Golden Retrievers are one of the most iconic dog breeds currently keeping people company, with the American Kennel Club citing them as the third-most-popular breed in 2019. However, Golden Retrievers have a few distinctive characteristics on their coat that make caring for it more difficult than it can seem at first.


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The most important feature of their coat is that it’s quite dense and water-repellent, which is part of why many Golden Retrievers enjoy swimming so much. It’s not wholly waterproof, but it is thick enough to protect them from bad weather and let them enjoy ponds. Unfortunately, this means that their coats also get tangled easily, particularly given the length of their hair.

The second feature to know about is the way that softening the coat too often is terrible for Golden Retrievers. They’re more sensitive to this than many other breeds, so trying too hard to make their coat look good often has the opposite effect and makes things duller or more brittle instead of soft and lustrous.

The good news is that daily care and upkeep are relatively easy on a Golden Retriever. Once you get them to a good spot, caring for them is more about regular maintenance than solving problems with their fur. Golden Retrievers tend to be friendly, so you don’t have to work hard to get them to come over for a brushing, either.


Different Types of Golden Retriever Brushes

There are several different types of brushes on the market, but one thing most people don’t realize right away is that Golden Retrievers often need more than one type of brush. Their thick coats require different types of care at different levels, so you may need to change brushes two or even three times during a care session to give them the softest coat.

Arguably the most popular type of brush for Golden Retrievers doesn’t actually have a glove shape. A hair removal glove goes right over your hand, allowing you to brush your dog at the same time you’re petting. That’s some great efficiency, and it makes them particularly useful for getting fur out of the shed-happy Goldie’s fur during daily care sessions.

Pin brushes are excellent for gently working out tangles and knots, particularly when they still have the soft coating on the end of the tips. This provides a natural, pleasant way to keep your dog’s fur looking good. You can also brush against the direction of growth to add some overall volume to their coat.

Bristle brushes are denser collections of plastic bristles that don’t have the same stiffness that metal pin bristles do. However, they’re also gentle on fur and can sweep dust and debris out more effectively, which is extremely useful for keeping your Golden Retriever clean.

Grooming tools are an unusual but flexible variant on brushes, and they’re especially good for straightening fur. Unlike other brush types, grooming tools are thick enough to be totally rigid in use, which means things won’t get bent out of place, and you can ensure consistent grooming all around.

Different Types of Golden Retriever Coats

Golden Retrievers have more variety in their coats than some other breeds for a simple reason: there are three types of Golden Retrievers, not one, and they have distinctive characteristics if you look closely.

Canadian Golden Retrievers are the most distinct of the three breeds, standing approximately two inches taller. Their coats are shorter, thinner, and not quite as feathery as the other breeds. They still need care, but they don’t require quite as much brushing or grooming to look great.

British Golden Retrievers (sometimes known as English Golden Retrievers instead) are a bit shorter than the Canadian variant, but they also have a broader skull and bigger forequarters. This makes them slightly tougher-looking, with their thicker fur providing added cushioning.

American Golden Retrievers tend to have darker fur than the other varieties, although the fur is just as long and wavy. They have slightly lighter eyes, too, which can make for a more distinct and piercing look. The key thing to pay attention to on the American breed is the fact that darker fur can hide dirt better, so you should pay close attention while grooming them.

Incidentally, despite the name, Golden Retrievers come in many different colors. Only the three shades of gold count for show dogs, but you can find this breed in white, mahogany, red, or even black if you look hard enough. The different fur colors aren’t enough to stop them from being part of this breed.

Regardless of heritage, Golden Retrievers tend to be affectionate, athletic, attention-seeking, and loving dogs. Their generally positive disposition is why so many families buy them as playmates for children, but their love of activity means they often enjoy getting outside, running around, and playing in the wild.

Naturally, the more they play, the more care they’re going to need. Some owners brush Golden Retrievers immediately after play sessions when they’re cooling down and relaxing, although this isn’t strictly necessary as long as you care for them every day or two.

Our Top Picks For Golden Retriever Brushes

True Touch Hair Removal Glove

Best Overall

Hair removal gloves are particularly useful for Golden Retrievers because these dogs tend to shed a lot of fur. Gloves have the advantage of being easy to get onto almost any area of their body while also helping your pet enjoy being cared for.

The key factor that helps this glove stand out from other products is its dual-sided nature. One side has silicone grooming nubs that pull out loose hair and massage the skin to encourage releasing the oils that give a Golden Retriever’s fur its natural luster.

The other side of these gloves is a denser lint removal tool for getting fur off of carpeting, couches, and other areas. Golden Retrievers will probably shed on things even if you brush them daily, so the added support is particularly useful.

4 More Top-Rated Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers

Safari Bamboo Pin & Bristle Combo

Safari’s pin and bristle combo brush is outright better than any single-sided version of either tool, particularly because Golden Retrievers often need both sides before they’re properly clean. The pin side helps remove knots and tangles, which are relatively common, while the bristle side gets rid of dirt and helps them stay as clean as possible.

This brush is also particularly useful for fluffing up their fur, which can make a Golden Retriever even more fun to hold than they already are. The environmentally-friendly bamboo handle is a bonus addition that’s better for the environment than plastic, while also less likely to hurt your dog if they end up chewing on it.

