Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Short Hair? [6 Reasons Explained!]

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So, you’re dying to know “Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Short Hair?”

I’m sure one of the many reasons you fell in love with this breed is because of their long-flowing coat.

You’ve seen other Golden Retrievers with long hair, and it has you concerned about your short-haired Golden Retriever.

Perhaps you are even worried about whether or not your Golden Retriever is purebred or not.

Well, rest assured, this article is going to ease your mind and explain the 6 reasons why your Golden Retriever has short hair.

Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Short Hair?

The most common reason why your Golden Retriever has short hair is age. Golden Retriever puppies start out with short hair and grow into their adult coats by the age of two. Other factors that affect your Golden Retrievers coat length include genetics, diet, health, spay and neuter, and breed variation. Short-haired Golden Retrievers do not exist, however, a field Golden Retriever is one type of Golden that typically has a shorter coat.

1. Golden Retriever Puppies Do Not Have Long Hair

Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Short Hair - A Golden Retriever puppy walking on a dirt path.

By far the most common reason why your Golden Retriever has short hair is that he is still a puppy.

Your Golden Retriever’s puppy coat is soft and fluffy and lacks any feathering that an adult Golden has.

It takes up to two years for your Golden Retriever to have his full adult coat.

It’s a slow process, but you will start to notice feathering on your puppy’s tail around the age of 3 to 4 months.

This new hair growth will be darker than the rest of your puppy’s coat.

Golden Retrievers have feathering along their tail, legs, and belly.

The speed at which your Golden Retriever grows his adult coat is determined by genetics.

2. Genetics Play A Role In The Length Of Your Golden Retrievers Coat

Two Golden Retrievers sitting in a field of grass.  Both Golden Retrievers are facing you but looking off to the left.

As mentioned above, genetics play a role in how quickly your Golden Retriever puppy grows his adult coat, as well as how long or short his coat will be.

The length of hair on your Golden Retriever is a result of a recessive genetic mutation in the FGF5 gene.

This gene controls the hair cycle and length, which means that your Golden’s hair will only grow to the length that this gene allows.

When it comes to your puppy’s coat length, texture, and colour, the best way to get a sense of how it will look as an adult is by checking out your pup’s parents.

If your puppy’s parents have shorter hair, then your puppy will as well.

What happens if your puppy’s mom has long hair, but the father has shorter hair?

Well, chances are your pup could either have a longer coat or a shorter coat. In this case, there’s no guarantee of what it will be.

RELATED ===> Will My Golden Retriever Change Colour?

3. Diet Affects Overall Coat Length And Condition

A Golden Retriever with a long beautiful coat laying on a grey Adirondack chair.  The dogs head is resting on the chair's arm.

The saying you are what you eat is true for us humans, and certainly for our canine companions as well.

Food plays an important role in the overall condition of your Golden Retriever’s coat.

A Golden Retriever fed a poor diet that lacks essential nutrients will not only show its effects on his health, but you will notice it in his coat.

The coat will be dull, and brittle, cause excess shedding, and will likely be thin and patchy, making it appear shorter in length.

A proper nutritionally balanced diet will result in a healthy, shiny lustrous coat.

Foods that help improve your Golden Retriever’s coat, and essentially help the hair grow longer and stronger include:

  • Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Great sources include fish oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. Also, sardines, tuna and salmon.
  • Eggs are great for skin and coat health as they contain zinc, lutein, and biotin.
  • Oats support healthy skin and hair.
  • Liver from grass-fed animals contains tons of nutrients essential for skin health.
  • Sweet potatoes are considered a super-food for the skin. High in Vitamin A, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes help to accelerate healing and support collagen production.

A healthy coat that is shiny and strong starts from the inside.

By feeding your Golden Retriever a high-quality diet, you’ll be improving not only his overall health but his long-flowing hair.

4. Health-Related Issues Affect The Length Of Your Golden Retrievers Hair

We just touched on the importance of diet and how it affects your Golden Retriever’s coat.

Now, we’ll look at certain health issues that can have a negative effect on your Golden Retriever’s coat.


Allergies are pretty common in Golden Retrievers. Both environmental and food-related.

Licking, chewing and scratching are the most common signs, and it’s how a Golden Retriever will try to relieve his itchy skin.

All of that scratching, licking and chewing affects the hair on your Golden Retriever.

The hair loosens, falls off, and causes your Golden’s coat to appear thin, patchy, and sparse.

Hormonal Imbalance

A hormonal imbalance such as Hypothyroidism can cause your Golden Retriever to lose his hair.

Hair loss can appear in one area, in patches, or all over your dog’s body.

Cushing’s Disease

Also known as Cushing’s Syndrome, Cushing’s Disease occurs when there is an overproduction of the hormone cortisol.

It is more common in dogs 6 years or older.

One of the symptoms of this health condition is hair loss.

Other signs to watch out for include increased eating, drinking, urinating, and panting. Also, a pot-bellied appearance.


Parasites such as fleas and mites cause your Golden Retriever to itch and scratch, which in turn causes hair loss.

Bacterial And Fungal Skin Infections

Bacterial and fungal skin infections cause hair loss, redness, and irritation of the skin.

Ringworm is a fungal infection, not an actual worm, that results in hair loss in dogs.

Symptoms of ringworm include circular areas of hair loss, usually with a red and crusty edge, as well as broken/shorter hair and poor coat.


