Golden Retrievers With an Unexpected Twist: They’re RED!

Red Golden Retrievers are a rare hue of dark gold called mahogany, but how did this popular breed come to be, and what colors are accepted by official clubs? 

red retriever
Source: @LeadTheWayRanger

Golden Retrievers have consistently been among the top three most popular dog breeds in the US for decades, but people know surprisingly little about the variety of Golden Retrievers available to them. Golden Retrievers come in three official colors: light golden, golden, and dark golden. 

golden retrievers
From left to right: Buddie (light golden), Bruce (golden), and Luna (dark golden)
Sources: @Buddie_De_GoldenRetriever, @San_Diego_Bruce, and @LunaThatGolden

Red Golden Retrievers technically fall under the dark golden umbrella and can participate as registered show dogs as long as they are registered as “dark golden” rather than red. This reddish hue of dark golden fur is also sometimes called “mahogany,” so you may see red Goldens referred to as mahogany Golden Retrievers or mahogany Retrievers. 

No matter what color your Golden Retriever is, these pups make top-tier family dogs—but we have to admit, that rich red fur is pretty mesmerizing! If you’re also in love with the fox-red Golden Retriever, you’ve come to the right place to learn everything you need to know whether this dog breed is right for you. 

Meet 5 Red Golden Retrievers from Instagram

Get ready to feast your eyes on some of the reddest fur you’ll ever see! Red Golden Retrievers are one of the rarest colors of the breed, and stop people in their tracks when they get a glimpse of their radiant coat. If you weren’t already in love with the idea of a red Golden Retriever, get ready to have your heart stolen!

1. Finley & Simba

red golden retriever
Source: @FinleyAndSimba

Meet not one but two American red Golden Retrievers from South Florida who are practically identical! It’s no coincidence that Finley and Simba are the same shade of red—they’re biological brothers and littermates born in 2022. Fun-loving boys who have been inseparable since the day they were born, Finley and Simba also have a German Shepherd sister who they love to romp with. 

2. Ranger

red golden retriever

Source: @LeadTheWayRanger

Ranger (right) is a very handsome red dark golden Golden Retriever whose little sister, Rosie, is a regular golden Golden Retriever. Ranger doesn’t care that Rosie looks a little different than him, or that she looks a little different than other dogs thanks to her cleft lip—all he cares about is having a little sister to play all day with!

3. Bruno

red golden retriever
Source: @GoldenDaysOfBruno

Handsome Bruno here is a bright-red Golden Retriever from The Netherlands who might be one of the most photogenic dogs we’ve ever seen! A fabulous retriever who loves water and is a fantastic swimmer, Bruno could play fetch on the beach all day if you let him. 

4. Whiskey

red golden retriever
Source: @ShotsOfWhiskeyAndHoney

Whiskey is a gorgeous dark red Golden Retriever from South Carolina whose fur is so rich and warm, he’s almost orange! 

5. Marvel

red golden retriever
Source: @BZ_Golden

Meet Marvel (right) a gorgeous rescue Golden Retriever whose red fur makes him seriously stand out in a crowd! This is a good chance to see just how red a red Golden Retriever is—next to Marvel is Bodhi (left) who is a light golden Golden Retriever—just look at the difference in their fur!

Red Golden Retriever Basic Info

The first official Golden Retriever was introduced to the public at a 1908 British dog show, but the breed’s originator—a Scottish businessman and hunting enthusiast, Baron Dudley Marjoribanks, first Lord Tweedmouth—privately established the breed in the 1960s. The Golden Retriever was a personal project and something of an obsession for the Baron, who kept meticulous records of his breeding endeavors throughout the mid-19th century. Lord Tweedmouth aimed to create the perfect hunting dog, capable of traversing the rugged terrain of his estate and withstanding the rainy, wet weather of the region. 

According to his records, the Golden Retriever took decades of perfecting, and included genetic contributions from at least six breeds: 

  • A nondescript “yellow Retriever”
  • Tweed Water Spaniel (extinct)
  • Irish Setter
  • Bloodhound
  • Wavy Coated Retrievers
  • St. John’s water dog (extinct)

Following their debut in 1908, the Golden Retriever craze began in earnest, with hunters and everyday pet owners falling in love with the gentle, affectionate, yet attentive and intelligent breed. Red Golden Retrievers have all the amazing qualities of any other Golden Retriever, but they have the added benefit of a glorious fiery-red coat! 

