How Much Does a Golden Retriever Puppy Cost? (Full Cost breakdown)


golden retriever puppy lying and rolling in grass

There are several important things to think through before you bring a Golden Retriever puppy home with you.

One of the most significant aspects that are also frustratingly unclear: How Much Does a Golden Retriever Puppy Cost?

In response to that frequent question, I have created a full breakdown with guided tips for you to read through. It’s guaranteed to save you time, energy, and all the common frustrations that come with looking into buying a new puppy. Don’t worry, I got your back! 

Let’s begin!

Buying a Golden Retriever: The Normal Price Range

Just like most dogs you can expect to find a wide range of prices on the market for a golden retriever. For the most part, you can expect to spend within the range of $500 up to $2000. Whilst it may seem high, you’ll find that a lot of the costs are front-loaded, which means that things are a little expensive at first but will quickly become manageable. 

Even when buying a dog for cheaper costs, you’ll quickly find that after adding up all the additional costs that a dog comes with, it will still total out to somewhere near this kind price too.  

To be completely honest, you’ll want to be very careful when you find a dog selling for super cheap, you could be opening a big can of worms. 

Why? 

Because when you get cheap selling dogs, you’ll also get problems too.  A few of the most common include no checks form the vets, which means no deworming and no vaccinations. In most cases when you find that a pup is selling for more, then all this would have been taken care of. That’s not to say that all dogs selling for cheaper are bad, but you’ll have to do some real digging to avoid being mis-sold too.

For example, choosing the lowest up-front price for a Golden Retriever means that these puppies rarely have the needed assurances or veterinary services, such as full health checkups, dewormings, or receiving vaccines. These services will then be paid for by the buyer, which increases the up-front cost that you paid. 

While it may cost you more up-front to buy a Golden Retriever puppy from a well-known breeder that promises quality, assurances, and care for animals, it’s likely that you’ll save a whole lot more money over the course of time. To keep things safe I recommend you check out the AKC marketplace where you can buy your dog, it will save you time, stress and money with the assurance that everything is legitimate too. 

two golden retrievers sitting

Veterinarian Services: An Expense Break Down

In order for your pup to grow happy healthy and strong, you’ll need to make sure that you’re regularly attending health checkups at the vets. According to the AKC, there are few things that you need to make sure you do within the first year of your pups life: 

  • A full physical exam, costing about $50-$100
  • The suggested vaccines: Leptospirosis, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, Coronavirus, and Canine Influenza, costing about $100-$200
  • The rabies vaccine, costing about $10-$20
  • The DAPPV vaccine, costing about $60-$100
  • Registering with the American Kennel Club, costing $35+
  • Deworming your dog, costing about $10 each
  • Heartworm prevention, costing about $70-$200 for a one-year supply

The total cost for all of these services ranges from $335 to $665, not including the taxes or the service fees/taxes included.

To make sure that you get a healthy puppy, it’s usually best to buy from a breeder that makes sure all puppies get their first health checkups, paperwork, and shots done before a buyer takes them home. 

This will end up saving you, as a buyer, time and money because these fees will be included in the price of your Golden Retriever. PLus a breeder gets all of this done at a fraction of the cost due to them paying wholesale rates to the vets opposed to going in and doing it as an individual. 

If you avoid getting a dog with all their checks are already done, then you can expect to pay at some point in time in the near future (there’s no escaping it). Worst case scenario could be that you buy a puppy, take them to the vets for a checkup only to find out that they have an under-developed immune system or several dangerous diseases. 

Don’t let this be you! 

I’ve even heard about some dogs having distemper, which is an incredibly contagious disease that attacks a dog’s nervous, gastrointestinal, and respiratory systems. 

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, Distemper first develops discharge from the eyes. This progresses to nasal discharge, fever, lethargy, a lessened appetite, coughing fits, and vomiting.

When the virus hits the nervous system, dogs exhibit circling behavior, convulsions or seizures, head tilting, muscle twitching, and paralysis- either partial or complete. There is sadly no cure for Distemper, just supportive care in the form of significant expenses and stress on your part while attempting to prevent more infections.

This is not to scare, but instead to make you aware that if you try to save a quick buck then you could highly regret it later on. 

How Much Does Food for a Golden Retriever Cost?

golden puppy eating

A Golden Retriever is considered to be a “large-breed” dog, requiring a significant amount of exercise. 

In general, average dry dog food can cost you around $100-$250 per year, assuming a 30-pound bag of food every month or two. Dog food that is higher quality would perhaps cost about $200-$400 per year, assuming the same amount and frequency.

Wet food for dogs is a little more expensive, ranging from $400-$1000 per year, assuming one to three cases per month of 13-ounce cans. All estimates are dependent on your dog’s personal age, size, and level of activity.

When you’re purchasing dog food, make sure that you always check the labels and the food you buy meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ standards (AAFCO).

While this agency does not certify, test, or regular pet food, they create nutritional standards for balanced, complete pet food. Steer clear of any artificial preservatives when possible to keep your dog as healthy as possible. 

A few prices of popular dog food brands are included below:

The Good news dog food brands that are cheaper are often just as good as the expensive brands, as long as they meet the AAFCO standards and are minimally processed. 

Equipment, Toys, and Accessories to get started with

A couple of essentials are great to have if you want your new Golden Retriever puppy to have the happiest home as possible! Here’s a small list, including the average cost:

Amazon also does a cool puppy starter kit that has just about everything all in one for a pretty reasonable price.

The total for these items ranges from $415-$825, which can fluctuate depending on the quality that you pick. 

