Can Golden Retrievers Have Black Hair or Fur? Truths and Myths

Golden Retrievers do come in all shapes and sizes, but they are all basically some shade of golden. At the end of the day, the color of their coats is one of the most unique things about them, and it’s literally in the name.

But every once in a while, you can find a few black hairs on your golden and sometimes it can be a lot more than just a few golden hairs.

So, can golden retrievers have black hair? Yes, Golden Retrievers can have black hair due to a somatic mutation that affects the genetic makeup of their hair cells. The genetics of goldens should make them black but they have a unique genotype that only allows golden & creamy hair colors, but sometimes some black hairs will get through.

Then, there are golden retrievers that are totally black. Yes, Black Golden Retrievers are a thing, and you can learn all about them here. In this article, though, we are only going to focus on those stray black hairs on your golden, what they mean, and what you should do about them.

Keep reading, it gets very interesting quickly.

How Can Goldens Have Black Hair?

We have already established that golden retrievers can have black hair, but to really understand why some goldens have some black hair we will need to dig a bit deep into it.

The reasons some golden retrievers have black hair is because of a somatic mutation that affects the genetic makeup of the hair cells. Essentially, all golden retrievers should actually have black hair, but this doesn’t happen.

Why? because they have a unique genotype that prevents the black hair from growing, and instead allows only a pigment that produces creamy, white, or slightly reddish hair.

A golden retriever dog with a black spot to illustrate how can golden retrievers have black hair or fur

Some other breeds that also have this genotype:

  • White German Shepherds
  • West Highland High Terriers
  • Irish Setters

This gene, which is listed as “ee” on a Punnett square, which is a square diagram that is used to predict the genotypes of a particular cross or breeding experiment, has the same effect on an dog it exists in.

For example, German Shepherds usually have brown, black, and white hair. But in White German Shepherds, this gene masks all the colors other than white, making the dog completely white instead of its typical colors.

For some golden retrievers, such as the adorable pup in the picture above, this mutations can cause more than one black hair. It’s quite rare to see it, but it does happen, and some goldens will have quite large batches of black hair in different parts of their bodies.

By the way, goldens tend to change color as they grow older. The color of your golden retriever’s puppy coat is not necessarily the color they will end up with as adults.

This is actually a very interesting topic on its own, and you should take the time to discover why your golden’s fur gets darker as they grow old here. I have added pictures of all the golden retriever colors and debunked some myths in this post, so make sure to give it a read when possible.

Should I worry about my Golden Retriever’s Black Hair?

No, you should not worry at all about your golden retriever’s black hair. It’s absolutely normal for some goldens to have some black hair during any point in their life, and it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with your dog nor is it a symptom of something concerning.

I have seen so many golden retrievers with some black hair on them that I believe that most goldens will eventually have some black hair on them at some point in their lives.

Another distinction that should be made here is that black hair doesn’t happen to golden retrievers due to their age.

Goldens do change colors when they start going into their older years, but this change actually makes the hair more gray or white, especially around their faces.

Why does my golden retriever have a black spot on fur?

The black spots on your golden retriever’s fur are caused by the same cellular somatic mutation due to the gene which is listed as “ee” on the Punnett square. This is just a generic error and it happens to a lot of goldens. It’s completely normal and is not a cause for concern.

So far, we’ve been talking about how can golden retrievers have black hair, but they can also have black spots elsewhere.

For example, on their tongue, but this is completely different than having black spots on their coats. Let’s see why.

Why Does my golden retriever have a black spot on their tongue?

Some golden retrievers have black spots on their tongues due to extra pigments of melanin. This is also normal, happens to all breeds, and is not a cause of concern. This is more likely to happen in dog breeds that already have some black coloring in their eyes, lips, paw pads, or toenails.

Here is a quick list of some breeds that are also prone to having black spots on their tongue:

  1. Akita
  2. Chow Chow
  3. German Shepherds
  4. English Setters
  5. Dalmatians
  6. Cocker Spaniels
  7. Pugs
  8. Pomeranians
  9. Tibetan Mastiff
  10. Rottweilers
  11. Labrador
  12. Newfoundland
  13. Chinese Shar-Pei
  14. Bichon Frise
  15. Australian Cattle Dog

Do Golden Retrievers have black Skin ?

No, golden retrievers do not have black skin normally. The normal color for golden retriever skin is some shade of pink, but they can have darker bellies as babies which appear more commonly as some shade of purple or very rarely black.

What you should worry about are dark spots. Dark spots on your golden retriever’s skin could be the cause of an infection or a bruise. Your dog could’ve been hit really hard at the spot that they were bruised, and they may not be able to communicate this well to you.

Some bacterial infections could also lead to your dog’s skin becoming dark. In this case, it’s probably a good idea to take them to the vet and have them checked out.

Related Questions

Can Two golden retrievers have black puppies?

Yes, two golden retrievers can have black puppies. In fact, they can have a litter where all their puppies are black golden retrievers. Black golden retrievers are completely normal but they are very rare.

The Somatic mutations can’t be passed onto the springs, which means that the offsprings of your golden retriever that has some black hair will not get the same hair. However, the mutation can still happen in them on its own, but this will be merely a coincidence and will not be related to their parents.

What are black golden retrievers called?

Black golden retrievers are called black golden retrievers, unless you are talking about a flat-coated retriever which is a different dog breed that resembles a golden retriever from afar.

Flat-coated retrievers are a different breed than golden retrievers. They often have black or dark hair and they have sleek, medium-length thick coats of fine hair that is quite different to the thick and long coat of your golden retriever.


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Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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