Golden Retrievers are by far one of the most beloved and cherished breeds in the United States, lauded in film, literature, and internet memes.
They’re loved for their impeccably gentle nature, loyalty, and ease of care. You won’t find many people who have owned a Golden Retriever saying anything negative about this sweet breed.
If you’re considering adding one of these blonde beauties to your family, consider some of the associated costs of purchasing and owning one.
How Much Do Golden Retrievers Cost?
Golden Retrievers aren’t exactly a rare or hard-to-find breed, but finding one who’s been bred by responsible breeders can be difficult. Despite their awesome demeanor and popularity, Golden Retrievers are susceptible to a variety of hereditary health conditions.
A responsible breeder is educated and spends the money to ensure their breeding dogs are in good health and less likely to pass on a variety of conditions or diseases.
This seems like a lot to pay for a dog, but these dogs have come from parents that were carefully screened for some of the following issues, which are far more expensive to treat than this one-time purchase price.
“Are golden retrievers easy to train?”. You probably heard the ‘yes’ and decided to go for a goldie.
Whether you’re a dog parent or are about to be one, your love for a goldie will make you want one immediately.
But getting a golden retriever dog can be unexpectedly priced, so you may be in for more than you bargained.
Experienced parents know what to expect when adding a new dog to their family, but if you’re new to the game, it’s essential to know your dog is more than just a one-time investment.
All dog breeds cost different, but when it comes to golden retrievers, you’re up for a $1000-$3500 bid.
While this may sound expensive, don’t be put off yet. Golden retrievers are one of the most desired breeds, and owning one is a fun experience.
What Is the Price of A Golden Retriever?
All dogs are lovely, but there is something magical about a golden retriever. If you love golden retrievers, you’re probably thinking about getting one.
After all, golden retrievers are an attractive breed. They are also jolly and friendly, which makes them even more lovable.
Getting a dog, whether a golden retriever or not, involves a thorough and careful process.
You should not get a dog solely because you find dogs cute.
You should also be able to train them and provide them with a loving home.
Are golden retrievers easy to train? Yes. Goldies are known to be intelligent and friendly, so you are good to go.
But getting a golden retriever, training it, and ensuring it lives a healthy life can be costly.
The cost varies based on the type of breed, age, and even depends on where you got your goldie.
This is why $1000-$3500 is the estimated price for a golden retriever.
While spending this much money is a big deal for most people, the love and warmth you get from your goldie make up for it.
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Is a Purebred Golden Retriever More Expensive?
Purebred dogs are generally more expensive than hybrid and inbred dogs. The reason behind this price difference lies in a dog’s qualities and characteristics.
Purebred dogs come from a strong lineage, which is why they are generally costly, but this differs from breed to breed.
In some cases, hybrid or inbred dogs are more expensive because they are bred to adapt to environmental changes.
Golden retrievers are pricier than some dog breeds, but the cost varies. Purebred golden retrievers are more expensive than hybrid or inbred goldies, but not at a fixed price.
When you factor in training, the medicinal charges, and long-term care, almost all golden retrievers will amount the same.
In other words, purebred golden retrievers are costly when you buy them, but the price of maintaining golden retrievers levels out the playing field for all breeds.
You might think that the price of a golden retriever puppy is less than that of a growing goldie, but puppy love can often be much more expensive.
The cost of puppy love also differs from breed to breed.
Mainly, golden retriever puppies cost $1000-$2000. Depending on the breed, the cost may be exclusive of annual maintenance.
Most of the time, puppies cost more than adult dogs because they can be trained the way the owner wants.
Additionally, growing and adult dogs may experience different environmental changes, which can negatively affect their behavior.
Since puppies can immediately be placed in a loving home, they may skip out on uncomfortable conditions.
Of course, dog lovers have their own preferences. Some may look forward to training a puppy, and some prefer a partially or well-trained dog. In particular cases, people may rescue a puppy or a dog, which also changes the price.
