Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever-Which Is Best For You


Looking to get a new puppy or dog? Which is better? Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever.  There are similarities and differences between the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Reriever.

Both of these dogs are the most Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retrieverpopular dogs in the United States. The Labrador Retriever has been rated as the number 1 dog for the last 26 years. The Golden Retriever has always remained within the top 5 and is running as the number 3 most popular dog in the United States at the current time.

So which is better, Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever? I am going to show you the differences and the similarities between the two dogs.

You might be surprised how many similarities there are between the two dogs, but it isn’t much of a surprise since they come from the same ancestry.

It is said that the Labrador Retriever was bred for the worker man and the Golden Retriever was bred for the Gentleman.

The Labrador Retriever can go out and hunt or work all day, while the Golden Retriever will go out for a leisurely hunt and than come home and relax and be a charming house pet the rest of the time.

A bit of a clarification on the Labrador Retriever.  A Lab, Labrador Retriever or Labrador are all the same dog, just different names that they are called. There is a difference though between the American Labrador Retriever and the English Labrador Retriever. The English Labrador Retriever is a bit smaller in size than the American Labrador. For purposes of this article, I am discussing the American Labrador Retriever.

Golden Retriever vs Labrador RetrieverSimilarities Between Golden Retrievers And Labrador Retrievers

There are many things between these two dogs that are very similar.

  • Both are friendly dogs. They are a great family companion and want to spend time with the family.
  • Both shed. Labradors shed as much as Golden Retrievers if not more. They have a double coat that helps keep them warm in winter or when they are swimming. They will shed all year long, but will have two big sheds per year with the change of the season for their winter coat and summer coat.
  • Both are sporting dogs and are great for hunting.
  • Both are designed to be active with their owner. They need walks, run time, retrieving games and swimming.
  • Both have a life expectancy of 10-12 years.
  • Water resistant coat which helps them be able to swim in cold weather or cold conditions.
  • Both were bred to retrieve items. Be it a duck, pheasant, ball, or your shoes or socks if you throw them. They like to have something in their mouth most of the time.
  • Both have intelligence, athleticism and goofy personalities. You will need to provide both of these breeds with not only exercise but also mental stimulation to keep them happy and behaved.
  • They are water dogs, and will get into water, puddles, or mud holes every chance that they get.

The two breeds also share many similarities in appearance. The average height for both is between 22″ – 24″. They have long tails, folded ears, and soft mouths.

The average weight is close on both of these dogs. The male Golden Retriever’s average weight is 65-75 pounds and the male Labrador’s average weight is 64-79 pounds.

Take a look at this chart for a quick comparison between the two breeds.

Labrador Retrievers Differences From Golden Retrievers

Come in chocolate, yellow and black.Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever

They have a broad head with pronounced eyebrows. Labradors have a medium non tapered nose and a muscular build. They are sturdy with well-defined body cuts.

Shorter fur which is hardly 1″ long and is a harsh and rough coat. There is very little maintenance with the Labrador Retriever’s coat. A brushing once per week should be enough unless they have gotten into something.

Labrador’s have a strong work ethic, a stubborn streak and are suitable for working long hours in harsh conditions.

Labradors are affectionate, cheerful, energetic, friendly, gentle, loving, loyal and playful.

Labradors have a high energy level, and sometimes this may interfere with their ability to focus and concentrate on training.


Golden Retrievers Differences From Labrador Retrievers

Golden Retrievers come in only one color, but it can shade from blonde to almost red.

They have a longer snout that will slightly taper at the end. They also are bigger than Labradors most of the time and their body is Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retrieverlonger.

Goldens have long thick fur that can lay flat or be wavy, more fur and a fluffy tail. Because of the longer fur, Goldens require more time spent combing them. They should be brushed at least every few days with a good combing at least once a week. Their under fur will get matted and knot up if it isn’t combed frequently.

You will also incur groomer expenses. They should probably go to a groomer about twice a year to get their fur trimmed up, and this will also help with keeping them cooler in the summer.

Golden Retrievers have a medium energy level. They will need daily walks and play time for them is a must. In between walks and play time, they are happy to relax and nap, but make sure they also get mental stimulation and that they aren’t left alone for too long. They like to interact with people.

Golden Retrievers are alert, friendly, intelligent, loyal, playful and quiet. They are known to be eager to please their owner, very obedient and one of the easiest dogs to train.

