How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost?

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If you have weighed the pros and cons of owning a Golden Retriever, decided you have the space, sure you won’t mind the drool and the hairs, and have strategies to manage them, then you will love having a Golden Retriever welcome you every evening and put your troubles of the day behind!

Golden Retrievers are smart and highly trainable dogs. They weigh about 75 lb. and measure about 25 inches at withers. Their beauty is incomparable and also one of the main reasons behind their popularity.

According to the 2020 AKC list of most popular dog breeds in the United States, the Golden Retriever ranked 4th. However, this popularity makes these dogs expensive as well.

Most breeders charge between $1000 and $3000 for purebred Golden Retriever puppies from documented dogs. You might find a puppy a lot cheaper at pet shops and on sites like Craig’s list but we highly recommend not buying from these sources. Most often, these animals are a result of puppy mills and tend to have health issues.

It is important for potential pet owners to know that Goldens are costly dogs to keep due to their sizes. Also, many Golden Retrievers end up with health issues.

Moreover, the cost of feeding a Golden is also higher than most dogs due to their large size. You’d also spend quite a bit on its grooming. Many Goldens also develop joint issues which can lead to high veterinary bills.

On average, expect to pay nearly $3000 to $5000 on your pet in the first year alone. This includes the puppy’s purchase price along with basic supplies, training costs, medical costs, and food. Over the next year, the price of raising a Golden Retriever can be almost $2000 per year. These dogs live, on average for 10-12 years. So, expect to pay between $20,000 to $30,000 on keeping one.

Let us take an in-depth look at these prices.

How Much Does a Golden Retriever Puppy Cost?

The most immediate cost involved in the ownership of a Golden Retriever is the purchase price. If you buy your pet from a reputed breeder having pure bloodlines, then expect to pay between $1000 and $3000 for your pet.

You can always buy a cheaper undocumented puppy, but we strongly recommend against that. These dogs cost around $500 and you can find them in pet stores or on sites like Craig’s list. However, such puppies may have several health issues, so you might save on buying them but end up paying huge medical bills later. Puppy mill pups also tend to have behavioral issues.

The best place to buy documented Golden Retriever pups is from registered breeders listed on the breed’s club’s official site. This way, you have a better chance of finding a healthy puppy.

 

Factors Affecting a Golden Retriever’s Price

Many factors can impact your Golden Retriever’s price:

#1. Breeder

Reputed breeders ensure that their puppies are healthy. For this, they test their dogs for any genetic health issues and refrain from breeding such dogs. They also take very good care of the puppies including early vaccinations, de-worming, etc. Sometimes, breeders only use champion dogs in their breeding programs. All this can significantly raise your Golden’s price.

#2. Coat color

The standard golden color with is rich, neither too dark or light, is most in demand. These puppies can also cost more.

#3. Bloodlines

Puppies born to purebred Goldens that are show winners and AKC registered usually cost more.

 

Adopting a Golden Retriever

You could alternatively take on a rescued Golden Retriever from a shelter. But you must be prepared to pay a rehoming fee of about $400. This goes towards the cost of neutering/spaying, vaccination, and deworming costs incurred by the shelter.

Here is a table showing you the approximate costs of buying a Golden Retriever:

Golden Retriever minimum price$500 (from pet stores, sites like Craig’s List)
Golden Retriever maximum price$4000 (top breeders)
The median price of Golden Retriever$1135
Adoption cost$400

 

Cost of Basic Supplies for a Golden Retriever

The first-year cost of owning a Golden Retriever also includes the cost of basic supplies. These are items to keep on hand before your pet comes home. This will help make your pup’s transition to your home much smoother. Here are some basic supplies your Golden will need:

 

Food and water bowls

Invest in sturdy ceramic or stainless steel bowls. Your pet will use the food bowls at least 4 times a day, so you need at least 2 bowls for food. You can keep a single water bowl but make sure to change the water daily and also clean it regularly to deter bacteria.

