Grooming A Golden Retriever In The Summer [What Not To Do]

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[Updated December 2020]

Summer is here, and perhaps your long-haired Golden Retriever is suffering from all this heat.  Before you decide to head to your local groomer you may want to read on to find out what not to do when grooming a Golden Retriever in the summer.

Golden Retrievers have a lot of hair, and your first thought might be to shave it all off to help your dog keep cool in this heat.  After all, that is what most of us do in the summer when we are too hot, we end up getting our hair cut shorter.

Well, let me tell you that shaving your Golden Retriever is a big mistake!  I will tell you the reasons why below.

But first, let’s talk about the beautiful coat of a Golden Retriever!

When properly maintained it is striking to look at. Golden’s have a double coat that serves a purpose.

Your Golden Retriever Has A Double-Coat For Protection

The thick water-repellent double coat of a Golden Retriever requires a lot of care to keep it looking its best. The coat consists of a dense undercoat of short hairs that are woolly in texture, and an outer coat of long hairs called guard hairs.

You can blame your dog’s undercoat for all of that heavy shedding!  It sheds heavily twice a year, in the spring and fall.  The rest of the year you will notice moderate shedding or hair turn-over.

The undercoat and outer coat grow at different speeds and lengths from each other. The undercoat is shorter and grows faster whereas the outer coat is longer and grows slower.

In extreme temperatures, the undercoat works as an insulator keeping your dog warm in cold, wet weather and cool in hot, and humid weather.

The long guard hairs that make up the outer coat work to repel water and catch dirt and debris. The outer coat also protects your dog from the harmful UV rays.

In the summer the undercoat is much thinner because of the shedding, and the outer coat will protect your Golden from sun and heat.

Golden Retriever standing on the grass near a lake.

9 Reasons Why You Should Never Shave Your Golden Retriever

So many people believe that shaving a Golden Retriever will keep them cool in the summer, this is absolutely false!

Shaving any dog with a double coat is never a good idea. The only time shaving should be done is when necessary.

Necessary times for shaving are:

  1. If your dog’s coat has been neglected and has severe matting, and brushing or trimming is not an option.
  2. If your dog requires surgery or suffers from hot spots.  Then the affected area needs to be shaved.

Let’s look at why you should never shave your Golden Retriever, or any other double-coated breed:

1. The Double-Coat Is Protection

Your dog has a double-coat for a reason, it offers protection.  The undercoat keeps your dog warm in the winter, and cool in the summer.  The outer coat with the long guard hair protects your dog from harmful UV rays.

2. To Prevent Overheating

A shaved dog will be at risk of overheating. Your dog will not have the protection of his hair to keep him cool.

3. Reduce The Risk Of Skin Irritation

Dogs with double-coats have sensitive skin.  Shaving irritates the skin and may cause itching and makes the skin worse.

4. Reduce The Risk Of Sunburn And Skin Cancer

If you shave your dog you are exposing your dog to the harmful sun.  Your dog will be at a greater risk for sunburn, and skin cancer.  Dogs need at least one inch of hair to protect them from the sun.

Learn about dogs and skin cancer here.

5. Protection From Bug Bites

The thick hair offers protection from bug bites and anything else that your dog encounters while walking or playing outside.

6. Shaving Will Not Stop Your Dog From Shedding

Shaving a double-coated dog does not make them shed less. Many people are under the impression that shaving a dog will stop the shedding, it does not.

Double-coated dogs shed twice a year and that is the undercoat.  The rest of the time the shedding is normal hair turn over, which happens in all animals with hair.

Shaving only makes the hair pieces smaller, but they will still shed.

7. Shaving Damages The Coat

Your dog’s coat will be permanently damaged after a shave.  It will never grow back the same. The coat will grow back less sleek, and fuzzier, and will not lay flat as it did before being shaved.

8. Shaving Increases Allergens

Shaving will increase the number of allergens on your dog’s skin. Some people believe that shaving their double-coated dogs will help with their allergies, but that is not true.

The dander is what people are allergic to and having it exposed on the surface will not help the allergy issues.

9. Keep Your Dog Beautiful

A shaved dog looks ugly. Golden Retrievers with their full beautiful coat look much more attractive than a Golden Retriever that has been shaved.

Shaving Your Golden Retriever Is A Mistake, What Can You Do Instead?

Daily Brushing

Daily brushing is recommended especially during the shedding seasons to help get rid of the dead loose hair.

Regular brushing will help to get any tangles out of the fur and to keep dirt and debris out.

Brushing is the easiest way to keep your dog’s coat clean and shiny, and it allows you to check your dog for any medical issues. It is also a great bonding experience.

Find out my recommendation for the best brush for your Golden Retriever.


Bathing your dog should also be part of the grooming experience.  Bathing your dog will help to loosen any dead hair and help to reduce some of the shedding.

