Golden Retriever Vs Labrador – Which Breed Makes A Better Pet For You?

golden retriever vs Labrador Retriever

Choosing the best breed of dog to add to your family is very important for your happiness as well as the happiness of your beloved pet.

However, many people are unable to choose between a Labrador and a Golden Retriever – and it is easy to see why!

Both the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, or the Goldens and the Labs (as they are affectionately called by their admirers), normally rank among the most popular dogs breeds in the world.

Both are energetic, fun-loving and friendly dogs who make great family pets and companion dogs.

The two breeds of dogs have many similarities, but there are some differences that you need to know about. So don’t get your Labs and Goldens mixed up. It’s time to discover what makes these two breeds different.

Here, we’ll compare two of the world’s most popular dogs: Golden Retriever Vs Labrador. So what is the difference between Golden Retriever and Labrador? To find out, keep reading.

In this guide, we’ll compare physical characteristics, temperament, intelligence, maintenance and more of the Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever. By the end, you should be able to choose between these two water dogs.

So here we go: Golden Retriever or Labrador? Which should you get?

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: An Overview

Either the Lab or the Golden Retriever will win the hearts of many people the moment they see one. But what is the difference between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador?

For many of us, different breeds of dogs mean different things. And many people have their favorite breed.


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So are you into the Lab or the Golden?

If you are interested in either breed, then continue reading. Here, we’ll discuss the facts about Labs and Goldens to help you make an informed choose.

If you’re new to both breeds, you’ll discover some key facts about Goldens and Labs to help you decide which one is the perfect pet for you.

And as you’ll find out shortly, both breeds are extremely popular and for some good reasons.

But first, let’s take a look at the origins of both breeds.

Labrador Retriever Vs Golden Retriever: Their Origins

The History of the Golden Retriever:

Golden Retrievers were originally bred in Scotland in the 19th century by Sir Dudley Majoribanks who was the then Lord of Tweedmouth.

They were commonly used as hunting dogs tasked with flushing and retrieving game from land or water.

Majoribanks bred different types of animals in an attempt to prefect various breeds. His breeding history from the early 1800s to the late 1800s suggests what he wanted to achieve with the Golden Retriever.

golden retriever dog history

He wanted to develop a talented dog that would excel at hunting and retrieving birds or small game. The dog had to have a powerful sense of smell and be more helpful to his masters than the spaniels and setters used at the time for the same job. The dog also had to be loyal and calm in the home.

In 1871, Majoribanks crossed Nous with a Tweed Water Spaniel, which has now become extinct. Tweed Water Spaniels were passionate retrievers and incredibly loyal and calm in the home – traits you’ll find in the modern-day Golden Retrievers.

Their descendants were crossed with another Tweed Water Spaniel dog and a red setter. Majoribanks kept mainly the yellow puppies to maintain his breeding program, and let his friends adopt the remaining puppies.

Unsurprisingly, the dogs drew the attention of people for their excellent hunting skills. One of the most famous Golden Retrievers in history was Don of Gerwyn, who won the 1904 International Gundog League competition.

Seven years later, the Golden Retriever was recognized as a unique breed by the Kennel Club in England. At the time, these dogs were classified as Golden or Yellow Retrievers. In 1920, the breed was officially renamed to Golden Retriever.

The Golden Retriever was officially recognized as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1932. The breed continues to be incredibly popular in the United States.

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The History of the Labrador Retriever

On the contrary, the Labrador Retriever hails from Newfoundland, Canada and was originally known as the Lesser Newfoundland.

The Lab is a descendant of the St. John’s Water Dog (a now-extinct breed), which was itself a cross between the Newfoundland and a Native Water Dog.

Like the Goldens, Labs were originally used to retrieve fish from Canadian waters and they excelled at this role. This breed made it way to the United Kingdom in the 19th century thanks to their excellent hunting and retrieving skills.

