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How Long do Golden Retrievers Live?

  • 8 min read

The following information is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice.
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We all want our pets to live the longest, healthiest, happiest life possible.

They’re a part of the family, and they deserve to be treated like it.

You buy them a special diet, you ensure they get the proper exercise and never miss a vet visit – you’re a good owner, and you want your pup to feel loved.

But if you’re wondering how long do golden retrievers live for, it’s time to face the eventual day when your golden is no longer by your side, and prolong that event for as long as possible.

For better or worse, this is what you need to know about the average life expectancy of a golden retriever, and factors that contribute to it in both positive and negative ways.

You can expect your golden retriever to live for ten to twelve years on average, although there are some different factors that come into play that you have to keep in mind when you try to calculate your dog’s actual lifespan.

Early Life

Early Life

How they are in their early lives will greatly impact their longevity. The main thing to keep in mind is that the longer and earlier that your golden retriever is receiving the proper nutrition, the better off they’re going to be as time goes on.

These are the early stages of their lives, where they’re still growing and changing. A golden retriever, for all intents and purposes, is an adult at one year old (except for their adult weight, which comes in at two years old).

During these critical development stages, one of the best things that you can do for your dog is to simply be happy. That sounds easy and obvious, but what is the opposite of happiness?

Sadness, uneasiness, and above all else, stress. Stress produces chemical reactions in the body, both in humans and in dogs, and stress is directly linked to some of the worst things imaginable (namely cancer above all else).

Being happy is literally the best thing you can offer your dog. You act nice to them, they respond positively, and then they’re happy.

That doesn’t mean every interaction has to be happy; you can still run into unhappy situations during initial training of a new puppy, but overall, you should do your best to keep your cool and make sure your puppy feels safe above all else.

A less stressful environment from the time that they’re puppies is the best thing that you can possibly do to ensure a long, healthy life. If you don’t have this environment, I don’t recommend bringing a new puppy into your home.

Life Stages for Golden Retrievers

Life Stages for Golden Retrievers

Like with many dogs, there are three main stages that golden retrievers go through during their growth period.


This is usually defined as an age from birth through two. Puppies are impressionable, this is the time you have to train them and feed them proper nutrition to set them up for their adult years. During this time, you’ll shape how they act for the rest of their lives.

They’re technically an adult at one year old, but because their full adult weight isn’t realized until they’re two, they’re not actually done growing yet. If you have a tall but slender dog, just give it some time.


This is usually defined at ages two through seven. Your dog has excited the puppy stage, so they’re going to need even more help with joint supplements.

This is your prime time with your dog – a solid five years of time to run, play, jump, and prepare them for the future. The more active your dog is now, and the better their nutrition, the healthier life they’ll have down the line.


This is usually defined at ages seven through end of life. Senior dogs have different dietary requirements and won’t be as active or energetic as they were, but they’re still here to make you happy and feel loved at the same time.

They require a close eye when it comes to nutrition as well. Senior food is specifically formulated for them, but it’s also higher in fiber, which can help ease digestive troubles that goldens get when they’re older.

Every stage of life has the opportunity to be happy, healthy, and wonderful for both you and your dog. Treat them well and take care of them extensively, and it will pay off in more ways than just a longer lifespan.

Is There a Difference Between the Genders Regarding Lifespan?

As far as the information and data we found can point to, no, there is no major difference between male or female golden retrievers. They can, and often both do live for as long as one another.

The only differences here would be independent variables that can’t be measured by gender, or gender-specific diseases. However, these aren’t guaranteed things that will happen to your dog in their life, so it’s impossible to say “Males live longer than females” or vice versa.

Senior Golden Retriever Care

Old is gold, or in this case, gold is old. Your retriever is going to go through different issues as their age progresses, just like anybody else would.

You are their advocate, so you’re going to be their first line of defense against it all. This is how you take care of them in their old age.


Feeding could get a bit harder as time goes on. They might need to adjust to a 50/50 dry and wet food diet. This could be because their teeth aren’t what they used to be, or because they’re just having a difficult time chewing, even if those issues never existed before.

You might have to even blend up their food to serve it to them, or you might have to opt for special senior food. In general, feeding is where they’re going to get their key nutrition from.

Supplements will still work well, but they’re not taken in the same way as your dog ages. Focus on a quality diet for your senior dog.


Grooming was always something you had to hold your golden retriever’s paw through, but now, it’s going to be a little different, to say the least. They might be more skittish, even if they’ve never had an incident with a pair of trimmers or grinders in the past.

They might be less happy going to the grooming parlor. This is just because dogs get less excitable and a little more cautious as they age, mostly as an internal, hardwired defense mechanism.

Somewhere deep down, they know the virility of their youth is gone. Be kind, and understand that grooming might take longer as they age: nails, hair trimming, shampooing, and all of the above.

Enhanced Dental Care

Your dog’s teeth are something they’ve never been able to take care of on their own. Sure, you give them dental chews and things of that nature, but that’s not enough. As they age, they’ll chew their food slower and with less powerful bites.

There’s going to be more left behind, so you’d better be prepared to brush their teeth with plenty of attention to detail. Their teeth are not only important for eating, but for self-defense, and keeping them clean and healthy is critical in making sure they feel confident and secure.

More Consistent Exercise

Consistent doesn’t mean intense, but your senior dog absolutely has to maintain a good level of exercise.

A body in motion stays in motion, and there’s truth to that. Keep going on walks, and be sure to promote more activity around the house. Just don’t make it so intense that they end up lagging behind.


Your dog isn’t going to be as responsive, plain and simple. Hearing loss comes with age, so you can expect your senior golden to have issues listening to commands.

This doesn’t mean they’ve suddenly decided to stop listening to you, just that they’re not hearing what you’re saying. Be kind and do what you can, like teaching them hand signals.

You’re in charge of their grooming; they’re going to need more assistance with it now. Feeding could become a problem. Know all of this when you get into this relationship, even if you’re looking at a three-month-old pup at the moment. It’s important.

A Long, Happy Life With You

Keep a smoke-free home, always feed them proper nutrition, and maintain consistent vet visits. Dogs are going to get older, and health conditions may pop up or worsen depending on your dog. It’s not the happiest thing to think about, but it’s necessary.

As long as you’re doing everything you can as an owner to provide a happy and safe place, you’re making every single one of their years fantastic, and they’re doing the same for you. Enjoy the moments you have, and look forward to well over a splendid decade of companionship and joy.


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