Your Ultimate Guide To The Red Golden Retriever

The red Golden Retriever is a rare variation of Golden Retriever, so you may not have seen this unique and beautiful dog very often. Still, its rarity has only proven to make this dog more popular over the years, especially as we come to learn more about him.

Are you curious about the red Golden Retriever? Then you’ve come to the right place. Today we are talking about everything you should know about the red Golden Retriever in the hopes of helping you decide if this gorgeous dog is the right addition to your home or family.

Let’s get started!


What Is The Red Golden Retriever?

1 a red golden retriever up close
The red Golden Retriever is a dog with a red or mahogany coat color.

The red Golden Retriever is a color variation of the standard Golden Retriever, with a coat that ranges from light pink to dark red or mahogany in color. Because the official colors of the Golden Retriever are golden, light golden, and dark golden, the red variation of the Golden Retriever is not recognized by most major breed clubs like the American Kennel Club (AKC) and actually seen as an abnormality or flaw in the dog’s coat.

This “flaw” is caused by a recessive allele C gene, which causes the rich, red color in the red Golden Retriever dog’s coat. This genetic trait can also lead to a different texture in the red Golden Retriever’s coat, which we’ll talk about in more detail further down.

Because the allele C gene is recessive, two parent dogs must carry the gene in order for a red Golden Retriever to be born into a litter. This means that red Golden Retriever dogs are quite rare and may therefore be more costly to obtain when going through breeders in spite of not being eligible for show.

It has also been noted that the red Golden Retriever’s color, though often a darker shade of mahogany, can lighten up depending on the dog’s lifestyle and whether or not the dog is outside often. If kept inside more often than not, the coat tends to be a lighter shade of pink.

And unlike some dogs who change color over time when they age, most red Golden Retriever puppies are born red and remain red throughout their lifetime.

Aside from his red coat, the red Golden Retriever still maintains the black nose, lips, and dark brown eyes of a typical Golden Retriever. He also maintains the same sweet temperament that makes this breed of dog such a family favorite.

Here’s an overview of the red Golden Retriever at a glance:

Height: 20 to 23 Inches Tall

Weight: 55 to 75 Pounds

Temperament: Energetic, Lively, Friendly, Playful, Intelligent, Social, People-Oriented

Lifespan: 10 to 12 Years

Health Issues: Cancer, Atopic Dermatitis, Hot Spots, Ear Infections, Hip Dysplasia, Elbow Dysplasia, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, Pigmentary Uveitis, Nutritional Dilated Cardiomyopathy, Hypothyroidism, Hemangiosarcoma (HSA), Lymphoma, Subaortic Valvular Stenosis (SAS), Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV or Bloat)

Coat Type: Double Coated, Shedding

Coat Colors: Light Pink, Red, Mahogany

Hypoallergenic: No

Origin: Scotland

The History Of The Red Golden Retriever

2 an irish setter
The red Golden Retriever has close ties to his Red Irish Setter ancestor, seen above.

Hailing from the Scottish Highlands, Golden Retrievers were originally bred and perfected as gun dogs during the mid-19th century by a breed enthusiast, 1st Baron Tweedmouth Dudley Marjoribanks.

Their incredible intelligence and devotion to their masters made Golden Retrievers the ideal hunting companions, and their unique double coats helped to protect them as they helped track and retrieve fallen prey from harsh waters like marshes, rivers, and ponds.

It is believed that Golden Retrievers are a cross between Irish Setters (also known as Red Setters), bloodhounds, and the now-extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.

In 1903, the Golden Retriever was officially accepted by the Kennel Club. About 14 years later, Golden Retrievers found their way to the United States where they were eventually accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1911.

It wasn’t long before Golden Retrievers became popular not only as gun dogs in the United States, but also as therapy dogs, police dogs, search and rescue dogs, and of course family companions.

Today, Golden Retrievers are considered the third most popular dog in the United States according to the American Kennel Club’s list of most coveted family companions.

But what about the red Golden Retriever?

You may have noticed that Golden Retrievers were created by mixing a few different breeds including the Irish Setter, sometimes known as the Red Irish Setter. This is where the red Golden Retriever’s red coat derives from, and its origin makes the red Golden Retriever more closely tied to his hunting dog origins. This does make the red Golden Retriever stand apart from its other colored counterparts in a few different ways.

Keep reading to learn more.

What Makes A Red Golden Retriever Different From A Standard Golden Retriever?

3 a side profile of a red golden retriever
Red Golden Retrievers are known to be more energetic and active than typical Goldens.

Usually, coat color does not have any implications on a dog’s temperament, appearance, or health and generally just means the dog’s coat color is simply different from the usual coat colors of the breed.

But in the red Golden Retriever dog’s case, there are some notable differences owners should be aware of.


As we discussed above, the red Golden Retriever is more closely tied to his origin and his Red Irish Setter ancestors, especially when it comes to the red coat.

