Life without a dog is like staring into the cold, hard rain on a bitter winter’s evening. It’s banal and unfamiliar and if you’re not careful, it’s all too easy to get lost in the minutia of thoughts that are constantly buzzing around inside your head.
The companionship and loyalty that we share with our four-legged friends transform every moment of every single day into an unpredictable, glorious adventure in which anything can, and often does happen.
And no dog is more faithful, affectionate, and devoted to its human companions than the Golden Retriever, the canine whose boundless enthusiasm for life and wonderfully wacky personality make them a pleasure to be around.
But what are we telling you that for? You already know these things, which is probably why you’re here, as you’re attempting to find a way to make the numbers work so that you open your home and your heart to a Retriever and welcome one into your family.
And despite what you may have been led to believe about how much a Retriever will cost to buy and keep, the financial burden isn’t as harsh as you probably think it is and will be rewarded a hundred times over by the endless hours of fun that you’ll share with your new best friend.
The initial question that prompted us to research this feature and served as a call to action, isn’t actually phrased very well.
Instead of asking how much do Retrievers cost, it should have asked how much will a Retriever cost, as your dog will be a lifelong economic responsibility and isn’t just a number that can be written down and added up in the pages of a ledger.
Having said that, it would almost certainly be advantageous for everyone if we simply got on with the task at hand, and attempted to answer the question, irrespective of how it is or isn’t phrased.
The Biggest Retriever Cost
The largest financial outlay that you’ll have to make for any pedigree dog, is the money that you’ll have to spend on him to bring him home. In other words, the money that you’ll have to pay to an American Kennel Club registered breeder for your dog is the single biggest financial investment that you’ll make in, and for him.
How much does a Golden Retriever cost?
Puppies can cost anywhere between five hundred and three thousand dollars depending on the breeder that you choose to purchase your dog from.
Why is there such a large disparity in prices?
Well, it’s like anything in life, you get what you pay for, and in the case of the more expensive puppies, you’re paying for the dogs bloodline and the time and energy that the breeder has invested in her or his facilities, veterinary care and whether or not the puppy that you’re purchasing is a show quality dog or merely “pet quality”.
Pet Quality And Show Quality Golden Retrievers
It sounds harsh denigrating a dog as being mere “pet quality”, but in a breeder’s eyes, the distinction between a “pet quality” dog and a “show quality” dog can be anywhere between a thousand and fifteen hundred dollars.
The difference between the two standards is a purely aesthetic one. If a dog meets all of the AKC’s (American Kennel Club) breed standards, then it can be classified as a “show quality” dog, which means that it can be “shown” at organized dogs shows and events. If the dog doesn’t meet all the standards, even though it’s still a pedigree Retriever, it will be seen by the breeder as being a “pet quality” dog.
Besides, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a pet quality dog, as the Retriever you’re looking to add to your home is going to be a pet, isn’t he? In some cases, less really is more, and purchasing a “pet quality” dog rather than a “show quality” dog definitely qualifies as one of those cases.
Adoption And Rescue
From a purely financial standpoint, the most affordable way to house a Golden Retriever is by adopting from your local shelter or finding a local Retriever rescue and rehoming one of their dogs who are looking for new families to live with.
Can You Find Golden Retrievers In Dog Shelters?
While it’s true that purebred Retrievers don’t often end up in shelters, they do find their way into the care of specialist rescues, and thanks to the internet it’s easier to find a Retriever Rescue than it’s ever been.
Golden Retriever Rescues – How To Find Them
All you need to do to find one is utilize a quick Google search, which should reveal the closest Retriever rescue to you. Once you know where they are, give them a quick call and ask them about their dogs. They’ll be delighted to hear from you, as almost every single rescue is always looking for prospective pup parents, so don’t be surprised if they invite you to come and meet the Retrievers in their care before you’ve even finished your first phone call.
The Cost Of Adoption And Rescue
Best of all though? The costs involved in adoption and rehoming are far less than buying a dog from a breeder and should cost somewhere in the region of three to five hundred dollars. The sacrifice that you might have to make is that the dog you adopt probably won’t be a puppy, but for every downside, there is an up, and because you’ll be homing an adult dog, you won’t have to endure the costs of the first year to eighteen months of a Retrievers life.
The Puppyhood Costs
As we’ve already mentioned the first year of a Retrievers life, it’s probably wise to jump straight into talking about how much your boy will cost you during this first twelve to eighteen months, so we’re going to break it down into the basic groups of things that you’ll need to pay for in order to ensure that your dog is happy and healthy and that he grows up to be a well-adjusted adult.
Preparing For Your Puppy – Everything You’ll Need
Before you even bring your puppy home, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the things that you’ll need in order to help him adjust to life in his new home.