Labrador retriever history

The Earl of Malmesbury is credited with coining the name Labrador in an effort to differentiate these dogs from their Newfoundland heritage.

According to the American Kennel Club, the Labrador Retriever has been America’s most popular breed for 24 consecutive years – the longest run for any breed in history.

Labradors are also the most successful guide dogs of all. The Guide Dogs of America report that their breed composition is 70 percent Labradors, 15 percent German Shepherds and 15 percent Golden Retrievers.

Labs are considered to be the best breed for this role because they are a friendly, loyal breed with an eager-to-please attitude. They are also the perfect size, easily trained and easily adaptable.

Now that you know where each breed came from, let’s delve deeper into the Labrador Vs Golden Retriever debate.

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador Hunting Which Is Better?

Hunting dogs can be compared to hunting rifles; they are all good at doing one thing or the other, but none is perfect at everything.

Many people who want the perfect hunting dog may be looking for a breed that is closest to performing all of their hunting tasks: pointing, flushing, chasing and fetching. And look great while at it! That would be an excellent dog.

There’s been a long-lasting debate between Golden Retriever people and Labrador people about which breed is the better hunter.

Lab dog at beach

? For most Labradors, hunting is in their DNA. These dogs have webbed paws and thick, water repellent coats that allow them to swim through freezing waters for small game. They also have a strong sense of smell that allows them to track game from far.

Labradors are also eager to please, easy to train, persistent afield and tireless flushers and retrievers. They can be trained to find, point, retrieve and flush.

If the Lab is America’s favorite hunting dog, then the Golden Retriever is next up there. The sociable, intelligent dog is known for his high spirits and great hunting skills.

the difference between labrador and golden retriever hunting skills

Goldens also have webbed feet, a soft mouth and an innate attraction to water. This makes them ideal for tearing through the water during the duck season. Golden Retrievers are also eager to please, and will usually respond well to training.

? As you can see, both the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retrievers are great hunting dogs. However, proper hunt training is highly recommended.

ALSO READ: Doberman Vs Rottweiler – Which Breed Makes A Better Pet For You?

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: General Appearance

So let’s see how the Labs and Goldens compare where it comes to appearance.

1. Size, Height and Weight:

When it comes to Golden Retriever vs Labrador size, there’s a relatively small difference between the two breeds.

Keep in mind that size is a key factor that you should consider when choosing a new dog breed.

? If you live in a small home or apartment, and don’t have enough space for your dog to play and exercise, then you should not choose a Labrador or Golden Retriever since they are among the largest dog breeds around.

Also, keep in mind that males are always slightly larger than females.


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Golden Retriever:

Since Golden Retrievers were bred for hunting in tough conditions, they are somewhat smaller than Labs.

According to the AKC, the height of a Golden Retriever is around 23 to 24 inches for a male dog and 21.5 to 22.5 inches for a female.

The Golden Retriever weight is anywhere between 65 and 75 pounds for a male and 55 to 65 pounds for a female.

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Labrador Retriever:

Labradors have a balanced conformation, and were originally developed for hunting and are now found as family pets the world over.

The Labrador Retriever is relatively larger than a Golden Retriever. The Labrador Retriever height is 22.5 to 24.5 inches for a male while females stand anywhere between 21.5 and 23.5 inches.

The Labradors weigh 65 to 80 pounds for males while females weigh around 55 to 70 pounds.

2. Coat Color:

Lab fans can choose a puppy from a range of colors while Golden fans can choose a dog only from different shades and tones of a single color, which is golden. As you can see, Labs have the upper hard when it comes to coat color.

There’s a common misconception that color has an impact on the temperament and health of Labrador Retrievers, but nothing could be further from the truth.

? Some common beliefs are that all chocolate Labs are hyper, all yellow Labs are dump or lazy and all black Labs are the best hunters. The reality is that the color of a Labrador’s coat has no impact on his behavior and personality just like your hair color has no bearing on your intelligence levels.


