Golden Retriever Lifespan: Everything You Need To Know

golden retriever lifespan

Should you be thinking about adopting a Golden Retriever to be your delightful, furry friend, it’s important to realize that these dogs, ranging from medium to large in size, generally don’t live for an extended period.

But one look into those angelic eyes melted your heart instantly and then there was no turning back.

Your loveable ol’ Golden may be one of the most vibrant members of your house if not the most.

But what most Golden Retriever owners are unaware of are the bundle of health issues that these purebred dogs are prone to which affects their life expectancy and lively spirit.

So when your Golden hits his third year, remember he is no more a puppy but an adult dog. There is a certain care routine that you need to vigilantly follow with Goldens.

Our article today covers every nitty gritty detail about Golden Retriever lifespan and what can you do to make your Golden Retriever live a healthy life. Ready for this value-packed read? Let’s go then.

The Average Golden Retriever Lifespan

According to American Kennel Club, the average Golden Retriever lifespan is 10 to 12 years.

However, with the utmost care, a Golden Retriever’s life expectancy can be extended to thirteen years.

This is the same as any mid to large-breed dog.

But sad to say, there is a noticeable decline seen in their lifespan over the years. In the 1970s, this lifespan averaged 16-17 years.

This age bracket can be an exception now but not a standard. There are a lot of factors that are the cause of this decline. And genetics tops them all.

The World’s Oldest Golden Retriever

August - World's oldest golden retriever

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Research and facts quote that Golden Retrievers live no more than 10 to 12 years. But every fact comes with exceptions. Here’s the inside story of the world’s oldest Golden Retriever.

The oldest Golden Retriever named August lived for 20 years. On record, this is the oldest any Golden Retriever has ever lived. She was adopted when she was 14 years old.

Her health was watched over very closely by her loved ones over the years she lived. And as she grew older, she was religiously kept on a supplemental diet.

She crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully, living 20 years and 11 months to the fullest.

Golden Retriever’s Lifespan Over The Years

Golden Retriever is America’s most popular dog. That is why it is sometimes referred to as the “American Dream Dog”.

But surprisingly this breed is a Scottish gundog that not only comes with great physical beauty but the strength of a muscular dog.

Over the years, there have been instances of Golden Retrievers living longer than the set bracket. But these figures have been coming down as we take a look at the history of this dog breed.

And this became even more evident from a lifetime survey of 3000 purebred Goldens carried out by The Morris Animal Foundation.

It was concluded that the Golden Retriever’s lifespan is decreasing with time due to lots of reasons.

Cancer becomes the top reason for a reduced lifespan. Around 60 percent of Goldens die from cancer every year in America. And 40 percent in Europe.

The reason for such a vast spread of cancer is thought to be blamed on genetic mutation but has not been concluded yet.

In the 1970s, the common lifespan for Goldens was 16-17 years which has been reduced to a 10-year lifespan on average.

And it cannot be blamed on infectious diseases since the vaccines are more advanced now to prevent the Goldens from them since their early days. So it is not that.

Expert scientists are still unable to decode the mystery behind the shortened lifespan of this purebred dog.

That is why they want to know everything about Golden Retrievers and are keeping them under a watchful eye.

Things That Reduce The Lifespan Of A Golden Retriever

There is so much more to raising a healthy doggo than just having a good time and seeking companionship. You are instantly upgraded to the “dog-parents” status once you welcome one onboard.

Being a parent means you just have to do what is best for your doggo. No goldbricking here!

You’ll agree with us when we say that certain practices are best to be avoided since they are surely a deal breaker when it comes to keeping your Golden healthy.

The good news; it’s still not too late to backtrack on these habits. Read below for more insights.

1. Obesity

Repeat after us, “chubby is not cute”. Period! You should not overfeed your Golden. Obesity in this breed is an open invitation to all health issues.

Experts at Association For Pet Obesity Prevention claim that around 63 percent of Golden parents think that their obese dog is at the perfect weight. Obesity in most Golden Retrievers targets diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and whatnot.