Red Golden Retriever Temperament

red golden etriever
Source: Fi

The first word that comes to mind to describe the personality of a Golden Retriever is friendly. Highly social and affectionate dogs, Golden Retrievers are fabulous family dogs who love children, play well with other animals, and are welcoming to guests and newcomers. Though originally bred as game-retrieving dogs, Golden Retrievers have a relatively low prey drive as compared to other hunting breeds, though many love to play fetch and chase squirrels. 

Intelligent and easy to train, Golden Retrievers are one of the top breeds used as service animals and therapy dogs and do very well in canine sports, agility, and obedience trials. Intuitively gentle, Golden Retrievers are also adept at, well, retrieving, and are quick to learn bite inhibition or “soft mouth” which makes them perfect companions for small children and excellent assistants to people with limited mobility. 

Cheerful and energetic, Golden Retrievers do require daily exercise, and thrive when given both physical and mental stimulation. Still, the Golden Retriever can fit in beautifully to a moderately active home, and will happily snuggle up on the couch during the weekends once thoroughly tired out. 

Considered one of the best breeds for beginners, well-bred Golden Retrievers have a very even temperament and high adaptability that makes them a fairly easy introduction to the world of dog ownership.  

Red Golden Retriever Size

Golden Retrievers are a medium to large breed standing 21–24 inches tall and weighing 55–75 pounds when fully grown. 

red golden retriever with a rose in mouth
Source: Animal Corner

Red Golden Retriever Health

Beyond their fabulous personalities, Golden Retrievers are also fairly healthy dogs especially when purchased from reputable breeders who perform proper genetic testing on their mating pairs. Like all dogs, Golden Retrievers may develop health problems as they age, but few genetic issues plague the breed making them fairly long-lived for their size. 

The red-golden coat of a red Golden Retriever doesn’t impact their health, so there is no risk involved with choosing a pup with deep red-golden fur rather than lighter, creamier golden. 

If you own a Golden Retriever, keep an eye out for possible health issues like: 

  • Dental and gum disease
  • Ear infections
  • Joint issues (e.g. hip and elbow dysplasia) 
  • Eye and vision issues (e.g. pigmentary uveitis, progressive retinal atrophy)
  • Heart disease (e.g. subvalvular aortic stenosis)

Where To Find Red Golden Retriever Puppies for Sale

Thanks to the popularity of the Golden Retriever, there are tons of reputable breeding programs around the world preserving the breed. To start your search for a Golden Retriever puppy, we recommend checking out the American Kennel Club marketplace and the Golden Retriever Club of America’s list of approved Golden Retriever breeders around the country. 

Even better here’s a list of 200 Rescues Specializing in Golden Retriever Adoption

Red Golden Retriever
Source: Windy Knoll Goldens

While it’s so easy to fall in love with those fluffy red Golden Retriever puppies, remember that your puppy won’t be a baby forever! If you’re committed to owning a red Golden Retriever but are willing to bring home an adolescent, adult, or senior dog instead, please consider rescuing your next dog. You can find purebred Golden Retrievers and mixes at local shelters, private rescues, and breed-specific rescue groups. You can even find red Golden Retrievers available for adoption online using rescue resource websites like Petfinder

Red Golden Retriever FAQ

Haven’t quite had your fill of red Golden Retriever facts? Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions from dog lovers like you who want to learn about what it takes to own one of these beautiful dogs. 

How much does a red Golden Retriever cost? 

If you purchase a red Golden Retriever puppy from a reputable breeder, expect to pay $1,000–$3,000 on average. Some examples of the breed—especially those puppies produced by show dogs and award winners—may go for as much as $5,000+.

Are there different “types” of Golden Retriever?

There is only one breed called the Golden Retriever, but some people like to distinguish their Goldens by where they were bred. Dog owners and breeders alike may describe their dogs as either English Golden Retrievers, American Golden Retrievers, or Canadian Golden Retrievers. In some cases, their country of origin may point to specific traits from well-known bloodlines, but they are all the same breed of dog. 

Because you may also hear Golden Retrievers described by their color, you may see people refer to their dogs as red American Golden Retrievers, light golden English Golden Retrievers, etc.  

What is the lifespan of a red Golden Retriever? 

A fairly long-lived breed in comparison to dogs of a similar size, the Golden Retriever typically has a lifespan of around 10–12 years

Do red mini Golden Retrievers exist? 

Sort of. A “mini Golden Retriever” is not a purebred dog, but a mix of a Golden Retriever and another breed. While you may be able to find a “mini Golden Retriever” that is red, they will not be the same physically or temperamentally as standard Golden Retrievers. 

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