If you are looking to add a Golden Retriever puppy to your life you might be wondering about the price of a Golden Retriever.
After all, that is an important first step in buying a dog. Not only should you know how much it costs to buy one, you should also learn the cost to care for one. Remember, a Golden Retriever can live 10 to 12 years.
But, finding the answer to how much they cost is not that easy. Breeders determine the price tag for their Golden Retriever puppies by looking at how much it costs to breed a them.
Rather than assuming a cost based on a handful of breeders, we looked at over 200 Golden Retriever breeders throughout the USA to find out what the average cost of a Golden Retriever is, in 2023.
Since the cost of a Golden Retriever can vary based on external factors we also took into consideration items like:
- State they were located in
- Golden Retriever type
- If health testing was performed (this should be standard practice, but it’s not)
- How the dogs were sold – were they direct from the breeder or sold through a puppy broker
Keep reading to learn what our analysis exposed, and just how much you can expect to pay for a Golden Retriever in your area.
Plus, we will look at:
- The four types of Golden Retrievers
- Why are some Golden Retrievers so expensive?
- The cost of a Golden Retriever by state
- Where you can get a discount on a Golden Retriever
- How you can get a free Golden Retriever
- The ongoing cost of a Golden?
- Should you get a Golden Retriever?
- Where not to get a Golden Retriever puppy
What does a Golden Retriever puppy cost in 2023?
Through our survey, we found that the cost of a Golden Retriever puppy ranged from $450 and $26,000. However, the majority of breeders we looked at priced their Golden Retriever puppies between $2,500 and $4,000. Don’t forget to add on sales tax to the price of your puppy.
Many states require breeders to collect state sales tax on the sale of a puppy. This is in addition to the set price you see on a breeder’s website.
We also discovered that the type of Golden Retriever you buy will have an impact on cost. As an example; the English Cream or European Golden Retriever tend to cost more than a American Golden Retriever.
Other factors like health testing, location and type of breeder also impacted the cost. Keep reading to learn about how these factors influence the cost of a puppy.
How much is the deposit for a Golden Retriever puppy?
To reserve a puppy before they are able to come home with you, you will need to pay a deposit to the breeder. Most deposits are non-refundable and go towards the final price of the puppy.
Some breeders request the deposit before the puppies are born, while others prefer to wait until after the they are born to see how many they have to sell. The amount of the deposit varied by breeders, but the majority of breeders in our survey requested a deposit of $300 to $500 for a Golden Retriever puppy.
Since the deposit is non-refundable it’s important that you are sure you want a puppy from this breeder.
The lowest Golden Retriever deposit that we saw on the survey was $100 and the highest was $1,800. This was almost half the cost of the puppy.
More costs when buying a Golden Retriever Puppy
Another cost you may encounter is an application fee. The application fee is the cost to fill out the application and have someone review it. This cost is non-refundable and it’s not applied to the cost of the puppy. It’s simply another cost you need to pay on top of the cost of the puppy and sales tax.
Very few breeders charge an application fee.
What are the four types of Golden Retrievers?
The Golden Retriever can be found in four different variations. The English or European, the Canadian and the American Golden Retriever. The American Golden can be further split between a pet Golden and a Field Golden.
It’s important to note that all four variations of Golden Retriever originated from the same Scottish bloodline. The differences in look, size and temperament was developed as the breed evolved to meet the needs of their environment and desires of the people who bought them.
1. English Golden Retriever
The English or European Golden Retriever comes from Europe and follows the United Kennel Club’s breed standard. The UKC standard is slightly different than the Golden Retriever standards for the American Kennel Club and the Canadian Kennel Club.
The English Golden Retriever can be any shade of golden and ranges from light gold to a rich shade of gold. Interestingly, the United Kennel Club in Europe states, “Body color that approaches cream or red is undesirable.”
While it may be considered undesirable by the UKC standards, a cream-colored Golden Retriever is highly desired in the US. Mainly, because it allows people to easily distinguish between the American and European Goldens.
This is why you often see English or European Goldens referred to as English Cream Goldens.
Other differences between the American and European Golden include.
- Body shape – The English Golden Retrievers are bred to be a little shorter and stockier than the American Golden.
- Fur – The English Golden’s fur is shorter with more of a wave to it.
- Temperament- The English Golden Retriever is friendly, easy going and calmer
- Health – The English Golden Retriever is portrayed as being healthier than the American Golden Retriever.
Are English Golden Retrievers Healthier than American Golden Retrievers?
While both the American and English Golden Retriever are susceptible to the same health conditions, the European bred Golden does have a lower rate of cancer. It is unknown at this time why this is. However, compared to other breeds, the rate of cancer in European Golden Retrievers still is higher than average. Just less than the American Golden Retriever.
