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Red Golden Retriever Breed Profile

Dog Breeds, Dogs

Last Updated - May 30, 2023

Have you ever seen a red golden retriever? Their striking mahogany coats make a stunning statement, and like their standard golden friends, they have the most winning personalities of almost any other dog breed.

So what sets a red golden retriever apart, and how do you know if it is the dog for you?

Breed Characteristics


Apartment Living

How easily a dog deals with living in an apartment. Despite the dog's size, you should also consider energy level, calmness, and friendliness.

Being Alone

Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to panic and separation anxiety when left alone. When left alone, they can become very destructive, bark, whine, chew and cause mayhem. These breeds do best in a home with a family member around during the day, can go to work with their owner, or recommend attending doggy day care if the owner is not home during the day.

Sensitivity Level

Low sensitivity dogs are easygoing, tolerant, and resilient. They can handle a noisy and chaotic household, a loud or assertive owner, and tolerate an inconsistent or variable routine.

Tolerate Cold Climate

Short coat and little to no coat breeds are vulnerable to cold climates. These breeds will have a low cold tolerance and need to live inside in a cool climate and should have a jacket or sweater on for chilly walks.

Tolerate Warm Climate

Breeds with a thick and double coat are vulnerable to overheating. Breeds with a short nose and flat face are also vulnerable as they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If these breeds of dog live in a warm and humid environment, you will need to be extra cautious about taking them outdoor in the heat.


Cat Friendly

Friendliness towards cats and humans is very different. Some breeds are gentle and accept cats readily as part of the family. Some breeds will chase, fight, or rough play with a cat and cause severe injury. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Dog Friendly

Friendliness towards other dogs. Some dogs may try to dominate other dogs and attack and fight, while others would rather play. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation.

Family Friendly

How affectionate a breed is likely to be with family members or other people he knows well. Some breeds are independent, some breeds can be aloof with everyone but their owner, while others treat everyone they know like it's their best friend.
Breed, however, isn't the only factor affecting affection levels. Proper socialization and training can improve the situation.

Kid Friendly

Kid-friendly dogs should be gentle with children, be more tolerant of screaming and running children as well as other children's behavior.

Openness To Strangers

How welcoming a breed is likely to be towards strangers. Some dogs will greet a stranger with wagging tails, while others are shy, reserved, cautious, or aggressive. However, no matter the breed, proper socialization, and training can improve the situation. 

Health And Grooming

Coat Grooming Frequency

Amount of bathing, brushing, trimming, and professional grooming needs. Consider how much time, patience, and budget you have for this type of care when looking at the grooming effort needed. All breeds require regular nail trimming.

Drooling Level

Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm or wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine. But if you are a neat freak, dogs that are drool prone may not be the right choice for you.

General Health

Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems. However, this doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases, and it just means that they're at an increased risk.
If you're adopting or rescuing a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
If you are purchasing from a breeder, be sure to do your research. Purchase from a reputable breeder and ask for the parent's health records to understand what potential health issue your pup may have.

Shedding Level

Amount and frequency of dog hair shedding.

If you are getting a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. 


Easy To Train

Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt, an action, and a reward (such as treats, appraise, or toys). Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.


Dogs bred for jobs requiring decision-making, intelligence, and concentration, need to exercise their brains. Such as, dogs bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they can become destructive and exhibit behaviors such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.

Potential To Mouthiness

Common in most breeds during the puppy stage. Mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need the training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy squeaky toys, as well as a good chew on a toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.

Prey Drive

Dogs who were bred to hunt have an inborn desire to chase--and sometimes kill. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, or rabbits, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small animals. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase. But you'll probably have difficulty getting their attention when birds fly by.

Bark Or Howl Tendencies

Some breeds are more vocal than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. While some breeds will bark at every passing bird, some may use other sounds to express themselves.

Physical And Mental Needs

Energy Level

The amount of physical and mental stimulation a breed needs. High-energy breeds are ready to go and eager for their next adventure. Low-energy breeds are like couch potatoes - they're happy to lay around and sleep.

Exercise Needs

Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.

Mental Stimulation

How much mental stimulation a breed needs to stay happy and healthy. Purpose-bred dogs can have jobs that require decision-making, problem-solving, concentration, or other qualities. Without the brain exercise they need, they can be destructive and have unwanted behavior issues.


A dog's inclination to be protective of his family members, home, yard, or even car.

Watchdog Ability

A breed's tendency to alert you that strangers are around. These breeds are more likely to react to any potential threat, whether it's the mailman or a squirrel outside the window.

Origin Red Golden Retrievers

The Red Golden Retriever dog is really just a color variation of the standard Golden Retriever. However, the same genes that contribute to the deep red coat contribute to a few other physical differences. It is uncertain when the first Red Golden Retriever appeared. Whether red or dark red golden retrievers, they are all considered golden retrievers.

The origins of the Golden Retriever go back to Scotland in the mid-1800s. They were mainly bred for hunting purposes. The Golden Retriever could track and retrieve prey that was shot from guns with a longer range than the guns before.

A wavy-coated retriever was bred with a tweed water spaniel, and the first Golden Retrievers were created. Over the years of development, several other breeds were incorporated for increased hunting skills and stamina. One of these other breeds was the Irish setter. These red Irish setter genes are most likely where a red golden retriever gets its dark coat. As a recessive gene, Red Golden Retrievers, also known as Red Retrievers, are relatively rare.

While they are purebred golden retrievers, red golden retrievers are not qualified to be show dogs by the American Kennel Club (AKC) or the Kennel Club (KC). These clubs have strict show standards that only allow for light golden, golden, or deep golden. The red retriever has a variation of a deep golden coat, but it is too dark to be regulation standard.

