Golden Retrievers continue to be a beloved breed in the United States, renowned not only for their skills in search and rescue but also for their therapeutic qualities.
For the last decade, this breed consistently ranks among the top five most popular dog breeds in the country, according to the American Kennel Club. Their enduring popularity is highlighted by their historical presence in the White House, with past Presidents such as Ford and Reagan choosing them as companions.
In the realm of quirky achievements, a Golden Retriever named Augie made headlines in 2003 for fitting five tennis balls in its mouth, setting a Guinness World Record. This feat humorously illustrates the breed’s eagerness to please their owners, a trait that endears them to many.
The enduring appeal of Golden Retrievers can be attributed to their friendly nature, intelligence, and versatility. Whether it’s for companionship, assistance, or simply as a family pet, the Golden Retriever’s place in American hearts and homes remains strong and steadfast.
Golden Retrievers got their name from the time they were trained to retrieve waterfowls during hunting or shooting games without damage; hence, the ‘retriever’. ‘Golden’ is obviously for their coats which vary from light golden to dark golden.
The Price of a Golden Retriever
The cost of a Golden Retriever varies depending on where you acquired it. You can have one for as low as $400 to $1,000 from backyard breeders with no health clearances and $500 and below if you acquired it from a pet shelter or rescue.
But prices of golden retrievers may go beyond the $1,500 mark if you decide to buy from a pet breeder instead, depending on your location.
- North East US – $1,700 to $2,000
- Mid West US – $1,500 to $1800
- West Coast US – $2,000 to $2,500
Breeder prices typically include tax and other documentation, microchip, first shots, pet insurance for 3-6 months, health screening reports of sire and dam for eyes, heart, hip, elbow, deworming, and photocopies of test results.
On the other hand, pet shops often offer dog beds or crates when you purchase a dog from them. They even offer food enough to feed your dog for a few days.
When adopting a pet from Golden Retriever rescue organizations, the cost would be cheaper as compared to buying directly from pet shops or breeders. However, you’ll have to pass certain requirements before you can have one.
Animal shelters also offer affordable prices for as low as $300 up to $400. They are actually a good place to start since they conduct a thorough medical examination to ensure that you’ll get a healthy pet.
One-Time Expenses for Having a Golden Retriever
Besides the actual cost of the canine pet, several budget items you need to spend on upfront for keeping it are the following:
- Licensing Fees
In most states, dog owners are required to have their pets licensed. They have different prices but on average, the fee is around $50.
There also some states where dogs with microchip are only required to pay a one-time license fee. In some areas, multiple dog registrations reduce your licensing cost.
This is almost always required in every state especially if dog registration is mandatory. As mentioned, this is typically included when buying from breeders. Otherwise, expect to pay for around $19 to $45 with an additional fee of around $20 for the registry.
- Housing Costs
Golden Retrievers can easily adapt to either indoor or outdoor living but most of the time, they are kept outside. If that’s the case, there should be a fence in your backyard to prevent them from roaming in your neighborhood.
They are large-sized animals with an average height that ranges from 21.5 to 24 inches, while the average weight is approximately between 55 and 75 pounds. Thus, the recommended size for a crate is 42” which has a starting price of around $45.
For Golden pups, you may consider buying a dog bed which you can purchase for as low as $10.
- Required Exercise and Training
Although Golden Retrievers are known to be somewhat service dogs, they are still in the category of “medium energy” breeds. With this, they are required to have at least 1 hour of physical activity or moderate exercise every day.
Since they are predisposed to joint problems, rigorous running is not recommended until they reach their peak growth which is around 2 years.
Golden Retrievers tend to have a strong personality and considering their size when they turn to adulthood, training them at a very young age saves you from going through the troubles of having disobedient and unruly pet especially in the presence of other people.
Like Labs, they are also known for “crittering” so, not training them properly will result in having hunters of rats, squirrels, spiders, chipmunks, etc. at home.
But worry not; their breed is known to be highly intelligent which makes them easy to train. That’s why they are a popular choice to star in movies and television shows; with the most recent one being “A Dog’s Purpose”.
Dog trainers typically charge $20 per hour but could go up depending on the size and temperament of your pet. Other dog training classes charge $150 on the average for a series of sessions.
Recurring Cost of Owning a Golden Retriever
- Food Costs
Golden Retrievers are mostly voracious eaters. Because of this, they tend to choke on big chunks of food and are very much prone to obesity so it’s up to you to control their eating habits.
There are some specific food bowls (starting at $20) that are intended to do just that. But before buying one, you might want to try putting ice cubes on its bowl to somehow limit the amount of food they can gobble up at once.
Golden pups need to have a natural, limited ingredient diet since they are more prone to food allergies so stay away from food that contains grains, gluten or wheat. A high-quality 12-lb bag of dog food will cost around $36 and will last for two months.
If you have an adult Golden Retriever, a 30-lb bag will cost around $60. If it is not that active, the food will last around 1 ½ months. Otherwise, the food will last a month.
Also, if you want to have a shiny coat for your Golden, you must look for dog food that has fatty acid contents.
- Hygiene and Grooming Costs
One thing that sets potential dog owners off is that Golden Retrievers have long coats and that they shed a lot. And this is not just a concern of those with allergies but also those who can’t be bothered cleaning and disposing of dog’s hair every time.
While others would make Golden Retrievers’ shedding their life problem, it only takes a few minutes of brushing of their coat to minimize this occurrence. This also makes a good bonding moment for you and your dog.
That said, they need to be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting or having dreadlocks, particularly on the side of their bellies and under the legs. During major sheds, brushing needs to be done daily. The kind of combs for this purpose can be purchased with prices starting at $5.
Prior to brushing your pet’s coat, you have to bathe it first to help in loosening its furs. You can purchase dog shampoos for as low as $15.