People who get an adult or growing golden retriever save a lot of money compared to people getting a goldie puppy.
Puppy owners have to buy several items like kennels, collars, leashes, toys, and feeding utensils, which can cost $500-$1000.
Adult golden retrievers often don’t need to be introduced to such mediums and are happy to adjust to their environment. The difference in additional costs makes puppies expensive.
In addition to the previously mentioned factors that affect a golden retriever puppy’s price, other elements are at play. These include the breeder’s quality, bloodline, location, time, and age.
The breeder quality can significantly affect the price of a golden retriever puppy.
Puppies bred by experienced and professional breeders are expensive. A good and experienced breeder ensures that breeding occurs in optimum conditions.
Inexperienced breeders or breeders who know little about puppies may offer you a goldie at a lower price. This may seem like the easier choice, but the puppies bred under an inexperienced or careless breeder are weaker and prone to health problems.
A puppy obtained from a high-quality breeder is expensive because it is healthier and well-kept.
The bloodline of a golden retriever relates to its breeding.
It has a more powerful bloodline if a golden retriever is purebred and directly connected to its lineage.
Some bloodlines are known to be strong; golden retrievers bred through a Champion bloodline are often pricier.
The location where you get a golden retriever will also affect the price.
Golden retrievers bred or originating from top-notch neighborhoods tend to cost more than the golden retrievers that are available in affordable neighborhoods.
Similarly, the time of the year when you get the golden retriever also impacts the price.
You’ll probably face a price hike if you get a golden retriever when many people are looking for one too.
The time tends to coincide with the location; if golden retrievers are unavailable in a specific area, people from that area will search at a high rate.
Areas with dog mills can provide the puppy anytime, so the demand is low.
When the demand is high, prices take a hike. Low demands lead to low prices.
The age of a golden retriever determines its price.
Puppies are healthier and can be trained precisely how the owner wants to, so their demand is higher. This increases the price.
Training and taking care of their health is easier for young goldens.
This reduces additional costs and puts the youngsters at a lower price than puppies.
The scenario is entirely different for adult goldies; people typically prefer a well-trained dog but also want to spend a long time with them.
Adults may be prone to more health problems as they age, so their demand is often low.
Normal Veterinary Costs for Golden Retrievers
Genetic disorders aside, your Golden needs regular veterinary care to stay healthy and live a full life.
Hip and Elbow Dysplasia, Adds to the Cost of Golden Retrievers
Hip and elbow dysplasia are largely caused by genetics, and Golden Retrievers are frequently diagnosed with one of these disorders.
While it’s not 100 percent preventable, breeders should make a sound effort in spaying/neutering animals that are predisposed to the disease.
Regulating bodies like the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) evaluate x-rays for dogs and give them a “pass” or “fail” on passing on these problems.
The breeder you purchase your puppy from should have both parents certified as sound by the OFA. This doesn’t mean your dog won’t get hip or elbow dysplasia at some point, but it significantly reduces the likelihood of it developing.
Hip dysplasia is treated with pain medication and anti-inflammatories, but your dog needs surgery to alleviate its discomfort when it starts becoming debilitating.
This surgery is not cheap! It needs to be performed by a certified orthopedic surgeon, and you could be looking at a $3000 to $5000 total cost.
Epilepsy is another trait passed by genetics. Sometimes epilepsy is easily treatable, and the dog doesn’t need any medication or treatment.
Other dogs get severe epilepsy, though, requiring frequent medication changes and enduring massive seizures until the medication regimen is perfected.
Some dogs don’t respond to treatment, and they must be euthanized because their seizures’ frequency and severity affect their quality of life.
The cost of seizure medications could cost you anywhere from $20 to over $100 a month, depending on the type of medications and how much they’re taking.
Hypothyroid conditions aren’t uncommon in dogs, but they commonly plague Golden Retrievers. A dog with a low-functioning thyroid has a thin coat, dry skin, and excessive weight gain.
