Before you bring home a new Golden Retriever, there’s a lot to evaluate. It doesn’t help that one of the biggest factors is also the least clear: How much does a golden retriever actually cost? That’s why we created this super-helpful, point-by-point guide to save you time, energy, and headaches so you know EXACTLY what goes into owning one of these loveable dogs before you make your decision.
Let’s get started!
The typical price range for buying a golden retriever
Like all dogs, you can find a wide range of prices for golden retrievers — generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,000 for your new pet. Sure, it can seem like a large ballpark to shop for, but it’s very important to understand that a cheaper “upfront” cost doesn’t necessarily mean it will be cheaper overall.
The fact is, all golden retrievers cost about the same when you count ALL the expenses.
For example, if you decide to choose the lowest-cost option, those golden retrievers almost never have the necessary 3rd-party assurances and veterinarian procedures like dewormings, vaccinations, or even a thorough health checkup. (These costs and services will be your responsibility, which adds to the original cost.)
Next, cheaper dogs often have a higher chance of health problems because they usually (and unfortunately) come from “puppy mills” where their parents were forced to breed frequently and were raised in cruel conditions. Over their lifetime, this could lead to massive expenses in the form of urgent healthcare.
Conversely, it might cost you more initially to find a dog from breeders with the utmost quality, care, and assurances, but odds are it means lower costs over the lifetime of your pet.
Price break down: Golden retriever veterinarian expenses
It’s super important to give your golden retriever the health checks they need to grow strong and happy. According to the American Kennel Club, there are some essential steps you’ll need before their first birthday:
- Full physical exam $50-100
- Recommended vaccines: Coronavirus, Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Canine Influenza, Lyme Disease $100-200
- Rabies vaccine $10-20
- DAPPV vaccine (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza) $60-100
- AKC registration $35+
- De-wormings $10 each
- Heartworm preventatives $70-200 (1-year supply)
- Total $335-665 (Does not include service fees, charges, and taxes)
To ensure you get a healthy dog, it’s generally better to buy a puppy who already had its first round of health checks, shots, and paperwork well before you purchase them. This saves you money and time because these fees are usually included in the price (Breeders often pay lower rates than individuals).
If you don’t, however, you’re responsible for all of these yourself. But imagine getting a puppy without any vaccines — until you take them to the vet and get their initial round of shots, you’re exposing their young immune system to all kinds of dangers. Distemper, for example, is a highly contagious disease that attacks the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and nervous systems of dogs. From the American Veterinary Medical Association:
Initially, infected dogs will develop watery to pus-like discharge from their eyes. They then develop fever, nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, and vomiting. As the virus attacks the nervous system, infected dogs develop circling behavior, head tilt, muscle twitches, convulsions with jaw chewing movements and salivation (“chewing gum fits”), seizures, and partial or complete paralysis.
Unfortunately, there is no cure — just lots of expenses and stress in the form of supportive care and preventing additional infections.
How much does it cost to buy food for a golden retriever?
Golden Retrievers are “large breed” dogs that require plenty of exercise. Generally, basic dry food can cost about $100 – $250 per year for a 30-pound bag every 1 – 2 months. High quality dry food might go between $200 – $400 per year for the same quantity and frequency. Wet dog food will cost a bit more and range between $400 – $1,000 per year for 1 – 3 cases of 13-ounce cans per month. (The cost for food will depend on the size, age, and activity level of your companion.)
When you buy dog food, always check the labels and make sure they meet the standards of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) — while they don’t regulate, test, or certify pet foods in any way, they do establish the nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. Avoid artificial ingredients and preservatives where you can, which could cause health problems for your dog (just like with humans).
Here are some prices you can find with popular dog food brands:
- Pedigree Dry Dog Food — $17.26 for a 30lb bag
- IAMS Healthy Naturals— $29.99 for 25.6lb bag
- Canidae All Life Stages Dog Dry Food — $53.07 for 30lb bag
- Purina Pro Plan Savor— $45.78 for 35lb bag
- Pedigree Choice Cuts in Gravy Wet Dog Food Pouches — $8.19, (18) 3.5oz pouches
- Purina Pro Plan Savor Adult Wet Dog Food — $18.96, (12) 13oz cans
Fortunately, the cheaper brands can be just as good as long as they meet the standards of AAFCO and are made with minimal processing.
Starting equipment, toys, and accessories
If you want to give your new dog the best, happiest, and most-loving home possible, it’s important to have a few key essentials ready for your new family member! Here’s a quick list of things to get (with average expenses):
- Dental Products $10-30
- Toys $50-100
- Crates $20-80
- Beds $20-60
- Collars and Leashes $10-30
- Bowls $5-25
- Total $415-825
Keep in mind, these prices can go up and down depending on how basic or luxurious you want them to be.
The cost of buying a puppy vs an older dog
Age can certainly make a huge difference in your decision. With adult dogs, for example, you don’t have do the work of raising them. The downside is that it can be a bit harder for them to overcome previous habits and learn new ones — older dogs generally are more “set in their ways” in terms of behavior and personality.
With puppies, it does take more responsibility and effort to raise them correctly, but the rewards are like nothing else. Because you and your family are in complete control of shaping their behavior and personality, you can raise your puppy to become friendlier and more trusting. Also, don’t forget the other, specific things you can teach your doggy like the boundaries of your home (which is helpful if you have a smaller living space). That way, as they grow up, your puppy will truly become a member of your family.
