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Is There Ever An Ugly Golden Retriever?

We have seen a number of people commenting on ugly golden retrievers recently due to various reasons so we have decided to publish this dedicated article going over golden retrievers and if they can ever be truly ugly.

In our opinion, the golden retriever is one of the most beautiful dog breeds available and we feel that this is why the breed is such a popular option all around the world.

That said though, a number of unflattering photographs of golden retrievers running or sleeping while pulling a funny face going viral on social media seems to have started a discussion about ugly golden retrievers.

In these very specific situations, we can see why some people may think that golden retrievers look ugly but they only look like they do in those photographs for a very short period of time.

Although some people do feel that golden retrievers do have an “ugly phase” that is well known with the breed where the puppy is at a stage between being a puppy and a juvenile golden retriever.

This results in their head being larger than usually while their body and legs are smaller often making them look out of proportion with the stage often lasting between the four and eight months of age mark but again, this is just temporary.

Is There Ever An Ugly Golden Retriever?

Golden retrievers are generally considered a more aesthetic and pretty dog with the breed having a massive fanbase.

That said, there is a phase often referred to as the “ugly stage” between the four and eight month old mark where the breed will often look out of proportion due to the larger head with a smaller body and limbs until the dogs growth catches up.

Other than that very short time period in the life of a golden retriever, they are considered to be a beautiful dog breed with golden retrievers often winning both skill-based and look based dog shows.

Although the golden retriever is not considered to be a “designer dog breed”, they do still tend to look very pretty with their whole body being in proportion once they are fully grown.

There are some rare health conditions that golden retrievers can end up suffering from that may cause parts of their body to swell up with some people considering this to be an ugly trait.

More often than not though, these are hard to notice and the photograph that went viral of a golden retriever with the huge snout was due to it chewing on a wasp, not due to health issues as the photograph claimed.

This is why we always recommend that our readers ignore social media as much as possible as it is hard to find factual information on there.

Do Golden Retrievers Have An Ugly Stage?

Golden retrievers do have what is referred to as the “ugly stage” between the four and eight months of age mark.

This is due to the puppy growing into a juvenile dog and often having its body and limbs out of proportion to its head.

This will return to normal once the puppy is fully grown but it can make the dog look a little strange during this phase.

Keep in mind that not all golden retrievers will be out of proportion during this phase of their life with only a small number of them having their limbs out of proportion to an extent where it is noticeable.

A very small number of golden retriever puppies will have this look obvious though with them looking a little ugly for a few months until they grow into their adult body.

Depending on the exact situation, a golden retriever in this phase of its life may actually end up with excess skin too although this is very rare.

The excess skin making the dog look wrinkled can make the dog look ugly and out of place amongst other golden retrievers of the same age but as the puppy grows, this tends to go with the dog almost always looking like a normal golden retriever within a few months.

Ugly Golden Retriever Puppies?

Although most people will agree that most puppies are cute, golden retriever puppies do have the “ugly stage” that they go through as well as potential issues with their coat.

Most golden retrievers will not fully grow their coat out until they are around two years old so some golden retriever puppies can have much less fur on them than an adult dog making them look a little ugly.

This does tend to be rare though with most golden retriever puppies looking just as cute and adorable as you would expect.

Please note that the ugly stage will usually pass in around four months for a golden retriever puppy and that even if the puppy does have an underdeveloped coat, it will almost always grow in if you give it time but it can take a long time for the coat to fully grow.

Depending on your needs, this can work to your advantage though as some breeders will struggle to see golden retriever puppies with an underdeveloped coat.

This can result in you sometimes being able to add the puppy to your family for less than half for the normal price and provided you wait around a year, the puppies coat will grow and the dog will usually end up looking like any other golden retriever, just with a much smaller price tag.


That brings our article going over ugly golden retrievers to an end. We hope that you found it helpful and that we have been able to help put your mind at ease. We often see people who have adopted a golden retriever puppy reaching out worried about the puppy starting to look ugly but both of the main reasons that a golden retriever puppy may look ugly will pass given time usually resulting in a normal-looking, healthy dog.