Cute Golden Retriever puppies.

“Where can I buy a Golden Retriever puppy?” “Why should I worry about finding a responsible breeder” and “How much does a Golden Retriever cost?” are questions we get asked very frequently.

Real numbers:

First, let’s talk about expectations. On average a Golden Retriever can cost anything from $500 to $1,000 from a regular seller. But, if you are looking to get a titled pedigree, it can go up to $2,000. Keep in mind that this is a really popular dog breed, and some people could try to take advantage of that. Do not pay more than $2,000 for a dog unless it is spayed or neutered.

But the bills don’t end there, annual expenses for this breed go from $800 to $1,000, including vet bills and food. So, when you are deciding if you can afford a new pet, take into consideration more than just the adoption fee or the price given to you by the breeder. In total, a Golden Retriever could cost you from $10,000 to $15,000 over their complete life span.

If you are getting a Golden Retriever or any other kind of pup, you need to keep in mind that every dog breed comes with their specific health issues. It’s sad, but it’s true. For example, Goldens tend to suffer from hip dysplasia, ear infections, and seizures.

Real-Life Experiences:

Since experience is sometimes the best tool, we can use to determine what is and what isn’t a fair price for a Golden Retriever puppy, or whether it’s worth finding a responsible breeder. We’ve asked members our email list to share their experiences in purchasing their puppy from other than a responsible breeder. No breeder names will be shared…just the outcome. The experiences will not all be negative as we are not trying to bias the outcome in any way.

These are their stories…

I got my dog Bear 11.5 years ago as a birthday present. We found him in an ad and drove to Burlington, NC to get him. The mother was there, and the father lived at a farm up the road. There were five pups left, but Bear was the special one and $125 later, we were driving down the road with our new guy! Everything was fine for two years, just the general scratching, etc.… Then the bad things started to happen:

  1. My dog Bear began to shy away when you threw a ball towards him. Before he would wait for you to throw it over his head and he’d retrieve it, but now, he shied and whimpered. I took him to the vet who said, “Wait, and if it gets worse, we’ll run some tests.” Of course, that was unacceptable, so I took him to another vet. This vet took one look at him and said it was a visual problem. After many, many tests and two trips to the canine ophthalmologist, Bear was diagnosed with a fungal infection. This had caused him to hemorrhage into his eye sockets, which put pressure on his optic nerve (which was too short, to begin with) and caused blindness in one eye. We got him on medication which saved his life (the vet said another week without treatment, and my dog Bear would have died). The medication treated the infection, but it also rendered him sterile (which in retrospect, was a good thing as we had plans to breed him). So after over $1,000 in medical costs, we had a sterile dog who is permanently blind in his left eye.
  2. A year later, we moved to Florida, and the allergy problems kicked in. Bear is highly allergic to fleas, certain foods, and also has environmental allergies. For years we treated with ever-progressive treatment that came out. He has had untold numbers of prednisone shots, flea dips, and antibiotic series because of his skin problems. I reviewed my vet records, just for curiosity, and have determined that I averaged $1,500 a year on vet bills for Bear (and this does not include boarding fees!).
  3. More recently, my dog had to undergo surgery for a hematoma in his ear. This was caused by Bear shaking his head, which he did because his skin issues gave him chronically infected ears. This cost approximately $200.
  4. Two years ago, the vet noticed that my dog Bear had put on 20lbs in two years and felt he might by hypothyroid. He was tested and came back; he was so he now gets thyroid medication daily.
  5. Though he has never shown any obvious hip problems, a year ago I noticed some stiffness upon rising. Bear now gets a daily dose of Glycoflex.
  6. Two months ago, I noticed Bear had a lot of gunk in his eyes. Took him in to be checked, and his tear production is deficient. He has been on two different types of eye drops, neither of which cured the problem. The vet has determined that Bear’s immune system is attacking his tear ducts and put him on a rather expensive drug which he will have to remain on for the rest of his life. He gets drops in his eyes each day with a month’s supply costing about $25. The vet stated that this is related to his allergies.
  7. Because of his skin problems, I have switched Bear over to a natural food diet. The food for this runs me approximately $20 to $30 per week.