Costs for adopting a golden retriever
“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.”
— Gilda Radner
Buying versus adopting a golden retriever is a common question for aspiring dog owners. With dog adoption, this usually means finding your future pet at a rescue or shelter; buying a dog, however, generally means purchasing your dog direct from their owner or breeder. Adopting is typically a little cheaper than buying with starting adoption fees averaging around $250–500 (though depending on the shelter, you may have to pay additional fees for shots and procedures).
Unfortunately, at shelters and rescues, you might not have a wide selection of dogs to choose from — in fact, if you’re looking for a specific gender, breed, age, or health level, you might just be out of luck. It’s also important to remember that, sometimes, adopted golden retrievers can have behavioral or health issues, which might make things harder for you in the future. You simply don’t know as much about your new dog’s history as you would if you purchased direct from a trusted breeder.
On the other hand, when you buy from a good breeder, you’ll have a higher chance of a happy and healthy golden retriever, raised with plenty of care and attention from families and kids.
What are golden doodles and how much do they cost?
If you’re interested in something a little different, then consider the amazing and adorable Golden Doodle!
These love-able doggies are an increasingly popular crossbreed between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle. But it’s no wonder why people are going crazy over them — they’re friendly, social, easy to train, and very healthy. Also, because most Poodles are considered “hypoallergenic,” most golden doodles have a low-to-non-shedding coat, which can reduce allergic reactions.
Generally, you can find Goldendoodles between $500 to $2400. Generally, F1 (meaning they are a 50/50 mix) are less expensive. This is due to the fact that they often look very similar to a Golden Retriever but with wavy hair and with a moderate amount of shedding. An F1b Goldendoodle (which is 3/5 Poodle and 1/4 Golden Retriever) are usually higher-priced because their hair tends to be more hypo-allergenic with minimal shedding (more like a poodle).
The problem with buying a golden retriever from a “puppy mill”
“Folk will know how large your soul is, by the way you treat a dog.”
― Charles F. Doran
Nowadays, with so many options to buy your new dog, there’s a growing problem you MUST be wary of: The rise of “puppy mills.” These places are dark, depressing warehouses where dogs are “grown” without love, exercise, and even care for health. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), here’s a summary of what you can expect from these awful places:
- Tiny Cages
These cruel breeders maximize space by keeping everyone in tight conditions, often kept in outdoor pens that are unprotected from the elements or in tiny, filthy cages for their entire lives. They can even develop lesions and sores from having to stand on uncomfortable wire flooring. Sadly, it’s the only world they’ll know as they’re forced to eat, sleep, relieve themselves, and give birth in these cages.
- Poor Healthcare
These awful breeding facilities don’t have veterinarian care — instead they’re left to suffer through injuries and horrible health problems all on their own. Worse, because of their cramped, filthy conditions, diseases spread like wildfire, especially among puppies with weak immune systems.
- Constant Breeding
It’s unhealthy to force female dogs to breed often, but because these places are so focused on profit, these dogs are bred at every chance. This harms the health of the parents (who are sometimes abandoned or killed when they can’t produce more) and can predispose their litters to more health and genetic defects.
For more information on the horrific secrets behind “puppy mills” and how you can avoid them, visit this ASPCA page.
Please don’t support animal cruelty.
Breeder checklist: 5 things to look for in a golden retriever breeder
Before you buy a golden retriever online, do some background research to make sure you’re getting your new pet from a reputable breeder who cares about their puppies.
Here are a some critical points to watch for:
- When searching the web, look from breeders who have lots of photos AND VIDEOS about each dog
- Always look for rigorous paperwork that show all the health checks performed (signed by a veterinarian) and registration with reputable organizations like the American Kennel Club.
- Look for breeders who welcome you to visit their facilities so you can meet and play with their pups. Generally, they should have at least one of their parents available to see as well.
- Look for breeders who are small families and who also play and socialize with the pups daily so they grow up happy.
- Look for assurances and health guarantees. A good breeder will take responsibility for something like a genetic problem, rather than passing the cost and liability to you.
Buying a golden retriever puppy from us
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
— Josh Billings
With all this information, you now have a great idea of what’s involved and what you need to think about before you buy your golden retriever. At MyGoldenRetrieverPuppies, we make things easy for you to find your PERFECT dog.
We’re a network of small, independent breeders who want to elevate the standards of golden retriever breeding. All our puppies are raised by us on our own farms (unlike aggregator websites who list dogs from puppy mills).
All our dogs come with health checks, dewormings, and AKC paperwork already done for you. And because our puppies find their new homes by 8 – 10 weeks old, they’ve already had their first round of important vaccines done.
That’s why we stand by our golden retrievers with a one-year genetic health guarantee! Not only do we take every step to provide the best healthcare for your puppy, but we also socialize with each one daily so they grow up happy and socialize well. Come by anytime to see and play with our puppies, meet their parents, visit the farm, and talk to our breeders!
To read what our happy customers have to say (and see real pictures of their golden retrievers) check out our testimonial gallery here.
Ready to find your next family member? You can browse all of our puppies here!