Red golden retrievers also come from a slightly different line of Goldens. There are two primary golden retriever lines, those that were and are field bred and those that were and are conformation bred, or show dog stock. Field-bred goldens tend to be a bit smaller, leaner, and more athletic than conformation bred goldens, which are a bit larger and less active.


Height: 23-24"

Weight: 65-75 lbs


Height: 21-22"

Weight: 55-65 lbs

Life Span: 10-12

Breed Group: Sporting

Red Golden Retriever Size 

Most Red Golden Retrievers are a bit smaller than regular Golden Retrievers, and this is due to the same recessive gene that lends them their rich mahogany coat and due to the fact they are field bred goldens. Males reach heights of 23-24 inches and weigh between 65 and 75 pounds. Females are a bit smaller at 21-22 inches tall and between 55-65 pounds full grown.


The personality of a red golden retriever is the same as a standard Golden Retriever. They have sweet, devoted personalities and make smart, driven, and loving companions.

Golden Retrievers have one of the calmest and most affable personalities of any dog breed, which is why they are one of the most popular dog breeds in the US.

Red golden retriever looking up

Source: Flickr


Red Golden Retrievers have a deep red or dark golden coat color, as the red coloring comes from the genetic background of the Golden Retriever breed. They are leaner and smaller than standard Goldens and have a slightly shorter outer coat. And their red color does not fade with age as a typical Golden Retriever does.


Goldens are beloved because of their wonderful, loving, sweet, smart temperaments, which make them perfect pets for just about anyone. Also, it makes them great service dogs, search and rescue dogs, or hunting and show dogs.

Golden retrievers are known for their soft mouths. Their soft mouth makes great with kids, even small children, and other household pets.

Red Golden Retriever is friendly with strangers and other dogs. Easy to train, which makes them excellent therapy dogs, service dogs, and search and rescue dogs. They are good pets for seniors or children and thrive as family pets or companions for singles.  

Diet/Nutritional Needs

A dark red golden retriever has pretty typical dietary needs for a large-size dog. For specifics regarding the quantity of food, you should consult with your vet, who will be able to make a recommendation based on your red retriever's size, age, and activity levels.

Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and treats should be kept to a minimum to prevent obesity.

Activity/Exercise Needs

Red golden retrievers are a bit more active than standard golden retrievers, so it is one of the main considerations when deciding if this is the breed for you.

You will need to provide daily exercise through walks, running or jogging, hikes, or trips to the dog park. Some goldens enjoy swimming and dog sports as well.

The red golden retriever will also need plenty of mental stimulation to prevent him from developing negative habits out of boredom. Puzzle toys, trick training, and interactive games like hide-and-seek can be a great way to challenge your red golden retriever.

Grooming Needs

Another slight difference between a standard Goldens and a Red Golden Retriever is that Red Golden Retrievers tend to have shorter outer coats.

Red Golden Retriever tends to shed a little less than a standard Golden Retriever. Even though they shed less, you should still commit to daily brushing to keep your dog's coat tangle free and to manage the shedding, but you may find that your red golden sheds a bit less.

You should trim their nails regularly and get into the habit of daily teeth brushing. Examine your red golden retriever's ears regularly for signs of irritation, debris, or infection. To maintain good ear health, do get into the habit of cleaning their ear with ear cleaning solutions.


Red golden retrievers are highly adaptable dogs, able to adjust to just about anywhere so long as they have their people. They love a house with a big yard to play in but can thrive in an apartment, too, provided they are getting sufficient exercise and attention. Red Golden Retriever puppies can be trained to get along with just about everyone and most other pets and animals.

Red golden retriever in the fields

Source: Flickr


A Red Golden Retriever puppy is very easy to train. Not only are these smart and intelligent dogs, but they love to please their people and respond very well to positive training methods.

They are food motivated which makes for a pretty straightforward training process, though they do tend to be a mouthier breed and will need to be taught not to bite and to be gentle.

Golden Retriever puppies will chew on anything, so be sure to not only train them not to chew on household things but give them plenty of toys that are chew-appropriate. Socialize your puppy as soon as possible and continue to introduce it to new environments and people throughout its puppyhood to ensure that it is as calm and friendly as possible. 

Life Expectancy

Red Golden Retriever lifespan is the same as standard Goldens. A healthy golden retriever can be expected to live 10-12 years. 


Due to their rarity, you can pay as much as $3000 for a Red Golden Retriever puppy. If you are going to purchase one from a breeder, be sure to do your research and look for reputable breeders.

A Red Golden Retriever can be found at shelter and rescue groups. Therefore, it's best to check out these options first!

Potential Health Issues

The potential health issues for a red golden retriever are the same as those of a standard golden. Many of these conditions are hereditary and genetic and can be spotted early with sufficient health screenings. Reputable red golden retriever breeders will have health screenings of litter parents carefully before breeding to ensure the healthiest possible puppies. Always ask to see these records and discuss anything that could be a concern.

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

This is a genetic condition that results in the malformations of the dog's joints. It can start as early as puppyhood.


This condition affects the thyroid's ability to produce or relate certain hormones that regulate metabolism. It can lead to weight gain, skin or coat issues, and changes in behavior. 

Eye Disorders

Common eye disorders in golden retrievers include progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), golden retriever pigmentary uveitis (GRPU), and distichiasis. 


Golden retrievers have a high probability of developing cancer, with rates as high as 60%, making it one of the highest rates for any dog breed. Types of cancer include hemangiosarcoma, osteosarcoma, lymphoma, and mast cell tumors.

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About the Author

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

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