Cost of Owning a Golden Retriever (2024): Purchase, Vet Bills, and More

Buying a golden retriever from a breeder can cost up to $3,000, and you’ll have ongoing ownership costs as well.

Lindsay Frankel
Written byLindsay Frankel
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Lindsay FrankelInsurance Writer
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Ashley Cox
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Ashley CoxManaging Editor
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Updated January 1, 2024 at 4:00 PM PST

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If you buy a golden retriever from a reputable breeder in the United States, you’re looking at an initial cost between $500 and $3,000. Backyard breeders charge lower prices than reputable breeders that screen litter parents for various health conditions. If you’re looking to adopt, expect to give the shelter or rescue between $100 and $500, depending on the dog’s age and your location.[1]

The estimated ongoing cost of owning a dog is $1,391 per year, according to the ASPCA, but expenses can vary.

Of course, you’ll get a lot of love for that price. Golden retrievers are known for being friendly and eager to please. They’re good with children and relatively easy to train. That may be why the golden retriever was the third most popular dog breed in 2022.[2]

How much does a golden retriever cost?

Depending on whether you adopt or purchase a golden retriever puppy from a quality breeder, you can expect an initial purchase price of between $100 and $3,000. That doesn’t include other first-year costs, like spaying or neutering, or ongoing costs, like food, flea and tick medication, and grooming.[3]

Golden retrievers shed relatively heavily and require monthly grooming, which is an additional cost to consider. Purebred dogs are also more expensive to insure, though premiums are lower for golden retrievers than some other purebred dogs.[4] Larger dogs are also more expensive in general because food and supply expenses are higher.

But owning a golden retriever has many benefits. They’re friendly, adaptable, playful, and intelligent. And their cuteness level is off the charts.

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Golden retriever: Best for families

Because golden retrievers are relatively easygoing, affectionate, and good with young children, they’re great for families and people looking to start a family.

Golden retrievers have a moderate energy level, according to the American Kennel Club. While they need daily exercise, it’s relatively easy to accommodate their needs, especially if you have a backyard. But if you’re worried about pet hair on your furniture and clothing, you should consider another dog breed.

Comparing costs: Golden retrievers vs. other breeds

The cost of owning a dog can vary widely. For example, if you pay for boarding and dog walking services or order fresh food, your expenses may exceed the average. The breed you choose will also affect your costs.

Here are the average lifetime costs of owning some of the most popular dog breeds, according to Lemonade.

Dog BreedAverage Lifetime Cost
Akita$26,000
Golden retriever$23,000
Labrador retriever$22,000
Bernese mountain dog$20,000
German shepherd$15,000

Factors influencing the price of a golden retriever

Your individual situation and many factors will affect the cost of a golden retriever in the first year and beyond.

Where you purchase from

Getting a purebred golden retriever from an expert breeder is going to be much more expensive than getting an adult golden from an animal shelter or rescue organization. Breeders have higher prices in a city with a higher cost of living, so you may pay more to obtain a dog in an expensive area.

In addition, veterinary and grooming costs are higher in pricier locales, so expect to pay more for your golden retriever over time in an urban hub like Los Angeles or New York. Your location will also affect your pet insurance premiums.

Important Information

While it may save you money, you should avoid buying your dog from a puppy mill. Overbreeding under poor conditions and cruel treatment in puppy mills lead to a range of health issues in puppies.

The dog’s age

A golden retriever will wag its tail and lick your face at any age, but it’s generally more costly to purchase a puppy than an older dog. You may pay several times more for a puppy than a senior dog at an animal shelter or rescue organization.

Costs of owning a golden retriever

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to spend on your golden retriever over the course of its lifetime.

Vaccinations and vet visits

If you buy or adopt a puppy, it’ll need several vaccines when it’s young, including distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. Initial medical costs are estimated to run around $300, according to the ASPCA.[5] If your pup isn’t yet spayed or neutered, that’ll cost an estimated $300, but expect to pay more in big cities.

The ASPCA also estimates ongoing vet bills of $225 per year, along with $185 per year for preventative medication and $300 per year for dental care. A study from Synchrony, a financial services company, estimates the annual cost of healthcare for pets falls between $534 and $1,285 per year.

