Bred in the 19th century to be both hunting and companion dogs, golden retrievers continue to fulfill those roles today, and are among the most popular family pets in the United States. Easily recognized by their dense golden coats made up of a soft, thick undercoat and a heavy outer coat, golden retrievers have a tendency to shed quite a bit of hair. They must be groomed frequently to remove excess undercoat and reduce shedding. This process will make your pet more comfortable, and will make your home more fur-free as well. Grooming may include trimming for tidiness, but the protective golden retriever coat should never be shaved.
Removing Excess Hair
Golden retrievers have a thick undercoat that is heaviest in winter, then begins to shed in the warmer months. As this undercoat starts to shed, the fur may become matted. An undercoat rake is an effective way to remove this excess hair and prevent matting. Use the undercoat rake to reach down to the excess hair deep in the coat, gently moving the rake through the fur using a smooth stroke. Removing the excess hair from the undercoat prior to clipping will help control shedding and make the clipping process easier.
Thinning the Coat with Clippers
The top coat, the uppermost coat of hair on Golden retrievers, may be thinned using clippers. Clipper sets typically come with a range of clipper guards, with Size 6 being the largest of these. Use a long Size 6 guard to clip the excess hair away, running the clippers smoothly in the direction of hair growth. This will thin the coat, which will help control shedding.
Trimming Small Areas
Small areas such as the ears and the areas between a golden retriever's toes and pads require special attention during clipping. Trim overly long, straggly hair on the outer ear using thinning shears. Leave the inner ears untrimmed, unless your golden retriever has unusually thick fur on the inner ears. Clip the ear areas in small increments to avoid trimming too much.
Clipping the excess hair between the golden retriever's paw pads is generally easiest to do using straight shears. Any hair that pokes up between the toes is excess, and can be carefully trimmed away. Fur that grows beyond the toenails is also excess, and also can be carefully trimmed. Properly groomed golden retriever paws are "tight and cat-like," according to breed standards.
Use a deshedding brush to remove excess fur after you have finished the thinning and trimming. Run the brush toward the tail in a sweeping motion, gently pulling excess hair from the topcoat as you brush. Continue using the deshedding brush until the brush is no longer pulling excess hair from the coat.