Health Issues For Both The Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever

Both of these breeds do have some health concerns that you should be aware of.

Both have a high risk of cancer, obesity, hip dysplasia and ear infections. Also, they are at risk for Laryngeal Paralysis. This is an illness affecting older dogs that partially paralyzes the voice box, resulting in a muffled bark and difficulty breathing.

This is more pronounced when your dog becomes excited or when the weather is humid and it might result in them being unable to participate in the same amount of exercise that they once could do. I currently have a Golden Retriever that has this issue for approximately the past year.

Concerns for the Labradors only are Entropion, which is an abnormality of the eyelids, where the eyelid rolls inward. Also, they run the risk of malformation of knees and elbows.

In addition to the above concerns, Golden Retrievers health concerns include elbow dysplasia which is similar to hip dysplasia. They have also been known to have seizures and skin issues such as hot spots, along with allergies.

Golden Retriever vs Labrador RetrieverFor both of these breeds, I recommend talking to your breeder if you are getting a puppy and finding out what the parents of the puppy’s might have experienced. This could save you lots of issues in the future by knowing the health of the parents.

I previously had a Golden Retriever that had allergies that were so severe, he would chew all the fur off his back paws and had issues with hot spots frequently. When we got our next Golden Retrievers, we asked about the parents and skin issues. Neither parents had skin issues, and as it turned out, neither did our next two Golden Retrievers.

You Really Can’t Go Wrong With Either Choice

If you are looking for a dog, a family member or a hunting companion, you really can’t go wrong with either the Golden Retriever or the Labrador Retriever. Both of them are friendly, loyal, intelligent and want to be part of your family. They are great with kids or anyone who would visit your home.

It is said that Goldens love to work because they love you. If you are sad or upset or use harsh words with them, it throws them off differently than a Labrador. They truly believe they are an extension of you. Your mood and your happiness level will affect how they are feeling.

So the debate will continue, Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever, which is better Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever. I thinkGolden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever they are both fabulous dogs and with so many similarities it makes it hard to see if their is a one truly better than the other.

I am a bit partial to Golden Retrievers, but that is because I have had 3 of them. I am sure if I had a Labrador Retriever, I would think it is just as great as a Golden Retriever.

What I want from a family dog, is a great companion that loves the family and wants to be with us. You will get that from both of these breeds. That is why I say you can’t go wrong with either of them.

If you have any questions or anything you would like to share about either one of these breeds, please a message below.

Some of the links within this post are affiliate links of which I might receive a small compensation from sales of certain items. 







  1. Hi Marla. Thank you for your very informative article on these two dog breeds. I absolutely love the yellow labs. We bought one for our granddaughter Billie when she was diagnosed with Diabetes 1 . What an incredible animal. She named her Strawberry and she loves her to bits. You can tell that the dog loves her back. This dog watches Billie like a hawk and makes sure we’re all warned if something is wrong. All the best Jim

    • Jim, what a great gift to give your grand daughter. Dogs are amazingly smart and protective. I have read that they can sense when there is something medically wrong with humans, and Billie’s dog just goes to show you that they can be very helpful for someone with an illness. I wish your grand daughter and her wonderful dog happiness.

  2. What a lovely article on my favourite animals
    Dogs are the best that is for sure and thank you for sharing some great information in the article

    • Vicki thank you for reading it. You can always tell a dog lover by the fact that just looking at pictures of them or reading about them will give them joy. I’m glad you found it informative.

  3. Great read. Lots of information for the novice to learn. Both excellent dogs. I think it’s improtant to point out, also, that due to the popularity of these dogs, and thus the number and variation of breeders out there, it’s extra important when choosing a breeder to select one that is reputable, AND is breeding for the qualities you are most looking for.

    • I appreciate your feedback. I agree that the breeder is really important to make sure you are getting a healthy dog and one that will have the qualities that you are looking for. I will add some additional information in regards to that. Thank you.

  4. Hey Marla. You have nicely elaborated the differences between Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers. Although Labs are more popular than Goldens, I prefer Goldens. The reason is Golden Retrievers are more affectionate and loving than Labs.

    • Thanks for the comment. I also believe that Goldens are more affectionate than Labs. I currently have my 4th Golden Retriever and I am not sure I will ever be able to have a different breed again.

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