Red Golden Retriever: Do They Really Exist? (Pictures & FAQs)

Happy red Golden Retriever in a forest

Golden Retrievers are no mystery to many dog lovers. But did you know that they come in different shades of gold? If you want a new addition to your retriever family, the red Golden Retriever may be a good candidate.

The red Golden Retriever is a beautiful color variation of one of the most popular dog breeds today. Aside from their coat color, there are some notable differences between red Golden Retrievers and other Goldens.

Curious to know what else red Goldens have to offer? Stick around and find out in this article!

What Is a Red Golden Retriever?

Red Golden Retriever playing in the snow

A red Golden Retriever is not a separate dog breed but one of the three natural color variations of a Golden Retriever. They boast of a mahogany coat which may also come in varying tones. They also go by other names such as dark red Golden Retriever, red Golden, or red Goldie. 

The red Golden Retriever’s distinction from other Goldens goes beyond their coat color. Their size, appearance, history, and even purpose differ from the typical Golden Retriever we know and love today.

Controversy Around the Red Golden Retriever

Over the years, there has been a lot of speculation surrounding red Golden Retrievers. Some don’t recognize them as true purebreds because of the difference in color, size, and temperament. 

These controversies stem from misinformation about the Golden Retriever breed itself.

Because of their history, debates on the true origin of this color variation started. It is believed that the original Golden Retriever was mixed with an Irish Setter. This resulted in the darkening of the coat to a dark red color.

After many years of breeding, red retrievers became an official color variation of the purebred Golden Retriever. 

Despite this backed-up claim, many people still believe that they should be scored down in dog shows or not even registered at all.

Red Golden Retriever Appearance: What Does a Red Golden Retriever Look Like?

Red Golden Retriever with rare striking dark golden coat

The most interesting thing about the red Golden Retriever is its appearance. This dog has a double coat that ranges from light rust to a deep mahogany color. 

The double coat is composed of an under and outer coat that allows them to retain body heat even during freezing weather, just like the Scottish Highlands.

Another remarkable fact about their coat is that it’s water-resistant. It can either be wavy or straight, and the hair feels silky to the touch.

The red Golden Retriever also has feathering around the ears, front of its neck, and underbelly. They have quite an athletic body that is compact and lean. Their skin is thick that protects them from being cut or scraped during hunting trips.

These dogs are also very well-proportioned. Their floppy ears are medium-sized and sit high on their strong heads. They are also famous for their soft mouths that are useful when carrying hunted animals.

Watch this eight-week-old red Golden Retriever puppy to get a glimpse of how they look:

Red Golden Retriever - First day home with 8 weeks old puppy Ariel ゴールデンレトリバー

Red Golden Retriever Size and Weight: How Big Will a Red Golden Retriever Get?

Red Golden Retrievers are large-sized working dogs. When fully grown, male red Golden Retrievers can grow up to 23 to 24 inches tall and weigh around 65 to 75 pounds. 

Females, on the other hand, are slightly smaller than males, growing between 21.5 and 22.5 inches in height. Their weight ranges anywhere between 55 and 65 pounds when they reach maturity.

Considering their adult size, you should prepare a spacious area where they can freely move and play. It’s also best if the house has a fenced yard where they can run around and exercise.

Are Red Golden Retrievers Rare?

The red retriever is not as typical as the traditional Golden Retriever. There is a limited number of red Golden Retriever breeders in the United States. 

Because of their rarity, you can expect the market price for these dogs to be on the expensive side.

The gene for this dark golden color is also recessive, so the chances of producing these dogs are pretty low compared to standard Golden Retrievers.

Red Golden Retriever vs. Other Golden Retrievers: What’s the Difference?

Red Golden Retriever vs other Golden Retriever

The red Golden Retriever has other Golden siblings with coats ranging from light cream to darker golden shades. Naturally, the main difference between these dogs is their coat color. 

However, because of the red Golden’s roots, they have different physical attributes than their lighter counterparts.