In fact, it was much more common for the original Golden Retrievers of old to have darker red coats, but as they continued to be bred and perfected their coats continued to lighten. The darker red Golden Retriever dogs are more closely tied to their hunting lines, which means that some temperamental traits may be more dominant than Golden Retrievers, who have been more perfected over time as pets.

The good news is that this red coat and the gene that causes it does not have any negative impact on your red Golden Retriever dog’s health.

Coat Color and Texture

One of the most obvious differences between a red Golden Retriever and a typical Golden Retriever is the red coat color, but a less noticeable difference is the variation in coat texture.

That’s right, the red Golden Retriever has been noted to have a somewhat different coat texture than his Golden Retriever cousins. All Goldens have double-layered coats with a dense, downy undercoat and a long, feathery outer coat. This double coat helps protect Golden Retrievers from the elements, including the sun.

The red Golden Retriever has a somewhat shorter outer coat, which is actually a good thing for those looking for a Golden Retriever that is a bit easier to groom and less likely to shed as heavily.

With that being said, red Golden Retrievers are still considered heavy shedders and will still require a good amount of grooming, so you should still be prepared.

Size and Weight

Red Golden Retrievers are more athletically built than typical Golden Retrievers thanks to their closer tie to their hunting bloodlines. With that said, they are also a bit smaller and more agile.

Typical male Golden Retrievers can stand between 23 to 24 inches and can weigh between 65 to 75 pounds, while red Golden Retriever males stay closer to just 23 inches and won’t weigh much over 65 pounds.

Typical female Golden Retrievers stand between 21 to 22 inches and weigh between 55 to 65 pounds, while red Golden Retriever females are usually just 21 inches and closer to 55 pounds.

Red Golden Retriever puppies are also often the smallest born in their litter, which is another indication of what their coat color will be as they age and a clue to their closer ties to their hunting bloodlines.

Energy Level

Because the Red Golden Retriever is more closely tied to their hunting ancestors, they may have a higher prey drive than typical Golden Retriever dogs. They are also known to have more athleticism and energy.

Golden Retrievers in general are known for being athletic and energetic, and a red Golden Retriever is even more so. A potential owner should keep this in mind, as this means that red Golden Retrievers are likely going to need a bit more exercise and more pointed mental stimulation to help reduce behavioral issues like boredom that could lead to destructive behaviors such as chewing or digging.

Eligibility for Show

Because the red Golden Retriever’s coat is considered a flaw or abnormality, the red Golden Retriever is not accepted by the American Kennel Club as an eligible color variation for show.

This should only matter to potential owners who are seeking a dog they will be able to compete with, so keep this in mind when considering if the red Golden Retriever is right for you.

Average Cost

Although the red Golden Retriever is not eligible for show, that hasn’t stopped breeders from selling this dog for top dollar.

In fact, because the red Golden Retriever is so rare, he is often more costly than the typical Golden Retriever, with costs being between $1,000 and $3,500 on average.

Understanding The Temperament Of A Red Golden Retriever

4 a red golden retriever puppy
These dogs may be smaller and more energetic than typical Goldens, but they are just as friendly and people-oriented!

Golden Retrievers in general are famous for their friendly temperaments, which make them excellent dogs for first time dog owners and owners with children and other pets. The red Golden Retriever is no exception.

In fact, red Golden Retrievers may be more energetic and athletic than their Golden cousins, but they have just the same fun-loving personalities that make them such a winning hit amongst dog lovers everywhere.

They are also incredibly intelligent, which makes training a breeze when it comes to this purebred. And speaking of training, the red Golden Retriever is going to need routine training and mental stimulation throughout his lifetime to ensure he grows up happy, healthy, and well rounded.

Tips On Training A Red Golden Retriever

Training a red Golden Retriever is relatively easy, considering these dogs are highly intelligent and so eager to please. Of course, like all dogs, the red Golden Retriever can become distracted and even bored of training sessions if they are not kept short, fun, and gamelike.

We recommend using quality training treats when training your red Golden Retriever to help hold his interest, and make sure you avoid punishment or aversive training methods and instead stick to positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement training has been shown to be the most effective form of dog training, as it helps strengthen the bond built between you and your dog by building trust.

Training should also begin early in puppyhood and continue on throughout your dog’s life. The same is true for socialization.

Tips On Socializing A Red Golden Retriever

Early socialization is key to ensuring your red Golden Retriever grows up confident and mentally sound. Without proper early socialization, the red Golden Retriever can become anxious, and this can lead to fear based aggression or other problems down the road.

To properly socialize your Red Golden Retriever, make sure you introduce him to as many new experiences as possible as early as possible, and try to ensure these first impressions are positive for him.

Just as with training, you can use quality training treats to help make socialization more effective, like those below.

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Training Treats

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We like Wellness Training Treats for training, especially when you’re training a red Golden Retriever puppy. The treats are soft, smelly, and small, making them excellent training treats for training sessions and even for early socialization.

We also like that they are made with natural ingredients and contain DHA for healthy brain development. They are also made with real meat protein and are free of artificial flavors.

And if your red Golden Retriever dog has food sensitivities, these training treats are poultry free and instead made with lamb and salmon.

