Are you considering bringing a golden retriever into your home? Golden retrievers are great family pets, known for their loyal, sweet nature, but it’s important to understand the financial commitment of a pet before making the decision to add one to your household.
We’ll look at everything that goes into adopting and caring for a golden retriever so you can determine if one is the right fit for you — both financially and behaviorally.
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How much does a golden retriever cost?
Purchasing a golden retriever puppy can be a large financial investment. The cost of a purebred golden retriever puppy can range anywhere from $500 to $3,000. If golden retriever prices are outside your budget, you can find less expensive alternative ways to get a golden retriever. Try the following:
Adopt an older dog. There’s often less demand for adult or senior dogs than for puppies, so costs are usually lower, whether you buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter or rescue organization. As an added bonus, an older golden retriever may already be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and microchipped.
Keep an eye out for one at your local animal shelter. It’s usually much cheaper to adopt a dog from a shelter than to buy one from a breeder. Many shelters also ensure that animals are spayed or neutered and vaccinated before sending them to their new homes.
Go through a golden retriever rescue organization. Many rescue organizations focus on rescuing and rehoming particular breeds. Search online for a golden retriever rescue near you to find out what dogs they have available and how much it costs to adopt one.
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How much does it cost to buy a golden retriever puppy from a breeder?
A purebred golden retriever puppy will typically cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000. Regular “backyard breeders” will usually be on the lower end of that range. Dogs with an American Kennel Club (AKC) Pedigree — which displays the dog’s lineage, any genetic testing done on the parents, and other information — will be on the higher end.
How to find a reputable breeder
It’s important to find a reputable breeder when buying a dog. Responsible breeders prioritize producing healthy, behaviorally stable dogs over making a quick buck.
You can take several key steps to ensure that you get the best possible companion for your home and family. The Humane Society of the United States recommends:
Asking for referrals from your veterinarian or local breed clubs
Personally visiting the dog breeder’s facility to ensure all areas are clean, spacious, and well-maintained
Asking the breeder for references from other families who’ve previously purchased one of their puppies
Working only with breeders who breed sparingly — one that always has puppies available is a red flag
Asking the breeder to see records of veterinary visits for the puppy and its parents
Working with breeders who ask you to sign a contract promising to return the puppy to them if you’re unable to keep the dog
It’s important to research any breeder you’re considering, as this will help ensure that the puppy you bring home is healthy, well-socialized, and free of any inherited health problems.
You can also search for breeders through the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) Breeder of Merit Program. This program evaluates breeders and honors those who go above and beyond to breed healthy dogs with good temperaments and ensure their puppies go to responsible homes.
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How much does it cost to adopt a golden retriever from a rescue?
Adopting a golden retriever from a shelter or rescue organization is a good way to save on initial costs. Rates for rescuing or adopting a shelter dog vary but usually run anywhere from $50 to $350 or more at a shelter and $200 to $500 from a rescue organization.
This is significantly less than the cost of buying a purebred puppy from a breeder, and adoption may keep a dog from being put down.
Factors that affect the cost of a golden retriever
Numerous factors affect the overall cost of owning a golden retriever. It’s important to consider your budget and what’s important to you in a pet before buying a dog.
Age of the dog
Adopting an older dog can be much more cost-effective than buying a purebred puppy from a breeder. They’re usually cheaper than puppies since there’s less demand for adult dogs.
Keep in Mind:
Older dogs may also be spayed or neutered, meaning you won’t need to cover the costs of these procedures.
The location of your home can have a significant impact on the cost of purchasing a golden retriever, as the breeders in your area may charge more or less than elsewhere in the country. Moreover, if you adopt from a shelter or rescue organization, the cost can also vary due to different regulations in different states.
You may think golden retrievers only have one color, but these dogs can boast a range of shades, from dark gold to cream. Cream-colored goldens tend to cost more than those with darker coats because they’re rare. However, reputable AKC breeders usually don’t breed dogs with this coloring because they’re not part of the breed standard.
