Do Golden Retrievers Fur Get Darker As They Grow Old? [Images Included]

Golden Retriever puppies are the cutest thing in the world, and even though they will stay beautiful forever, some things about them are going to change.

Some of the changes will be expected, others will be a bit surprising to their owners. For example, your golden retrievers color will definitely change as they grow.

So, to answer your question of do Golden Retrievers fur get darker?; Golden Retrievers fur gets darker as they grow older. Their true colors start showing when they’re 12 weeks old. You can tell the final color of your golden’s fur from their ears when they are puppies. With Age, some areas of your dog’s coat will become whiter or more gray.

To understand more about golden retriever colors and answer the other questions you now have, let’s take a deep dive into the world and mysteries of golden retrievers colors.

A Guide to Golden Retrievers Fur Color

To gain a better understanding, think of their fur color as you think of the colors of human skin. There is no specific number for the exact colors of human skins because this is just unrealistic. The human skin exists in a wide spectrum of colors, and our labels are simply sections of this spectrum.

The same thing can be said about the colors of Golden Retrievers’ fur. Now, with that being said, let’s check the three colors officially recognized by the American Kennel Club:

The 3 Different Colors of Golden Retrievers

Despite what you may be reading on the internet, there are not 5 colors of Golden Retrievers on the Internet.

So, how many colors of Golden Retrievers are there? Golden Retrievers exist only in shades of Gold. There are three officially recognized colors of Golden Retrievers recognized by the American Kennel Club: Golden, Light Golden, and Dark Golden.

Other colors of Golden Retrievers are merely lighter or darker shades of the officially recognized colors. This makes more sense than “colors” of Golden Retrievers.

Still, the American Kennel Club officially recognizes only three colors of the Golden Retriever, and I tend to agree with them on this. However, their restrictions tend to ease up a bit as the dog gets older and start getting white, gray, and dark batches in places like around their eyes.


Standard golden retriever with officially recognized golden retrievers fur of Gold
The Standard Golden Retriever. Image credit: AKC
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The standard Golden Retriever is the fur color that gave the dog its name in the first place. It’s a nice shade of Gold that has become so recognizable that people think of the Golden Retriever whenever they think of beautiful dog coats.

The ‘Golden’ Golden Retriever is one of the three recognized colors of the golden retriever by the American Kennel Club.

Dark Golden

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Dark Golden Retrievers have been gaining popularity lately as dog breeders started to focus more on them. Sometimes they also refer to certain shades of dark golden retrievers as “red” or “Mahogany” golden retrievers.

Some dog breeders also claim that the darker golden retrievers are more athletic than lighter ones, but there is no science that can back up this evidence.

To my knowledge, no research has shown a co-relation between the shade of a golden retriever’s color and their physical abilities.

Light Golden

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Sometimes also referred to as “creme” golden retrievers, these are favored by so many. Lighter Golden Retrievers are also more favored by people in the movie industry and have starred in so many movies and TV shows to even count.

However, don’t let the “creme” part fool you, no Golden Retriever is actually white, they are just really light shades of Golden.

What about the Red Golden Retriever?

There is no Red Golden Retriever, just really dark shade of Golden Retriever. The color of your golden may change to be a really dark shade of Gold that may appear golden, especially under some lighting conditions.

The image below shows such perfect conditions for the color of the dark golden retriever that really do appear as red:

Golden Retrievers Colors in Other Kennel Clubs

The American Kennel Club tends to be the strictest kennel club when it comes to the colors of the Golden Retrievers and they only accept the three golden retrievers as explained above.

However, the Canada Kennel Club and UK Kennel club tend to be a bit looser with their restrictions for what is accepted as a Golden Retriever color.

The UK Kennel Club

The UK kennel club accepts lighter shades of Golden Retriever but don’t accept darker shades and doesn’t recognize the red or Mahogany shades of Golden Retriever.

Canada Kennel Club

The Canadian Kennel Club has the loosest restrictions of all three Kennel clubs. They will usually accept the dog as long as it’s in the range of the gold color.

This means they are more accepting of lighter and darker shades of Golden Retrievers in competitions than both the UK and American Kennel Clubs.

Why is my Golden Retriever Puppy Changing Color?

Your Golden Retriever puppy will change colors gradually into their permanent color as they grow old. Their fur usually gets darker and their true color start to show once they are about 12 weeks of age.

In some rare cases, your golden retriever’s fur will actually get lighter, but in most cases, you should expect that their colors will get darker.

Other things also happen as your golden retriever grows old, such as getting calmer. Find out when exactly do golden retrievers calm down and how you can train them to chill here.

How can you tell what color a golden retriever puppy will be?

The best indicator of the permanent color of your golden retriever is the color of their parents. If both are dark golden retrievers, it’s very likely they will get a dark shade of Golden retriever as well, and vice versa.

[su_box title=”Pro Tip” box_color=”#ec7050″]You can get a good idea of the final color of your golden retriever puppy from the color of their ears even when they are very young. [/su_box]

Why Do Senior Dogs Change Fur Change Color?

Golden Retriever’s fur color often gets darker as they become older. It’s also normal for areas of white and gray to show in certain areas like around their eyes and on their snout.

This change is completely normal and is just caused by them growing old. The changes here are permanent and beautiful, and it gives them an incredibly kind look that melts one’s heart.

Just look at that face;

Why is my Golden Retriever’s Nose Changing Color?

Some golden retrievers experience what is called depigmentation, or loss of pigment, on the nose with age. Your Senior Golden Retriever’s Nose change of color is often harmless and is likely caused by things like weather, genetics, or simply growing old. Rarely, it can be caused by allergies or an infection – or in some extreme cases can be caused by a more serious issue such as Cancer.

In most cases, this change is temporary. If the change is accompanied by other symptoms that indicate a health problem, call up your vet and check if you should bring in your pup to find out the root cause.

Golden Retrievers’ Colors and Your Clothes

One thing you will not learn until it’s too late is that your furniture and your clothes will change color; they will become whatever color your golden retriever is.

Hair everywhere will be the new slogan for your house, and it will become a fact of life. I will discuss solutions for your pup’s shedding later, but I truly found out that wearing clothes that are some shades of gold and yellow really helpful as the hairs tend to just blend in.

There is another approach to this; wear really dark clothes so you can easily spot all the hair and remove it. I’m not a fan of this approach because 1- It’s really time consuming, and 2- you will never get rid of all the hair.

This is why I always wear some shades of yellow, gold, white, and orange. I wear light clothes on purpose to hide the hairs I might have forgotten to remove, because I know they are there, and instead of fighting it, I just learned to do my best and live with the fact that I can’t win against hair.

You know what they say, if you can’t fight the current, swim with it.

Related Questions

Is there a black golden retriever?

No, there is no such thing as Black Golden Retriever. What you may think of as black golden retrievers may be really dark golden retrievers or another breed completely, such as Labradors or even Flat-Coated Retrievers.

What do you call a black golden retriever?

The black golden retriever may be a really dark shade of Golden Retriever or in some extreme cases, the dark color may be caused by a recessive gene.


Golden Retriever – The American Kennel Club

Golden Retriever Club of America

A Study of the Golden Retriever. By Marcia R Schlehr. Third edition.

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources


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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