What is the Difference Between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever?

A lot of things about Labradors and Golden Retrievers are the same. Both dogs are sociable, energetic, smart, and loving. The two lovable breeds of dogs both have floppy ears and webbed paws, but there are ways to tell them apart.

Labs can be found in a wide variety of colors, including black, chocolate, and yellow, while Golden Retrievers can be found in every shade of gold. The Lab is more active and has a higher hunting instinct than the Golden Retriever; however, the Golden Retriever can have health problems that the Labrador does not. 

In order to settle the age-old Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever controversy, we’ll go through the key distinctions between the two breeds today. If you’re trying to decide which one would make the best pet or work buddy, we’ll give you some pointers.

Analyzing the Two Dog Breeds

Similarities exist between the Labs and the Goldens. They share certain similarities, but they also have numerous key differences. It’s no surprise that these two breeds of dogs are so widely regarded as some of the best companion animals in the world.

Their levels of activity, however, are vastly different. Compared to Labradors, Golden Retrievers have a much more laid-back personality. Additionally, the Golden requires more frequent brushing than the Labrador. A Golden Retriever puppy may possibly be the most cost-effective option.

Golden Retriever
Labrador Retriever
The width can be anywhere from 21 inches to 24 inches in length.
Stands from 21 to 25 inches
55-75.0 lb.
55-80 Pounds
Kind, Observant, and Loving
Vibrant, Educated, and Pleasant
Significantly High
In the Upper Tier
Expected Life Span
10-12 Years
10-12 Years

The Golden Retriever

Lord Tweedmouth of Scotland, who created the breed, crossed a Curly-Coated Retriever with a River Water Spaniel in the late 1800s. This is how the Golden Retriever came to be. This first breeding, along with later changes, led to the Golden Retriever, a dog with a golden coat and a reputation for being loyal.

The Golden Retriever was developed specifically for competitive sports. This implies that it is good at helping hunters track down and recover game animals. The Golden Retriever is a breed of dog that was chosen because it is friendly and eager to please its owner. This breed of retriever, like many others, was originally made to bring back waterfowl. They still love the water very much.

The Labrador Retriever

In terms of population, Labs have consistently outnumbered all other dog breeds for decades. Labrador Retrievers were created in Newfoundland, Canada. The native dogs are similar to the St. John’s Water Dog. It was common practice for fishermen to use Labs as working water dogs to retrieve nets and pull gear.

Hunters in the United States and the United Kingdom imported this breed because of the dog’s prowess in the water and his enthusiasm for swimming. But now you can choose between two distinct Labrador Retriever breeds. You can choose between a “show Lab” in English or a “working Lab” in the United States. They’re different in how they look and how they act.

Breed History

Even though at first glance they look similar, these two interesting dogs come from opposite ends of the world and have very different histories. Due to their common ancestry and similar breeding goals, the two species get along swimmingly. Both dogs have matured into wonderful additions to the family.

Golden Retriever Bloodline 

In the 1800s, the Golden Retriever was born in Scotland, which is part of Great Britain. Lord Tweedmouth, a shrewd lord, wanted an unusual gun dog. The modern Golden Retriever is the result of his efforts in dog breeding. It used Welsh Water Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Irish Setters, and even Bloodhounds.

In the realm of gundogs, the ideal canine would be able to find his master’s target with his nose and bring it back without shooting it to death. Fifty years were spent by Lord Tweedmouth’s sons developing the ideal hunting dog. Then they sent it across the ocean, where it became a household name.

Labrador Retriever Ancestry 

The Labrador Retriever is another dog that has been around since the nineteenth century; however, this one was developed in Canada. He is a working dog like the Golden Retriever, but his tasks have traditionally been done on the water instead of on land. He was the favorite of fishermen because he had so many birds, fish, and other animals in his collection.

As wealthy English aristocrats vacationed in Canada, they brought the Labrador Retriever back with them on their yachts, where it quickly became a household name. It is a mystery why the English aristocracy gave him the name “Labrador Retriever,” given that he is truly a Newfoundland dog. Because of this, they have quickly become a worldwide favorite among households.