There are three officially recognized coat colors of Golden Retrievers: light golden, golden, and dark golden.

Let’s discuss each color in depth and compare them with red retrievers:

  • Red Golden Retriever: Red Golden Retrievers have a deep mahogany coat color which gives these dogs a sunburnt look. They also have a slightly shorter coat which means they shed a bit less than the others. They may develop feathering around the ears, neck, and stomach area, but they aren’t as prominent as other Golden Retriever colors.
  • Standard Golden Retriever: The standard Golden Retriever is the default color of this famous breed. This radiant shade of gold is what most people will recognize as a typical Golden. They often have full feathering on the ears, neck, and chest.
  • Light Golden Retriever: A light Golden Retriever has the lightest shade of gold among other Golden colors. Their coat color is off-white and is often referred to as pale cream. This color is associated with English Golden Retrievers since most Goldens in the United Kingdom have this coat.
  • Dark Golden Retriever: The dark Golden Retriever is often mistaken as their red counterparts. Instead of having a red or copper shade, these dogs just have a deeper golden tone. Unlike red-toned retrievers, dark Goldens won’t have a red tint to the feathery hairs behind their ears.

Now that you learned about the differences in colors, let us focus on the other physical features that separate red Goldens from their cousins. 

When we compare the red Golden Retriever to all the color varieties mentioned in this section, you’ll notice that they are leaner but more muscular. Since they are primarily bred for hunting, they are also expected to be smaller and more athletic.

Other Goldens are produced solely for companionship. They are known to be calmer and less energetic than red retrievers. Thus, their appearance is not as robust.

RELATED: American vs. English Golden Retriever: A Detailed Comparison

Red Golden Retriever Color Genetics: What Causes the Red Coat Color in Golden Retrievers?

There’s no easier way to explain the red coloring of Golden Retrievers than through color genetics. 

Basically, two pigments affect the coat color of any dog — eumelanin (black pigment) and phaeomelanin (yellow/red pigment).

For a retriever to exhibit a red or even yellow coat color, the parent must pass on two copies of the recessive genotype (e/e) at the E locus. This will inhibit the production of eumelanin and result in red color.

The red Golden Retriever puppies that inherited these genes will pass them to all of their offspring once they breed. To find out if a dog is a carrier of the red color gene, genetic testing of the MC1R gene is done.

Do Kennel Clubs Recognize Red Golden Retrievers?

In line with the controversy surrounding red Golden Retrievers, various kennel clubs recognize but don’t prefer this color variation. 

For example, the American Kennel Club (AKC) allows the registration of dogs with rich, lustrous coats of various shades, but it’s undesirable to have extremely pale or extremely dark fur.

The American Kennel Club also penalizes any white markings that are not due to old age. Meanwhile, the United Kennel Club (UKC) accepts those with any shade of golden, even those with darker coats.

As for kennel clubs outside the United States, The Kennel Club allows Golden Retrievers to have any shade of gold or cream but not red or mahogany.

The first red Golden Retriever was established sometime in the 19th century and bred to become the perfect gun dog. They were produced from crossing a straight and wavy-haired retriever, a Tweed Water Spaniel, and a red Irish Setter. 

Despite being the natural color Golden Retrievers, they remain to be unrecognized by some dog kennel clubs.

READ NEXT: Field Golden Retriever vs. Show Golden Retriever: Which Is Better?

Red Golden Retriever Temperament: Are Red Golden Retrievers Good Family Pets?

Little girl hugging a red Golden Retriever in the field

Just like a standard Golden Retriever, you can expect a red Goldie to have similar traits and behavior. 

They are equally adaptable, loving, and energetic, making them great family pets. However, they are sometimes observed to be less sociable.

As active dogs, red retrievers need lots of exercise and physical activity. To satisfy their needs, you need to socialize and play games with them. 

By simply playing fetch or teaching them dog sports, your dog can be physically stimulated throughout the day.

