Golden Retriever Colors – Explore The Kaleidoscope!

golden retriever colors

The Golden Retriever, initially bred for laborious tasks, boasts a distinguished and notable background of collaborating with humans.

 Depending on the task at hand, people prefer different coat colors in the breed. For example, modern sport companion dogs typically have dark red coats, whereas show dogs typically have cream coats.

In this guide, we discuss different Golden retriever colors and also talk about the rarest Golden retriever colors.

How Many Golden Retriever Colors Are There?

Although Golden Retrievers are known for their stunning and recognizable golden coats, the breed standard accepts a variety of colors for this breed.

Not all Golden Retrievers come in the standard gold coat. They come in an assortment of recognized colors, and there is no definitive list. According to the American Golden Retriever club website, you might get to see the following colors in the breed:

Light Golden Retrievers

This is the most common coat color seen in Golden Retrievers. Light Golden Retrievers have a pale golden coat that ranges from cream to a light shade of gold.

Medium  Golden Retrievers

Medium golden retriever’s coat contains a more vibrant and deeper shade of gold compared to their lighter counterparts. Their coat color has a rich golden hue that is often described as the classic golden in the breed.

Dark Gold  Golden Retrievers

Dark Golden Retrievers have a coat color that is noticeably darker than the other variations. Their coats may have a reddish or mahogany undertone, giving them a deeper and richer appearance. They can be purebred golden retriever recognized by the American Kennel Club.

Cream  Colored Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers also have cream-colored coats. These dogs have a lighter tint of gold that is closer to white. While not as common as other variations, cream-colored Golden Retrievers are recognized within the breed. They are often confused with Labrador Retriever. 

Cream Golden Retrievers are often called English Cream golden retrievers or English Golden Retrievers. They are not officially recognized by the AKC .

Red  Golden Retrievers

Although not very common, some Golden Retrievers are red dogs. Red Golden Retrievers have a distinctive red hue throughout their fur, which sets them apart from other golden retrievers. Red goldens are not allowed as a show dog.

Red Golden Retrievers are not recognized by the AKC.

Also Read: How Much Do Golden Retrievers Cost?

What Are Standard Golden Retriever Colors Recognized by the AKC?

The AKC, or American Kennel Club, recognizes the following three colors in this magnificent breed:


This is the most recognized and accepted color for this breed. It has a rich, lustrous golden hue. This encompasses various shades of gold, ranging from a light golden color to a deep golden shade. The coat should be even and consistent in color throughout. Use a slicker brush to gently brush your pet.

Light Gold 

The light golden retriever coat is a variation of the standard golden color, with a lighter hue. These dogs have pale gold coats that can sometimes appear almost cream-colored. While still within the golden range, they have a lighter overall appearance. Use a slicker brush or a wide-toothed comb to gently brush your pet.

Dark Golden

Dark Golden Retrievers have a coat color that is deeper and darker than the standard golden color. Field bred goldens also tend to have darker coats compared to other dogs.

Their coats can have a reddish or mahogany undertone, giving them a more intense and rich appearance.

 However, it’s important to note that the AKC does not specifically recognize red as a separate color but rather as a variation within the dark golden category.

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Lifespan of Golden Retriever

What is the Rarest Golden Retriever Color?

Among the recognized colors of Golden Retrievers, the rarest color is generally considered to be the red or mahogany shade. 

Note that red or mahogany is not recognized as a separate color in the breed by the American Kennel Club.

The red coloration is due to a recessive gene that affects the expression of pigments in the coat. It is believed to have originated from the Irish Setter breed, which was crossed with Retriever breed in their early development. The color red can range from a subtle reddish hue to a more pronounced deep mahogany color.

Due to the relative rarity of this color variation, Golden Retrievers with a red, dark brown, or mahogany coat are often in high demand. Some enthusiasts and breeders specifically aim to produce red-coated Golden Retrievers, leading to higher prices and waiting lists for puppies of this color.

What Are The Three Types of Golden Retrievers?

The three types of Retrievers in the Golden retriever family are American Golden Retrievers, British or English Golden Retrievers, and Canadian Golden Retriever.

American Golden Retrievers

American Golden Retrievers are the most commonly seen type of Golden Retriever. This type strictly adheres to the AKC breed standard. They have darker coat color compared to other dog breeds in the Golden Retriever breed.

 This purebred dog has a well-balanced, muscular build with a dense, water-repellent coat. American Goldens often have a slightly more energetic and driven temperament, making them popular as working dogs in various fields, such as search and rescue, therapy work, and competitive dog sports.