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The decision to choose a certain coat color is a matter of personal preference, but it is strongly recommended to choose an approved color and buy your puppy from a reputable breeder with proper pedigree papers. Otherwise, you should use an at-home kit like the popular Embark Dog DNA Test Kit to determine your dog’s genetic heritage.

Golden Retriever:

As their name suggests, Golden Retrievers come in the light or dark shades of golden color only. They may have white parts around the muzzle or on other parts of their body.

The coat color is lighter in the British-type Goldens and darker in the American type with different shades.

Golden Retrievers and yellow Labradors have the same colors. Dog lovers who have had Golden Retrievers in the past may also fall in love with a yellow Lab simply because they are similar in appearance.

Labrador Retriever:

Labs come in three officially registered colors: Yellow, Chocolate and Black. These dogs also have various shades.

This means that Lab lovers have a wide range of colors to choose from; they can choose yellow, chocolate, black silver, fox red and more!

3. Coat:

Another major aspect of these dogs is the coat. Both the Labrador Retriever and the German Retriever have a double coat, which is water repellent.

Coat type, shedding and grooming demands sometimes play a major role in the Golden Retriever Vs Labrador decision-making process.

Some people claim that Labradors have fewer grooming requirements than Goldens. But is this true? Let’s find out.


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Labrador Vs Golden Retriever: Shedding

Golden Retriever Shedding:

Golden Retrievers are known to shed a lot throughout the year. In addition to their usual, daily shedding, these dogs’ undercoat becomes thicker during the winter season and is lost in the spring.

This spring shedding is sometimes referred to as “blowing the coat”, which describes the inclusive seasonal shedding typical of Golden Retrievers.

The best way to deal with Golden Retriever shedding is to brush his coat every day. Brushing his coat once a week may not be enough.

Golden retriever puppy

Grooming your dog outdoors can be a great way to minimize the amount of pet hair in your house.

? Keep in mind that you should not shave a Golden’s coat. While grooming your dog is a must, there are hardly any good reasons for clipping or shaving a Golden Retriever’s coat.

Shaving or extensive clipping can be dangerous since it now leaves your dog’s skin exposed to the harmful rays of the sun. With very short hair, the UV rays can easily penetrate to the deeper layers and cause sunburn.

RELATED: How To Minimize Dog Shedding (8 Tips)

Labrador Retriever Shedding:

Although Labs have shorter hair than Golden Retrievers, they also shed. Many people erroneously characterize Labs as non-shedding, but this is not true. Labradors shed as much as your average dog, if not more than.

Like Goldens, Labs have a double coat. While the outer coat is short, it’s the undercoat that experiences extra shedding during spring.

As with Golden Retrievers, Lab lovers often call this blowing the coat’.

labrador retriever puppies

As with Goldens, Labradors require proper grooming to cope with the shedding. You will need to brush your dog regularly to minimize the amount of pet hair in your house.

? As you can see, the Labradors vs Golden Retriever shedding is quite similar. However, Goldens normally need more grooming on a daily basis.

ALSO READ: Golden Retriever Vs German Shepherd: Which is the Best Pet?

Labrador Vs Golden Retriever: Grooming

The Grooming Requirements of a Golden Retriever:

Goldens have a medium-length double coat, made up of a water resistant topcoat and a light undercoat.

All Golden Retrievers require proper grooming on a regular basis, irrespective of coat length and quality.

The undercoat becomes thicker in cold conditions and sheds during the warmer seasons. A tool like an undercoat rake will help you to remove any loose fur from your dog’s undercoat.

the grooming requirements of golden retriever dog

When it comes to the top coat, it is advisable to use a high-quality slicker brush.

Goldens require two or more brushings per week. Grooming your Golden Retriever also includes trimming the longer fur with thinning shears. Parts that usually require trimming include the tail, neck, feet and ears.