Pros:

  • The double-sided brush has twice the versatility
  • Uses environmentally-friendly materials when possible
  • Comfortable and easy to hold

Cons:

  • The shape isn’t flexible enough to reach into some areas
  • The protective coating on the pins will wear out over time

Master Grooming Tools Ergonomic Pet Slicker

Pet slickers are great for Golden Retrievers, even if you’re using other grooming tools. The thin, gentle pins on this slicker are easy to work into thick and tough coats like Golden Retrievers have, and they can get to places that other, thicker brushes might not be able to.

Supporting this, the double-coated rubber grip provides outstanding control and minimizes fatigue on your hand during longer grooming sessions. Golden Retrievers need regular care, so getting a brush that’s comfortable for you is nearly as important as getting a brush that’s good for them.

Pros:

  • The ideal grooming tool for a Golden Retriever’s dense fur
  • Competitive pricing means you won’t have to spend too much
  • It’s easy to adjust how deep you’re putting the pins

Cons:

  • Not as good for getting rid of dirt and some other types of debris
  • Best for breeds with finer hair, and may not be quite as effective on Golden Retrievers with thick hair

FurZapper Pet Grooming Glove

FurZapper’s silicone grooming glove is a double-sided, waterproof, hypoallergenic alternative to the True Touch hair removal glove described earlier. It works just as well on other materials like beds and rugs, too, which makes it a great way to remove stray hairs and keep your pup looking in peak shape.

Overall, this glove isn’t quite as good as our first option, but it’s more effective at bathtime and other scenarios where water is involved. That gives it an added level of usefulness and versatility when compared to the competition, so you may want to get one of these as a bathtime brush even if other options suffice the rest of the time.

Pros:

  • Waterproof and hypoallergenic, making it great for bathtime
  • Excellent at catching and removing stray hairs
  • Flexible enough to let you pet your dog while using it

Cons:

  • Not as effective against deeper tangles
  • Doesn’t help with massaging the skin

Kurgo K9 Groom Gadget

Kurgo’s Groom Gadget is an unusual product that also works like a nail file, a screwdriver, a box opener, and a bottle opener on top of being a good comb for the long fur of Golden Retrievers. The standout feature is the fact that it’s made of thick, durable stainless steel, which means its teeth aren’t going to bend out of position no matter how much you comb your pet.

This comb is also about the size of a credit card and fits in wallets and similar small spaces, so it’s easy to carry it when you’re on the go and don’t want to bring a larger, oddly-shaped brush along. We don’t recommend this as a primary grooming tool, but it’s an excellent secondary comb for unusual situations.

Pros:

  • It’s more durable than any other tool listed here
  • It has teeth long enough to get into the depths of a Golden Retriever’s fur
  • It’s also good for other things, making it a useful multitool to carry

Cons:

  • Not a great option for getting rid of dirt and debris
  • Rather small

6 Tips for Brushing Your Golden Retriever

Brushing a Golden Retriever takes a little extra work compared to caring for most breeds. Here are some quick tips.

  • Use an anti-static spritz. Golden Retrievers can build up a lot of static electricity when you’re brushing them, so starting with a light spritz using an anti-static conditioner makes things easier.
  • Start the brushing by removing tangles. This is the preparation phase of grooming a Goldie and addresses most of their needs.
  • Brush out the dirt next. Bristle-type brushes are particularly good at this since they can sweep dirt and other debris straight off of your dog’s fur.
  • Limit your use of softeners. Golden Retriever coats are surprisingly delicate, and putting too much work into making them look great can backfire on you.
  • Train them to accept the entire routine. Golden Retrievers are highly affectionate dogs, but you might miss some spots if they’re too energetic during a brushing.
  • Be consistent. It’s easier to prevent a problem with their fur than to solve it, and daily sessions make for excellent bonding opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions people ask about brushing Golden Retrievers.

When Do They Shed Most?

Golden Retrievers shed fur throughout the year, but most heavily during Spring and Fall as they prepare for the warmer or cooler months. Chances are you’ll notice the difference, but since they need regular care regardless, this doesn’t change much of your daily routine.

How Often Should I Brush A Golden Retriever?

Daily. Golden Retrievers have long, wavy coats, and it’s easy for them to develop knots and tangles. You should brush them at least three times a week no matter what, preferably after playtime or walks.

Should I Use More Than One Brush?

Yes. Golden Retrievers have such thick coats that you usually need more than one type of brush to get them as clean and groomed as possible. The good news is that they’re affectionate enough to accept these longer grooming sessions.

When Do Golden Retrievers Develop Their Full Coats?

Puppies start developing their full coats when they’re about three months old. This is a relatively slow process, and it usually lasts until they’re at least 18 months old. At that point, they generally have their full, adult coats.

Which Direction Should I Brush?

In most cases, start by brushing with the direction of the fur. This helps avoid tangles and naturally pulls out any loose hairs that have gotten trapped. If you want your Golden Retriever to be a little fluffier, you can gently brush against the direction of their fur at the end of your grooming session.

Conclusion

Golden Retrievers need special care compared to most other breeds of dogs. Long hair isn’t particularly unusual, but the fact that it stays close to their bodies presents some interesting challenges when it comes to grooming them.

All of the products listed above are popular, highly-recommended brushes that work well for Golden Retrievers, given their somewhat unique needs. That said, consider getting several different types of brushes if you want to give them the best possible care.

It may seem like a bit of work at first, but you can groom them while watching TV or otherwise relaxing, so it’s easy to work into your daily routine.

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