Golden retrievers tend to have fewer health problems than some other purebred dogs, but you should be aware of some common disorders, including:[6]

  • Hip dysplasia

  • Elbow dysplasia

  • Eye problems, like hereditary cataracts

  • Hereditary heart disease

  • Excessively dry and flaky skin

  • Epilepsy

  • Cancer

Keep in Mind

If you’re considering buying pet insurance for your golden retriever, it’s a good idea to ensure these conditions are covered, since some pet insurance companies exclude congenital and hereditary conditions from coverage.

Food and supplies

The ASPCA estimates that pet food costs $300 annually, while Synchrony estimates a range of $434 to $684. Other supplies, like chew toys, treats, and grooming supplies, add up as well — $125 per year is a modest estimate from the ASPCA.

Bear in mind that you’ll also need certain supplies to get you started as a new pet parent. These include a collar, leash, harness, crate, carrier, and grooming tools. If you choose to purchase puppy training classes for your golden retriever, that may be an extra $200 expense.

Grooming and maintenance

Professional grooming costs about $300 per year, while boarding at a kennel costs an estimated $25 per day. But you could pay much more than that, depending on where you live. If you’re out of the house for long periods, you may have to pay a dog walker as well, and the extra cost can be expensive. For example, a 30-minute walk with Wag costs an average of $17 to $27.

Pet insurance

The average cost of accident-only pet insurance for a dog was about $17 per month in 2022, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA).[7] An accident-only plan doesn’t cover major illnesses, like infections and cancer, so it can leave you vulnerable to unaffordable out-of-pocket costs.

For a comprehensive accident-and-illness pet insurance plan, the average cost was about $53 per month in 2022. Some pet insurance companies also offer wellness plans, which may save you money on routine veterinary costs, like exams and vaccinations. These are typically available as an add-on for an extra cost.

Pet insurance also comes with a deductible, which is the amount you’re responsible for when you file a claim. Most pet insurance companies will only cover a percentage of the costs you incur when your golden retriever needs care.

However, a pet insurance policy can dramatically reduce your expenses if your pet needs to go to the emergency veterinarian, have surgery, or get treatment for cancer. For example, if your furry friend swallows something besides food, it could cause an intestinal blockage. The surgery to remove the foreign body can cost between $2,900 and $3,200 or more.[8]

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Golden retriever FAQs

If you’re thinking about adding a golden retriever to your family, this additional information may help as you research golden retriever puppy costs.

  • What is the average price of a golden retriever?

    While a nationwide average price isn’t available, golden retriever prices range between $500 and $3,000 from a breeder, depending on the breeder’s reputation and where you live. If you adopt a golden retriever from a shelter or rescue, expect to pay between $100 and $500 for adoption fees.

  • Are golden retrievers good pets?

    Yes. Golden retrievers are friendly, affectionate, playful, and good with young kids. They’re intelligent and easier to train than some other dog breeds. The only concern to be aware of is that golden retrievers are heavy shedders and require regular grooming.

  • What’s included in the price when purchasing a golden retriever puppy from a breeder?

    A responsible golden retriever breeder will include health certifications for the puppy’s parents and a lifetime commitment to answer your questions and address minor concerns. Some breeders may also include a limited health guarantee for the puppy.[9]

Sources

  1. Golden Retriever Society. "How Much Does a Golden Retriever Cost in 2023?." Accessed November 29, 2023
  2. American Kennel Club. "Top Five Dog Breeds of 2022." Accessed November 29, 2023
  3. American Kennel Club. "The Cost of Owning a Dog." Accessed November 29, 2023
  4. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Breeds With the Best Pet Insurance Rates." Accessed November 29, 2023
  5. ASPCA. "Cutting Pet Care Costs." Accessed November 29, 2023
  6. National Golden Retriever Council. "Health Matters." Accessed November 29, 2023
  7. North American Pet Health Insurance Association. "Average Premiums." Accessed November 29, 2023
  8. Care Credit. "Back to Veterinary Financing How Much Does a Vet Visit Cost?." Accessed November 29, 2023
  9. Golden Retriever Club of America. "About Breeders." Accessed November 29, 2023
Lindsay Frankel
Lindsay FrankelInsurance Writer

Lindsay Frankel is a content writer specializing in personal finance and auto insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz.

Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley CoxManaging Editor
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxManaging Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

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