Golden retrievers come in a range of color, from very light to dark golden.
Purebred golden retrievers are found in a wide range of colors. The lightest in color, often called an “english cream” golden retriever, has the lightest coat – almost white. On the other end of the spectrum, some golden retrievers are almost red. If their pedigree shows they are purebred, goldens of any color can be registered with the AKC. The “best” color of a golden is mostly a matter of preference, and we love both english cream and traditional American goldens.
As a general rule, the color of the puppy’s ears will be the color of the dog as an adult. If the puppy has darker ears, the dog will have a darker golden or reddish coat as an adult, like the one pictured here.
An English Cream Golden Retriever is one that is bred with European blood lines. Golden retrievers in Europe are generally lighter in color than ones with traditional American blood lines. Both can be registered with the AKC.
Which color is healthiest?
Sometimes people have said that English cream golden retrievers are less prone to cancers and other health concerns than their darker-colored American counterparts. While a good breeder always looks to improve the health of their breed, there is no absolutely conclusive evidence that one color of golden retriever is more or less healthy than the other. The biggest concern is that you find a golden that has been checked off on the proper health clearances recommended by the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA).
The GRCA requests that results from hip, elbow, eye, and heart examinations be placed in the public record on searchable databases, and the most widely used of such databases is provided by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals at www.offa.org. A reputable breeder describing their dogs as “hip, elbow, eye, and heart certified” or as having “all their clearances” should be able to be verified on the OFA website. Records can be accessed by searching using the dog’s full registered name (with exact spelling) or registration number, and reputable breeders should not hesitate to provide you with this information.