Despite all of this, I wouldn’t give anything for my buddy. He has been a wonderful companion, and I hope to have several more years with him. Glutton for punishment that I am, I have recently adopted a “highly allergic” rescue. At six years old, she has many of the same symptoms as Bear, and yes, she is the product of a back yard breeder.

Glynda Yarbrough

About eight years ago, I bought my first golden, Roxie, from a backyard seller in Modesto. I looked in the paper and found a puppy I could afford ($150). I didn’t know anything about the breed (just thought they were beautiful), was specifically looking for price. I drove out to Modesto and never saw the mother, only the father, and the puppies were cute, so I got one. She is still alive but at eight years old has arthritis in the hips (I am sure her hips would be rated poor), hyperthyroid, has the worst skin I have ever seen, and does not have the golden temperament (will growl if a new person comes in the house). She is as red as an Irish setter and incredibly hyper. She has been hyper since I first got her, which I personally believe is due to bad breeding. I left her with my parents when I moved down here because my father was so in love with her. She is still alive and is on medication for the thyroid problem. I was fortunate I didn’t have more problems with her.

When I moved down here, I desperately wanted another Golden and read up on Goldens (after what I went through I learned a lot) and found out about hips and eyes, etc. Well, a golden (5 months old) was left at the stable I was riding at, and I tracked down the breeder (the person who left the dog at the stable still had the breeders number). I called the breeder and told her I had one of her dogs, Augie, and she said she would give me a pick of her next litter if I would bring him back to her. After telling her how much we had fallen in love with him, she agreed to let us keep him. We brought him back to her to be checked out, and at that time, she gave me all his papers, hip and eye certificates on the parents, etc. We even saw both parents. Seems the person who left the dog at the stable, still owed her money and never gave her the final payment for Augie. Well, we paid $300 for him, and he is the best dog there is. He has his CD, CGC, and FDCH. After a while, we felt he needed a companion so we called the seller again and she had a 4-month-old (Cinnamon) that had broken her jaw when she was seven weeks old, so the seller was planning on keeping her. Since Augie and Cinnamon were getting along so well, the breeder said we could have her for $300. So we bought her. She is just as good as Augie (she lays on the floor like a frog so I think her hips would be rated excellent)and has her CDX, CGC, and FDCH. She is training for Utility know. All three dogs are neutered/spayed.

BTW, Augie and Cinnamon’s breeder usually charges $500-$600 for her puppies. Getting both of ours for $300 was just a fluke. Would I pay less than $500 for a puppy? Doubtful.

Steven, Augie and C.C.’s mom

For the record, I paid $300 for Montgomery from a BYB. I thought because he was AKC registered that he would be a healthy pet. I had no idea what health problems this breed could have. I only knew I wanted a Golden.

At one year he was diagnosed with arthritis. We put him on steroids, which caused him to gain 30+ lbs. We then found out that he had a thyroid problem which he also now must take medication for.

At two years old, he started to have skin issues and infections in his ear’s. At three, he began to have seizures. The first one was very bad. We rushed him to an emergency clinic. They said all we really could do was put him on medication that might dope him up for a while. We decided against that for the time being.

So here we are today, Montgomery is three and a half and who knows what lies ahead for him. I do know that no matter how much it cost, I will always see that he has the best care I can find for him. I just wonder how many dogs out there are not so lucky!

Michael Avalos

Bottom Line:

It doesn’t matter if you are buying a golden retriever or adopting your new pet from an animal shelter; there is no way of knowing how healthy they are going to be.

Before deciding to get one cute puppy, remember that owning a dog, any dog, it’s a huge responsibility. Take into consideration that, like any pet, he might need to go to the veterinarian at least once per year and that if something happens, you need to be a loving and responsible dog owner.

If you ever have questions about potty training, how to take care of a golden puppy, what’s a healthy dog’s diet or any other subject related to this wonderful dog breed, we are here to help you.