Genetic testing and health screenings
If you purchase a puppy from a breeder that participates in an AKC Breeder Program, they may have performed genetic testing and health screenings for the parents to ensure that the puppies are healthy and free of inherited diseases or disorders. These tests can be quite costly.
Pedigree, which shows the family history of a dog, can play a major role in its overall cost. Pedigree usually reaches back several generations and provides information on temperament, health issues, and potential for competing in AKC events. Dogs with an AKC Pedigree will typically be more expensive than those without one.
Mixed or purebred
Purebred golden retrievers normally cost more than mixed breeds, but a few “designer dog breeds” are exceptions. For example, the goldendoodle is pricey, as it’s a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle — they tend to have the sweet temperament of a golden retriever with the hypoallergenic coat of a poodle.
What are the costs of owning a golden retriever?
Owning a golden retriever is an exciting and rewarding experience, but it also comes with various ongoing expenses that will affect how much you’ll spend on your furry friend.
The cost of puppy vaccinations can vary greatly depending on the type of vaccines needed and where you have them administered. Generally, first-year exams and shots average about $75 to $100. Boosters are usually required later on and also cost a similar amount.
Spaying or neutering your dog is an important part of responsible pet ownership, as it helps to reduce the potential for overpopulation. Costs can vary depending on the size, breed, and age of the animal, as well as where you live and the veterinarian you choose, but it typically costs several hundred dollars.
Many cities and counties require residents to license their pets. Licensing helps local governments ensure that animals are vaccinated, regulates the number of pets people own, and helps reunite pets with their owners if the animal gets lost.
The cost of licensing a dog can vary greatly depending on where you live but is usually minimal — around $10 or $20 per year. In many cases, the city or county will charge more to license pets that haven’t been spayed or neutered.
Food and treats
You’ll need to budget for food for your dog, which will change as your dog gets older. An adult golden retriever typically needs three to five cups of dry food daily, depending on its size, age, and energy level. Food costs vary depending on quality and brand, but it typically costs around $20 to $60 per month.
However, if your dog has allergies or other special dietary needs, purchasing specially formulated food could cost $100 per month or more. You’ll also likely want to purchase treats and possibly supplements, so be sure to factor these into your budget as well.
Bringing a puppy into your home means purchasing several core supplies, including a leash, collar, and food and water dishes. Other supplies are optional but can be helpful for training your new pet and helping it feel safe and comfortable in its new home.
This includes a harness, a dog bed, chew toys to help with teething, a crate, and more. You’ll likely need to budget a few hundred dollars annually on these items.
Medications and supplements
Keeping your golden retriever healthy requires regular medications to prevent fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other parasites. Your dog may also benefit from supplements to protect its joint health, improve its coat, alleviate skin allergies, aid digestion, and address other concerns. Your veterinarian can help you decide which medications and supplements your golden retriever needs, but you can expect to spend $100 to $500 per year.
Golden retrievers have beautiful coats that require regular brushing and grooming, so you’ll need to purchase a few items for this purpose, such as brushes, clippers, nail trimmers, and shampoo. Some dog owners prefer to have a professional groomer handle baths, trims, and nail clipping rather than doing them at home.
Maintaining a golden retriever’s lush and beautiful coat typically requires a trim every six to eight weeks. Depending on the groomer, prices for professional grooming services, including a bath, haircut, and nail trimming, usually cost $60 or more per visit.
Regular veterinary checkups and treatments are an essential part of keeping your dog healthy and shouldn’t be overlooked when budgeting for a golden retriever. The costs for routine vet visits and checkups may be around $200 to $300 annually, depending on where you live.
However, if your dog needs lab work, professional dental cleanings, or treatments for health problems, your vet bills could be much higher. Although the cost of routine wellness checkups may seem high, you can save money in the long run by ensuring that your pup is healthy to avoid expensive treatments for preventable illnesses.