The difference in buying an older dog versus a Puppy

Age is a large factor in the decision that you’ll make when purchasing your dog. Adult dogs do not need the work that goes into raising a puppy, but it could be more difficult for them to get used to new habits and abandon older ones. Older dogs, similar to humans, tend to be more used to routines and set in habits of personality and behaviors. 

golden puppies with mom

Puppies take more effort and responsibility to correctly raise them, but its also highly rewarding! You and your family take the reins on shaping their personalities or tendencies, meaning you can raise a sweet, doting pup.

There are also tricks or fun things you can teach your dog, as well as home boundaries that can be necessary for certain home spaces. All these things are much easier to imprint on a puppy than an older dog. 

A great program that you can check out to start training your dog is called Brain training for dogs by Adrienne Faracelli. It’s a great course that I took to train my puppy and it’s something I still use up till now as you get full access to a professional trainer. Not to forget tons of training videos that you can do in your own time for under 50 bucks. I did a complete review of the program that you can check out too. 

Adoption Costs for a Golden Retriever

Adopting versus buying a pet Golden Retriever is a frequent question from those who wish to own a dog. In adoption, your pet is usually found at a shelter or an animal rescue; however, buying a dog means that you generally buy straight from a breeder or owner.

Adopting is usually cheaper than buying; most adoption fees average about $250-$500, but shots or other services may be additional fees. 

One downside is that there may not be a large selection of dogs to choose from at a rescue or animal shelter. If you are wanting a certain age, breed, gender, or level of health, there may not be what you are looking for. 

It’s also important to note, adopted dogs may have some health or behavior issues, which could potentially complicate owning the dog as a pet. If you adopt, you forfeit a complete knowledge of your pet’s history that you would have if you bought from a breeder. Breeder Golden Retrievers tend to be happier and healthier overall, but that’s not to say that they are all 100% squeaky clean. 

Just make sure that you do your homework before making a purchase and you should be just fine! 

Have you heard of a Goldendoodle?

goldendoodle puppy running

If a Golden Retriever isn’t quite what you’re looking for, try looking at the precious Golden Doodle! These are very lovable, popular dogs that are crosses between a Poodle and a Golden Retriever.

They are so popular because they are smart, easily trained, friendly, highly sociable, and healthy dogs. Since the Poodle is considered a “hypoallergenic” breed, the majority of Goldendoodles are the same way, featuring a coat with no to minimal shedding. 

Goldendoodles can be found from breeders from $500 to $2400, and the F1 Goldendoodles are typically not as expensive.

These dogs are a 50/50 mix of Golden Retriever and Poodles, looking similar to a Golden Retriever with moderate shedding and wavy hair patterns. An F1b Goldendoodle is 75% Poodle and 25% Golden Retriever, which means they shed less and are more like a poodle. These are generally more pricey. 

Problems with buying from a Puppy Mill

With the growing number of options for buying puppies, the rise of puppy mills must be on your horizons as well. These are sad, dark warehouses where dogs are bred in mass quantities and are not properly loved, exercised, or given healthcare. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) provides some sobering details on puppy mills:

Undersized Cages

Breeders in puppy mills use extremely tight living conditions, often in the unprotected outdoors or filthy indoor cages, to maximize their space. Animals are kept in here all their lives and can develop sores, lesions, and other issues from standing on the wire floors. The cage is the only life they ever know, as they sleep, eat, use the bathroom, and give birth in these cruel conditions. 

Bad Healthcare

Cruel breeding facilities such as these do not have proper veterinarian care for animals. Animals in puppy mills can only suffer as they ensure serious problems or injuries without care. In these packed conditions, any diseases spread quickly and can be deadly to puppy immune systems that are not protected. 

Forced, Frequent Breeding

Female dogs should not be forced to breed often; however, puppy mills are driven by money, so dogs are bred whenever possible. Dog parent health is compromised, which can predispose their puppies to health problems or defects. Even worse, when dogs cannot produce offspring any longer, they are sometimes killed or abandoned by their masters. 

To learn more about the terrible truths of puppy mills and how to make sure you avoid them, read this ASPCA webpage. Please do not support animal cruelty. 

5 Things to Look For In a Golden Retriever Breeder

family with dogs

Before you purchase a Golden Retriever puppy online, make sure that you conduct your own research to ensure that you are getting your puppy from a breeder that has a good reputation and cares deeply for their puppies. Some critical things to look out for:

1) When online searching, look for a breeder that has multiple pictures and videos of every dog they have.

2) Thorough paperwork that clearly states the health checks the breeder has undergone as well as their associations with important breeder organizations, such as the American Kennel Club.

3) Breeders who encourage you to personally visit their location to meet and play with their puppies. Usually, one of the parent dogs should be there for you to be able to meet also. 

4) Breeders who are smaller families and ones who will socialize, exercise, and play with their puppies every day to make sure they are happy. 

5) Proper assurances and guarantees of health. Good breeders will take responsibility for genetic defects instead of leaving the liability and cost to you. 

Conclusion 

From all the information contained in this guide, you are now well-equipped to understand all that is involved in the process of buying a Golden Retriever. My advice is to read through this carefully and don’t hold back in trying to save a buck here and there. It could be the very reason that you end up with unwanted large costs later on. 

Instead, just make sure to check the breeder you buy from thoroughly and if possible, ensure that your pup has had all their vaccinations and shots with an AKC approved documentation too. 

Rachael Summers

Rachael Summers is the Founder and Senior Editor at Retrievers R Us. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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