Make sure to use a gentle shampoo that is specifically made for dogs, as their skin is more sensitive than human skin.

A shampoo that is made for humans will have the wrong Ph balance and harsh chemicals that can irritate your dog’s skin and strip away the protective oils from the coat and skin.

Ear cleaning, nail trimming, and brushing your dog’s teeth should also be a part of the regular grooming.

What About A Golden Retriever Puppy Cut?

Golden Retriever puppy looking at you.

Many people go to their groomer and ask for a “puppy cut” or a “summer cut”.  What exactly is a puppy cut?

A puppy cut or summer cut is an all-over haircut usually done with clippers to leave the hair evenly trimmed.  Puppy cuts aren’t just for puppies, any dog can get a puppy cut.

A puppy cut is an option to help keep your dog cooler, and will basically make your Golden Retriever look the way he did when he was a puppy.

The hair is trimmed short, but not shaved.  Usually, the hair is trimmed to about one or two inches in length, and some feathering is left on your dog’s legs and the tail is trimmed but left long.

When you ask for a puppy cut make sure your groomer knows exactly what that is, and how short you want your dog’s coat.  The groomer should leave at least one inch of hair, and should not go past the undercoat.

You can easily groom your Golden at home yourself with the right pair of dog clippers, plus it will save you time and money!

Keep Your Golden Neatly Trimmed

Puppy cuts can be a bit severe for some people because basically, their Golden Retriever will look like a Lab, except for the tail.

If you choose not to do a puppy cut, you should still keep your golden looking neat and tidy by keeping some areas trimmed.

Areas that need trimming are between the feet and paw pads, the hair in the ears, the feathering on the legs, the bum area, and the tail can be trimmed to look neat and sculpted.

Trimming your dog will help keep him looking his best, as well as help keep him a bit cooler in the summer.  Find out how to trim a Golden Retriever easily at home by yourself.

Other Ways To Keep Your Dog Cool In The Summer

Golden Retriever laying in the water cooling off.

You’ve learned that shaving your double-coated Golden Retriever is a bad idea, so what else can you do to help keep your dog cool?

  • Keep your dog hydrated, always have fresh cool water available for your dog to drink.
  • Keep your dog walks short, or walk earlier in the morning and later at night when it is not so hot out.
  • Find a shady spot for your dog to rest. Be careful though because temperatures can soar even in the shade. Limit the time spent in the hot outdoors.
  • Let your dog go swimming, get a kiddie pool for your backyard.
  • Avoid walking on hot asphalt, try keeping your dog on the grass when walking, or invest in some dog boots.

Find out my recommendation for the best dog boots.

  • Invest in a cooling dog bed.  A cooling bed is a great option for your dog instead of laying on the cool hard floor because it will offer some cushioning and support.  Good for dogs with joint issues.

Find out what the best cooling dog beds are.

Final Thoughts On Grooming A Golden Retriever In The Summer

I hope this article has made you think twice before shaving your double-coated dog.

No matter how hot the temperature gets you should not shave your Golden Retriever. Their double-coat is actually helping them stay cool. After all, their long flowing coat is one of their many beautiful attributes.

Remember to keep your dog’s coat groomed with regular brushing, and bathing to keep it looking its best, and to help the coat do its job to protect your dog from extreme temperatures.

What About You?

How do you keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer?  Have you ever given your Golden Retriever a puppy cut?

Leave your thoughts and comments below, I would love to hear from you.

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Stirling, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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16 thoughts on “Grooming A Golden Retriever In The Summer [What Not To Do]”

  1. I don’t believe the chatter about the retriever’s long hair helping him to keep cool in the summer. I noticed that my dog’s panting, which is the dog’s heat-regulating mechanism, was markedly reduced by giving him a summer cut. There’s your proof that you’re providing summer relief for your dog, and he will appreciate it.

    • Hi RD,
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience on this subject. There is nothing wrong with giving your Golden Retriever a “summer cut”, also known as a “puppy cut”. The mistake, however, is when people shave their Golden’s, this is so bad for them. Shaving exposes their skin and will put them at risk for sunburn, overheating and skin cancer. Like I mentioned, a “puppy cut” is okay as long as the groomer knows to leave enough fur to protect your Golden, they should never cut into the undercoat.

      Many people will have strong opinions on this subject, but ultimately the decision is that of the owner. Many owners are dead set against trimming their Golden’s coat, and respectfully so, a Golden Retriever’s coat that is long and flowing and well cared for is beautiful. Puppy cuts can be beneficial in that they help to speed up the drying time when your Golden Retriever goes swimming daily.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.