2. Neglected Dental Care

Neglected dental care indirectly affects the overall health of a Golden, hence reducing its lifespan.

A buildup in the tooth can lead to gum and tooth infections which can further lead to chronic illnesses that may cut down the lifespan by three years. That’s big. So prioritize your dog’s oral health.

3. Skipping Vet Visits

“I will not skip vet visits”, keep saying this until you start practicing on it. Skipping regular vet checkups is the most unhealthy thing you could do to your doggo.

Your Golden might be acting all normal on the outside while you have no clue what’s cooking up inside its body.

This is where a vet steps in. A quarterly or bi-annual checkup may save you from a lot of woes.

4. Poor Quality Food

Don’t feed your Golden with bad-quality dog food. Having little to minute nutritional value, these processed dog food packages are no good.

Since Golden’s transition period from a pup to an adult dog is quick, it needs nutrition-packed dog food for adequate growth.

For a healthy dog, high protein raw meat is best for muscle formation and boosts energy. It builds up the immune system and with better digestion and dental health.

5. No Exercise

The risks of physical inactivity are elephantine. Mental stimulation, controlled weight, and muscle buildup; are some of the health conditions that your doggo will be missing if you don’t take them out for regular exercising.

Playtime, training, running, or simply walking; do anything but make it a routine.

Common Health Issues In Golden Retrievers

It is known far and wide that larger and purebred dogs are prone to much more health issues than the rest.

Since Goldens fall perfectly in the above-mentioned category, they are likely to get exposed to several health issues.

Here is a breakdown of the diseases that are associated with a Golden’s health. Read and be wary.

i. Cancer

Such a heartbreak for Golden parents but it’s true – unfortunately, this monstrous disease is most commonly found in Goldens than in any other breed.

Bone cancer, lymphoma, and mast cell tumors are the most common types.

To boost the fertility of this breed because of its popularity, there was a lot of interbreeding.

This toying with the natural affair messed up the genes in the longer run. The widespread of cancer is the result.

Just make sure that your dream dog is regularly scanned for cancer. Watch out if your doggo shows any of these symptoms;

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lumps in the skin
  • Swelling
  • Mouth odor
  • Bleeding, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Unhealed wounds

ii. Elbow and Hip Dysplasia

Elbow and Hip dysplasia is common in larger breed dogs, especially in Goldens. And these can occur as early as when they are just puppies.

But signs would only start to show when they complete their first two years.

We would blame genetics for this which happens due to the sprouting growth pattern from puppy to adult dog. Some common symptoms are:

  • Limping and stiffness
  • Lowered range of motion
  • Abnormal sitting positions
  • Wobbling
  • Stressful standing

iii. Heart and Kidney Issues

Goldens are most likely to be targeted by heart and kidney problems. Renal dysplasia is also genetic and can occur as early as puppyhood.

On the other hand, heart problems occur when the heart’s aortic valve shrinks, forcing the body and heart to pump harder and stress out more. Some symptoms include:

  • For Kidney Issues: Excessive drinking and abnormal urine production
  • For Heart Issues: Coughing, difficulty in breathing, gasping for air, and weakness

iv. Teeth and Gum Health

Yes, dental issues are the most common chronic disease in Golden Retrievers; more than any other dog breed. It all starts with a residue buildup and can lead o serious teeth and gum line infections.

Keep up with regular brushing. Prolonged and untreated dental issues can lead to organ failure in worst-case scenarios. Keep your eyes peeled for these symptoms:

  • Prolonged bad breath
  • Tartar buildup in teeth
  • Tooth damage
  • Redness and swelling of gums

v. Skin Conditions

A thick furry coat and sweat combined become a wonderland for the bacteria. Many skin issues like seborrhea, environmental allergies, or sebaceous cysts can crop up.

These symptoms can help you track what’s up in the plush world.

