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3 Common Golden Retriever Color Types (With Pictures)

Written by: Chelsie Fraser

Last Updated on April 12, 2024 by Dogster Team

3 Common Golden Retriever Color Types (With Pictures)

Golden Retrievers are famous for their long golden coats, but did you know they actually come in three different colors? There are also different personality and physical characteristics that coincide with the different coat colors. Let’s take a closer look at the three common Golden Retriever color types and what they can mean.

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The 3 Common Golden Retriever Color Types

1.  Light Gold or Cream

Golden Retriever in a park
Image Credit: SasaStock, Shutterstock

The lightest Golden Retriever color is cream. Most often, cream-colored Golden Retrievers are English Cream Golden Retrievers. They tend to be calmer and more docile than other Goldens.

A study conducted by the Institute of Canine Biology at the University of Cambridge showed that European Golden Retrievers were healthier than American Golden Retrievers. Around 60% of American Goldens die from cancer compared to only 40% of European Goldens.

If you plan on showing your dog in the U.S., you don’t want a cream-colored Golden Retriever. The American Kennel Club breed standard states that extremely pale or extremely dark body colors are undesirable. However, gold or cream are preferred instead of red if you live in the U.K. That’s why cream-colored Golden Retrievers are often called English Creams.

Differences in Cream Golden Retrievers

Other than color, there are a few minor differences between cream Golden Retrievers and their Golden counterparts. Their hair is usually thinner, and they have rounder eyes and a stockier build. Sometimes they have a longer neck and a broader head. They are also slightly shorter than other Goldens.

2.  Gold

Golden retriever sitting
Photo Credit: rustyc, Pixabay

Gold is the most common color of Golden Retriever. Gold-colored Golden Retrievers can have a variety of physical characteristics and temperaments. Some are slender and athletic, while others are stocky with thin coats.

3.  Red

red golden retriever
Image Credit: irinaorel, Shutterstock

The darkest color of the Golden Retriever is red. Red Golden Retrievers aren’t preferable as show dogs in either the U.S. or the U.K., but that doesn’t mean they aren’t wonderful pets!

Red Golden Retrievers are often field-bred Goldens that are bred for their hunting instincts. They have a higher energy level and prey drive than other Golden Retrievers, as they are bred as working dogs.

Differences in Red Golden Retrievers

Like cream Golden Retrievers, red Goldens tend to have shorter hair. The hair is also straighter and more closely resembles the coat of a Labrador Retriever than a typical Golden Retriever.

Red dogs usually have less feathering on their tail and legs, but since there is no breed standard for red Golden Retrievers, this can vary significantly. Their frame tends to be smaller and leaner than other Goldens due to their working dog nature.

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Colors That Golden Retrievers Don’t Come in

All Golden Retrievers are a shade of gold. Cream Goldens are a very light gold, while red Goldens are a very dark shade of gold. Golden Retrievers do not come in white or black — assuming that they are a purebred dog.

If you find a black Golden Retriever, they are a crossbreed. Flat-Coated Retrievers look similar to Goldens and are often mistaken for them. They can have a black coat.

Does Color Matter?

The truth about coat color is that it’s the last thing that you should think about when choosing a pet. Your primary goal is to obtain a dog or puppy that is healthy and has a personality that will mesh well in your household. This should also be the goal of any reputable breeder.

The only circumstance where you may want to consider the color of your Golden Retriever is if you intend to use them as a show dog.



Golden Retrievers come in three primary colors: cream, gold, and red. Gold is the most common color, and red is the least common. Red Golden Retrievers are primarily bred as working dogs and have slightly different energy levels and temperaments than the other two colors.

Featured Image Credit: Rala3030, Shutterstock

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