It’s easily treatable with daily medication (<$50 a month) and regular bloodwork to monitor the thyroid’s levels ($80 to $200 a few times a year).
If your Golden has a heart condition, it’s most likely sub-aortic stenosis or cardiomyopathy.
Up to 15 percent of Golden Retrievers are diagnosed with some sort of heart problem during their lifetime.
How a heart condition is treated depends on a long list of variables (severity of the condition, the dog’s age, the type of condition, etc), but starting costs begin at around $500 and go all the way up to several thousand dollars.
Your Golden’s big doe eyes could end up with their long lashes growing into the eyelid. This is called entropion, and while it isn’t deadly, it does cause a significant amount of discomfort, and Goldens are one of the most commonly afflicted breeds.
It’s only correctable with surgery, and signs include squinting, constant discharge, frequent eye infections, and eye rubbing.
The cost of an entropion repair can be a few hundred dollars to over $1000 depending on the severity of it.
Cancer, It’s Not Uncommon in Golden Retrievers
Unfortunately, this breed has very high incidences of cancer, especially osteosarcoma and lymphosarcoma.
A study in 1998 showed that, on average, 61.8 percent of Golden Retrievers die from cancer.
It’s largely a hereditary trait, and an ethical breeder won’t breed dogs that have a history of cancer in their lineage.
The cost of cancer treatment ranges from $8000 to $15000, and there’s certainly no guarantee your dog will survive the illness.
Spaying and Neutering
Fixing your dog is the single most important thing you can do to lengthen your dog’s life. Female dogs allowed to have their first heat cycle are exponentially more likely to develop mammary cancer.
Unneutered male dogs are more susceptible to prostate problems, including cancer. When you have a breed already at a higher risk of developing cancer, you should strive to do everything in your power to lower that risk.
Fixing dogs also prevents them from taking hormone-inspired trips around the neighborhood where they could possibly get hit by a car.
Neuter on a six-month-old retriever puppy averages between $150 and $200. Spays are more expensive because it’s abdominal surgery, so you could pay between $200 and $300.
Spays always cost more if the dog is in heat, so consider that if you’re hesitating to spay before your puppy is six months old.
Puppy vaccines are given in three to four sets of DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza) and a rabies vaccine.
These vaccines begin when your puppy is six to seven weeks of age, and you’re responsible for continuing the series after you take them home.
The vaccines themselves are typically between $20-40, and your vet may or may not charge an examination fee with each vaccine visit.
Other vaccines might be necessary if your pet is boarded (kennel cough and canine influenza).
Past the puppy age, your dog needs an annual DHPP and rabies every three years.
You probably think that getting a golden retriever for $1000-$2000 is a sealed deal, but the cost only gets higher.
Remember, responsibilities and factors add to the cost you pay when getting a goldie, so depending on how much you spend on annual maintenance, you might be deducting around $3500 from your pocket.
The cost gradually decreases as you get used to having a golden retriever, but the first few years require effort, time, and money. Here is a breakdown of additional costs that may be heavy on your wallet:
|Additional Costs||Total Price||Breakdown of Items and Cost|
|Supplies||$200-$1500||Kennel: good kennels cost around $40-$70. MidWest kennels are available for $60- $70. Dog Beds: Comfortable and high-quality dog beds cost $20-$130. PetFusion dog beds are available for $120. Furhaven has wide varieties, including an Orthopedic bed for $45. If you’re looking for good quality but low price, try MidWest’s Bolster Bed. Food Bowls: Good quality food bowls like PetSafe’s Food Station cost around $10-$20. Other supplies like leash, collar and brush can cost up to $500.|
|Professional Training||$80-$250||Puppy training classes can cost around $100-$150. If you decide to call a professional trainer at your residence, you might have to chip in more. Professional trainers generally demand $150-$250. Specific courses can help your pup open up, which costs around $80-$100.|
|Food||$600-$1200||Depending on your pup’s diet or the company you prefer, dog food costs around $50-$100 per month.|
|Medical & Insurance||$700-$15000||You might contribute a lot to medical and insurance for the first year. Vaccinations cost around $150, while procedures like neutering or spaying cost $50-300. Medical expenses like vet visits, minor procedures, and immediate care can amount to $1500. Insurance varies from company to company, but you should be prepared to spend a minimum of $3000 and a high rate of $14000-15000, depending on benefit limits.|
Also Read: Top-rated Dog Beds for Golden Retrievers
Why Goldies Cost This Much: Additional Responsibilities
The expense of getting and maintaining a goldie isn’t fixed.
