Black Golden Retriever: Facts Backed by Science

If you’ve ever stumbled upon what’s dubbed a “black Golden Retriever,” it’s time to unveil the captivating secret that it likely belongs to a different canine lineage—a Flat-Coated Retriever, a Labrador, or perhaps a unique blend of Retrievers. 

Get ready to delve into the fascinating world of black Golden Retrievers and the compelling truth that sets them apart.

Key Takeaways

  • The concept of “black Golden Retrievers” is often a misrepresentation, as purebred Golden Retrievers typically do not come in black due to their genetics.
  • If you see a dog presented as a black Golden Retriever, it’s likely a different breed, such as a Flat-Coated Retriever, Labrador, or a mix.
  • Various other breeds or mixes, including Flat-Coated Retrievers, Labradors, and Golden Retriever mixes, may resemble black Golden Retrievers in appearance.

Do Black Golden Retrievers Exist? Science Explains 

Golden Retrievers, like all dogs, inherit their coat color through a complex interplay of genes. In the case of black coats, the genetics reveal a fascinating story.

The iconic golden color of a purebred Golden Retriever is a result of two recessive alleles, which are gene variants. When a dog inherits two copies of these recessive alleles, it results in the familiar golden hue that we all associate with the breed.

However, black coat color in dogs is typically governed by a different set of genes, specifically those responsible for eumelanin, the pigment that gives coats a black or dark color.

In Golden Retrievers, these eumelanin-producing genes are largely absent or significantly limited, making a purebred black Golden Retriever impossible.

Why Is it Impossible To Get A Black Golden Retriever?

So, if you ever encounter a dog being presented as a black Golden Retriever, it’s important to consider the genetics at play. In most cases, what you’re seeing is not a true representation of the breed. Instead, it’s likely another breed, such as a Flat-Coated Retriever, a Labrador Retriever, or even a mixed-breed dog with some Golden Retriever lineage.

Is a Black Golden Retriever Rare? 

In essence, while the concept of a black Golden Retriever may capture our imaginations, it’s crucial to understand that, according to the science of genetics, a purebred Golden Retriever with a truly black coat is highly improbable. The golden hue is deeply ingrained in the breed’s genetic makeup, making it one of the defining characteristics of these beloved and iconic dogs.

What Dogs Could Look Like Black Golden Retrievers

If you come across a dog that looks like a black Golden Retriever, it’s more likely to be one of the following breeds or mixes:

  1. Flat-Coated Retriever: These dogs closely resemble Golden Retrievers but are known for their solid black or liver-colored coats. They share a common ancestry with Golden Retrievers and are often mistaken for black Golden Retrievers due to their similar size and friendly demeanor.
  2. Labrador Retriever: Black Labrador Retrievers are quite common and can have a striking resemblance to black Golden Retrievers. Labs are known for their friendly and outgoing nature, much like their Golden Retriever cousins.
  3. Golden Retriever Mix: Dogs that are a mix of Golden Retriever and another breed may inherit a black coat from the non-Golden Retriever parent. These dogs can exhibit a wide range of coat colors and patterns, and a black coat is certainly possible if one of the parents carries the genes for it.
  4. Newfoundland: While larger and heavier than Golden Retrievers, Newfoundlands can have a solid black coat and share some physical characteristics with Retrievers. However, their size and build are distinctive.
  5. Gordon Setter: This breed is known for its stunning black and tan coat. While they have a very different appearance from Golden Retrievers, the black coat color might lead to initial confusion.
  6. Belgian Sheepdog: These dogs have a solid black coat and may share some physical traits with Retrievers. However, their herding instincts and temperament differ.
  7. Rottweiler Mix: If a mixed-breed dog has some Rottweiler ancestry and inherits the black coat gene, it might resemble a black Golden Retriever, although their physical characteristics can vary widely.

Golden Retriever vs. Flat-Coated Retriever 


  • Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are known for their beautiful, dense, water-repellent double coats. They typically have a rich, golden coat, but variations in shade can occur. They have a muscular and well-balanced build with a friendly and expressive face. Their ears are medium-sized and pendant.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers have a sleek, glossy, and flat-lying coat that can be solid black or liver-colored (reddish-brown). They are slightly longer and leaner in appearance compared to Golden Retrievers. They have a distinctive, elegant head with expressive dark eyes and pendant ears.


  • Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are renowned for their gentle, friendly, and outgoing nature. They are incredibly social and get along well with people, children, and other pets. They are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, making them easy to train. They are often described as one of the most affectionate dog breeds.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers share many of the same friendly and social traits as Golden Retrievers. They are exuberant, cheerful, and always ready to play. They tend to be more exuberant and even goofier in their behavior, making them a joy to be around.

Activity Level:

  • Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are active dogs that require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental health. They enjoy activities like fetch, swimming, and long walks. They are adaptable and can thrive in both suburban and rural environments.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers have a high level of energy and enthusiasm. They excel in activities like agility, flyball, and obedience training. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom.

