Lifespan of a Golden Retriever: Everything you need to know

Most people want their Golden Retrievers to live a long, healthy life. But how long can we expect our Goldens to live? This article discusses the average life expectancy and what you can do to help your dog increase their odds of a long life.

Golden Retrievers are among the most popular breeds of dogs in the United States. They are medium-large dogs who are often lovable, goofy, social, and affectionate. When you have a Golden Retriever, you must do everything possible to keep them healthy and alive for as long as possible.

How Long Do They Live?

The average life expectancy for a Golden Retriever is 10-12 years. However, this number has decreased by 5 or 6 years in the last fifty years. In the 1970s, Golden Retrievers had 16-17 years of age.

Golden Retrievers are great dogs, and people want them to live longer. It’s important to be educated on how to prolong their life. This way, you can ensure your dog lives long and healthy.

Most dogs live for about 10-12 years, but your dog could live much longer.

Golden Retrievers Life Expectancy

When hunting, Golden Retrievers were bred as “retriever” dogs in the 1920s. This type of dog was quickly adopted in the United States during this time because people loved them. They are loyal animals that like to be around their owners.

When they were first bred, Golden Retrievers had a longer life expectancy. But over time, their life expectancy started to fall because of genetic issues being passed down. The biggest change happened between the 1970s and now. Golden Retrievers only have a life expectancy of 10-12 years instead of 16-17 years.

Issues That Affect Life Expectancy

Many things can affect how long a Golden Retriever lives. Most of these are health problems or genetic problems. But there is also the danger of exposure to toxic materials, which could cause cancer.

Some genetic health issues passed down are heart disease, cancer, hypothyroidism, skin disease, ear infections, gastrointestinal illness, urinary diseases, joint dysplasia, epilepsy, and chest condition issues.

One of the most common health issues that Golden Retrievers face is cancer. Cancer is more common in Golden Retrievers than in other breeds of dogs, so their owners should be aware of that.

Cancer In Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers have a shorter life expectancy because they are more likely to get cancer. Cancer can take different forms in Golden Retrievers and show up at different times in their lives.

Cancer Odds

Cancer is the leading cause of death in Golden Retrievers now. Havon (2006) says that approximately 60 percent of Golden Retrievers will die from cancer. There are many different types of cancer, but two are the most common in Golden Retrievers.

The following types of cancer are the most common in Golden Retrievers:

  1. Hemangiosarcoma: Cancer in dogs that presents from the cells in the blood vessels.
  2. Lymphoma: Type of cancer in dogs that presents from where the lymphoid tissues are located, such as bone marrow: thymus, lymph nodes, or spleen.

Why Are Golden Retrievers Prone To Cancer?

Golden Retrievers are prone to many different types of cancer. Scientists are still trying to figure out why this is the case. It could be a combination of things, including genetics and the environment. We won’t know for sure until more research is done.


One way Golden Retrievers get cancer is through their genes. Cancer can be passed down from one generation of Golden Retrievers to the next.

Gold Retrievers have a high risk of getting cancer. They also have a higher risk for heart disease, hypothyroidism, and other conditions.


Golden Retrievers are more prone to cancer because of the environment in which we live. Some things can not only give Golden Retrievers cancer but can also cause us cancer. These environmental causes are the sun, environmental toxins, or radiation.

Some people believe that animals who have completed their reproductive years are more likely to get cancer. Some people call this natural selection.

Prolonging the Life Expectancy

There are ways that Golden Retriever owners can help their dog live a longer life. Some suggestions are common sense, while others may never have crossed your mind.


Golden Retrievers are active dogs. Exercise is very important for them. A Golden Retriever puppy needs about 5 minutes of exercise per month that they have been alive. An adult Golden Retriever needs anywhere from 1 to 2 hours of exercise per day, depending on how active the dog is. More active working dogs would need closer to 2 hours.

Exercise is important for keeping your body healthy. It can help you avoid becoming obese, a common problem for many dogs.