Stainless steel food and water bowls will cost around $10 each. Ceramic bowls and elevated bowls can cost between $30 and $100 depending on the materials and quality.

 

Leash and collar

Your Golden Retriever will grow into a large dog so teach it to walk nicely on a leash. Some pups bite into the collar and leash, so make sure you buy a sturdy and durable leash and collar. The cost is about $30.

 

Grooming kit

Golden Retrievers shed a lot so you need to groom them daily. Invest in a large slicer brush and an undercoat rake, to begin with. The slicker brush has a large surface area with multiple pins. These will gently loosen the dead hair. 

An undercoat rake will remove the undercoat and prevent hair on your furniture. You also need a good shampoo for bathing your puppy, some nail trimmers to tone down their sharp nails, and ear cleaners to remove ear gunk.

You also need a toothbrush and vet-approved toothpaste. The cost of basic grooming supplies could come to around $100 for these large dogs.

 

Crate and bed

A crate will provide your boisterous puppy with a safe and secure place to sleep. Choose one that is the right size and won’t be too big or too small for your growing pup. Add in some crate pads to make the place cozier.

Crate and crate pads for Goldens cost around $50-$75.

Your pet will also need a bed. You can choose from orthopedic beds, plush donut beds, or raised or elevated beds with chew-proof nylon. Depending on the type, you could spend anywhere between $50 and $150 on a bed.

 

Toys

Chew toys will help your puppy through its uncomfortable teething phase. You can also keep your smart pet entertained by investing in dog puzzles, rope toys, balls, Frisbees, and treat-dispensing toys. The cost is around $50-$75.

Crate, crate pad, and bed$200
Training supplies: potty pads, leash, collar, poop bags, clicker, treats$100
Dog grooming supplies – shampoo, brushes, nail trimmer, ear wipes, etc.$100
Toys – Kong toys, chew toys, ball, treat-dispensing toys, dog puzzles$50 to $75
Food and water bowls, mats to contain messes$50

 

Golden Retriever Training Costs

Goldens are very easy to train. Their easy trainability comes from their need to please their owners. So, owners must use this trait and start the training from a very early age. There are multiple training options for your Golden:

 

Home training

You can train your pet on your own. However, you must be willing to be consistent and begin the training right from day one. You also need to be patient and set aside time for training on a daily basis. There are many free resources available online regarding dog training and you can get some tips from there.

 

Personal dog training with professional trainers

Professional dog trainers charge between $30 and $50 per class. Some even charge $120 per class for specific behavior-related issues like aggression, anxiety, etc.

 

Puppy obedience school

Classes at places like PetSmart can cost around $116 for a 6-week training package. Some places charge between $50 and $75 per session. Your pet will get to interact with other dogs which can be very good for its overall development.

 

Dog boot camp training

These are board-and-train camps where your Golden will board with the trainer. These can cost nearly $50 per day and a weekly package could be priced anything from $500 to $1250 depending on the type of training.

 

Service dog training

Golden Retrievers make excellent service dogs so you could consider training your pet to be one. This training can cost nearly $120 per hour and your pet would need several hours of training.

Here is a table showing the breakdown of the approximate training costs:

Group training (cost per class)$30.00 to $50 per class
Private obedience school (cost per session)$45.00 to $120
Dog boot camp (cost per day)$50.00 daily (weekly about $300 to $1000)
Minimum online training program price$99.00
YouTube videos$0.00
Minimum puppy basic training cost (total)$200.00
Maximum puppy basic training cost with boarding (total)$2000.00
Service dog training$120 per hour

 

Golden Retriever Food Costs

Until 9 months of age, your puppy will need puppy food. You can later switch to adult dog food after discussing it with your vet. If you bring your pup home from the breeder at 8 weeks, then feed it the same food that the breeder was feeding your puppy.

This will prevent digestive upsets in your young pet while it is still adjusting to a new environment.

It is important to feed high-quality food and treats to your Golden. These can cost anywhere between $500 and $1000 per year depending on the kind you buy.