For mental stimulation, you should provide your red retriever with puzzle toys. Since they are quite easy to train, you can teach them to communicate using push buttons. 

In this way, they can express if they want to eat, go potty, go outside, among other things.

Like other Goldens, they also have high sensitivity to people’s emotions. Paired with increased intelligence, red Golden Retrievers make amazing therapy dogs, service dogs, and even search and rescue dogs.

Because of their innate curiosity, you can expect your red Goldie to stick their cute black nose into your slippers, hairbrushes, and basically anything you own. However, you might want to hide them because they tend to chew.

READ NEXT: Male vs. Female Golden Retriever: Which Is Better?

Red Golden Retriever Lifespan and Health Issues: Are Red Golden Retrievers Healthy Dogs?

The lifespan of a red Golden Retriever is around 10 to 12 years. Even though the color of a dog has no direct effect on its health, they are still prone to several health issues common to Golden Retrievers.

If you want to have a healthy red Golden Retriever that can serve as a family companion for a long time, you need to watch out for the following health issues:

  • Hip and Elbow Dysplasia: As large dogs, red Golden Retrievers are inclined to develop hip and elbow dysplasia. Both result from the abnormal development of the joint, which causes limited range of motion, weakness, and difficulty in movement. These often lead to arthritis during old age.
  • Cancer: Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers have the highest rate of cancer compared to other breeds. The most common cancer for these dogs is called hemangiosarcoma, which affects the blood vessels. Lymphoma is another type of cancer that targets the dog’s lymphoid system.
  • Eye Conditions: Golden Retrievers are also predisposed to have certain eye disorders such as cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), and Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis (GRPU). GRPU, in particular, is an inflammatory disease that causes the formation of cysts in the iris of the eyes resulting in cloudy vision.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD): This is a blood infection caused by defective or absent von Willebrand factor (VWF), a clotting protein. A red retriever with VWD experiences excessive bleeding when injured, while some also develop internal bleeding.

As early as puppies, it’s essential to seek pet medical advice from a licensed veterinarian to detect early signs of diseases and other health conditions.

Red Golden Retriever Grooming Needs: How to Groom Your Red Golden Retriever

Despite their darker shade, red retrievers are wonderful dogs. To bring out their best looks, you should establish a regular grooming routine for your dog. 

Shedding is a major concern for red Golden Retriever owners. Since they have medium-length coats, hair brushing should be done regularly. 

Even if their hair is shorter, it can become matted and even harder to manage when neglected.

Bathing your pooch should also be done to get rid of loose hair and prevent ticks and fleas. However, this shouldn’t be done too often since it can strip natural oils that keep their coats healthy.

A few other things to remember as a red Golden Retriever owner is to clean their floppy ears once a week and trim their nails at least once a month.

To maintain dental hygiene, brush your dog’s teeth daily using a soft toothbrush and vet-approved toothpaste. As an alternative, you can use dental chews to remove plaque effectively.

How Much Does a Red Golden Retriever Cost? Puppy Prices and Expenses

Red Golden Retriever puppies for sale lie next to their mom

Getting a red Golden Retriever puppy is no cheap venture. When buying from a reputable breeder, you can expect to pay around $1,000 to $3,000 for a new puppy. 

Rescue red Goldens can be adopted for an affordable adoption fee ranging from $150 to $800. This amount already covers medical treatment, neutering or spaying, microchipping, and other needs.

Before your new pup comes home, make sure to have the following items ready:

Type of ExpenseEstimated Cost
High-Quality Dog Food$60 – $80
Leash and Collar$20 – $30
Microchip$45 – $50
Food and Water Bowl$12 – $20
Chew Toys$22 – $30
Training Treats$15 – $25
Dog Crate$40 – $50
Dog Bed$30 – $40
Brush$11 – $20
Dog Shampoo$16 – $20
Nail Trimmer$12 – $20
Urine Cleaner$14 – $25
Poop Scooper$10 – $15
Total Initial Cost$307 – $425

The total initial cost of owning a red retriever is estimated to be $307 to $425. You can still reduce this amount by choosing budget-friendly options and buying supplies in bulk. You can also get creative by following tutorials for making DIY dog toys.