As we’ve mentioned above, the Golden’s coat should never be shaved.

In addition to brushing and maintaining your Golden’s coat in good condition, these dogs also require nail trimming, baths, teeth and ear cleaning. Keep in mind that dogs with droopy ears are susceptible to ear infections.


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So, what’s the difference between the grooming requirements of a Golden Retriever and Labrador’s?

The Grooming Requirements of a Labrador Retriever:

Like Goldens, Labs also have a double coat. It is made up of a short top coat and a dense undercoat that helps to protect the breed in cold conditions. As with the golden Retriever, the Labrador sheds his undercoat in spring.

But how do Golden Retriever Vs Labrador grooming compare?

Unlike Goldens, Labradors don’t have fluffy furnishings on their tail, neck and ears, so those parts require almost no trimming at all. Nonetheless, they also have a double coat that requires proper maintenance.

Like Goldens, Labs will need an undercoat rake to help remove any loose hairs from their undercoat. Then, you can use a quality clicker brush to maintain his coat. Some dog owners prefer to use a comb to complete the grooming process.

Labrador Retriever Shedding

As with Golden Retrievers, the Lab’s coat must never be shaved.

Ear cleaning and nail cleaning are also recommended. Generally speaking, Labradors require to be washed less frequently than Golden Retrievers. This normally reduces the number of grooming sessions for prospective owners worried about the overall grooming time.

With both breeds, however, you will need to use deodorizing wipes to keep their coat clean and shiny when you are not bathing them.

Further Reading: What Is The Best Brush For Shedding Dogs? (Top 15)

Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers as Family Pets: Which is Better?

Both Labs and Goldens are known to be great family pets. Both breeds are naturally loving and good-natured, as well as being great with kids, cats and other animals.

Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from your Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever.

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Temperament

When it comes to behavior and temperament, Goldies and Labs share many traits in common. Both breeds are affectionate, loyal and eager to please.

They both love being around their owners and family and Golden Retrievers will often wear a “smile” when in the company of their owners or friends.

There are very minor personality differences between the Golden Retriever and the Labrador. Golden Retrievers are generally more sensitive than Labradors and might not ignore scolding or being shouted at by their masters as quickly as a Lab would.

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Since Goldens and Labs are both working dogs, they have tons of energy and tend to be very active. Both Labs and Goldens enjoy swimming and will happily dive into the water for a retrieve. Their enthusiasm and high energy levels should be met with love and attention.

Neither breed tolerates being left alone for hours. Goldens will chew on your belongings if they are not given plenty of chew toys. On the other hand, Labs tend to develop separation anxiety and also have a chewing habit.

If either the Golden Retrievers or Labradors are left alone for extended periods of time, they can become destructive by chewing on their crate or your belongings and house. Therefore, keeping both breeds busy and mentally stimulated is of the utmost importance.


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In general, Labs and Goldens are both very intelligent dogs and are eager to please and easy to train. They are also food-motivated, so training with treats will do wonders.

? However, don’t imagine that either breed can make a good watchdog. Goldens and Labs are known to be too friendly and might greet strangers cordially instead of guarding your belongings or home.

ALSO READ: 13 Common Dog Training Mistakes You Ought to Avoid

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Training

Both Labs and Goldens are known to be very intelligent and eager to please their owners. This implies that training will be easy with either breed.

Therefore, you can expect housetraining, obedience training and other aspects of training to take a short time with these super smart dogs.

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No matter whether you opt for a golden Retriever or a Labrador, obedience training is a must. This will help prevent your dog from jumping up on people or unintentionally hurting children in their haste to greet friends.

It will also make it much easier to take your Lab or Golden on daily walks. Both breeds can be easily distracted by birds and other small animals due to their natural hunting instincts.

Keep in mind that not all Golden Retrievers or all Labradors will conform to their respective breed standards. Each dog is different and may show some atypical traits.

