On the grooming needs of a golden retriever

The worst part about living with a golden retriever is the hair maintenance.


Luke doesn’t shed as much as former foster dog Minnie the husky mix. Back when she lived with us, between her and Luke, it sometimes felt like we had carpet instead of hardwood floors. To my great frustration, vacuuming every day was essential.

Little golden-red fur bunnies still accumulate. But now that we’re down to only one heavy shedder, floor maintenance can be pushed to twice or even once a week. You really know it’s time to break out the Dyson if a ball of fur gets caught in the breeze of your gait and rolls across the floor in front of you like a soft tumbleweed.

Golden retrievers really do have wool-like fur. It’s soft, fluffy, and keeps growing (albeit very slowly) unless you cut it.

In my book, this means that golden retrievers exhibit the worst of both kinds of dog hair. They shed a lot, and they need serious regular grooming. Like, with clippers and special brushes.

Zach bought a set of straight-up sheep shearers, which he has used to trim Luke a few times.

But usually, we’re all too happy to farm that task out to a professional groomer. Most recently, we have been adding a full groom to the list of what happens to Luke when he and Scooby go to Kennel Creek Pet Resort.

This is what he looked like upon a recent Kennel Creek visit:



Sorry about the fuzzy (pun intended!) photos. A real camera is on my holiday wishlist. (The once totally decent photo quality of my smartphone has been greatly reduced ever since it underwent an “update.”)

As long as we keep Luke from sauntering too far into the woods on our evening walks, and a groom isn’t immediately followed by a rainstorm, he usually maintains a clean sense for a few weeks.

Zach prefers that Luke always keep his main and tail feathers – for a classic golden retriever look.

If it were up to me, I’d have the groomer shear Luke’s fur short and even all over his body. My aunt, who is a groomer in Nebraska, did that too him once, and he came home looking like a giant puppy.

Luke’s feet can be a real problem area. The hair down there grows and grows, too, and it all gathers to a point at the front of his paw. It makes his paw look a bit like an elf shoe. We call this effect the “Golden Slipper.”

Although we definitely aren’t good at maintaining a regular brushing schedule for Luke at home, once a week is good to shoot for on a golden. We’ve had good luck with the Furminator.

What’s your grooming routine like with your dog? Do you have any tips for grooming golden retrievers or any kind of dog?

Organic lavender neem shampoo from Baltimore Bumble Crafts is great for the bathing part of grooming your dog. Enter the giveaway!


About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on October 17, 2012, in Dogs, Luke, Random Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. We have a problem with what we call Boomer and Dottie bunnies in our house… they too float across the floor making us realize that we aren’t doing a very good job of cleaning. These labs shed so much! Honestly when you brush them it could take hours. So on occasion we have them professional groomed, it helps, it really does, and they come home smelling all pretty!

    • Luke always smells pretty for days after a pro groom. He has sensitive skin, though, and sometimes gets itchy a few days later. I may have to start sending him with that Baltimore Bumble Crafts soap…

  2. Our two Cocker Spaniels require a lot of grooming. They shed a lot but we don’t think as much as Goldens! Main routine is to check for grass seed heads as Cockers get them down their ears so easily – silly ear design 😉

  3. Mylo is a Golden, but I don’t find his grooming to be that bad. He doesn’t shed much compared to Toady, and he loves to be brushed. I bathe him, brush him, give him a trim all in about an hour. Toady on the other hand takes a couple of hours to brush.

    • Maybe we just aren’t very good at golden grooming… I’m glad Mylo is easy! Minnie the husky mix would take forever to brush. An hour a day wouldn’t even begin to thin our her coat!

  1. Pingback: Laughs for Breakfast « Wayward Dogs

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