  2. Hi Jenny
    My son had our golden in the woods and got loaded with burrs. Besides picking and combing them out he started cutting them out. Pretty chopped up job. We are still working on removing them but thought having him shaved. I now see that would probably be a bad idea. Any suggestions about the chopped up look? My assumption is it will all grow back in a few months and even out. Do you agree?

    • Hi Peter,
      I know all about burrs!! Ellie has had them quite often and they are so annoying! They stick to the fur just like velcro and are a pain to get out. They are even worse to get out when your dog is wet from being in the water. Anyway, the best way to get them out is just like your son has done by picking and combing/brushing them out. I do not suggest shaving your dog, it is a bad idea! In time the chopped up look will grow out and blend in with the rest of the fur, but without seeing a picture of your dog I really don’t know how bad it is. The hair will grow back though, you just have to be patient. If it is really bad, maybe you could go to a groomer to have the fur tidied/trimmed up, or use thinning shears to blend it in.

      Best of luck, and thanks for sharing your experience.


  3. Hi Jenny,

    I loved how you emphasize that a golden retriever’s coat must NOT be shaved at any point of their lives. New dog owners need to know that a dog’s coat can adapt to protect the pup from any weather.

    • Hi AnnieTheGolden,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. The double-coat of a Golden Retriever is a remarkable thing, not only is it beautiful when it is well-kept, but it also serves a purpose. It should never be shaved, but it can be trimmed and tidied up to keep it looking its best.


      • Hi Linda,
        I hear this happening all the time to blonde-haired people, their hair turns green from the chlorine, so it is no surprise that it happens to light coloured dogs as well. The lighter coloured undercoat is usually the most affected by this.

        Many people believe that it is the chlorine alone that causes hair to turn green, but it actually has to do with the levels of copper in the water. Copper and chlorine in the water will bond together and form a film that sticks to the proteins in the hair or fur causing it to turn green.

        Obviously you can’t ban your dog from going into the pool, so here are some things you could try:

        1. Wet your dog before he/she goes into the pool, the chlorine and copper won’t stick to wet hair as much as it will on dry hair.
        2. Use a leave-in conditioner on your dog’s fur before he/she goes into the pool, the conditioner will offer a protective shield from the pool water.
        3. Thoroughly rinse your dog after swimming in the pool to make sure all of the pool water is out of the fur.
        4. Use a clarifying shampoo to deep clean the fur, and follow with a moisturizing conditioner.
        5. Try using baking soda and mix it with water to form a paste, then apply the paste to the green fur and massage it in and rinse. Follow with shampoo and conditioner.

        Pool water can be very drying to your dog’s skin and fur, just as it is to us, humans. It is a good idea to use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner on your dog regularly during swim season.

        Hopefully, the above suggestions work for you. Please come back and let us know of your results.

        Take care,

  4. Hi there,

    I agree with all the points you’ve written here. A dog’s mane shouldn’t be touched at ALL. They have a purpose for all seasons and dogs will adjust and adapt on their own. I leave my retriever’s coat alone, just to brush and bathe it. But that’s it.

    • Hi,
      The coat of a Golden Retriever is really a remarkable thing, as with all double-coated breeds it serves the purpose of keeping them warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Shaving is a huge no-no, and so many people are under the false impression that it will help the dog keep cool. I am glad that you agree with what I have written and that you keep your Goldens coat looking its best with regular brushing and bathing. Trimming the coat should be done as well to keep it neat and tidy.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and taking the time to comment.


  5. Thank you for this information! A Golden Retriever is a special dog, very beautiful animals. That’s why I believe this site offers the best tips on caring for them as a first-time dog owner. There is so much I didn’t know! I thought that having an extra coat of hair would burn them up but instead helps keep them cool! Which is amazing!

    • Hi Vanissa,

      You are not alone in thinking that dogs with a double-coat suffer more from this summer heat.  Many people think that because a dog has long hair they are too hot, and the first thing they think of is shaving all the hair off.  Big mistake!  The coat of a Golden Retriever is really amazing and works to protect them by regulating their temperature.  All that hair is there for a reason.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  6. I wish I could say this article was perfect for me as I love Golden Retrievers but unfortunately I do not have one yet. Still, I enjoyed every single tip you shared and I know my best friend (who happens to have the dog of my dreams) she will love your article and suggestions.  She hasn’t had the dog for long and I know she appreciates any tip she can get.

    • Hi Barbara,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I am glad you enjoyed my tips, and I do hope that your best friend will benefit from them.  Hopefully, someday you too will own a beautiful Golden Retriever, but for now, you can enjoy spending time with your friend’s golden.

      Take care,


  7. Very beautiful dogs . Enjoyed visiting your website , Loved the idea of the boots I wish I could get my dog to wear them as he hates getting his feet wet when it rains , Sometimes I worry about him holding it so long I will walk out with him holding the Umbrella . Thank you for sharing your opinion on shaving your dog.


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