Places to Find Red Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale and Adoption 

If you’ve made up your mind about getting a red Golden Retriever puppy, you have two options. 

You can either buy from reputable breeders or adopt a rescue dog from rescue organizations. It’s not recommended to purchase from puppy mills, pet stores, or backyard breeders.

Some of the most reputable breeders of red Golden Retrievers are listed below:

  • Red Canyon Retrievers – If you want the perfect red Golden Retriever companion, Red Canyon Retrievers can provide you with a well-tempered dog. The owners who have experience in therapy and medicine ensure that the puppies will grow up to be healthy and happy dogs.
  • Ridley’s Red Retrievers – This breeder offers red retrievers that make great companions, service, and therapy dogs. They have a special breeding program that produces large-boned, healthy, and vibrant mahogany puppies. All of their dogs come with a health guarantee, vaccinations, and microchipping.
  • Lish Kennels – For those looking for hunting companions, you can purchase a red retriever puppy from this breeder. All of their pups come from a bloodline of intelligent and highly trainable dogs. However, their primary purpose remains to be family pets.

RELATED: Best Golden Retriever Breeders (2021): 10 Places to Find Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale

The following list of rescue organizations can also help you bring home a red Golden Retriever:

  • Fetchin’ Retriever’s Rescue – This is a rescue group that takes in all kinds and colors of retrievers from different areas of Southern California. To extend their network, they are also partnered with a rescue in Istanbul, Turkey. Adoption fees range from $550 to $900, depending on the dog’s age and origin.
  • Grin Rescue – This organization focuses on rehoming adult Golden Retrievers aged 6 to 10 years old. The approval process takes anywhere between two and three weeks. Since 1992, they have been able to place over 3,600 rescued dogs into permanent homes.
  • Lab Rescue LRCP – If you are from Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, or North Carolina, don’t hesitate to reach out to this rescue. They medically treat and rehome over 1,000 retrievers a year. You can visit the foster home or join their monthly adoption events to adopt a new puppy.

RELATED: 10 Best Golden Retriever Rescues for Adoption (2021): Our Top 10 Picks!

Getting the best dog for your family starts by picking the best option. Whether you choose to buy or adopt a red Goldie, make sure to ask about their health and temperament above anything else. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Beautiful deep red Golden Retriever laying on the green grass

Do Red Golden Retrievers Shed a Lot?

Even though they have shorter coats, red Golden Retrievers are still medium shedders. They shed less than other Goldens, but they are still not recommended for those with allergies. Regular brushing at least once a week should be done.

Are Red Golden Retrievers Purebred?

Red Golden Retrievers are considered purebred dogs with a red coloration. There might be subtle differences in size and temperament, but they belong to the same breed. Despite their purebred status, they are still frowned upon by some kennel clubs.

What Are the 3 Types of Golden Retrievers?

The three types of Golden Retrievers are light golden, golden, and dark golden. Red retrievers are categorized as dark golden. Aside from colors, they can also be typed as English, American, or Canadian.

Do Red Golden Retrievers Get Lighter as They Age?

It has been reported that some but not all red Golden Retrievers change color as they age. Some dogs change their coat color after two years, while others reveal their color once they reach adulthood.

Final Thoughts: Is the Red Golden Retriever Right for You?

The Golden Retriever is a popular dog breed with a red variation. If you want an intelligent pup that can ace obedience training, then the red retriever is the perfect dog for you.

While many dogs make it to the show ring, you can’t expect a red Goldie to be hailed as the champion. However, if you need a service dog or even a therapy dog, there is no other suitable dog than this one.

As active dogs, you can teach them to play fetch using the iconic tennis balls. Aside from being bred for having a “soft mouth,” these canines are also raised to have soft personalities that you will surely adore.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

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