Golden Retriever vs. Lab Size

If you’re looking for a large dog, Golden Retrievers and Labradors are both great options. How big are Golden Retrievers in comparison to Labrador Retrievers? Always assume that a male is going to be bigger than a female, and that height is measured from the withers (the highest part of the back) and not the top of the head.

what is the difference between a golden retriever and a labrador retriever

The Lab is often a bit bigger than a Golden Retriever. Male Golden Retrievers can reach a height of 23 inches, while females can reach a size between 21 and 22 inches. The average guy is 65–75 pounds, whereas the average girl is 55–65 pounds. 

Male Labrador Retrievers should stand 23 to 25 inches tall at the withers. Then a female should be between 21 and 23 inches at the withers. The female Lab ideally weigh around 65-75 lbs. Male Labs can be anywhere from 65 to 80 pounds.

The Size of the Retrievers: Various Forms of Distinction

The majority of English Labs are bred for the show ring. They have a more stocky build and a wider head and chest than others do. Working stock in the United States tends to produce American Labs that are smaller and less barrel-chested.

There are some small but noticeable differences between Golden Retrievers bred for work and those bred for the show ring. How big can a Golden Retriever get? Here, I’d like to draw parallels between the two species.

Golden Retriever Size

Male adult dogs will typically be a little bigger all around than their female counterparts. In terms of size, a Golden Retriever is often smaller than a Labrador, but otherwise they are nearly identical.

  • Weigh between 55 and 75 pounds.
  • The standard height for males is defined as between 21 and 24 inches.
  • In stock in lengths between 23 and 29 cm.

Labrador Retriever Size

There is clearly very little difference between them. If you’re making a personal comparison, it’s also helpful to know that adult Labradors can range in size quite a bit. Keep in mind that a Lab descended from working stock will generally fall toward the smaller end of the size spectrum.

  • Body mass index: 5.5–80.
  • Inches between 21.5 and 24.5
  • Size range: 22.5–25.5 inches

Differences Between Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever  

The differences between the two Retriever sibling breeds are outlined below

Coat Color

Labradors come in a rainbow of hues. Labradors’ fur can be any number of hues, including yellow, red, black, and chocolate. In contrast, Golden Retrievers typically sport many shades of golden fur. When fully grown, however, Golden Retrievers’ coats take on a dazzling white or deep golden-red hue. Labradors, however, retain their original gray color regardless of how many gray hairs they may or may not have.

The tail is another important part of the Golden Retriever that contributes to the breed’s signature look of refined radiance and happy vivacity. When it walks, its tail swings from side to side like a person’s hands. However, a Labrador’s tail has a totally distinct construction. It looks like an otter because of its thick, long tail and short hair.

Labrador and Golden Retriever Temperament

When looking for a new dog, many people want to know which breed is ideal for a household with kids. A Labrador or Golden Retriever would be a fantastic addition to any family, despite the stereotype that some dog breeds are excessively high-strung or fragile.

When properly selected and raised, these canine breeds can potentially be a wonderful addition to any human families. They both have characteristics that work well with kids because they are warm and friendly, talkative, and eager to please.

Both the Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever are popular candidates for service, search and rescue, detection, hunting, and field research dogs. Beyond these basic things to think about, however, there are big differences in how different dog breeds act that can help you make a good choice.

Golden Retriever Temperament

Because of his moderate activity level, the Golden Retriever is a dog who thrives on the ups and downs of family life. Every day, the Golden has to go for a stroll and have some fun, but in between, he or she will gladly take a sleep or two. They say Golden Retrievers are smarter than other dog breeds. They take on new tasks quickly, retain information, and need positive reinforcement. Plus, they’re usually very receptive and cooperative during instruction. 

Also, Goldens are good for homes with more than one pet because they get along with both dogs and cats. First and foremost, you should know that Golden Retrievers are not the best choice for a guard dog. A Golden Retriever’s friendly nature means you can’t rely on it to keep your home or goods safe, despite the fact that it is extremely loyal to its human family.

Labrador Retriever Temperament

Labrador Retrievers are very active, which is a trait of the breed. The puppy stage is the clearest time to observe this. Normally, a Lab’s boundless vitality is channeled into joyful participation in whatever you’re doing, but if you don’t spend enough time with him, it might become a problem.

Most Labs have a very low tolerance for solitude. The Labrador Retriever is often thought to be one of the smartest dog breeds, just like its close relative, the Golden Retriever. They pick things up quickly and welcome the opportunity for socialization that training gives. But their boundless energy may make it difficult for them to concentrate on their workouts.

