You are visiting here most likely because you have the simple question of: what is the average lifespan of a golden retriever? The quick answer is 11-12 years old. However, the answer is not so simple. 11-12 years doesn’t mean that your dog won’t live a long life of 17 years. Unfortunately golden retrievers have a high incidence of cancer. Resulting in an earlier death.
There have been many studies performed on the average lifespan of golden retrievers. American golden retrievers have a slight difference than the european counterparts. American golden retrievers tend to live 10-11 years of age. European goldens following the English standard have an average lifespan of 12 years and 3 months. A study from the Golden Retriever Club of America states that the cancer rate of american golden retrievers is at 60-72%. Resulting with an average lifespan of 10 years 8 months. Results from a study done by the Kennel Club stated that cancer rates are at 38.8%. English standard lifespan average is slightly longer at 12 years 3 months. There have been a few other studies done with similar results.
Now I am not here to create a debate that English standard are healthier than American goldens. Where results may state that one has a longer lifespan, that doesn’t discuss the possibilities of non genetic nurturing factors. The results don’t discuss practices in Europe verses in America. In America we are urged to neuter/spay our dogs at the earliest chance possible, resulting in higher incidences of cancer. In Europe they often never fix their animals resulting in less cancer rates. Food practices are also regulated different, and one could hypothesize that that can have an affect.
Unfortunately no matter what if a golden gets cancer, their lifespan will generally be shortened. I’ve been contacted by hundreds, if not thousands of people telling me their golden died from cancer. Most died around 7 years of age, some even earlier. Getting past that 7-8 years is a major landmark. Luckily once in a while I’m contacted by people who’s dog died between 14-17 years. That’s a lot of years full of love.
Hopefully, as breeders we can fix the major problem and improve the lifespan. Hopefully we can nearly eradicate the incidence of cancer. It will be an uphill battle. Hopefully the average lifespan of 11-12 years will be even higher in time so that everyone can enjoy their best friend even longer.