Limit Exposure

Many things can cause cancer, but there are some things that Golden Retriever owners should focus on. One is limiting the amount of exposure to environmental toxins.

Second-Hand Smoke

Secondhand smoking near Golden Retrievers is bad for their health. Golden Retrievers have problems with their chest cavities and lungs. Secondhand smoke can increase their risk of lung or other types of cancer.


Pesticides can cause cancer in people and Golden Retrievers. Pesticides are chemicals put on plants to stop bugs from getting to the plant. People have known for a long time that it is not safe to breathe in pesticides or eat food with them on them.


Herbicides are another possible cause of cancer in Golden Retrievers. Herbicides are chemicals that are used to kill plants. People have used them for a long time in their gardens and fields where food is grown. But herbicides can also be harmful to Golden Retrievers.

Stress Reduction

Reducing stress in your Golden Retriever will help their body to be relaxed and work properly. When you are stressed, it can have a lot of negative effects on your body. It’s the same for Golden Retrievers.

When a Golden Retriever is stressed, its hormones and body chemistry can be thrown off. This can make them more likely to get sick. Additionally, stress could cause more heart problems in Golden Retrievers.

You can do a few things to help reduce your Golden Retriever’s stress. One is training them to deal with stress, and another is teaching them that being alone is okay. Most of a Golden Retriever’s stress comes from separation anxiety. If you can help relieve that anxiety, your dog will be healthier and live longer.

Health Precautions

Veterinarians say that Golden Retrievers should get a checkup once a year. During these appointments, the vet will look for signs of cancer, sickness, and infections. This could help find something early. Some veterinarians also advise spaying or neutering your pet.

You can give your Golden Retriever supplements and vitamins to keep their body healthy. These suggestions should come from a professional who knows about Golden Retrievers, like your veterinarian.

There are many ways to keep your Golden Retriever healthy. Brushing your dog’s teeth can help prevent gum disease and tooth infection. Brushing their hair helps keep their skin healthy.


Golden Retrievers should always wear sunscreen. They are light in color, and the sun can easily penetrate their coat. This can cause burns on their skin, leading to skin problems and cancer.


Not all news on Golden Retriever health is negative. There are also numerous research projects underway to assist us in lowering the risks of cancer and other fatal diseases that our dogs may face.

Even though the life expectancy of Golden Retrievers has decreased over the years, we now have more knowledge about how to take care of them. Make sure you do your part to help increase your Golden’s life.

Learn more: Old Dogs, New Research and the Secrets of Aging

Frequently Asked Questions About Lifespan of a Golden Retriever

Can a Golden Retriever Live for 15 Years?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) and other authorities, the average lifespan for golden retrievers is 10 to 12 years old. Unfortunately, the average lifespan for golden retrievers has decreased over the years. In the 1970s, goldens commonly lived to be 16 or 17 years old. That is no longer the norm.

Is 14 Old for a Golden Retriever?

Larger dog’s age quicker than smaller dogs. This means they have a shorter lifespan. A few decades ago, Golden Retrievers lived to approximately 16 to 17 years old. Their average lifespan has significantly reduced to between 10 and 12 years old

Do Male or Female Golden Retrievers Live Longer?

Goldens, both male and female, have a life expectancy of between 10 and 12 years. In some cases, they can even live for 14 to 15 years.

Why Are Golden Retrievers So Unhealthy?

Many large dogs breed risk heart, lung, and circulatory problems. One common and serious problem is subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS). This is when the blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood to the body becomes narrower.

How Long Can a Golden Retriever Be Left Alone?

Golden Retrievers can be left alone for a while as long as they are taken care of and not neglected. Adult Golden Retrievers can be left alone for up to 4 hours, but they should not be left for 8 hours. Leaving a young puppy for too long is bad because they need to pee, be stimulated, eat, and drink.

Are Golden Retrievers Smart?

Golden Retrievers are one of the smartest dog breeds. They are behind Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds in intelligence. They are easy to train and can pick up on human emotions. They are about as smart as a two or 2.5-year-old human and can learn over 165 words.

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