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Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Exercise Requirements

In general, you need to meet either the Labrador or Golden Retriever exercise needs to keep your dog happy and healthy. Additionally, both Goldens and Labs need plenty of space to play and run around.

These dogs will do well in a spacious yard where they are allowed room for self exercise. Just make sure you keep them in a fenced-in yard where your dog can play and exercise without wandering off.

If you don’t have a fenced-in yard, you can take your dog out on daily runs or walks. A visit to a nearby dog park will do a lot of good for your dog, as well.


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Whether you have a little puppy or a much older one, both breeds will also enjoy catching flying discs and playing a game of Fetch thanks to their great retrieving abilities.

Also, be sure to provide both breeds with plenty of interactive dog toys to keep them busy and mentally stimulated.

Simply put, these pups require proper exercise and mental stimulation to be happy and healthy.

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Feeding Information

How much food your full-grown dog eats will depend on his age, size, build and activity levels.

In addition, the quality of dog food makes a huge difference. Both Labs and Goldens tend to do well on high quality dog food that provides them with all the essential nutrients. Both breeds also need access to fresh water at all times.

? Labs need around 4.5 cups of dog food per day, split into two meals. Goldens, on the other hand, will generally require 2 to 3 cups of dry dog food per day, split into two portions.

For specific guidelines on buying the right dog food and feeding your dog, don’t hesitate to contact your vet.

ALSO READ: Probiotics for Dogs – How Do They Work And Which Are The Best?

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Health Problems

There are many health problems that potential Labrador or Golden Retriever owners should know about.

As with most dogs, both Labs and Goldens can suffer from genetic health problems. Here, Golden Retrievers tend to have more genetic health problems than Labs.

Labrador Retriever Vs Golden Retriever: Genetic Diseases

Labradors are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia, obesity, eye problems and a condition called exercise-induced collapse.

On the other hand, Golden Retrievers are prone to eye problems, elbow and hip dysplasia as well as cancer and health problems.

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Health

Both Goldens and Labs are heavy dogs. Due to their bulkier bodies and heavier sizes, both breeds are prone to joint and hip problems.

When it comes to Golden Retriever Vs Labrador health comparison, however, the Lab probably has the upper hand. The high risk conditions in Labradors are often preventable through proper health screening.

Again, the Embark Dog DNA Test Kit will help you to find a health Lab puppy. With Goldens, this at-home DNA Test Kit will still help you find a healthy puppy so you can avoid the life-limiting risk of cancer.

Golden Retriever Vs Labrador: Life Expectancy

Both breeds have an average lifespan of around 10 to 12 years.

Labrador Retriever Vs Golden Retriever: Price

If you’re looking to save a few bucks, your best bet might be getting a Lab puppy.

Although there are many factors that affect the price of a puppy, the average price of a Lab puppy for sale is approximately $750.

On the contrary, the average price of a Golden Retriever puppy for sale from a reputable breeder is around $1500.


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Rescue Groups:

Both Goldens and Labs are sometimes bought without proper understanding of what it means to own one. Such puppies are often end up in shelters around the country.

If you are lucky enough, you can find a Lab or Golden Retriever puppy listed for adoption at a rescue center or animal shelter near you.

In case you have decided to adopt a dog, please fill free to check these websites:


ALSO READ: 29 Amazing Facts About Dogs You Need To Know

Golden Retriever or Labrador? Which One Should I Get?

So, which breed would you prefer?

When comparing the Golden Retriever Vs Labrador, it is clear that these two breeds are very similar on paper.

They each have certain unique physical characteristics and some inherited health risks to known about, but both breeds are excellent choices.

In the end, both dogs are known to be friendly, loyal and intelligent. They are easy to train, quickly to learn and enjoy physical activity. Chances are you won’t be disappointed with either.

If you are interested in learning more about which breed may be the best choice for you and your family, then discuss this with your vet. This is particularly important if you’re worried about health issues.


Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic golden retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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