British or English Golden Retrievers

British Golden Retrievers are known for their stockier build and broader skulls. They have a shorter, thicker coat that is usually cream or a lighter shade of gold. 

British Goldens are typically calmer, more laid-back, and exhibit a gentle and friendly nature. They are popular as family pets and excel in activities like obedience training and show competitions. You might find cream color in this variety. Cream color British Goldens are often healthier than other goldens.

Canadian Golden Retrievers

Canadian Golden Retrievers are bred with a focus on their working abilities. The Canadian Golden Retriever is often utilized as hunting and field dogs. 

They have a thinner coat compared to the other golden counterparts. They also have a soft mouth which helps them carry game animals without harming them.

Although they are the same breed, Canadian Goldens are typically taller and leaner than their American and British counterparts. This family pet has a moderate energy level and is highly trainable, making cream goldens suitable for various working roles. Coat colors in this sub-type are also light, medium, and dark.

Which Color of Golden Retriever is The Best?

This is a subjective and personal preference. As stated before, the breed standard recognizes the Golden Retriever colors of light, medium, and dark golden coats.

It is also important to remember that the color of a Golden Retriever coat does not impact its temperament, health, or overall qualities as a breed.

The most important factors when choosing a Golden Retriever should be the dog’s health, temperament, and suitability for your lifestyle. 

The breed is known for being friendly, and intelligent, and for having an adaptable nature, regardless of their coat color. They make wonderful family pets, therapy dogs, and working companions.

When selecting a Golden Retriever, focus on finding a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their dogs. 

Consider factors such as temperament, health clearances, and the breeder’s ethics and practices. It is also essential to spend time with individual puppies or adult dogs to ensure their personality and energy level align with your expectations and lifestyle.

Many people love red Golden Retriever as it is a rare color. Red Golden Retriever pups also cost a lot.

What Color is a Golden Retriever Puppy?

Golden Retriever puppies are typically born with lighter coat color, often ranging from pale cream to a light golden shade. The color of its coat can continue to develop and change as the pup grows and matures. Over time, the puppy’s coat may darken and take on the characteristic golden color that is associated with the breed.

It’s important to note that the exact color and shade of a Golden Retriever pup can vary depending on genetics and individual variation within the litter.

 Some standard Golden Retrievers may have slightly darker coat or lighter coats compared to their siblings. Additionally, factors such as the specific lineage and breeding of the puppy can influence the color of their coat.

If you are considering getting a Golden Retriever pup , it’s a good idea to contact several Golden Retriever breeders who can provide information about their parent dogs and the expected color range for the litter. It’s also helpful to meet the litter and observe the puppies’ coats as they develop to get a better sense of their potential adult coloration.

FAQs – Golden Retriever Colors

At what age does puppy coat change color in the retriever breed?

Irrespective of the dog’s age and breed, most dogs tend to change coat color by age of 6 months.

What are red retrievers called?

Red retrievers are also called dark red golden retriever.

Is black Golden Retriever rare?

Black Golden Retriever is not a recognized color in the Golden Retriever breed. The black color indicates that the dog is not purebred and has some other breed in its bloodline.

Are pure white Golden Retrievers rare?

The white Golden retriever is not pure white, rather extremely pale color. Most white Golden retriever are platinum or cream and may also have golden hues.

Is green Golden Retriever real?

Yes, recently there was a green Golden Retriever puppy born in a litter. However, the reason they exist is pretty gross. It is due to the excess biliverdin that causes bile in the placenta. Thankfully, the green color fades after a while.

Are there European Golden Retrievers?

There is no specific breed called “European Golden Retrievers”. However, the term is sometimes used to refer to Golden Retrievers that have been bred in Europe, particularly those from European show lines.

What is a dark Golden Retriever called?

Dark Golden Retrievers are usually Canadian Golden Retrievers. This type of Golden Retriever is known to have the darkest coat among the three types of Golden Retrievers.

What is a cream colored Golden Retriever called?

Cream colored Golden Retriever is a popular dog breed known as platinum Golden Retriever or English Golden Retriever.

Conclusion Golden Retrievers Colors

The AKC and the American Golden Retriever Club recognize three colors in the Golden coat of the breed including light, medium, and dark.

Potential Golden Retriever owners can also find puppies in some non-standard Golden Retriever colors like red and cream Golden Retriever.

There are three types of Golden Retrievers including English, American, and Canadian. We hope this guide gives you an insight into the Golden Retriever colors.

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