Since Goldens are prone to cancers, it is important to not skimp on food. Choose high-quality foods with premium ingredients and antioxidants. These will keep your pet healthy and happy.

You have the choice of canned or wet food, dry or kibble, and even raw food. Your lifestyle will decide which type of food is the best. Most Golder owners prefer feeding kibble as it is convenient and also beneficial for the dog’s teeth.

  • Pups need 3-4 meals per day as they grow and explore the world around them. Once your pet is an adult, taper this down to 2 meals. 
  • A two-month-old Golden retriever puppy needs about 1 1/2 cups of food. Divide this into 4 small meals.
  • By the age of 7 months, your pet will need around 3 cups of food per day.
  • An adult Golden Retriever with moderate activity needs about 4-5 cups of food per day. Divide this into 2 meals a day.
  • Pregnant or nursing bitches will need more meals and also nutrient-dense foods. You might also have to supplement her feeds with canine supplements..
  • Senior Goldens will need different food based on their health.

From time to time, evaluate your pet’s weight. This way, your vet can suggest whether you need to cut back or increase your buddy’s calorie intake.

The following table shows the food quantity per month for different types of foods and approximate costs incurred per month:

ItemMonthly quantity for an average-sized adult Golden Retriever (75 lb.)Cost per month
Premium dry food30-50 lb.$50
Premium wet food75-100 lb.$150
Freeze-dried food80-90 lb.$150-$175
Frozen food55-70 lb.$250
Raw food60 -75 lb.$100
Dog treats $50

 

Best Dog Foods for Golden Retrievers – Cost Comparison 

The best diet for your Golden will depend on many things: your lifestyle, budget, your pet’s activity levels, its taste and preferences, and also its overall health.

As mentioned earlier, you can choose from wet or canned food, kibble, raw food, and dehydrated or freeze-dried food.  There are many great choices available in the market and it can get confusing as to which food to select.

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Whatever diet you decide upon, it is always a good idea to consult your vet first. S/he will tell you exactly what your pet needs based on its weight and activity levels.

If you work outside all day, then leaving dry dog food could be the most convenient way of feeding your pet. However, such free feeding can lead to obesity which could lead to a host of health issues in your Golden.

Goldens typically need high protein, nutrition-dense foods. Look for foods containing protein sources like chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, etc.

Some Goldens have food sensitivity or food allergies, in which case you can feed novel protein sources like rabbits, emu, and even kangaroo meat. It is best to avoid grains as they too can lead to digestive upsets in some dogs.

Avoid foods that contain fillers like soy, wheat, corn, and other ingredients that do not provide any nutrition to your pet. Also avoid foods with preservatives, BHT, dyes, and flavor-enhancing ingredients.

It is a good idea to go in for food made in the USA using organic or natural or ‘human-grade’ ingredients. This way, your pet will have fewer gastric issues and will thrive.

The table below shows the best choices in food for Golden Retrievers:

Name of foodFeaturesPrice per lb.
Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition Golden Retriever Adult Dry Dog FoodKibble designed for Golden’s jaws. Contains coat-enhancing nutrients. Also has heart-healthy ingredients$2.85/lb.
Purina Pro Plan with Probiotics Shredded Blend High ProteinContains probiotics for immunity and digestive health. Has real chicken as the first ingredient.$2.05/lb.
NUTRO NATURAL CHOICE Large Breed Adult Lamb & Rice Dry Dog FoodHigh-quality protein, non- GMO, contains glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health.$1.80/lb.
Hill’s Science Diet Canned Wet Dog Food, Adult, Perfect Weight for Weight Managementvet-recommended food for weight management, made in the USA with premium ingredients. Natural dog food and protein-rich formula$3.55/lb.
ZIWI Peak Air-Dried Dog Food – All Natural, High Protein, Grain-Free and Limited Ingredient with SuperfoodsGrain-free, low-carb, high-protein, ingredients sourced from New Zealand, contains 10% superfoods$20/lb.

