No one wants to think about losing their pet.

We all want our dogs to live forever because they’re our fur babies. That said, it helps to know how long our golden retrievers will live so we can ensure we give them a healthy life that could potentially increase their lifespan. 

Do golden retrievers have a long lifespan?

Golden retrievers generally live for between 10 and 12 years. 

With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about golden retrievers’ stages of life. We’ll start by looking at whether or not large dogs in general tend to live shorter lives. 

Do Larger Dogs Live Shorter Lives?

Larger dogs do tend to live shorter lives than smaller dogs. A study (via The American Naturalist) analyzed veterinary information of over 50,000 dogs and found that larger dogs tend to age at a quicker pace so their life unwinds in fast motion. 

Large dogs age faster due to the fact that they grow at a faster rate. This can have negative consequences for their health. It means that they can experience health problems such as abnormal tissue growth, with an example of this being cancer.  

What To Know About Dog Years?

Although we tend to think that every year in a dog’s life is the same as seven years in a human, this is false! 

It’s been reported (via American Kennel Club) that 15 human years is equal to the first year of a medium-sized dog. A dog’s second year is the same as nine years of a human’s life, and after that every human year is about five years for a dog

The Life Stages Of Golden Retrievers

The Life Stages Of Golden Retrievers

Your golden retriever puppy goes through lots of different life stages. A lot happens during a really short period of time! Here are some important milestones. 

  • Two weeks: The golden retriever’s eyes will open. At this point, he’s completely dependent on his mother. 
  • Three weeks: He will start to walk. 
  • Three to four weeks: His teeth will start to come in, so solid foods can be added to his diet. 
  • Four months: At this stage, golden retrievers can start to sleep through the night and they also start to lose their puppy teeth around this time. Now that their adult teeth will be coming through, you’ll see your golden retriever won’t be biting as much. This is also around the time when you’ll see that your golden retriever is starting to grow long hair on their legs and tail. These are called their feathers! 
  • One-and-a-half years: By this stage, golden retrievers will have their full coat. 
  • Two years: This is when golden retrieves reach their full weight.  
  • Three to four years: This is the life stage during which golden retrievers are considered to be young adults.  
  • Five to six years: Since larger dogs usually have shorter lives than smaller breeds, they are sometimes said to be senior pets when they hit age five or six. However, generally, your golden retriever will reach the senior years from between the ages of 7.5 to 10 years. 
  • 10 years and up: When your golden retriever reaches this milestone, he or she will be a geriatric. 

Health Problems Golden Retrievers Face As They Age

By knowing what health conditions your golden retriever could encounter, you can be better prepared to help them.

Here are some of the most common health issues to which golden retrievers are susceptible: 

Hip Dysplasia 

This is a form of arthritis that causes the abnormal growth of the ball and socket joint in the dog’s hips.

If it goes untreated, your golden retriever could end up with hip degeneration that’s extremely painful and could result in him or her not being able to walk. Signs of hip dysplasia in golden retrievers include decreased activity and range of motion. 

Skin Conditions 

These health woes can affect golden retrievers because of their double coat which is a great habitat for bacteria. Allergies are also common, which can cause red and itchy skin.

There are many culprits that can contribute to your golden retriever getting a skin condition, such as mold, fleas, mites, parasites, and fungus.

Heart Problems 

Larger dog breeds are usually more susceptible to heart and lung problems. An example of a heart condition is subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). This is when part of the heart becomes narrow and it can result in blockages.

While many dogs who get SAS don’t show symptoms, the condition doesn’t usually become serious. That said, if you notice that your dog is lethargic or weak, it’s worth taking him or her to the vet for a check-up. 


Sadly, 60 percent of golden retrievers get cancer (via Morris Animal Foundation). You should always ensure that you notice any possible signs of the disease, such as difficulty with eating, loss of weight, and a mass or lump. 


Just like with human seniors, golden retriever seniors are also prone to cataracts!

However, they can also occur as a result of eye injuries or diseases. If you can see your golden retriever’s eyes are not as bright as they used to be, consult with a vet. Surgery can be done, and there are also other treatments such as eye drops to help Fido out. 

Von Willebrand Disease 

This is a genetic blood condition that’s common in golden retriever dogs. It occurs as a result of an absent or defective protein that prevents your dog’s blood from clotting when he bleeds.

This can lead to excessive bleeding when injured. Sometimes, dogs who have this condition can experience internal bleeding, lots of bleeding from the nose or gums, and even blood in their urine. 


Hypothyroidism is a health condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, and it’s a common disorder that affects medium to large dogs.

Signs that your golden retriever could have hypothyroidism include if he/she is putting on weight even though their diet hasn’t changed, lethargy, excess shedding, a dry coat, and/or regular skin infections. 

Ear Infections 

Your golden retriever has cute floppy ears, but there’s a downside to them: they’re more susceptible to ear infections than dogs with smaller, upright ears. Since the ears are covered, they can collect moisture that results in ear infections.

Luckily, preventing this is easy: just make sure you always clean your golden retriever’s ears regularly with the use of a gentle ear-cleaning solution. 

How To Keep Your Golden Retriever Healthy Into Their Senior Years

How To Keep Your Golden Retriever Healthy Into Their Senior Years

Based on the above, there are things you can do to try to keep your golden retriever as healthy as possible. 

  • Look for signs of ear infections. If it happens that your golden retriever’s ears smell bad or he is always scratching his ears, it’s worth checking in with your vet as those can be signs that an infection is settling in.
  • Give your golden retriever a weekly check-up. Search his or her coat and skin for any unusual lumps and bumps. Make sure you check for signs of illnesses in their behavior, such as lethargy that could point to a heart or thyroid problem. Being proactive will help you to spot any potential health issues before they become serious. 
  • Brush your dog regularly. Brushing is great to reduce shedding, but it also ensures the natural oils in your dog’s fur can keep it looking healthy and glossy. By removing dander and debris, you will also ensure your dog’s coat and skin remain healthy. 
  • Prevent allergens in the home. Since golden retrievers are a dog breed that are prone to allergies, you should ensure that you only use natural and organic grooming and hygiene products on your dog. Also be mindful not to use chemical detergents around the home, especially on your dog’s bedding

At what age do golden retrievers calm down? 

Your golden retriever will tend to become calmer when he or she is around the age of two or three. This is because they will have moved past their highly-active puppy stage! 

Why is your golden retriever battling to climb stairs? 

This could be a sign of problems with the joints. If your golden retriever is battling to move around the way he or she used to, that could be an early sign of joint problems and warrants a trip to the vet. 


How long do golden retrievers live?

Your beautiful golden retriever can live for a long time!

By being aware of potential health problems that can affect your retriever, you can ensure you keep your pet’s lifestyle as healthy as possible. A healthy dog is a happy one!