. Use straight scissors to trim the hair so that it’s even with the paw pads.
Longer hair on the top of the foot and rear lower leg (called the hock) should also be trimmed with scissors. Well-trimmed feet should be neat and rounded, like a cat’s.
Your Golden Retriever’s tail should be trimmed with thinning shears to look neat and sculpted, but still retain a full appearance. There are various approaches to trimming the tail. Some groomers gather the tail feathers up and some let them fall like a fan.
Don’t Just Guess!
Be sure to check out grooming tutorials or talk to a professional to find the method that’s most comfortable for you. Your Golden Retriever’s neck and shoulder area has a heavy ruff of fur.
You can thin out the thick undercoat using thinning shears, but be sure to never cut the top coat.
Groomers recommend trimming the neck area in multiple sessions, so you can take a break and assess your work, rather than risk over trimming.
The hair on a Golden’s belly, front elbows, and rear end is not usually trimmed. Some Golden owners like to give their dogs a sanitary trim on the bloomers.
The decision on whether to trim this area tends to be based on the individual dog’s needs.
How To Groom A Golden Retriever Puppy
Are there are special grooming tips for Golden Retriever puppies? How to groom a Golden Retriever puppy is similar to how to groom a Golden Retriever adult – but with more of a focus on getting your pup familiar with the process.
Get your puppy used to being dried with a blow dryer after baths. It’s also a good idea to handle the paws so your puppy becomes comfortable with nail cutting and fur trimming on the feet.
Young puppies shouldn’t need any trimming, but you can brush that soft puppy fluff from an early age to get them used to regular brushings.
Many puppies will view the brush as a chew toy and try to play with it. Reward good behavior during brushing sessions…and relax, they will outgrow this and enjoy brushing when older!
Best Brush for Golden Retriever Puppy
You can buy small, gentle slicker brushes for your Golden Retriever puppy. Here are a few favorites.
PETPAWJOY Slicker Brush
This slicker brush* is designed for puppies, small dogs, cats, and even rabbits. You can change the direction of the pins for both grooming and massaging.
Lil Pals Slicker Brush
A small brush* for puppies and toy breeds. The flexible pins have round plastic tips for gentle brushing on sensitive skin.
JW Pet Company GripSoft Slicker Soft Pin Dog Brush
This slicker brush* has a small oval head and ergonomic handle. It’s designed for small to mid-sized dogs with sensitive skin.
Golden Retriever Grooming Videos
If you are more of a visual learner, there are a few really great Golden Retriever grooming videos online right now. We’re a big fan of this one, which goes into lots of detail:
How To Groom A Golden Retriever At Home
The goal of good grooming is to neaten your Golden’s long feathery fur, but not to drastically change the overall appearance. Many Golden Retriever breeders and professional dog groomers maintain helpful websites and YouTube channels with lots of great grooming advice and how-tos…perfect for novice Golden owners!
Affiliate link disclosure: Links in this article marked with an * are affiliate links, and we may receive a small commission if you purchase these products. However, we selected them for inclusion independently, and all of the views expressed in this article are our own.
Sabrina Addams says
My husband and I have a 3-year-old golden retriever named Hannah and are needing to groom her. It’s helpful to know that you should never shave them and need to brush them at least once a week. I will remember these things and maybe try to find a dog groomer to make sure it’s done properly.
Ignacio Pena says
I need to say something for those “professionals” who advise against cutting your golden´s hair. I live in Taiwan where tropical weather is hot and humid. My 8 month old puppy was every day with his tongue out, hiding in the bathroom and pretty much suffering from the heat. I gave it much though and despite some suggestions I decided to trim his hair to a 3 mm length. The results were immediate: the dog stopped hiding in the bathroom, stopped pulling out his tongue all the time (now he never does that in the house aside from when he runs or gets very excited), he is happier and even stopped scratching himself with his legs. Noting but gains and a better life to this dog. I will make sure that his hair keeps trimmed 8 months out of the year at least here in Taiwan.
Maybe if you live in a cold place like where this breed comes from (Scotland) you need to not touch his hair, but in warm places you should cut his hair to relieve your dog from the heat. That long hair coat does not make your dog fresher, it makes him or her miserable in hot weathers. Get rid of it and he or she will feel like other breeds made for hot weathers feel.
We live in Thailand and very much want cut short our golden’s hair growing on his back and sides. Roughly 1 inch high we would like the cut. His coat is thick. He is outside 100%. He spends his whole day panting.
Great article. I was a hardcore Andis user but found this comb on Amazon which is similar but way more durable and even has an anti-rust spine. I also like that the pins are tapered so I can get in thicker areas easily. It was a great find so thought I would share!