 

Golden Retriever Medical Costs

When you bring that soft and cuddly puppy home, the first thing to do is to schedule a vet visit. Your breeder will also give you a record of the vaccinations/worming they have completed. The vet will use these to schedule the remaining shots and boosters.

Vaccinations are important to prevent several deadly canine diseases. Most veterinary practices charge between $75 and $100 for core vaccines. Your vet will also recommend certain non-core vaccines. These depend on the area you live in because some diseases are local to that area.

Along with a vaccination schedule, your vet will administer some flea and tick prevention and deworming pills. These will protect your Golden from external and internal parasites. 

Aside from these basic medical costs, you will incur another major medical expense in the form of spaying/neutering surgery. Most clinics charge between $200 and $400 for the spaying surgery and around $100 to $200 for neutering. It is best to spay your Golden after her first heat cycle and neuter your male Golden before it reaches adulthood.

Here is a table showing the cost of vaccines and the age of the puppy to administer them:

Name of the VaccineAge to giveCost of vaccine
Canine parvovirus6 to 10 weeks, repeat again at 9 to 10 weeks, 12-13 weeks, and 15-17 weeks.$75 to $100
Canine distemperSame as above
HepatitisSame as above
Rabies15-17 weeks and booster at 1 year. As per state laws, vaccines are to be repeated for adult dogs every 3 years.$15 to $20
Leptospirosis9-10 weeks and 12-13 weeks.$75 to $100 for DHTPP and Leptospirosis vaccine
Optional vaccines/non-core vaccine – Lyme disease and Canine influenza12-13 weeks and a booster at 15-17 weeks.Lyme vaccine costs $20-$40

Influenza vaccine costs $25-$35 per shot.

Bordetella (also non-core vaccine)6-7 weeks and a booster at 9-10 weeks$19-$45

 

Other Medical Costs

Here are some more medical costs that dog owners could incur:

NameCost
Flea and tick prevention $50 for a 3-month supply
De-worming $8 to $55 depending on the medicine used
Regular exam$40 to $60
Fecal exam$20 to $55
Heartworm test$40 to $75
Dental cleaning $100 to $500
Allergy testing Up to $300

 

Common Health Issues in Golden Retrievers

According to PetMD, the following health issues are typically seen in Goldens:

Hypothyroidism

The common signs of hypothyroidism in dogs are weight gain without increased appetite, lethargy and reluctance to exercise, dull coat with hair loss, pigmented skin, etc. The cost of testing is in the range of $50 to $80. In the first year of diagnosis, pet owners may spend almost $900 in treating the condition and almost $500 in the years after that.

Eye disorders

Glaucoma and cataracts are the most common eye problems in Golden Retrievers. Almost 46% of Goldens develop Glaucoma. The cost of treating the disease is almost $2000 if emergency surgery is needed. In the case of cataracts, the pre-treatment costs can reach $500 to $1000 and surgery can cost $4500 for both eyes.

Elbow dysplasia

This is a genetic issue that can be avoided by preventing the breeding of affected or susceptible dogs. That is why you must buy your puppy from a reputed breeder. The cost of surgical treatment of elbow dysplasia is $4000 for both elbows.

Tumors

Lymphoma or lymphosarcoma is more commonly seen in the breed compared to other breeds. The lumps can form anywhere on the body. The cost of treating it is between $200 and $5000 for Chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be in the range of $2000 to $6000.

 

Pet Insurance: Should You Buy it for Your Golden Retriever?

For most Golden Retriever owners, the pet soon becomes an indispensable part of life. If illness or injury strikes, we want the best treatment for our buddy. As can be seen above, the cost of medical bills is very high in the US. These costs have also been steadily rising each year.

Even simple treatments and hospitalizations can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Not every pet owner can afford this. Your ability to pay these high bills can make a huge difference in whether your pet gets the life-saving treatment or has to be euthanized.