  • Unusual biting or scratching
  • Lumpy and flaky skin
  • Paw licking

vi. Eye Trouble

Cloudy eye to full blindness, yikes! Cataracts is a common eye ailment in Golden Retrievers. And diabetic dogs are even more prone to eye trouble.

A purebred Golden Retriever is less likely to get affected by this than a crossbred.

Almost 7.4 percent of Golden Retrievers are affected by cataracts. So get your Golden checked if you notice:

  • Changed pupil size
  • Rubbing of eyes
  • Altered eye color

vii. Panosteitis (Growing Pains)

A painful disorder that happens when the shaft of the leg is inflamed. This happens mostly due to the sprouting growth pattern in Goldens, hence genetics. Shifting lameness is the result.

If your Golden starts showing these signs, consult a vet.

  • Laziness
  • Fever
  • Leg stiffness
  • Faltering
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia

What Can You Do to Increase The Lifespan Of Golden Retrievers?

Since the health of Golden Retriever is such a sensitive matter, you have to be certain that you abide by some rules when bringing them up. This strategy helps your doggo to lead a healthy long life. Here is what our rule book says:

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A. Choose Purebred

When given a choice, look for a good breeder. With the extreme popularity of this American dream dog, people now are breeding this dog with only money on their minds.

This is also one of the causes of the decline in the average lifespan of Golden. Do your research well to know all about this purebred and pay a little extra, if you have to.

B. Regular Grooming

Grooming is directly related to well-being. Regular grooming boosts any pet’s lifespan. Since the Goolden has thick luscious fur, you cannot detect any lumps on the skin unless you brush it every day.

Similarly, oral hygiene will help them chew better and can prevent numerous long-term illnesses, hence helping Golden Retrievers live longer.

C. Disciplined Vet Visits

Regular visits to the vet are crucial. We urge you to not go cold turkey on this part. Vet visits reveal so much that we are unaware of. And so many illnesses can be prevented from happening with regular checkups.

D. Socializing and Supplements

Ahh, the two Ss that most of us don’t give any value to. These are very important for your pet’s life as they have a long-lasting positive effect on its wellness.

We are sure that you guys do not compromise on the quality of the food you give to your Golden.

But sometimes that is not enough for the sprouting growth. In that case, supplemental nutrition helps a lot but do consult a vet before doing so.


Under-socialized dogs are unhappy dogs especially when we talk about this particular breed. Take them out to meet friends. You will notice a positive change in their confidence and happiness.

Double the benefits by combining socializing trips with exercising routines for muscle health. This pack can be the best stress reliever for your dog. De-stressed Golden Retrievers live longer life for sure.

How To Determine Your Golden Retriever’s Age

If only dogs could talk like humans, then knowing our furry friend’s exact age would not be such a big question mark.

Fortunately, we humans have found ways to suss out how to find our doggo’s age (estimated, of course).

The thing is if you adopted a newborn Goldie, then determining the age is easy peasy. But it does become difficult otherwise. Here are some clues to look for when determining your doggo’s age.

  • Teeth

Golden’s adult teeth appear by seven months. They will remain bright till the time they approach their second year.

A two-year-old will have adult but dull teeth. From year five onward, the teeth will start showing damage.

  • Muzzle Hair

The fur around the muzzle starts changing color with age. When nearing age five, the appearance of grey and white hair will be noticeable. By seven, expect your dog’s muzzle to be whitish instead of gold.

  • Behavior

Golden puppies are highly energetic. An adult dog is much calmer but still active. A senior dog will have shrunken energy levels and you will find him lazing around more than being active.

  • Sights and Sounds

Vision and hearing give away a Golden’s age. Cloudy eyes along with wrinkles forming around them indicate a seven-ish dog. The response to commands and noises decreases with age. If he barely responds, consider his age to be around ten.

  • Body Shape

A Golden’s body shape can give a lot of clues about its age. Younger pups have a smaller body frame.

Young adult Goldens are very active and have a more muscular body when compared to a Golden Retriever puppy or a senior Golden Retriever.

