Life Expectancy Of Golden Retrievers, Plus Common Health Issues

Once you get a golden retriever pup, the first thing that goes to mind is how long they live. While we wish our dogs can stay with us forever, they have a shorter lifespan than ours. It’s unfortunate but it gives us all the more reason to give them all they need. With that said, what is a Golden Retriever’s lifespan?

It’s also important for us to know what they can possibly deal with health-wise. This article also tackles the most common health issues golden retrievers get.

dog on a beach

Golden Retriever’s Life Expectancy

Golden retrievers are among the most popular dog breeds in America. In fact, they’re top three in American Kennel Club’s breed popularity.

And it’s no surprise why.

These dogs are not just beautiful with their thick, golden fur. They’re also loyal and devoted to their families. Plus, they’re friendly and sociable, highly-intelligent, and sweet protectors.

Unfortunately, these wonderful dogs have an average lifespan of 10 to 12 years only. When you think about it, it’s a rather short time. Additionally, larger dogs have a shorter lifespan than smaller breeds.

The reason behind this is still a mystery.

But the good news is, many dogs can live beyond their life expectancy. Ensure they are healthy and well-taken care of so they can stay alive for much longer.

Common Health Issues

Part of taking good care of your dog is knowing what could possibly make them sick. Know which activities and food that can potentially harm your dog. But it’s also important to know which types of diseases your dog may get.

Here are the most common health issues that strike golden retrievers:


Hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland defect.

The thyroid gland produces certain hormones such as T3 and T4 hormones. These are the liothyronine and levothyroxine hormones, respectively. These help in your dog’s normal metabolism.

With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland can’t produce normal levels of these hormones.

Common causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Unknown origin
  • Cancer
  • Congenital disease
  • Iodine deficiency
  • Effect of several medical treatments like surgery

Symptoms may include:

  • Lethargy
  • Hair loss
  • Generalized weakness
  • Recurring skin infections
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Excessive scaling
  • Mental dullness
  • Poor hair growth
  • Lusterless and dry haircoat
  • Intolerance to cold

dog and her mother


Golden retrievers have a high risk of getting cancer. This has become one of the reasons why the golden retrievers have a shorter lifespan. During the 1970s, this breed has a longer life expectancy of between 16 and 17 years.

But during the past decade, the population of golden retrievers with cancer has risen. Around 60% of these dogs have died because of cancer.

Researchers are trying their best to find out why this breed is more prone to cancer. It’s possible that their cancer is due to a genetic mutation that happened recently.

They also believe that hormones present in every dog react differently. This affects their affinity for cancer.

If both parents of your golden retriever have cancer, chances are the pups have them, too.

Hip Dysplasia

Canine hip dysplasia is common for many dog breeds, not just golden retrievers. This deforms the hip joint of your dog.

The hip socket is too shallow so it cannot firmly and fully support the ball-shaped thighbone. It may also mean that the ligament, muscles, and connective tissue is not strong enough. These won’t be able to hold the “ball and socket” together.

Hip dysplasia can cause inflammation and pain in the affected area. Besides the pain, your dog will also have difficulty standing and walking.

Elbow Dysplasia

Elbow dysplasia affects the elbow joints of the front legs. This can be caused by different growth rates of the bones that consist of your dog’s elbows.

This can be hereditary. Or it can also be due to malnutrition or because of injury. Elbow dysplasia is a lifelong problem. It can be fixed by therapy or surgery if the case is more severe.

Dogs with elbow dysplasia limp or they will entirely avoid putting weight on the area.

Eye Problems

Golden retrievers are also prone to several eye problems. The most common problems are the following:

  • Juvenile cataracts
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Pigmentary Uveitis

Heart Problems

Your dog may also get heart problems including subvalvular aortic stenosis.

How To Avoid These Issues

As a responsible pet owner, you should bring your dog to the vet regularly. They will undergo tests such as hip, elbow, and ophthalmologist evaluation. Your dog should also undergo a cardiac exam.

Early detection of diseases can ensure your dog will get early treatment. The longer diseases go undetected, the more severe it becomes. Plus, your dog will also feel pain and discomfort for a long time.

Conclusion: What is a Golden Retriever Lifespan?

Golden retrievers are well-loved by families and pet lovers around the world. Although they have short lifespan than other dogs, they can still live happy lives. Give everything your dog needs, especially when it involves their health. Now, what is a golden retriever lifespan? As long as you treat them well, you’ll have a best friend for a decade or more.

About the author

Sarah Andrews

Hi I'm Sarah, dog lover and blogger. I was born into a dog-loving family and have been a proud doggy mommy ever since I can remember. I love sharing my dog knowledge and love being an active part of the dog-loving community.