What Color Will my Golden Retriever Puppy Be? Tips With Images

Most golden retriever owners get really surprised when they first learn that the color of their golden retriever puppy is likely going to change as their puppy become a mature dog.

They think that the fur color stays the same, which sometimes happens, but in a good percentage of goldens, this color is going to change as they grow up. That means you should probably know what color your dog is going to be, and luckily, there are ways to know.

So, what color will my golden retriever puppy be? You can know the color that your golden retriever puppy is going to be by the tip of their ears because it shows the color they will end up with after losing their puppy coat, however, their true color will start to show when they are about 12 weeks old and usually their coat gets darker.

To know more about your puppy and golden retrievers in general, just keep on reading.

The Only Ways to Tell The Color of Your Golden Retriever 

You probably know that your golden retriever puppy’s color is going to change multiple times, and it’s okay to wonder the final color they are going to end up with “their true color”, there are only two ways to tell the color of your golden retriever.

  • Parents 
  • Ears


If you have a purebred golden retriever, then their color is probably gonna end up just like their parents, so if they are too dark or too light, your dog may have that color.


You can tell the color of your golden retriever puppy when they mature by their ears because the tip of the ear will show what color they are going to end up with after losing their puppy coat.

See the image above. Can you see where the black arrow is pointing? That’s where you should look. Notice how their coat has a lighter color than their ears? This means that they are very likely to change their fur color into a darker shade of golden similar to that of their ears within the following year as they grow their full mature coats.

However, you shouldn’t choose a puppy based on his color and what color they are going to be shouldn’t be a priority or even one of the top things you look for in your golden retriever, instead, you should make sure they are in good health first.

You can learn everything about why goldens change their fur as they grow older here, I also discuss some common myths about golden retriever colors.

How many Colors of Golden Retrievers are there? 

There are three main colors of golden retriever 

  • Dark golden 
  • Golden 
  • Light golden 

Dark golden

One of the three kinds of golden retrievers is Dark golden retriever or as some people call them “mahogany” or “red”, they are the American golden retrievers and their coat is darker than the British golden retriever, also they are eyes are a bit lighter and they are triangular-shaped.


The golden retriever is the one who gave the dog that name in the first place, their coat is a nice shade of golden, so when most people think of a golden retriever they think of that specific shade.

Light golden

The light golden retriever is the lightest shade of three of them, it’s also known as “cream” or as “the English cream” golden retriever, the English golden retriever is lighter than the American golden retriever. 

How many Types of Golden retrievers are there? 

There are three types of golden retrievers 

  • English 
  • American 
  • Canadian 
Round dark eyes Triangular-shaped light eyesRegular 
Light “cream“ coat Dark coat Golden coat 
They have a broader skullThey are smaller than the other twoThey are taller than the other two by two inches 

Why do golden retrievers have different shades of coats?

Just like us, golden retrievers have different shades of coats because of genetics, they have different complexions due to pigmentation, which determines the shade of their fur.

So, their coat color is determined by their genes (the genes that are responsible for the production of pheomelanin “melanin” ) 

Do senior dogs change color?

Yes, just like humans when dogs grow old and they become seniors they start to show grey hair, it doesn’t show on the whole body through, it only appears on their muzzle or around their eyes, if their coat color changes too in a noticeable way, you should take them to their vet.

However, if their coat changes around their belly such as their belly turned black then it does not require a vet, it’s called “blueberry belly” and it’s natural, actually it’s a sign of good pigment.

However, sometimes your golden’s face starts to change colors even when they’re not at the age where this should happen. If that’s the case, you should out my post on why your golden’s face is turning white or grey here, what you can do about it, and when you really should be worried.

The Official Breed Standards for Golden Retrievers

The official breed standards for the Golden Retriever breed can differ from one country to another, but the differences are minor and are not that major.

You can download the official breed standards for Golden Retrievers for the American Kennel Club from the button below.

Are Goldendoodles better than golden retrievers?

Goldendoodles are a bit smarter than golden retrievers, they are also more vocal than golden retrievers and they are more prone to separation anxiety and nervousness than golden retrievers.

What color is a golden retriever’s skin?

All dogs with light coats such as golden retrievers have black skin pigments, and you can see it because it’s very clear and it’s obviously dark.

What is the life expectancy of an English cream golden retriever?

English cream golden retrievers have a lifespan of 10-12 years just like any other golden retriever.

Most people think that English cream golden retrievers live longer than other types of goldens, but there is no scientific proof to support that, their lifespan has nothing to do with their coat or their type.

You can learn how to help your golden retriever live longer here. There are 20 very useful, very practical tips there, so I encourage you to check it when you’re done here.

Is there a white golden retriever?

No, there isn’t a white golden retriever, there are some golden retrievers that appear very light, but they are not white, genetically speaking, white cannot appear in golden retrievers, however, there are some golden retrievers that have wite faces but they are not born with it, it’s because they are getting old and their face is turning white.

Why is my golden retriever’s nose turning brown?

If you just had a puppy in winter and your nose changed from pink to brown, it’s because in winter they have something called “snow nose” or “winter nose” and what happens is the enzyme that is responsible for producing pigmentation in the nose is more sensitive to the cold.

However, as soon as the winter is over it will change, and the normal color of their nose will appear, so it’s not something to worry about.

What is the best way to pick a golden retriever puppy?

First of all, you need to check that the puppy has pink gums, clear eyes, a clean nose, and clean ears then make sure that they are active and that they have a thick and healthy coat.

They also should have good muscles and straight legs, and it’s important to check their parents’ history if you can.

Related Questions 

What is the best color of a golden retriever?

The best color of a golden retriever is the standard “gold”, the color that gave the dog their name in the first place. It’s not too dark or too light, it’s the color people usually imagine when they hear anything about a “golden” retriever. 

Are English golden retrievers calmer?

Yes, English golden retrievers are calmer than American golden retrievers, it’s rare to find a hyperactive English golden retriever or have high energy, they are more mature, also they are easier to train, but on the other hand, the American golden retriever usually has more energy and is very athletic. 

What is the difference between an American golden retriever and an English golden retriever?

The biggest difference between the American golden retriever and the English golden retriever is their color, the English golden retriever’s coat is light golden “cream” and the American golden retriever’s coat is darker than the American’s, also the coat of the English golden is shorter.


Golden Retriever – United Kennel Club

Golden Retriever – American Kennel Club

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