2. American Golden Retriever
The American Golden Retriever can be split into two breed categories. One is bred as a pet and the other is bred as a field dog.
The field version is leaner and much more active than the pet version. A Golden that is bred for field work will not make a good house pet. They need to be active and working most of the time.
Both the field and pet version of the American Golden can come in an array of colors ranging from shades of Gold to red, cream and white. It’s difficult to distinguish between an American Golden that is cream or white and a English Cream Golden Retriever. The only real way to tell is to look at their bloodline.
3. Canadian Golden Retriever
The Canadian Golden Retriever closely resembles the European Golden Retriever. They both have a thicker coat and are shaggier then American Goldens. They are also a little bit shorter with a calmer personality.
Since Canadian Golden Retriever are not routinely sold in America, we did not include them in the survey.
Why are some Golden Retrievers so expensive?
In our survey, Golden Retrievers with pedigrees that came from European lines commanded the highest prices tags. This may reflect of the cost to bring a dog over to the United States.
But it may also be due to people that are willing to pay more for the look of a cream colored Golden. The average cost of an English Cream (European) Golden Retriever was between $3,000 and $5,500.
In contrast, the average cost of an American Field Golden was between $2,000 and $3,000.
In the middle of these two extremes is a pet quality American Golden Retriever, which on average is priced between $2,500 to $4,000 for a dog with proper health testing.
What effects the cost of a Golden Retriever?
In addition to the type of Golden Retriever you select, things like health testing, training, location and how many puppies a breeder is looking to sell can affect the price.
Health testing all breeding dogs can be expensive, but it is necessary to ensure a puppy is free from avoidable genetic health defects. Because of this, breeders that perform health testing will charge a higher price to offset the cost they put into testing.
However, just because someone charges a higher price tag don’t assume the puppy’s parent were tested. In our survey we found many breeders that did not indicate they health tested their dogs still charged a higher price.
Another thing to watch out for are breeders who only test part of their breeding dogs but not all. When picking a puppy to buy you want to make sure that parents are both health tested.
If you want to skip puppy training you can choose to get an older trained puppy. But the training will cost you. The highest priced puppy in our survey was an English Cream Golden Retriever that came fully trained at 6 months old. The requested price was $26,900.
High volume breeders like the ones you see on “puppy for sale” sites will usually charge less for their puppies. These puppies are generally poorly bred and do not have the proper health clearances. These breeders are just trying to get rid of them as quickly as possible by charging a low price. High volume breeders will charge between $475 to $1,200 for a puppy.
Before you consider buying from an on-line broker or any breeder, make sure to check them out at the Better Business Bureau and google reviews for complaints.
Also, take some time to education yourself about puppy mills at Stop the Online Puppy Mills. You may be surprised by who they label as puppy mills.
Golden Retriever Price by State
As I mentioned above, the cost of a Golden Retriever is influenced by the states they are located in. States with more competition and a lower cost of living tended to charge a lower rate for the puppy. But there were a few exceptions to the rule. Keep reading to find out what they were.
To make it easier to find your state and read it, we separated the charts into the five regions in the United States; Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, West and Midwest.
You can click on the chart to enlarge it.
Golden Retriever Price in the Northeast
If you look at the above chart, it’s no surprise that New Jersey has the highest cost for a Golden Retriever puppy. Not only is it an expensive state to live in, but they also have some of the strictest Puppy Lemon Laws in the US.
New York and Pennsylvania have the widest range in cost. We found plenty of low-cost puppies ($450 to $850) at on-line puppy broker websites selling puppies from PA and New York. But remember these low-cost puppies are most likely coming from Puppy Mills.
Golden Retriever Price in the Southeast
The highest price for a Golden Retriever in the Southeast was found in Alabama. All the puppies that we found in Alabama were from European lineage. The lowest cost in this region was found in Louisiana, Tennessee and Virginia.
Golden Retriever Price in the Southwest
The Southwest did not have any surprises. The lowest cost for a puppy in the Southwest was found in New Mexico.
Golden Retriever Price in the West
In the west, California not only had the highest cost from a Golden Retriever, they also have the widest range of prices.
Golden Retriever Price in the Midwest
In the Midwest, Missouri had the widest range in costs.
Where can you get a discount on a Golden Retriever?
Let’s start this section with, you should never get your puppy from a puppy mill. Ever!
While the picture-perfect puppies you see on-line might look like the deal of the century, they may not be the dog you actually get. Plus, puppy mill breeders treat their dogs terribly resulting in puppies that can grow up to be afraid and/or aggressive.
