Golden Retriever Vs Labrador Retriever

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador Retriever

You are looking to buy a Retriever but confused about which to buy because there are two types of Retriever; Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever. They are amazingly similar and you will be unable to make a decision which to choose unless you know the difference between them.

Labrador Retriever is the most popular dog breed in the USA. German Shepherd breed is at the second number and Golden Retriever is at the third number. It means that both Labrador and Golden Retrievers are equally popular but with a slight difference.

Both Golden and Labrador Retrievers are energetic, friendly, and family dogs. They love to live within people and don’t have the habit of living alone. Labrador Retrievers have further two subtypes; English and American Labrador Retriever. These two subtypes are however different from each other. Golden Retrievers have three types; British, American, and Candian type.

These two breeds are similar but there are some differences, these differences will help you choose a better dog. Here we are going to discuss a detailed comparison among Golden and Labrador Retrievers. After reading this article, you will be able to make the decision of which breed is best for you.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers has a history that started in Britain in the 1800s. It is believed that Golden Retrievers have the same ancestors as those of Labrador Retrievers called St. John’s Dogs.

Golden Retriever
From Shutterstock By Lunja
Golden Retriever
From Shutterstock By Joop Snijder

Like Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers are also divided into different types, these are the American, British, and Candian types. Among these types, the American Retrievers are less muscular.

These dogs are prominently used in dog shows, and also used to guide disabled persons. They can also be trained to do hunting, detection, and rescue.

All the golden retrievers are yellow or golden in color, So, we can not make the color choice. They have a double hair coat and their lower coat is water-resistant.

As indicated by their name, these dogs were also used to find and retrieve the hunted bird and other objects. They are highly trainable and have soft mouths.

Their average lifespan is 11-12 years, and they are susceptible to many diseases. Due to their heavy size, hip dysplasia is common in this them and they may also have genetic disorders like bad temperament.

Among these breed types, British Golden Retrievers are heavier and bred for hunting and retrieving.

This breed was recognized by the UK kennel club in 1903 and by the American kennel club in 1925 and they are ranked third by the popularity in American.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever a friendly, active, and outgoing dog is at the top list in the United States. This dog is within the “Sporting Group”. Their lifespan is 9-12 years, height is 21.5-24.5 inches and weight is 55-80 pounds.

Yellow Labrador Retriever
Yellow Labrador Retriever
Chocolate Labrador
Chocolate Labrador

They have cute faces and friendly nature. They are the best companion and guide dogs.

Their name tells us they are from Labrador but actually their ancestors were found in Newfoundland known as St. John’s Water-Dog. Their love for the water, water-resistant coat, and best hunting capabilities enable them to become popular among hunters.

Later they were imported to England where they named Labradors and reared for hunting and retrieving.

Labrador Retrievers are divided into two subtypes; English and American Labradors. American Labs and English Labs are different from each other in their appearance, needs, trainability, and temperament.

English Labs are easily trainable and best for non-professional owners as pets. They are also good for families and accept other animals in the house easily.

American Labs are best to compete for in-field trails and are more energetic. They are best for professional owners because they need skills and time for training.

Both these dog breeds are similar to each other in many ways like their history and purpose of rearing, but they are different also. So let’s talk about their difference first and then similarities.

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador Retriever

Golden and Labrador Retrievers share a similar history, but they are also different from each other.

1. Temperament

Temperament is a major contributing factor and a good temperament is always best. People love those dogs which are friendly and playful in nature.

Also, note that not all dogs from the same breed will have the same temperament. Genetics plays a very important role, some dogs will have a bad temperament genetically and you can’t change it.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever has a friendly and devoted temperament. They are also very intelligent dogs and under the category of sporting dogs. They are good family pets and also love to play with children.

Intelligence is the most important factor of this breed, and they can be trained easily. Due to their friendly nature and good sense of humor, they are poor as the guard dogs because they accept strangers and other animals easily.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors Retrievers has a friendly, active, and outgoing temperament. They are family dogs and playful in nature. Labradors easily accept other family members and animals in the home.

They are also very intelligent and love the training sections and play. Labs are highly energetic and active dogs, and they need 30-40 minutes of daily exercise. They are used as the guard, therapy, rescue, and hunting dogs.

2. Height and Weight

There is a relatively smaller size difference between these two breeds. Because they share the same ancestors, they have many things in common.

Size is another factor that helps to choose a dog breed. If you are living in an apartment or small home, and don’t have much space, then you should not go for Golden or Labrador Retriever, because they are among the heavy dog breeds.

The size of males is always slightly larger than the size of females.

Golden Retriever

According to American Kennel Club, the Golden Retriever height is 23 to 24 inches of a male and 21.5 to 22.5 inches of a female.