With pet insurance, you can provide your pet with accident and illness coverage just like you can for your human family members. Many insurance plans pay for everything from initial diagnostic tests to hospitalizations. Some plans cover surgery and also continued medical treatment that your Golden may need.

The thing with insurance for pets is that you have to take action today. For once an illness strikes, it may be too late. So, do your homework and start a coverage plan so your pet can get the treatment it deserves.

Here is a table showing the best insurance companies in the US for pets along with their monthly costs:

NameFeaturesPrice per month
Pumpkin InsuranceVoted as the best overall pet insurance in 2021, offers 90% cashback on most bills.$18.95
EmbraceCovers hereditary conditions$13.50 to $54 for accident plans
Healthy PawsNumber #1 rated pet insurance by customers in 2010-2021, most claims are processed in 2 days$39
ASPCARated the best insurance for multiple pets$19.39 to $63.07 for complete coverage
PawpRated the best pet insurance for those on a tight budget$24 for up to 6 pets
Pets BestBest Accident and Illness plan$18.18 per month

 

Additional Costs of Owning a Golden Retriever

In addition to nutrition, training, and preventative medical care, your Golden retriever will also need some other services.

Travel and boarding

Traveling with a Golden may be fun but it may not always be a feasible option. In such a case, you’d need to consider boarding your pet at a dog hostel. Most hostels charge between $50 and $75 per day. 

Should you choose to travel with your buddy by air, then one-way airfare can cost around $250 and you also need a special dog carrier.

An alternate arrangement is to hire a pet-sitter. Most sitters charge on an hourly basis although some may charge based on the services included. The cost of pet sitters is around $45 per day but could be higher in some cities.

Dog-walking

Goldens need plenty of activity to stay fit. The breed is prone to obesity and that can lead to many health issues. You need to walk your buddy for at least an hour each day. In case your schedule does not permit this, then you need to consider hiring a dog walker. Most dog walkers charge between $10-$40 per 30-minute walk.

Home insurance/pet deposit fees

If your home is a rented unit, then your landlord might charge a non-refundable pet fee of around $200. 

In case you own your home, you may have to make some changes to make it more secure. Adding a fence is very important to prevent your buddy from escaping. This could cost as much as $500 depending on the size of the fence.. You could also invest in home insurance to cover pet-related damage.

Grooming

Goldens need a lot of grooming. This is in addition to regular or daily grooming. You may want to take your buddy to the professional groomer’s at least once every 6 months. A single grooming session can cost between $45 and $75 and mainly covers bath, nail trimming, ear cleaning, and even anal gland expression.

 

Key Takeaways – How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost?

As a general rule, keeping a Golden Retriever costs more than keeping an average dog. However, as with any dog ownership, many costs can be avoided or kept to a minimum. Having said that, you must never skimp on your pet’s nutrition and medical expenses. 

Here is a brief summary of how much a Golden Retriever can actually cost:

Golden cost summary

Initial cost

The most immediate cost of keeping a Golden is its purchase price. Breeders can charge anywhere between $1000 and $4000 for pedigree pups. If you adopt a Golden, then the adoption fee is around $400.

In the first year, the medical costs will be higher considering all the vaccinations, spaying/neutering, etc. You also need to invest in some basic supplies, dog training, and of course, treats and food. Based on this, expect the first-year cost to be around $5000.

Annual cost after the first year

After the first year, the cost of owning a Golden will come down a bit. You’d mainly spend on food, medical expenses, pet insurance, tick-flea management, grooming, and other miscellaneous costs. This can come to around $2000 to $4000.

Lifetime cost

The basic annual expense of owning a large dog breed like the Golden Retriever can be between $2000 and $4000. This will vary based on your lifestyle and style of pet parenting as well as the area you live in.

Since Goldens live up to 10-12 years, you might spend anywhere from $20,000 to $50,000. This amount will depend on how healthy your pet is in its golden years and also how much you choose to pamper it.

Keep in mind that as the cost of living changes, so will these costs given above. 

We hope this guide helps you plan financially for your beloved pet.