High-stress levels and anxiety can have a negative impact on your dog’s coat.

Stress can cause excessive shedding, as well as result in poor coat condition.

5. Spaying And Neutering Has An Effect On Your Golden’s Coat

Spaying and neutering alter your dog’s hormone levels, which can lead to hair loss (more shedding), and thickening of the coat.

Spay Coat is a term often used by groomers and dog owners to describe the change in coat texture and appearance in altered dogs.

It commonly occurs in Golden Retrievers but can affect other breeds as well, such as Rough Collies, and Irish Setters.

The coat becomes thicker, softer and more woolly in texture. Many owners describe the coat as fuzzier, and hard to manage.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that “spay coat” is a real thing, however, there are plenty of forums in which dog owners and groomers prove otherwise.

Spay Coat is discussed in the Golden Retriever Forum.

6. Your Golden Retriever May Be A Field Golden

A dark red Field Golden Retriever standing on top of a mountain.  The dog is facing you but looking to the left.

There is only one breed of Golden Retriever, but within the breed, there are different variations.

One such variation is the Field Golden Retriever.

A Field Golden is bred for field work such as hunting and retrieving game.

Field Goldens are intelligent, obedient, and very athletic.

Two ways that you can tell if you have a Field Golden is by the colour of their coat, dark golden to almost red, and a shorter coat length.

Field Golden Retrievers also tend to be slimmer and smaller than other types of Golden Retrievers.

Even though a Field Golden Retriever has a shorter coat length, it is still not as short as say a Labrador Retriever’s coat.

The shorter coat length just means that it is shorter than the average Golden Retriever’s coat.

In terms of shedding, Field Goldens tend to have less volume of hair, so shedding is not as extreme, however, they still shed!

RELATED ===> Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever.

Short-Haired Golden Retrievers Do Not Exist Unless You Trim Their Hair (Not Recommended!)

A purebred Golden Retriever with short hair does not exist, just to clarify, short hair means hair as short as a Labrador Retriever’s coat.

Even though a Field Golden Retriever has a shorter coat, it will still have feathering along the belly, tail, and legs. A Labrador does not have any feathering.

Can you turn your long-haired Golden Retriever into a short-haired one?

Yes, by trimming their coat, however, before you are tempted to do so, you should know that trimming a Golden’s coat can cause permanent damage!

The coat may never grow back the same way, and you will be putting your Golden’s health in jeopardy, this is especially true if you shave a Golden Retriever!

A Golden Retriever’s coat serves a purpose, and trimming it short is considered a sin by most Golden Retriever owners!

The only areas that ever need trimming include the feet, tail, bum area, and ears.

RELATED ===> Will My Golden Retriever’s Hair Grow Back?

My Golden Retriever’s Hair Is Not Growing, Help!

If you’ve ruled out age and genetics, and your Golden Retriever still has a short coat that doesn’t seem to grow, here are some tips to help speed the process:

  • Brush Regularly: Brushing removes loose dead hair and helps stimulate blood flow and distributes natural oils to improve the skin and coat.
  • Bathe Regularly: Bathing removes dirt and debris as well as loose hair, keeping the coat clean and healthy to stimulate hair growth.
  • Proper Nutrition: We talked about the importance of diet already, but I will stress again that adding Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, eggs, liver, sweet potatoes, and oats to your dog’s diet will help improve hair growth.
  • Rule Out Medical Issues: If you notice any significant hair loss or lack of hair growth, be sure to visit your vet to rule out any medical issues.

This short video lists the 5 foods that you should feed your dog for healthy hair, most of which we already talked about. (Sorry, the video is a bit robotic, but it gets the point across)

Final Thoughts

Purebred Golden Retrievers do not have short hair, but some may have shorter hair than the average Golden.

A Field Golden Retriever is one variation within the breed that typically has a shorter-length coat.

Genetics determines the length of hair that your Golden Retriever will have. If your pup’s parents have shorter hair, so will your pup.

A few other common reasons why your Golden Retriever has short hair is that he has not grown his adult coat yet, which can take up to the age of 2, underlying health issues that cause hair loss, and not feeding a high-quality diet.

Chances are if you have spotted a Golden Retriever with short hair, they have likely been groomed short, or the dog is a mixed breed.

Does your Golden Retriever have shorter hair than the average Golden Retriever?

Share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear from you!

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2 thoughts on “Why Does My Golden Retriever Have Short Hair? [6 Reasons Explained!]”

  1. A Golden Retriever is one of my favorite breeds of dog and we often look after a friend’s Golden Retriever when they go away on holiday. Although long hair can be a problem for some people, when the dog is shedding, their hair is one of the things that add to the beauty of a Golden Retriever. 

    I have not heard about a field Golden Retriever, but if they have shorter hair, it could be an option for those that want a shorter-haired dog. 

    It is fascinating to see what can cause short hair in Golden Retrievers and can help to identify any problems that your Golden Retriever might have. 

    • Hi Line,

      Yes, absolutely, a Golden Retriever’s long flowing coat certainly adds to its beauty!  Regardless of whether you own a shorter hair Golden Retriever such as the Field Golden, all Golden Retrievers shed.  This is definitely something that people need to take into consideration when deciding on this breed.

      A poor hair coat on a Golden Retriever is something that needs to be addressed, as it could be diet related or a more serious medical issue.

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts.



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