Exercise Needs And Mental Stimulation For A Red Golden Retriever

5 a red golden retriever in grass
Because red Goldens are more energetic, they need more extensive exercise.

Golden Retrievers are already known for their high intelligence and energy level, but as we’ve mentioned the red Golden Retriever is even more energetic than his Golden Retriever counterpart.

This means that exercise is going to need to be taken even more seriously than usual to help prevent health issues and temperamental issues down the road.

Along with proper exercise, mental stimulation is also going to play a role in your red Golden Retriever dog’s overall health and happiness. Let’s take a look at some tips for the best exercise and mental stimulation for a red Golden Retriever.

Best Exercise For A Red Golden Retriever

The best exercise for a red Golden Retriever is going to be a dedicated hour or more of exercise each day. This could include a good walk, jog, run, hike, or even swimming or free play at a dog park.

Red Golden Retrievers will also enjoy playing games like frisbee and fetch, and they will enjoy running around freely throughout the day in a large backyard. For this reason, red Golden Retrievers are not the ideal dogs for those who live in apartments or homes without yards due to their high level of energy.

Mental Stimulation For A Red Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers in general are working dogs at heart, and this means they are going to need owners who are dedicated to ensuring they are kept mentally sound, especially if they are going to be left to their own devices.

Some of the best mental stimulation for a Golden Retriever could include consistent training sessions that utilize treats and are made to be gamelike. You can also keep your dog mentally stimulated by setting up obstacle courses and hiding treats or toys around your home or even in your backyard.

Puzzle toys can also help keep your red Golden Retriever mentally stimulated, as can snuffle mats or chew toys like KONGS.

Does The Red Golden Retriever Have Any Unique Health Issues?

6 a happy red golden retriever outside
Luckily, red Goldens do not have any unique health issues outside of what is common for the breed.

All dogs have genetic health issues they must contend with, and Golden Retrievers are no different. The good news is that when it comes to the red Golden Retriever, his red coat color does not have any impact on his overall health. Furthermore, the red Golden Retriever does have a decent lifespan of between 10 to 12 years.

Still, he can be susceptible to the same health issues as the typical Golden Retriever, which include but may not be limited to:

  • Cancer
  • Atopic Dermatitis
  • Hot Spots
  • Ear Infections
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Pigmentary Uveitis
  • Nutritional Dilated Cardiomyopathy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hemangiosarcoma (HSA)
  • Lymphoma
  • Subaortic Valvular Stenosis (SAS)
  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV or Bloat)

Though it’s impossible to predict or prevent all health issues common in the red Golden Retriever, you can help combat them by ensuring you get your dog from a reputable source. This means going through breeders or rescues you trust, asking plenty of questions, and requesting certificates of health.

Daily exercise, mental stimulation, and grooming will also have an impact on your dog’s health.

When it comes to grooming, the red Golden Retriever is going to need to be brushed routinely with an undercoat rake and a deshedding brush to help remove debris and loose hair. He should be bathed at least once every six weeks or so with a dog-safe shampoo, and his ears should be kept clean and dry to help prevent ear infections.

Like all dogs, the red Golden Retriever should also have his teeth brushed once a day with a dog-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, and his nails should be trimmed or ground down at least once every few weeks.

It’s also important to keep routine veterinary appointments with your red Golden Retriever, and to make sure your dog maintains a quality diet.

Because the red Golden Retriever can be prone to Bloat, diet is especially important as is considering investing in a slow feeder to help prevent this condition.

Outward Hound Fun Feeder

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The Outward Hound Fun Feeder is a slow feeder that helps to slow your dog down during mealtime by collecting kibble or wet food in maze-like cubbies in the bowl. This helps reduce the amount of air swallowed during mealtime, which in turn helps reduce the chances of bloat.

Bloat occurs when the intestines fill with air after a dog eats or drinks too quickly. This can cause the stomach to flip, leading to this deadly condition.

You can also help prevent Bloat in your red Golden Retriever by feeding him smaller amounts at a time and by avoiding allowing him to eat or drink immediately after play or exercise.

Deciding If A Red Golden Retriever Is Right For You

7 a family with their red golden retriever
Just like regular Golden Retrievers, red Goldens are a family favorite.

The red Golden Retriever is a beautiful color variation of the typical Golden Retriever, though he does have some notable differences.

Remember, the red Golden Retriever is more active than his standard Golden counterpart. He may also have a higher prey drive and may shed less extensively. The red Golden Retriever is not eligible for show, though he can be more costly than official Golden Retriever color variations due to his rarity.

Otherwise, this gorgeous dog maintains all the wonderful traits and characteristics that make Golden Retrievers so beloved by families and canine enthusiasts alike!

The ideal owner of a red Golden Retriever is going to be an active and devoted family with a backyard, but this dog will also do well with active singles or couples. He enjoys being outside and requires owners who are able to devote time and attention to training, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Are you the ideal owner of a red Golden Retriever? Tell us what you think in the comment section below!

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