Health Considerations:

  • Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers are prone to certain health issues, including hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and some heart conditions. They may also be susceptible to certain cancers.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers can be prone to certain health conditions, including cancer, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular veterinary check-ups and a healthy diet are essential for their well-being.


  • Golden Retriever: Golden Retrievers require regular grooming to maintain their dense coats. Brushing several times a week helps reduce shedding. They may also need occasional baths and ear cleaning.
  • Flat-Coated Retriever: Flat-Coated Retrievers have a shorter coat that still requires regular brushing to minimize shedding. They are generally lower-maintenance in terms of grooming compared to Golden Retrievers.

AKC Recognized Golden Retriever Colors 

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes three primary coat colors for Golden Retrievers: 

  1. Light Golden: Light golden Golden Retrievers exhibit a delicate and almost ethereal hue to their coats. Their fur glistens with a pale, creamy gold that exudes an irresistible charm. These dogs often have a soft and gentle appearance, which perfectly complements their warm-hearted and friendly personalities.
  2. Golden: The quintessential coat color of the breed, the “golden” Golden Retrievers sport the classic, rich, and vibrant gold hue that most people associate with this beloved breed. This shade encompasses a spectrum of golden tones, ranging from a lustrous, medium gold to a deeper, more intense hue. These Golden Retrievers epitomize the breed’s iconic appearance, exuding both elegance and a playful spirit.
  3. Dark Golden: Dark golden Golden Retrievers boast a deeper and more intense gold coat color compared to their lighter counterparts. Their fur exudes a warm and robust golden hue that sets them apart. These dogs often have a striking and regal presence, which pairs beautifully with their friendly and outgoing personalities.

How to Find a Black Golden Retriever 

Finding a black Golden Retriever can be a bit of a challenge because purebred Golden Retrievers typically do not come in black. However, if you’re interested in a dog that looks like a black Golden Retriever, you may consider the following options:

  1. Flat-Coated Retriever Breeder: Since Flat-Coated Retrievers are known for their black or liver-colored coats and share a common ancestry with Golden Retrievers, you might consider looking for a reputable Flat-Coated Retriever breeder. They can guide you toward a dog that resembles a black Golden Retriever in terms of appearance and temperament.
  2. Golden Retriever Mixes: Dogs that are mixed breeds and have some Golden Retriever lineage might inherit a black coat from another parent. Consider adopting from a shelter or rescue organization, where you may find mixed-breed dogs that resemble black Golden Retrievers.
  3. Local Breed Clubs: Contact local Golden Retriever or Retriever breed clubs in your area. They may have information about breeders who specialize in unusual coat colors or mixes.
  4. Online Resources: Explore online platforms and forums dedicated to dogs and specific breeds. Connect with breed enthusiasts who can provide guidance on finding a dog that looks like a black Golden Retriever.
  5. Rescue Organizations: Check with breed-specific rescue organizations that focus on Golden Retrievers or Retrievers in general. While black Golden Retrievers are rare, these organizations may occasionally have dogs that resemble them available for adoption.
  6. Be Patient and Informed: Finding a dog that resembles a black Golden Retriever may take time. Be patient during your search and ensure that you research any breeder or rescue organization thoroughly to ensure they are reputable and prioritize the health and well-being of the dogs.

Remember that the most important factors when choosing a dog should be their health, temperament, and suitability for your lifestyle, rather than their coat color. Whether your dog is black, golden, or any other color, the bond you form and the love you share will be the most rewarding aspect of your companionship.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, the allure of a “Black Golden Retriever” should be approached with caution. Authentic black-coated Golden Retrievers are an extreme rarity within the breed due to genetic factors. While the idea may be intriguing, prioritize a dog’s health, temperament, and lineage over coat color. 

If you’re set on a black-coated dog, consider exploring breeds like the Flat-Coated Retriever that naturally come in black. Always acquire dogs from reputable sources, and genetic testing can provide clarity on coat color genetics. Remember that the genuine bond and companionship you share with your furry friend transcend their coat color.

Frequently Asked Questions About Black Golden Retrievers

Are pure black dogs rare?

Pure black dogs are not necessarily rare, but their occurrence varies by breed and genetics. Some breeds, like Labradors, commonly have black-coated individuals, while others, like Golden Retrievers, rarely do.

Are black dogs more loyal?

A dog’s loyalty is not determined by its coat color. Loyalty is primarily influenced by temperament, upbringing, and the bond developed with their owner rather than their physical appearance.

Can Golden Retrievers protect you?

Golden Retrievers are not typically considered guard dogs, but they can offer a sense of security through their alertness and protective instincts toward their family. Their protective abilities may vary by individual.

Can a Golden Retriever be aggressive?

While individual dogs can exhibit aggression in certain situations, Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly and sociable nature. Aggression is not a common trait of the breed, but proper training and socialization are essential for any dog’s behavior.

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.