Can a Golden Retriever Be Black? No, Here’s Why!

golden retriever saying no

When we think of the perfect family dog, many of us think about the Golden Retriever. They're funny, caring, the ideal jogging partner, and great with children.

But most of us presume that this breed (thanks to its name) can only have a beautiful golden coat color. So what about a Black Golden Retriever? Are they recognized by the kennel clubs? Are they purebred pups? Let's find out!

Does the Black Golden Retriever actually exist?

Have you got your heart set on a Goldie but with a jet-black coat? Then sorry to disappoint, but there's not actually such a pup as the Black Golden Retriever. In fact, it's genetically impossible (we'll get into that in a bit) for a Goldie to have a black coat.

There are, however, a couple of mixed breeds and pure breeds which look and act very similar, if not identical, to a Black Golden Retriever. So it may not be a purebred pup, but you can certainly adopt the next best thing.

The science behind a purebred Golden Retriever

golden retriever laying down on grass

So, this is the part where we prove that Black Golden Retrievers can't exist.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, there are only two pigments that determine every dog's coat color. Weird right? All the different shades our pups can be and it's based on only two basic pigments. These pigments are called Eumelanin (black) and Phaeomelanin (red). Both of these pigments can be modified by various genes inherited from the parent dogs.

The MC1R gene (the E-Locus) controls how much pigment is produced in melanocytes which determines the color of your pup's fur.

Still with us?

Dogs with the dominant allele ‘E' will have Eumelanin and can have black coats. The recessive allele ‘e' turns the Eumelanin into Phaeomelanin which means a pup can have a cream, golden, or red coat.

Purebred Golden Retrievers have the recessive ‘e/e' genetic makeup, meaning they'll always be on the golden/cream/red spectrum.

It's genetically impossible for a purebred Golden Retriever to have a black coat.

Can golden retrievers be black

So what colors can Golden Retrievers be?

According to the American Kennel Club, Golden Retrievers can be dark golden, golden, and light golden. They don't mention any acceptable markings.

Whilst they only mention three colors, there's actually a huge range. You might be able to find a Golden Retriever with a deep red coat and one with a very pale cream one. So this dog breed doesn't just have a simple ‘gold' coat.

What about genetic mutations?

It is possible for genetic mutations to occur in the Golden Retriever breed which means that your pup could have a black patch of fur. This, however, is rare and wouldn't result in an entirely black coat. It would be a small patch (often around the head) that would be black in color. It's a little like a birthmark.

But, I’ve seen a Black Golden Retriever!

So what happens if you've seen a Black Golden Retriever puppy for sale? Or you've seen one of these beautiful dogs running around your local park with the pup parent proudly telling you their dog is a Black Golden Retriever?

Well, seeing as we know it's genetically impossible, the dog they're referring to is likely to be a mixed breed. It may be a very distant mixed breed and really look like a Golden Retriever with a black coat but it won't be.

In many cases, it's likely that a Black Golden Retriever is the result of a purebred Golden Retriever being mixed with a Flat-Coated Retriever.

The Flat-Coated Retriever

flat coated retriever in a field

There are many similarities (and a couple of differences) when it comes to the Golden Retriever Vs the Flat-Coated Retriever. Both are very energetic dogs that were bred for hunting and love to spend time outdoors exploring woods, ponds, and parks. They're both loving dogs that are loyal to their owners and that can be a little goofy.

The main difference between the two breeds is their coat color. Whilst Goldies are always a shade of golden, Flat-Coated Retrievers have black or liver coats. Flat-Coats are also usually a little more athletic looking and slightly taller than Golden Retrievers. They also have flatter coats and may have more feathering around their legs and tails.

If you're thinking about adopting a Flat-Coated Retriever as a good substitute for a Black Golden Retriever, it's worth knowing that they're not as good around kids as Goldies are. They tend to be a little more boisterous which might be too much for smaller children.

What other breeds look like Black Golden Retrievers?

black newfoundland dog standing

Apart from Flat-Coated Retrievers, there are a couple of other breeds which could pass as a Black Golden Retriever. These include:

  • Newfoundland
  • Black Labrador and Golden Retriever mix
  • Black Goldendoodle and Golden Retriever mix
  • Black German Shepherd and Golden Retriever mix

The temperament of a Black Golden Retriever

The temperament of your pup will really depend on what breed they actually are (even if they look like a Black Golden Retriever). Although not certain, many Golden Retriever mixes inherit the adoring nature of the Goldie parent and will probably need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation.

If your dog is a Flat-Coated Retriever and Golden Retriever mix, then it will likely be very active, affectionate, and probably quite boisterous.

Early socialization is essential for all dogs, as are regular training sessions to keep them engaged and happy.

Black Golden Retriever breeders

Whenever you adopt a pooch, it's important to make sure you're getting your dog from an ethical breeder who is breeding for the temperament and health of a dog – not for appearance or coat color.

There's no such thing as a purebred Black Golden Retriever, so be wary of breeders selling them as ‘rare dogs'. You'll probably be paying a premium for a Golden Retriever mix. You should also remember that black isn't a recognized coat color for Goldies by the AKC, so you won't be able to compete with them.

A breeder who is breeding Golden Retrievers with Flat-Coated Retrievers (and advertising as such) can be trusted. Just so long as they can provide the correct health checks for the dogs and are breeding happy little puppies.

Conclusion: do Black Golden Retrievers exist?

Unfortunately no, Black Golden Retrievers do not exist. It's genetically impossible for a purebred Goldie to have a black puppy – so don't trust a breeder telling you otherwise.

There are, however, many Golden Retriever mixes and other breeds (especially the Flat-Coated Retriever) that look a lot like Black Golden Retrievers. Whichever kind of pup you adopt, it's likely to need an active lifestyle and plenty of space to play in. With lots of exercise and time to explore, any of these Black Golden Retriever substitutes will be a wonderful addition to your family.

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