You will have to spend a lot of money for the first year.
This does depend on whether you’re getting a puppy or an adult golden retriever.
Moreover, the first year involves vaccinations and certain purchases that gradually reduce as the years pass.
Hence, you might spend too much for a while, but this won’t always be the case.
Specific responsibilities can take a toll on your wallet.
Goldies may be happy dogs, but you have to provide them with a particular lifestyle to ensure they are not being harmed.
The responsibilities that can add to the annual cost of a goldie are detailed down below:
|Responsibility||Total Cost||Breakdown of Costs|
|Dog Walking||$15-$100||Doing it Yourself: You only need to spend $15-$20 on a leash. Hiring a Dog Walker: Dog walkers charge $20-$25 daily.|
|Grooming||$100-$700||Personal Grooming: Dental kit can cost about $10. Brush and nail clippers cost around $30 collectively. Shampoo costs $10-$20. Poop bags can cost $50-$60. Professional grooming: Professional groomers demand around $200-$300.|
|Travel||$10-$1000||Hotel Fees: Pet-friendly hotels charge $10-$30 for daycare. Hotels disallowing pets charge $20-$50. Airlines Fees: Airlines demand up to $1000 for accommodating a dog.|
|Toys||$1-$500||Chew toys are typically cheap and can be purchased for $1-$20. Interactive toys like Wickedbone Smart Bone and Anxiety relief toys cost around $130-$300|
|Treats||$10-$20||Since you choose the treats, they cost $10-$20 at a time, depending on the brand.|
Let’s move on to the more significant questions: Are vet visits important, and do you have to spend a lot?
Regardless of the breed of your dog, vet visits are a must.
Visits to the vets ensure that your dog is healthy and happy. Vet visits can even check whether the dog is carrying harmful germs or not. If you don’t take your dog to the vet, you might be placing them in harm’s way.
Dogs are susceptible to many diseases, including cancer. Losing a dog is a dog lover’s worst nightmare, but regular vet visits can improve your dog’s health.
Vet visits are a good investment, even if they are costly. However, the price of vet visits reduces considerably as your pawl grows.
You’re up for $200-$1500 for the first year for preliminary checks. The price varies according to the issues your puppy presents.
General check-ups cost $100-$200.
Treating ear infections (which are extremely common) can cost up to $300.
Stomach issues like indigestion, diarrhea, and vomiting can rack up a bill of $500-$600.
If your pup faces trouble getting up on its feet or limps, your vet can demand $900-$1000.
If you include vaccinations, that’s another $100-$300 added.
Overall, for the first year, you’ll have to pay around $1000-$3000, depending on your pup’s health.
If you keep up with the vaccination and the vet’s guidelines, the vet expenses may reduce to $500.
You might have gotten a golden retriever. But the expenses don’t end here.
All dogs require care and love, but you can’t just give your dog a roof over its head and call it a day.
The training, care, and maintenance of a dog requires a lot of effort and, honestly, money.
You can’t skip on additional expenses because they might seem unnecessary to you but are needed for a golden retriever.
Grooming is one of the most critical responsibilities of a golden retriever owner. Goldies grow a lot of hair that needs to be maintained regularly.
Clipping nails, cleaning, and hygiene checks help a golden retriever stay healthy.