The weight of a Golden Retriever male is 65 to 75 pounds and 55 to 65 pounds of a female.

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever

Because these dogs were bred for hunting and hard working conditions, they have the size slightly smaller than Labrador Retrievers. These dogs have a symmetrical body and confident nature.

Labrador Retriever

The height of a Labrador Retriever male is 22.5 to 24.5 inches and the female is 21.5 to 23.5 inches.

The weight of a Labrador male is 65 to 80 pounds and the female is 55 to 70 pounds.

These dogs have a well-balanced conformation and were initially bred for hunting and retrieving and now famous as family dogs.

The size of Labrador Retrievers is slightly larger than Golden Retrievers.

3. Color

Labrador lovers can choose a dog from a variety of colors while Golden Retriever lovers can choose only from shades of a single color that is golden. Here the Labs have a slight edge if we talk about color.

Some people think that color also has an impact on the health and temperament of Labs, indeed there is no relation between health or temperament and color.

Choice of a dog’s color is personal preference, but always try to choose a registered color and buy the dog from a reliable breeder with a pedigree record.

Golden Retriever

As indicated by their name, Golden Retrieve only exist in golden color and its different shades from light golden to dark golden. There may be white patches on fur or around the muzzle.

The color of the coat is lighter in British type Golden Retrievers, while in American type, coat color is darker with various shades.

Yellow Labradors and Golden Retrievers have similar colors. Owners who want a yellow lab, sometimes also like the golden retriever due to their similar appearance.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors have three registered colors; Black, Yellow, and Chocolate. These colors also have different shades varying from silver to fox-red.

According to the American Kennel Club:

The Labrador Retriever coat colors are black, yellow, and chocolate. Any other color or a combination of colors is a disqualification. A small white spot on the chest is permissible, but not desirable. White hairs from aging or scarring are not to be misinterpreted as brindling. Black – Blacks are all black. A black with brindle markings or a black with tan markings is a disqualification.

Labrador lovers have a variety of colors to choose from, they can select black, chocolate, yellow, fox-red, silver, or even different shades of these colors.

4. Coat

The coat is another characteristic feature of these dogs. Both breeds have a double hair coat that is water-resistant.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers have a hair coat that is water-resistant. The inner layer is water-resistant while the outer layer has long hairs. Their coat also helps to keep the body warm.

Golden Retriever
Golden Retriever

They shed twice a year in summer and fall. The puppy has a darker shade of coat and it turns lighter as the dog grows.

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers also have a dual hair coat that is water-resistant. But the difference between Labradors and Golden Retrievers coat is the length of hairs. Labradors have shorter hairs while Golden Retrievers have longer hairs.

Their coat and body look like they are built for water and swimming. They have the advantage of shorter hairs, that ice did not stick in them when they come out of cold water.

5. Shedding

Hair shedding the big problem of both breeds. They shed a lot, you can see their hairs all-around your home. Both shed twice a year and a lot of hairs.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever has a longer hair coat means they shed more than Labradors. But in fact, you will not see any difference between them when we come to shedding.

Due to longer hairs, Golden Retrievers require more grooming than Labradors. They need bathing and brushing to avoid a lot of shedding.

Labrador Retriever

Shorter hairs do not mean they will shed less than Golden Retrievers. Labradors shed a lot and they also need regular grooming to control shedding.

The problem with the Black Lab is that you can easily see their hairs on non-black surfaces means black hairs make more contrast as compared to yellow or chocolate hairs.

6. Grooming

Both the breed needs regular grooming. Golden Retrievers are liked by those owners who love long and soft hairs. Both breeds need regular bathing and brushing. They love to exercise, swim, play, and training sections.

Golden Retriever

They need regular grooming, exercise, and a vet. care. Their exercise requirement is less than Labrador Retrievers. They need ears to be cleaned and checked for any infection.

Although shedding can’t be avoided, it can be controlled by brushing and bathing. Make sure your dog is in perfect condition because bad health and diseases can increase the shedding.

If you are new, then try to get help from experts and vets about the products you can use during the grooming of your dog.

They love the water, so there will be not any difficulty in bathing them. Regularly brush their hair and bathe them 2 to 3 times a month.

Labrador Retriever

Their grooming requirements are less than Golden Retrievers but that does not mean they don’t need regular grooming. They need bathing 1 to 2 times a month or when they get dirty and brushing once time a week.

Check and clean the ears when they have wax or dirt in them. Check and clean the eyes when the dog has irritation or any infection. Brush the teeth of your Lab daily. Clip the nail frequently when they get longer.