These include a collar and leash, a bed, a crate so that he learns to have his own space and has somewhere to retreat to when he needs a little peace and quiet (and as it’s more comforting to your dog to have the same crate throughout his life, it’ll be a one-time investment), toys for him to play with (it’s wise to double, or even triple the number of toys that you think he’ll need as puppies tend to go through toys faster than a knife goes through butter) and pads to help to toilet train him and make the exercise as stress-free for him and you, as it’s possible to be. Together, all told the essentials should cost you somewhere in the region of two hundred and fifty dollars.
Feeding Your Puppy
Dogs need to eat, and puppies need to eat the right food to make sure that they get the right blend of vitamins and minerals that they need as they rapidly approach adulthood. And the best advice we were given was by a vet friend of ours, who recommended that we feed our Retriever puppy with Royal Canin puppy food.
A thirty-pound bag costs eighty dollars, and as you’ll probably need around ten bags for the first twelve months of your dog’s life, it should cost around eight hundred dollars or so to feed him.
Training And Socialisation Classes
Every puppy needs to be trained and socialized properly, it helps them to understand the world around them, lets them know what you expect from them, and gradually introduces them to to the concept that there are other dogs and people in the world, which helps them to make friends with other canines and to feel comfortable in the presence of strangers and other people.
How Much Do Training Classes Cost?
Unfortunately, this process isn’t cheap, and depending on the number of classes that you’ll need to take your Retriever to until the trainer leading them thinks that’s ready to graduate, it could cost you anywhere between one and three hundred dollars.
The Dreaded Veterinary Costs
Puppies are like toddlers, if there’s a virus going around they’ll pick it up, they’re always eating things that they shouldn’t, which can and do make them sick, and then there are the vaccinations and the regular checkups that your puppy will need. All of which will probably set you back somewhere in the region of twelve hundred dollars. By the time your dog is just over a year old, you and your dog’s vet will be on first-name terms.
Neutering Your Retriever
And there’s the question of neutering, which as well as helping to prevent any unwanted litters of puppies, can also significantly reduce the risk that your Retriever will develop either ovarian or testicular cancer. It’s a one-off fee that usually costs anywhere between one hundred and four hundred dollars.
The Total Retriever Puppy Costs
Now that we know all of the things that you’ll have to buy and pay for in the first twelve months of your Retrievers life, we can figure out roughly, how much that year will cost in total. And working from the highest estimates (as it’s always better to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best), it should cost you (including the cost of buying your dog) anywhere between three thousand five hundred and six thousand dollars.
Marching Into Adulthood
While you’d assume that you might be able to take your foot off the financial gas a little as your Retriever charges into adulthood, it’s a fallacy that holds little or next to no water. Dogs are just like children, the older that they get, the more that they’ll end up costing you.
Toys, Collar, Lead, And A New Bed
Even though the training pads will become a thing of the past, there are certain things that your Retriever will need throughout his life. And toys and things to play with, are one of them. Retrievers are incredibly intelligent dogs and they need something to focus their energy and attention on, which is why it’s essential that they’ll always have something to play with.
Keeping Your Golden Retriever Bright And Happy
The best way to keep your retriever occupied is with a monthly subscription box that will supply him with all of the treats and toys that he’ll need for thirty-five dollars a month. And as he reaches his full adult size, he’ll also need a new bed and a new collar, and a new leash, all of which should cost just under one hundred dollars.
Feeding Your Big Boy
This is where things get a little more expensive, as he’ll need to eat the food that’ll make him and his tummy happy and ensure that he leads a long, happy and healthy life. And wouldn’t you know it, Royal Canin makes a dry food that’s been specifically formulated for Retrievers that your dog will adore. It also helps that if you speak to your vet, he’ll probably tell you the same thing that we just did. That it’s the best food to feed your Retriever with.
How Much Does Adult Golden Retriever Food Cost And How Much Will My Dog Eat?
Having said that, a standard bag will cost you somewhere in the region of eighty-five dollars, and as he’ll eat roughly a bag and a quarter (thirty-seven and a half pounds of food per month) every calendar month, he’ll go through thirteen thirty pound bags a year, which should cost around eleven hundred dollars a year.
The Vet Bills
As gets older, he’ll need fewer regular veterinary check-ups, but he will need boosters, so you should probably budget something like five hundred dollars a year for the necessary check-ups.
But, in order to avoid those unexpected emergency bills, you’ll need to arm him, and your pocketbook with a pet insurance policy, which on average should cost sixty dollars a month, but will take the sting out of those big bills if the worst does happen.
The Grown-Up Costs
Taking all of those costs into account, making sure that your adult Retriever is a happy and healthy dog should cost you twenty-nine hundred dollars a year. Which is a fraction of what it would cost to raise a teenager, and you won’t get anywhere near the amount of sass from your Retriever as you would from one of your kids. That seems like a bargain to us.
The Final Financial Word
As we now know how much it’ll cost for the first year of your dog’s life, and every year of his adult life, and given that Retrievers on average live for around fourteen years, from the cradle to the grave, your boy should cost you forty thousand dollars. It’s a small price to pay for a lifetime of affection and devotion.