Golden retrievers also require a lot of exercises to remain healthy and fit. Dog walking is the easiest and most common form of exercise for dogs, so you can’t keep a goldie at home.
Factoring in the purchase, the maintenance, medical check-ups, and the elements that can affect the price, you are looking at an annual cost of around $1000-$3500. This price does not include insurance.
It is vital where you get your golden dog and whom you get it.
If you already have dogs, you probably already know the ropes.
But, if you are a first-timer and don’t have much to go on, properly researching everything is a step you can’t skip.
For some people, the excitement of a golden retriever may wear off. In this case, the owners might think that they got a hold of a bad dog.
But remember, dogs can pick up certain behaviors from where they belong or stay.
In other words, a dog may look like a bad dog, but it simply gives you the reaction it has learned.
So, what you might call a bad experience or a bad dog is probably the fault of the place or the person you got the dog from and not the furry creature itself.
The breeder can directly affect your experience of keeping a golden retriever.
Not all breeders are good, and not all breeders are bad.
Some breeders may look the part and convince you that they are good, but this does not make them creditable.
Searching for a creditable golden retriever breeder is even more difficult because of how expensive the dog can be.
Some breeders can fool people by giving them a dog that looks fine but is sick. This may cause trouble for the dog and the owner, especially if the owner is looking for a show dog or has no experience caring for a dog.
Some signs indicate that a breeder is reputable. Not all of these signs may be present, but they can still hint toward a respectable breeder.
Here are the green flags you should look for in a breeder:
Some breeders are certified by different agencies or groups that can vouch for their business.
If your breeder is not certified, it may be a sign that they provide golden retrievers without credibility.
Breeders with experience taking care of dogs are much more reliable than breeders who don’t.
Scamming breeders fake their experience, so you should always ask around.
If your breeders look like they have experience but aren’t sure, follow your gut feeling and settle for a different breeder.
Breeders don’t need to be good because they come from a great organization or have experience. What matters the most is whether breeders care.
Breeders who seem genuinely concerned about the dog will ask you many questions.
These are just some of the questions that a concerned breeder will ask you:
- Do you have experience with keeping a dog?
- Are you able to afford the maintenance?
- Do you have friendly pets at home?
- Is your family happy with you getting a dog?
- If you live alone, will you be able to handle it alone?
- Do you know a good dog babysitter?
Just like you want to ensure that the breeder is good, the breeder will want to know if you are good.
Shady breeders who only breed dogs for money won’t show the same concern as a breeder who is breeding dogs to provide them a healthy lifestyle.
If your breeder does not seem to care, it is a sign that the breeder did not provide the dog with a loving environment before you came.
A good breeder will know the responsibilities of keeping and breeding a golden retriever.
Responsible breeders keep up with medical check-ups, hygiene maintenance, and grooming and often keep records of this.
You can recognize a good breeder if you’re handed a medical history file and check-ups.
A good and reliable breeder will be breeding goldies in a clean and well-managed place.
Backyard breeders should be viewed suspiciously.
Breeders who are excellent and experienced will be breeding at a place that is spacious, clean, and well-equipped.
Congested kennels or two to three dogs staying in one kennel signifies that the breeder does not provide a loving home.
Good homes will also have a lot of toys and quality dog beds.
Puppy mills or shady warehouses should be avoided because they rely on closed spaces and limited resources.
If you have trouble recognizing an unhealthy environment, picture the dog kennels from Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992). Any place that comes close to that is a place you should avoid at all costs.
In some cases, golden retriever owners are given a dog that may look healthy but present problems later.
A puppy or even a grown dog can be active and energetic, but in some cases, the dog begins to fall sick as time goes on.
Naturally, owners who thought they got healthy dogs to blame it on the dog. While this may seem true, it is not the case.
Dogs adapt to their environment, which means unhealthy dogs have much to do with bad breeders.
Shady or unreliable breeders tend to scam people by providing them with an unhealthy golden puppy.
