How to Trim Golden Retriever Tail & Feathers – A Step-By-Step Guide

Grooming your golden retriever is about more than just brushing their hair every day, and in this post, we’re going to talk about the rarely-discussed tail grooming.

Their tail and feathers do need special grooming, and you need to know how to trim golden retriever tail and feathers in a way that helps their coats grow healthily while also saving your time.

So, let’s get to it.

How to Groom Golden Retriever Tail

golden retriever in water to illustrate how to trim golden retriever tail and feathers

Here are the three main steps to groom your golden retriever’s tail and feathers:

  1. Prepare them for the grooming
  2. Set the tools 
  3. Start the grooming

Prepare them for the grooming 

Preparing your golden retriever is really important and not just before the grooming but also before bath time, brushing their teeth, trimming their nails, or anything that requires tools such as scissors or clippers.

So, how can you prepare them for grooming their tail? 

First of all, you can exercise with them, play, or even take them for a walk, to make sure that they do not have any built-up energy and can stay still while grooming their tail.

The key is to have them calm and still but not too tired or exhausted that they just want to sleep and are annoyed by you trying to groom them.

If you also decide to groom them after a bath, you need to make sure they are completely dry before you groom them.

You can keep them around the tools to make them feel used to them before you actually use them.

Set the tools

You should set your tools before you start, so you need to prepare these tools

  • Thinning shears 
  • Brush or a comb
  • Clippers  

Don’t worry if you don’t have any of these, I will have a recommendations section later.

Start the grooming

First of all, you need to make sure that their tail should meet or exceed the hawk.

Brush their tail with a comb or a brush to get rid of any dead hair and to help the tail to take its natural shape.

Their tail should never be short.

Hold their tail horizontally and with the thinning shears or the clippers (whichever they’re comfortable with), twist the end of their tail, put your thumb below the end of their tail bone.

Now, trim the end near your thumb, work from the end of their tail, and you want to taper their tail to the tip.

Make sure to keep it natural and cut it into its shape (should look like a fan when extended), do not cut it straight, also, avoid cutting their tail too short.)

Here is a simple video that shows how to do it.

Tools You will need (Recommendations) 

If you don’t have the tools needed, you can get these. I have been using these for a while and I really like them;

  1. Galdog Professional Dog Grooming Scissors Kit
  2. Andis pro-Animal 7-piece detachable blade pet clipper kit
  3.  Hartz groomer’s best combo dog brush 

For the clippers, please don’t get the cheap ones that are everywhere now. They don’t last and they can actually do harm. Get the Andis recommended above or these excellent Wahl Pro Cordless clippers.

How often to Groom Golden Retriever Tail? 

You should groom your golden retriever’s tail at least 3 to 5 times a week to make sure that their tail is clean and to prevent any tangling, infection, mites living in their coat, and to remove any dead hair that can cause an odor.

It can be a serious issue if unwanted bacteria lodge in and can cause them an infection.

How to Trim Golden Retriever feathers? 

You can trim your golden retriever feathers by using scissors or clippers and cutting the feathers down.

It’s the best way to reduce the mess on their butt and keep their coat intact.

It’s recommended to trim using scissors to avoid accidentally hurting them. Make sure to trim an inch near their rear ends and it’s best if you bathe them after you trim their feathers.

However, most golden retrievers do not have long feathers and you shouldn’t trim your golden retriever feathers on a regular basis.

How to make my golden retriever stay still while being groomed?

Golden retrievers are energetic breeds and it’s kinda difficult to make them stay still while grooming them, trimming their nails, or brushing their teeth.

One of the things that work like magic with golden retrievers is exercise, so on the day you decide to groom them or do anything that requires staying still, burn all of their extra energy by playing with them, running with them, or even take them for a long walk.

Do you groom your dog’s tail wet or dry?

You should groom your dog’s tail when it’s dry. Grooming them, in general, should always be when they are dry, even after a shower, you should dry them first and then groom them.

You should also use the tips of sharp shears to trim their tail, feet, and face because it will prevent cutting your dog if they move unexpectedly. 

You can learn how to dry your golden retriever completely and quickly after a bath here. I recommend 11 different ways in this post, so I definitely recommend taking your time checking the post out.

Do golden retrievers like their tails being groomed?

Yes, most golden retrievers like their tail being groomed, they like grooming in general because they enjoy the feeling of being gently brushed, also, grooming your golden retriever tail will prevent infections and mites.

How short can you trim a golden retriever?

  • You can trim their tail for any length you want but you don’t want it to be too short
  • Trimming  the fur on your dog’s feet to be around a ½ inch long (when it comes to trimming their feet fur, it should be short)
  • When you trim their neck fur you should just shorten it a little bit and avoid changing the fur natural curve.

A reminder; you should NEVER shave your golden retriever or trim their hair too short. You can learn why shaving a golden retriever is a terrible idea here.

What’s Next?

Grooming Your Golden Retriever is about a lot more than just brushing their hair. Now that you know about trimming their tails, you can also take a minute to learn about cleaning your golden retriever’s teeth here and how to groom golden retriever paws here.

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Related Questions 

Are you supposed to trim golden retrievers? 

Yes, you are supposed to trim your golden retriever but only on the ears, neck, tail, and feet, They shouldn’t have a full haircut and never shave your golden retriever even in hot weather and you should groom them regularly.

If you do live somewhere that’s hot, there are other ways to cool down your dog. You can learn how to help your golden retriever adapt to hot weather here.

When do golden retrievers get their feathers? 

Most golden retrievers start growing their feathers around 3 months, but it can be different from a golden to another as it depends on their heritage and bloodlines, you can tell when they will get their feathers by their parents so if their mom or dad grew their adult coat later then they will too.

Will my golden retriever tail hair grow back?

Yes, it will grow back again if you trimmed it or even accidentally shaved a part of their tail, also, if they chew the hair off their tail, or they are suffering from a hair loss because of a hormonal condition then you can expect their tail hair to grow back once you control their hormonal condition.

If you liked this article, you can share it with your family and friends because it might be helpful to them and I will definitely appreciate it.


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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