Regular grooming is necessary both in Golden Retrievers and Labradors because it keeps your dog safe, healthy and builds a strong relationship between you and your dog.

7. Puppy

Both breeds have cute puppies. The differences between these two breeds like color and hair coat begin to show as the puppy grows. Always choose a reliable breeder to choose a Lab or a Golden puppy.

You can not tell about the temperament or other health problems by examing a puppy, All you need to do is to remain careful while you buy a puppy. Some dogs have bad temperaments genetically.

Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever puppy is darker in color and color gets lighter as the puppy grows.

Golden Retriever Puppies
By Zayats Svetlana
Golden Retriever Puppies
Golden Retriever Puppies

Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever puppies are of three different registered colors chocolate, black and yellow.

Yellow and Black Labrador Puppies
Yellow and Black Labrador Puppies
Chocolate Labrador Puppies
Chocolate Labrador Puppies

8. Health Problems

Both breeds are considered among heavy dog breeds, therefore due to their heavy size and bulkier muscles, they are more prone to hip and joints problems.

If we talk about genetic problems, then Golden Retrievers may have more genetic problems than Labradors. The lifespan of both breeds is about 10 to 12 years.

Golden Retriever

Cancer is the biggest problem of Golden Retrievers, According to the Golden Retriever Club of America, 61% of Goldens death is due to cancer. They can commonly have sarcomas and tumors.

Eye problems are also common in this breed. They can be affected by cataracts, entropion, retinal dysplasia, and corneal dystrophy.

Golden Retrievers can also get skin problems like allergies or spots. Heart problems are also present in them like cardiomyopathy and aortic stenosis.

Obesity is the main problem of heavy dog breed like the Golden Retrievers and Labradors. If they don’t get enough exercise and provided with fatty food, they can get obese within days.

Joints and hip problems like hip and elbow dysplasia, muscle dystrophy, and patella luxation may also affect this breed.

Labrador Retriever

Labradors’ average lifespan is 11 to 12 years with some dogs reaching up to 19 years of age. This breed is among healthy dog breeds, so they have few health problems.

They are prone to hip and joint problems because they are also heavy dogs. They may be affected by elbow and hip dysplasia and patella luxation.

Eye problems like cataracts, retinal atrophy, and retinal dysplasia can also exist.

Obesity is also the problem of this breed. If they don’t get enough exercise and provided with fatty food, they can get obese within days.

Other problems that may exist in them are deafness, autoimmune diseases, myopathy, and/or weakness.

Differences: Golden Vs Labrador Retriever

Golden Retriever VS Labrador Retriever
DifferenceGolden RetrieverLabrador Retriever
TemperamentFriendly, Devoted, and ConfidentFriendly, Active, and Outgoing
Height and WeightHeight (Inches): 23-24 (Male), 21.5-22.5 (Female)

Weight (lbs): 65-75 (Male), 55-65 (Female)

Height (Inches): 22.5-24.5 (Male), 21.5-23.5 (Female)

Weight (lbs): 65-80 (Male), 55-70 (Female)

ColorOnly Shades of Golden / YellowBlack, Chocolate, and Yellow
Coat Dual Hair Coat, Water Resistant, Long Hairs Dual Hair Coat, Water Resistant, Short Hairs
Shedding Twice a Year (Summer and Fall), AverageTwice a Year (Summer and Fall), Above Average
Grooming Regular Regular
Health Problems More Less

Similarities: Golden Vs Labrador Retriever

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers share some similar characteristics like

  • Height – Almost similar with a slight difference
  • otter-like tail
  • Water-resistant coat and love for water and swimming
  • Soft mouth therefore both used for retrieving and hunting
  • Friendly and active nature
  • Both are energetic
  • Both have the same ancestors. St. Johns Dogs


The decision of choosing between Golden Retriever and Labrador retrievers is never easy because both are among the top dog breeds and popular. Lab lovers say that Labradors are the best dogs while Golden lovers say that Golden Retrievers are the best dog. In short, the choice of best breed among these two is a big debate.

Golden Retrievers comes only in one color that is golden and its shades from light to dark. So, a person not has a color option to choose from. They also have a long and soft hair coat. So, for those persons who want a yellow color dog with a soft coat, this breed is best for them.

Labradors Retrievers have three registered colors and also their shades. So, a person can choose from light yellow to dark yellow, silver to chocolate, black and fox-red colors. Those dog lovers who want something different can go for a Labrador.

Labradors have fewer health problems while Golden Retrieves may have many. They can also be affected by various genetic disorders. If you want a healthy dog that lives for a long time, Yes! you can choose Labrador.

Just choose the breed which attracts you, no matter how many problems you may have to face. Because a dog is best for you which you think is best for you.


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