How Long Do Golden Retrievers Live? Everything You Should Know About the Golden Retriever’s Lifespan 

It’s hard not to think about fantastic family dogs without the Golden Retriever coming to mind. I mean, Goldens are a complete package: they are gorgeous (who can’t resist their stunning golden coats?), have a calm temperament, a super-friendly disposition, a strong eagerness to please their loved ones, are always ready for action (hi there, active households), get along with kids and household pets, excel in agility, and have the sweetest demeanor. 

Golden Retriever’s Lifespan 

What’s more, Golden Retrievers are more than just a pretty face. They are exceptionally smart, currently ranking as the 4th most intelligent breed of dogs as per the American Kennel Club’s findings. If your checklist for the perfect family dog includes a highly trainable pup who’ll master commands and tricks in no time, look no further than the Golden Retriever.

This good-natured, popular dog breed traces its roots to Scotland, where an affluent Scottish breeder developed it by breeding a Tweed Water Spaniel and a yellow Flat-Coated Retriever. 

Golden Retrievers — which can weigh up to 75 pounds on average and reach heights of 24 inches (particularly for the males) — were originally kept as gun dogs to help hunters retrieve the game birds that they had shot.  

If you’re thinking about getting a Golden Retriever, your mind is likely swirling with thoughts such as “the female Golden Retriever’s lifespan” or the “male Golden Retriever’s lifespan.” Well, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about the Golden Retriever’s lifespan. 

Average Lifespan of Golden Retriever Revealed 

Close up of a Golden Retriever with mouth open, the Golden Retriever's lifespan ranges between 10–12 years
(Photo Credit: Garfield Besa | Pexels)

According to the American Kennel Club, the Golden Retriever’s average lifespan ranges between 10 and 12 years. Safe to say that one of the downsides of owning a Golden Retriever  — be it male or female — is their not-so-long life span, especially when compared to smaller dog breeds.

A top reason for this is, similar to medium and larger dog breeds, Goldens grow rapidly and thus tend to age at a faster rate than smaller breeds. This makes them prone to body wear and tear earlier in their lifetime, hence a shorter life expectancy.

The good news is that healthy Golden Retrievers live longer, way beyond the average 10–12 years. Interestingly, records show the longest-living Golden Retriever in history was a pup from Tennessee named Augie, who had reached 20 years of age when she passed away in 2021.

Common Health Issues that Affect the Golden Retrievers’ Lifespan 

A Golden Retriever with tongue out lying on a ground with dry leaves, the Golden Retriever's lifespan is between 10–12 years
(Photo Credit: Helena Lopes | Pexels)

While Golden Retrievers are healthy dogs in general, they’re susceptible to certain health conditions, which, if not detected and medically addressed earlier, can shorten their life expectancy. Here are six common health issues that afflict the ever-charming Golden:

1. Hip dysplasia 

Golden Retrievers are highly susceptible to hip dysplasia, a hereditary condition common in large, heavy-boned breeds.

Hip dysplasia is characterized by abnormal development of the hip joints, leading to pain and mobility issues. This condition is associated with symptoms such as reluctance to jump on high surfaces, decreased activity levels, and a reluctance to walk. There’s a wide range of treatment and management options for hip dysplasia, among them total hip replacement surgery and anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Golden Retriever’s Lifespan 

2. Hypothyroidism

Golden Retrievers are at an increased risk of hypothyroidism, a thyroid problem characterized a low concentration of thyroid hormones.

Hypothyroidism affects vital body processes such as metabolism and body temperature regulation. It leads to symptoms ranging from excessive weight gain to hair thinning, lethargy, and dryness of the skin. Timely blood tests can help catch hypothyroidism earlier, and with the right medication, your Golden can lead a healthy life free from the debilitating symptoms of this condition.  

3. Cancer 

Unfortunately, Golden Retrievers are among the top dog breeds with the highest cancer rates. The most prevalent types of cancer among Goldens include lymphoma, bone cancer, hemangiosarcoma, and mastocytoma. 

4. Eye Conditions

Golden Retrievers are at a high risk of developing hereditary eye conditions such as cataracts, which, if not detected and treated sooner, can cause total blindness and, ultimately, a poor quality of life. 

5. Seizures

Golden Retrievers are genetically predisposed to seizures, which cause progressive brain damage if not medically managed.

Two months ago, a Golden Retriever owner took to Reddit to share: “For the last year or so, our Golden Retriever, female, seven years old, has had some sort of short episode or seizures about once a month.” Clarifying further, they added: “We took her to the vet, and they did bloodwork. They said everything is normal and to just monitor her for these episodes progressing or occurring more than once every couple of weeks.”

6. Skin Conditions

Last but not least, Goldens are highly susceptible to skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis. If left untreated, these skin issues can lower your Golden’s quality of life and, ultimately, longevity.

7 Tips to Prolong Your Golden Retriever’s Lifespan

A Golden Retriever lying on the grass with a green tennis ball in its mouth, the Golden Retriever's lifespan is between 10-12 years
(Photo Credit: Julissa Helmuth | Pexels)

Thankfully, you have great influence over how long your Golden stays by your side. In a threaded Reddit discussion on what owners can do to increase their dog’s life expectancies, part of a lengthy comment shared by a Golden Retriever owner reads: “Keep in mind that average life expectancy is just that, an average. It’s not uncommon for dogs to live several years beyond the average for that breed. I had a large Golden Retriever that made it to 18.”

With that in mind, here are five sure-fire ways to help your Golden Retriever live a healthier, longer life:

  • Be sure to take them for vet check-ups often 
  • Prioritize regular physical activity and mental stimulation
  • Ensure to feed your golden healthy, high-quality dog food.
  • Speak to your vet about skin and joint supplements to introduce into your Golden’s diet.
  • Prioritize your dog’s oral hygiene and seek your vet’s advice on ways to improve their overall dental health.
  • Spay & neuter. A spayed or neutered Golden Retriever is less likely to develop life-threatening reproductive health issues known to shorten a dog’s lifespan.

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