As much as you try to keep your pet safe and healthy, accidents and emergencies happen. If your golden retriever ingests something not meant for animals, has difficulty breathing, or gets wounded in some way, you may need to take it to an emergency vet.
The cost of an emergency vet can vary widely depending on your location and reason for visiting, but the average cost can be anywhere from $500 for an examination to $5,000 or more if your pet needs surgery.
Before bringing a pet home, it’s a good idea to consider whether you have the budget to handle unexpected medical emergencies.
Pet insurance is an optional but highly recommended expense that many owners choose to budget for each month. This helps cover the cost of unexpected treatments should your pet become ill or injured. The cost of insurance varies depending on a number of factors, but an accident and illness policy costs an average of $584 per year for a dog, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.
See More: Is Pet Wellness Insurance Worth It?
Training and obedience classes
Training and obedience classes can help your puppy learn everything from house training to manners and navigating different social experiences. You can handle training at home with the aid of books or other instructional materials or enroll your dog in obedience classes. Either way, expect to spend around $25 to $300 per year on training.
When it comes to traveling away from home, pet owners are often presented with a difficult decision: whether to board their pets at a kennel or hire a pet sitter. Boarding your pet at a kennel is usually the less expensive option. If you travel only once or twice a year, you may need to budget $100 to $300 per year for boarding.
If you prefer to hire a pet sitter instead, you may pay a little extra. Pet sitters average $45 to $75 per night, depending on your location, the number of pets you have, and any special services they need to provide, such as taking the dog for a walk or giving it medication.
If you travel frequently, boarding and pet-sitting expenses can add up quickly. Be sure to research the costs and make a decision that’s best for both you and your pet.
Read More: Breed Restrictions 101: Everything You Need to Know
Golden retriever cost FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about golden retriever costs.
Should you buy a golden retriever puppy or an older dog?
Deciding between a golden retriever puppy or an older dog is an important decision for potential owners. Golden retriever puppies are undoubtedly adorable and can provide that extra level of joy and excitement that comes with getting a new pet, but they also require a lot of time and effort to train and socialize.
On the other hand, an older dog will be more mature and may already have some training, but it may come with its own set of issues, such as existing medical conditions or behavioral problems. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which option is best for you and your lifestyle.
How much does a golden retriever cost without papers?
The cost of buying a golden retriever without papers can vary greatly. Age will likely be the biggest factor in determining price, with puppies typically being more expensive than older dogs. Generally, an unregistered puppy from a backyard breeder is likely to cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Prices may also be affected by factors such as the breeder’s reputation and location.
Adopting an adult golden retriever from a shelter or rescue organization can cost anywhere from $50 to $500. It’s important to always do thorough research before purchasing a golden retriever without papers to ensure you’re getting a healthy, happy puppy at a fair price.
Is a golden retriever right for you?
Owning a golden retriever requires time and dedication and often comes with a hefty price tag. Make sure to plan for the costs of pet ownership before bringing a dog into your home, such as vaccinations, spaying/neutering fees, food costs, and grooming expenses. If you can make the commitment, a golden retriever can bring you years of joy and companionship.
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- The Humane Society of the United States. "How to find a responsible dog breeder ." Accessed January 23, 2023
- Chewy. "https://be.chewy.com/pet-parenting-pet-lovers-dog-adoption-fees-explained/." Accessed January 23, 2023
- American Kennel Club. "Your Complete Guide to First-Year Puppy Vaccinations." Accessed January 23, 2023
- American Kennel Club. "Spaying and Neutering Your Puppy or Adult Dog: Questions and Answers." Accessed January 23, 2023
- PetPlace. "The Purpose of Pet Licenses for Dogs." Accessed January 23, 2023
- Porter County Animal Shelter. "The Costs Of Owning A Dog." Accessed January 23, 2023
- Pet Care Pricing. "Golden Retriever Grooming." Accessed January 23, 2023
- HomeGuide. "How Much Does A Pet Sitter Cost?." Accessed January 23, 2023