A senior’s body (around 8 years old) will be slightly swayed back because of muscle wasting.


Golden Retrievers are the epitome of love. They are kind, tolerant, gentle, and whatnot. The day you take them in, is the day they start taking over your heart inch by inch until they start ruling it.

So it’s a “punched-in-the-stomach” kinda feeling when you realize that your pup can’t be with you forever.

All good things can’t last forever, so it’s best to make the most out of them. The years you get to spend with a healthy Golden can be bliss.

But this breed comes with a lot of care instructions that just cannot be overlooked.

Our article gave you full insights on the Golden Retriever lifespan and all the etiquette to follow for their healthy wellbeing. Helpful, wasn’t it? Well, we have more.

Just visit our blog and you will find answers to all of your dog-related queries.

1) Can a golden retriever live for 15 years?

Yes, they can. Even though it is a rare occurrence but is still possible. On average, the Golden Retriever life expectancy is 10 to 12 years according to American Kennel Club (AKC).

There is a decline noticed in their life span with passing time as the average Golden Retriever lifespan in the 1970s was 16 to 17 years which has been now reduced to 10 to 12 years.

2) What is the most common cause of death among Golden Retrievers?

Cancer is the most common cause of death in Golden Retrievers. Approximately around 60 percent of the deaths are caused by cancer in Golden.

If we split it down by gender, 56 percent of deaths are caused by cancer in female Golden Retrievers and around 66 percent in males.

3) How can you take care of a senior golden retriever?

A senior Golden Retriever needs a specific care routine to stay healthy.

  • Make sure that you are not negligent while feeding your dog. The diet you are giving to your Golden is crucial. Keep a lid on low-quality dog food with lesser nutritional values. Proteins, minerals, and vitamins are essential to keep your dog away from future diseases.
  • If the dog food does not have adequate nutrition, take aid from supplements. Keep your Goldies hydrated with fluids. This help flushes out toxins and prevents kidney damage.
  • Watching over your Golden’s weight by not overfeeding him is not being cruel. Obesity can prove to be savage for their health.
  • Keeping up with the dental health of your doggo may prevent a lot of diseases from storming that start at the gum line.
  • Make sure that you do not skip the exercise part. We are not implying a rigorous workout but daily walking or running would do as you do not want to exert your dog’s heart as well.
  • Provide your dog with a nice cushiony and warm sleeping place with a pet ramp. This will help with bone stiffness and arthritis.
  • Your senior Golden’s coat needs regular yet gentle brushing. You will notice that this routine helps stimulates oil glands resulting in a thicker and healthier coat.
  • Senior female Golden Retriever may lose control over urination. Give supplemental hormones to improve muscle health if you notice wet patches on your golden retriever’s bed.
  • Regular visits to the vet will keep a close check on your Golden’s health. It is an excellent investment to help keep your dog leading a healthy life.

4) Which dog breed lives the longest, the labrador or the golden retriever?

People often correlate Labrador Retriever and Goldens since these two dog breeds have so many similarities. The average life span of both these dog breeds is more or less the same which is 10 to 12 years.

But on average, a Labrador may live a year or two longer than a Golden Retriever which is 12 to 14 years.

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  1. 12/4/2022. We are proud parents of an awesome loving 14 yr old fe golden. This past yr she has slowed down (most days). Eats good. Good fluid intake. Loves attention by all. Very grey. She’s had a good & loving life. Still follows me every step I take even though she is obviously hurting & stuff . I’ll miss that most As well as stepping over her as I cook ! Amazing pet !! My husband picked her from a litter for my 53 rd bday present. Best gift ever !!!

  2. Thank you for clarifying that missing routine vet exams are the most harmful thing you can do for your dog. My sister wants to have a puppy. She was searching for available golden retriever pups. I’ll remind her to schedule regular veterinary visits.

  3. my golden Retriever is 13 in July this year. He is slowing up, more his back legs are not as strong, but he runs, drinks well, eats well. Happy loving, beautiful dogs.

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