One of the biggest expenses you would have to pay for in terms of grooming a Golden Retriever (or at least consider getting one) is a vacuum cleaner because of its heavy shedding. You can purchase one at around $200.
Your pet also needs to have regular ear cleaning as Golden Retrievers are prone to ear infection due to their floppy ears. You can buy an ear cleaner solution for as low as $5. Make sure to choose those with Aloe Vera to loosen ear wax and antiseptic formula to reduce the risk of infection.
And because of this, nail clipping regularly is a must to avoid further irritating their ears when they scratch them. You can do this at least once a month. Dog nail trimmers are available online at an average cost of around $6.
If you don’t have time to maintain the cleanliness of your dog, you can always bring it to pet shops that offer grooming services. At least four times a year is okay but every 6-8 weeks would be ideal for Golden Retrievers since they are known to smell a lot. You can avail of a grooming service for as low as $29 up to $60 per appointment.
- Illness and Disease Costs
Golden retrievers are known for having a lot of genetic illnesses such as cancer and joint issues so be careful in choosing a reputable breeder as a source. Legit ones would be honest about all the information pertaining to the dog’s pedigree and would be very open about discussing the cause of death of any relative in the family line and would be very willing to provide copies of clearances.
- Cancer – It is said that around 60% of Golden Retrievers will die of cancer. Since all other health issues can be guaranteed by a health certificate after various conducted tests but cancer has no pre-tests to confirm, the only way around it is to ask the breeder about the average lifespan of their breed lines. Female Goldens are prone to mammary cancer while male goldens are more likely to develop prostate cancer. The treatment cost for these ranges from $8,000 to $15,000.
- Hip Dysplasia – Puppies are also prone to hip and elbow dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is common and is caused by genetics. That’s why breeders often spay or neuter dogs known to have this medical problem to reduce the likelihood of passing it to the next generation. The surgery cost for hip and elbow dysplasia is very expensive. Hip dysplasia particularly, can cost around $1,200 to $6,000, depending on the type of procedure – whether Double or Triple Pelvic Osteotomy (DPO/TPO), Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO), or Total Hip Replacement (THR). So make sure to purchase your pet from a breeder who is certified by Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- Other Genetic Conditions -Adult Goldens can also be afflicted with epilepsy which is passed through genes. Anti-seizure medications can cost you $20 to $100 a month but could go up to as much as $500 depending on severity. Hyperthyroidism is easily treatable with medications that cost around $50/month. On the other hand, please prepare a budget of around $500 for heart conditions such as sub-aortic stenosis and cardiomyopathy treatments.
- Other Health-Related Costs – These include all optional procedures and non-illness related conditions but still have effects on your Golden Retrievers overall well-being.
- Spaying and Neutering
When you have no intention of breeding your dog or can’t afford to raise its offsprings, we should subject our puppies to neutering (for females) which costs around $70 to $165, while for males, spaying costs around $100 to $200.
Some reported to having been quoted up to as high as $350 that includes hospital confinement after the surgery, IV fluids, and pain medications.
Not only will you prevent unwanted pregnancies, but these procedures can also lengthen your pet’s life by reducing its chance of getting cancer (mammary or prostate).
This is also performed by reputable breeders to stop propagating defective dogs or those that are predisposed to having genetic anomalies based on their family history which cause different diseases and illnesses.
Dogs must undergo annual immunization to boost their immunity. Puppy’s complete initial immunization costs around $200 and then $75 for every 2-3 years for the booster packages.
Since the breeder is usually the one responsible for the first few shots, you just need to take care of the rest.
- Accidents and Untoward Incidents
As a puppy, Goldens can be very curious and really clumsy. If they are kept indoors, they might roam in every part of your house. They may even stumble upon your toddler’s room and accidentally swallow a small toy.
These objects may interfere with your pet’s digestion, so make sure you take all precautionary measures like dog-proofing your home. Also, the cost to remove the foreign object from your pet may cost about $800 to $1,000 depending on the vet.
Some sellers offer a few months’ worth of pet insurance as an additional freebie. After its expiration, you may want to get one as this is ideal for Golden pups since they’re young and they’re prone to getting sick and accidents because of their personality.
Golden retrievers’ insurance premiums are typically priced at around $30 to $60 a month.
Overall, your annual visit to a veterinarian would be estimated at $350 so you’ll almost get your money’s worth even if your dog didn’t really need any major health care service.
- Toys and Accessories
Golden retrievers are very active and would need toys to stimulate their minds and exercise where they can shed some energy t
o avoid being destructive. It’s recommended to have a mix of chew toys, balls, and other interactive toys that don’t need to be expensive.
You may also consider buying a collar and a leash as Golden Retrievers are easily distracted outside so you may want something to control or hold on to them to avoid any untoward incidents. Price starts at $15 each.
Golden Retriever Buyer’s Guide
Make sure to purchase from breeders who are registered members of a reputable club such as the American Kennel Club.
Watch out for those breeders who advertise ‘rare’ breeds of Golden Retrievers with different coat colors. They often charge higher prices when in fact these different coat color breeds are not really rare.
Before you get yourself a Golden Retriever, decide on whether you’re going to get a puppy or an adult. If you’re going to get a puppy, you need to have extra patience in taking care of them.
Although Golden Retrievers are one of the gentlest and sweetest breeds, they tend to bite people to protect property. Always keep in mind to never pull things out of their mouths (as they are prone to putting whatever things that fit in them) but try to trade treats or anything more interesting or valuable in exchange.
They are cuddly and they tend to stick like glue with their owners wherever they go and they get easily sad if they’re alone for long periods of time. If you’re going to work for long hours, make sure you’ll have someone to take care of your pet.