Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular breeds in the United States, and for a good reason! This breed is smart, gentle, and eager to please their families. They are beautiful dogs with long, golden, double coats that give them their breed name. With long, gorgeous coats comes regular maintenance and trimming to keep the hair shining. Maintaining your Golden Retriever’s coat includes cutting, trimming, and a wealth of other regular grooming. If you aren’t sure how to give a Golden Retriever hair cut, we’ll show you how!

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Golden Retriever Coats: The Basics

As we said, Golden Retrievers are known for (and named for) their long, dense, beautiful coats. Golden Retrievers have a double coat that traps air between the topcoat and undercoat. The double coat serves to keep your Golden Retriever cool in the summer and warm in the winter. To help them adjust to the change in seasons, your Golden will shed their entire coat twice a year, allowing them to switch out a winter coat to a summer coat or vice versa. Many Golden Retriever pet parents call this seasonal shedding “blowing their coat” or a “blowout.” With all that hair and shedding to deal with, it’s natural to wonder how best to care for your Golden’s coat.

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How To Give A Golden Retriever Hair Cut

Whether or not you give a Golden Retriever hair cut is entirely up to you. If you don’t feel comfortable wielding the trimmers yourself, there is no shame in taking your precious pup to a groomer. If you want to give grooming your Golden a go, however, here’s how.

What You Need For A Golden Retriever Hair Cut

We can’t complete a task properly without the right tools. So, here’s what you need to give a Golden Retriever hair cut.

Slicker brush

A slicker brush is an essential item for grooming your Golden. This brush removes knots and tangles, smoothing the fur and letting it shine. 

Undercoat brush

The undercoat brush or rake helps prevent matting and removes undercoat hair in breeds like the Golden Retriever that sheds their coat in clumps. Indeed, the wide teeth pass through the top coat and pull out the loose undercoat hair. 

Thinning shears 

Thinning shears remove small amounts of hair at a time to take out some of your Golden’s fluff. 

Grooming scissors

A quality pair of grooming scissors is arguably your most important golden retriever hair cut tool. These scissors are straight and have a rounded end, plus they are delicate enough to trim around your Golden’s paws and face.

Blow Dryer

While not a necessity, a blowdryer can ensure you get your dog completely dry before their golden retriever hair cut. Some use a regular blow dryer humans might use, but there are dog-specific blow dryers available as well.

Should You Shave Your Golden?

A note on shaving: don’t. In fact, your Golden’s double coat is made to keep their temperatures regulated. You can, however, trim your Golden’s coat to keep it tidy.

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Steps For Cutting Your Golden Retriever’s Hair Yourself


Not every groomer bathes dogs before cutting their hair, but we recommend it as a good first step. Next, saturate your dog’s coat with water. Use a dog-friendly shampoo, applying it to your dog’s hair in the same direction as their hair grows. Work the shampoo into a lather and, if you can, leave the shampoo in for about 5 minutes. Rinse thoroughly, as any soap left on your dog’s skin can cause irritation, then repeat if necessary. After bathing your golden, you can either let them air dry or use a blow dryer to speed the process along.


Whether you bathe your dog or not, you should always brush out their coat before you give them a haircut. Actually, you should use a slicker brush on your Golden every day to keep their coat free of tangles. Weekly, use a de-shedding tool to remove dead hair from the undercoat. Use both brushes on your Golden before trimming them. 


Trimming not only keeps our dogs’ hair clean and neat-looking but also prevents mats and tangles from forming. Here are the most important areas to trim:


Goldens grow long hair on their paws. This hair can mat and tangle, causing irritation and pain, catching mud and other debris. So, to trim their paws, start with the bottom of their paw. Trim the hair even to the bottom of their paw pads with scissors or clippers. Then, carefully trim the hair in between their pads. Do not cut the hair all the way down to the skin, as the hair protects the sensitive skin there. Lastly, use thinning shears to trim the hair on top of your dog’s feet.


Goldens are well-known for their feathery, flowing tails, but such long hair can easily become tangled. Make sure you brush your dog’s tail thoroughly. Hold your dog’s tail gently and slide your hand down to the tip of the tail bone. Put your index finger and thumb on either side of the tail, directly above the tip. Trim off any hair lying above your fingers. Then, use thinning shears to round out the end of the tail. In addition, hold the tail straight out and trim off any straggly, too-long hairs that hang down. Especially important, make sure to trim the hairs at the base of the tail, near the anus, for sanitation.


Goldens are notorious for tangled ears. Trim their ear hair to prevent mats and tangles.


The lesser-known area you should trim on your Golden is their shoulders. This technique gives your dog a clean, less bulky look. Use thinning shears and trim vertically in the direction of the coat.

Dog Grooming and a Golden Retriever Hair Cut

Hair cuts are just one of the essential grooming tasks we need to make time for when it comes to our furbabies. Whether you visit a groomer or learn to trim your Golden yourself, taking the time to trim your dog’s hair properly will leave them more comfortable and looking their best!

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