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Home > Dogs > Are Golden Retrievers Double Coated? Breed Facts & FAQ

Are Golden Retrievers Double Coated? Breed Facts & FAQ

Golden Retriever in a park

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

Veterinarian, MRCVS

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A Golden Retriever’s beautiful, wavy, luxurious double coat is one of their defining features. If you own one of these magnificent dogs, you know that means they tend to shed heavily too! While we may look at these dogs and think that they must be sweltering with all that hair in hot weather, the double coat is actually designed to protect the dog and keep them comfortable. In this article, we look at the differences between single and double coats.


First of All, What Is a Single Coat?

Dogs with single coats don’t have an undercoat. Their hair is in one layer covering their bodies. These dogs tend to shed less and can have smooth, curly, or wiry hair. Single-coated dogs can get cold easily and don’t look as fluffy as double-coated breeds. Their hair takes longer to grow out, and while they do shed, they tend to shed less than double-coated dogs.

So, What Is a Double Coat?

Simply put, a double coat is fur with two layers: a short, fuzzy, and usually soft undercoat that sits close to the skin and a longer but more durable overcoat that lays over the soft hairs and acts as “guard hairs.” Double coats protect the dog from all types of weather and even the sun.

However, while this gives them a gorgeous, soft, and shining golden coat, it also means that they will need more grooming than other breeds and shed more. Double-coated breeds have several variations, but the Golden Retriever has a very soft and silky double overcoat rather than wiry and coarse (like you might see in some terriers).

Double-coated dogs shed much more than single-coated dogs because their undercoats lose more hair. Dogs with undercoats have an added layer of protection. This coat helps to keep them warm, protects them from wounds and sunburns, and keeps them dry.

Golden retriever beautiful lovely pair
Image Credit: Rala3030, Shutterstock

When Golden Retrievers are born, they are covered in their first coat, which is their undercoat. Their second coat grows in over time.

In addition to the Golden Retriever, other dogs that have double coats are:

Golden Retrievers Have Double Coats

Golden retrievers have long, silky-smooth overcoats with a warm, insulating undercoat that’s usually cream-colored and fluffy. The coat is helpful insulation when retrieving game in the water.

A double coat will protect your pup from the sun, rain, sleet, water, or even snow but causes significant shedding throughout the year. Not all dogs have double coats, but certain breeds such as Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Pomeranians all have them. It’s commonly seen in the working class of dogs, as their double coat truly does serve a purpose.

Golden retrievers have very striking fur, which is almost instantly recognizable. They also have long feathered hairs forming part of the overlayer, coming to sit on the dog’s forelegs at the elbow and the back legs (sometimes called hocks). This coat is usually wavy and lightens with age, going from golden to almost cream.

Grooming a Double-Coated Dog

When the weather is hot, some people think that cutting their Golden Retriever’s coat short or even shaving it down to the skin will help keep them cool. But cutting their coats short can actually do more harm than good.

The undercoat is there to keep them cool. The undercoat and outer coat work to protect the dog’s skin from sun, moisture, heat, and cold. By shaving the outer coat off, the dog is only left with their undercoat. This doesn’t provide the dog with protection from the elements, and while it may not seem that way, this coat alone can make the dog have a harder time keeping cool. It also won’t repel water or block the sun’s rays. The dog will be more susceptible to insect bites and sunburn.

Your Golden Retriever should be brushed regularly and bathed when necessary. If you do need their coat trimmed or tidied, a professional groomer will know how to cut their hair the right way without compromising their coat.

If you’d like to groom your dog yourself, make sure you know how to groom a double-coated dog to avoid trimming their coats too close to their skin and leaving them vulnerable.

man grooming golden retriever dog
Image Credit: SB Arts Media, Shutterstock

How Often Should You Groom a Golden Retriever?

Generally, a twice-weekly brushing with a good de-shedding brush helps to keep dead undercoat from building up under your dog’s overcoat. Brushing to strip all the dead hair prevents matting and should be done around once every 2 weeks.

Try not to over-bathe your golden retriever since their beautiful, shining coats have natural protective oil that can be stripped away and dried out by harsh over-washing.

Can I Shave A Golden Retrievers Coat?

Golden retriever coats should never be shaved; they should only be shaved in portions if directed by a veterinarian (in such cases of surgery,skin infections, or the like). This is because the soft hairs of the undercoat grow faster than the harder, more coarse overlayer.

Normal growth patterns of the coat can be disrupted when the hair is shaved, and the dog is not protected against the weather or the sun without any hair.



Golden Retrievers are double-coated dogs, meaning they have a soft undercoat beneath a long, coarse outer coat. These two coats work to keep the dog dry, warm, cool, and protected from the elements. Double-coated dogs shed more than single-coated dogs, and care should be taken during grooming to ensure that their protective outer coat is not compromised.

Featured Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

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