- If you need to find a less expensive dog, there are some breeders that offer discounts. Discount are most often offered to:
- Active members of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Police officers
- Fire fighters
- You can also Look for a breeder with older puppies. While doing research for this article I found more than a few breeders that overestimated the demand. You may be able to get a lower price.
- As popular as these dogs are they still sometimes end up needing a new home. Here is a list of Golden Retriever rescue groups to help you look. The cost to adopt is almost always less expensive than buying. You may even be able to get a puppy this way. We found our Golden in a local shelter.
- You can also choose to be a guardian home. Some breeders will offer a discount on a puppy to maintain the breeding rights of the dog. Keep reading to learn more about guardian homes.
How can you get a free Golden Retriever?
Free Golden Retrievers are rare but you can find them. Here are the two most common ways to get a free Golden Retriever:
- There are some breeders that will donate a puppy to a person in need of a service dog that can’t afford one.
- Becoming a guardian home is another way to get a free Golden Retriever. While some breeders offer discounts to guardian homes, others will place a puppy in a guardian home for no cost. But there are strict requirements to be a guardian home. Plus, you don’t completely own the dog until they have fulfilled the contract.
Guardian Homes – a brief overview
A Guardian Home is when a person agrees to raise and take care of the dog as a pet, but allows the breeder to maintain full breeding rights for the dog. Some Golden Retriever breeders use the term “foster home” instead of guardian home.
This process is beneficial to breeders because they don’t need to keep a large number of breeding dogs at their home. It also allows breeding dogs to live a normal, happy life with a family that loves and cares for them.
Although the terms of a Guardian Home Program will vary by breeder the basic idea of the program is generally the same.
General Guardian Home Program Overview:
- You must live within a predetermined distance from the breeder.
- The breeder retains the breeding rights of the dog for the length of the contract.
- Your puppy is picked from the litter by the breeder. You generally get the best pick of the litter.
- You are responsible for routine care and veterinary services for the dog as determined by the breeder.
- You may need to take the dog for health testing that is related to breeding
- You may be required to feed a certain type of food or keep their hair short.
- Based on the contract, your dog will be required to stay at the breeder’s home different times of the year. This could be when your dog is in heat and when they give birth, but there may be other times too.
- Dogs are bred for a specified number of times and years before they are released from the program.
- You cannot spay or neuter your dog until after the contract ends.
The ongoing cost of a Golden Retriever?
As with any dog, the Golden Retriever will require basic supplies to keep them happy and healthy. Initial costs will include: food and water bowls, crate, leash and collar or harness, and grooming supplies like shampoo and a dog brush. Starting cost can be between $300 and $500.
While these items should last a long time, you may need to up-size some of these items as your puppy grows.
Ongoing costs include: quality food, routine medical expenses, some toys to keep them busy when you can’t and treats for training. Annual costs for these items can range between $800 and $1,200.
Of course, this is all depend on your taste and budget.
Should you get a Golden Retriever?
If you are looking for an active, friendly, family-oriented dog, then a Golden Retriever is a great choice. In addition to being a fun-loving dog that is ready for adventure, they are also easy to train making them a good choice for first-time dog parents.
Just keep in mind that no dog is perfect. Golden Retrievers tend to shed, a lot! It’s worst during their seasonal coat change, but they shed all… year…. long.
I know this from personal experience. Charlie, our rescue Golden was a great companion, but the shedding was time consuming.
Plus, a Golden Retriever requires a fair amount of exercise, especially when they are young.
Where not to get a Golden Retriever puppy
While going to the local puppy store might be easy, it’s not the best place to go. Both the puppy store and online puppy brokers act as middlemen between the breeder and consumer. This means they pay a lower cost for the puppy. Then tack on a premium before they sell it to you.
Although they may say they sell puppies from reputable breeders that have been vetted, they may in fact be selling puppies from large scale commercial breeders (aka: puppy mills).
Large breeders typically do not want you to know that they sell dogs in large volumes so they use on-line “puppy for sale” sites and puppy stores to hide what they really are.
Remember commercial breeders are not illegal, and they may be following the laws, making them “reputable”, but what most people think of as a good breeder is different then what a middleman might view it as.
A family dog needs to be raised differently than a cow or chicken if they are going to live in a home with a family.
The first 8 weeks of a puppy’s life will impact the rest of their life with you. Puppies (and their parents) need proper nutrition, socialization and early training for the puppies to grow up healthy and become a good family dog.
In fact, getting a puppy from a large-scale commercial breeder is the first potty training mistake people make.
So, please do your research. If they are selling a large quantity of dogs, they may be selling puppy mill puppies.