If the owner is inexperienced, realizing that the dog is sick or unhealthy will be difficult. Scammers will take advantage of this.
Since an inexperienced owner may not know whether a dog is healthy or not, their chances of falling for puppy sales scams are greater.
More importantly, puppies do not have to show sure signs of weakness (trouble walking, limping) because they have yet to grow. This makes it easier for scammers to use puppies.
A similar reason why puppy sales scams take place is that the scammer could defend the state of a dog’s health by age. The scammer can easily say that a puppy has yet to grow, which is why it looks so weak.
While puppy sales scams are expected for most dogs, they are much more common in golden retrievers because goldies have a high market value.
As you can realize, there are many ways a person can be scammed when getting a golden retriever puppy.
Experienced dog owners will know how to recognize quality breeding.
Here are some signs that point to quality breeding and will help you steer away from puppy sales scams:
Puppies that haven’t been maintained or groomed properly will look shaggy. Imagine outgrown hair, long nails, and a rugged appearance.
If you think the puppy looks frail, it could be another sign that points toward unhealthy dogs.
Healthy and well-kept dogs will have trimmed hair, a glossy look, and maintained nails.
In addition to the appearance, the physical characteristics of a dog also point to the quality of breeding.
The head of a golden dog should be well-chiseled. The puppy may be weak if you feel it is too chubby or too thin for a healthy dog.
The skull of a healthy golden puppy is broad. An unhealthy puppy may have a skull that’s too narrow or coarse.
The neck should be clean and muscular. The feet should be rounded, almost like a cat’s.
A puppy doesn’t need to portray these signs, but you can always check in with its medical history and evaluation.
While you should look for a friendly dog, some puppies may be shy to meet strangers.
It would be best if you looked for a friendly puppy.
If the puppy is shy, make sure the puppy isn’t aggressive.
Aggressive dogs will growl or act defensively around strangers.
Aggressive dogs may be quick to bite. Friendly dogs will be playful.
You probably know a golden retriever’s initial and estimated costs, but remember, the price isn’t fixed.
The cost depends on various factors and can change from time to time.
You need to know that caring for and maintaining a golden dog is too important to ignore.
After adding costs for the initial purchase, the first-year maintenance, the additional responsibilities, and vet visits, you need to have a minimum of $1000-$2000 for the purchase and initial check-ups.
The general maintenance can cost up to a minimum of $3000.
If you get insurance, it will be costly.
Briefly put, the essential cost of a golden retriever is around $1000-$3500.
The price will vary but will be high.
If you look at it one way, a golden retriever is much more expensive than most breeds.
But the warmth you receive from your goldies will make you love them even more.
A golden retriever is costly but worth the money.
If you are careful with the care and management of a dog, you are in for a fantastic experience.
Pet Insurance: Good Idea or Waste?
If you pick a puppy from a reputable breeder who breeds responsibly, you’ll likely end up with a disease-free dog who lives a full life with little to no problems.
However, with a dog that’s so prone to serious medical problems, it’s a good idea to budget for emergency or unexpected veterinary bills.
Pet insurance isn’t bad if you purchase the policy when your dog is a puppy and free from serious health problems.
Pet insurance could cover things like cancer, hip surgery, and monthly thyroid meds, so thoroughly research their policies before you buy one to ensure they cover ailments/illnesses Goldens are predisposed to.
It’s critical to remember pet insurance isn’t like human insurance. Your vet won’t bill the insurance company, meaning you’re responsible for covering the bill up front and then waiting for the insurance company to reimburse you.
Most people get pet insurance because they can’t afford an unexpected $1500 bill, but knowing you’ll be reimbursed makes it a bit easier to come up with such a large sum of money temporarily.
If you get a Golden Retriever, you won’t have any regrets! They’re wonderful with people of all ages, sociable with dogs, and rarely aggressive to animals like cats.
When you’re looking for a dog that’s cheerful, gentle-natured, and easy to train, a Golden Retriever is the breed for you.