Golden retrievers are known for their flowing, sunny coat. However, puppy goldens are more fluff than flow. It doesn't take long for a golden puppy to begin growing feathers in his puppy fluff, which are the start of the long, full coat he'll have as an adult.
From Fluff to Fur
Most golden puppies begin growing the start of feathers in their short, fluffy puppy coat at around 3 months of age, but this can depend on the puppy's heritage and bloodlines. If his parents grew adult coats later, chances are so will he. Your best source for information about your puppy's heritage is his breeder. Ask to see your puppy's parents at the breeder's, and find out how old they were when they got their adult coats.
The Coat Transition
Around 3 months of age, you will notice some long hair growing in your puppy's tail. This is the beginning of his feathering. Goldens have feathers on their legs, under their stomachs, and on the tail. The adult coat begins growing on the dog's tail first and continues gradually up his body. The new hair will be slightly darker than his light puppy fur. Unlike other breeds, a golden doesn't shed his puppy fur. It is pushed aside by the longer adult hair growing in and eventually becomes the dog's undercoat. The undercoat will thicken as the longer outer coat grows in. This transition can take until your puppy is 18 months old to be complete.
Start grooming your golden retriever as a puppy. Goldens are heavy shedders and the more you groom, the less hair you'll find around your house. Begin by running a soft brush over the puppy's body to get him used to it. Brush in the direction the hair grows. Add a pin brush and slicker to your tools as your dog grows, and brush him daily or at least weekly. Removing loose hair from your golden will make way for new hair to grow in and minimize the flying fur on your clothing.
The Golden Coat
Goldens are double-coated dogs. They have a dense, light-colored undercoat and a slightly coarser, darker outer coat. The thickness of your dog's coat is dependent on his environment. Nature dictates that a dog who spends more time outside will have a thicker coat than one who spends all his time indoors. As the temperature changes, his body regulates the amount of coat he needs. Seasonal shedding of indoor dogs is dictated by daylight, since they do not experience the temperature changes that a dog who spends more time outdoors does. The amount of daylight stimulates hormones that control hair growth. Indoor and outdoor dogs shed more in the spring and fall.
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