If you’re ready to welcome a canine member of the family into your home, a Labrador will make a wonderful addition. Most Labrador Retrievers don’t start to fully develop in terms of behavior and concentration until they are at least three years old, and sometimes even later.

The Labs vs. Golden Grooming

what is the difference between a golden retriever and a labrador retriever

Labs only require once a week brushing, but Golden Retrievers need to be brushed on a minimum of three times a week to keep their coats lustrous and free of mats. The Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever are both energetic and playful dogs who enjoy exploring their surroundings and getting dirty.

If you ignore this behavior for even a few days, your dog may end up smelling and looking pretty filthy. However, the longer hair of Goldens is more prone to matting if it is not routinely combed out. Unlike some other dog breeds, these two actually like being wet, making bath time a breeze.

Hair Loss in Labradors and Golden Retrievers

If you have a Golden or Labrador Retriever as a pet, your best bet is to talk to your neighbors about how their dogs behave when they shed. Get ready for a good, long, and detailed response! It turns out that when it comes to shedding, Labradors and Goldens are very similar.

Do Labradors Shed?

Truth be told, they do. It’s one of the things they’re most well-known for. However, they are among friends, as Goldens also shed. Both types of dogs shed heavily at certain times of the year. The annual coat changes that occur in the fall and spring cause much greater shedding from both.

Can You Tell If Golden Retrievers and Labs Shed Equally?

However, whether Golden Retrievers or Labrador Retrievers shed more is still up for debate. The longer, lighter hairs of a Golden Retriever might be an issue for owners who don’t want their dog’s shedding hairs to get caught on clothing. The hair of a Golden Retriever will also stand out more against a dark wardrobe than that of a black Lab.

If you have a very high tolerance for shedding during the shedding season, you may need to brush your Retriever’s hair every day and use a bottom rake to comb it once a week. In contrast to Golden Retrievers, Labradors require less grooming for a portion of the year. That’s a matter of canine welfare rather than furniture preservation.

Labrador Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: Health Issues

Similar breed-specific health issues affect both Labradors and Golden Retrievers.

The Disease of the Hip and Elbow

Many young dogs suffer from hip dysplasia, an orthopedic condition that is painful and can be crippling. It results from a convergence of developmental and genetic factors.

Disorders of the Joints

Joint problems are more common in dogs of a larger size. Feeding your dog a combined supplement can do all of these things and more. It can reduce inflammation, increase flexibility, strengthen tissues and joints, and relieve pain as needed. Look for a pill with MSM, or chondroitin in it.

Eye Problems

The progressive retinal atrophy that is more common in Labradors is also more common in Golden Retrievers, while cataracts and glaucoma are more common in Goldens.

Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever’s Physical Condition

The Labrador and Golden Retriever forebears also need to have had eye exams, hip and elbow scores, and not have PRA. But at the moment, there is no way to tell if a Golden Retriever will get cancer or not. When choosing between a Labrador Retriever puppy and a Golden Retriever puppy, it is important to find a breeder who can provide veterinary proof that there is no history of cancer in the Golden Retriever’s family. Likewise, you should research the Golden Retriever’s parents to see if they have a history of heart disease.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: A Labrador or a Golden Retriever—which one is more expensive?

To get a Golden Retriever, you should expect to pay between $800 and $1200. In the range of $900 to $1500, Labrador retrievers are the most costly dog breed. Reach out to any rescue shelters if you plan to adopt a particular dog breed.

Q: Which breed of dog is ideal for a big family?

Dogs bred specifically for families, including Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Irish Setters, and Beagles combine the best qualities of a fun companion with a vigilant protector.

Q: Is there a type of dog that does well alone?

Among dog breeds, Labrador and Golden Retrievers, Beagles, Peekapoos, and Shiba Inus are among the best candidates for extended periods of isolation. By “long-term periods,” naturally, we mean up to eight hours a day, and no more.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to pick between Labradors and Goldens in terms of finding the dog that perfectly suits into your family. Both of these canine varieties are extremely popular for good reason. Think about these points, but in the end, you should choose between a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever based on your own preferences. Not sure what to do? Think about getting a Golden Labrador or a Golden Retriever mixed with a Labrador.

About Tom Thorpe

Tom Thorpe has overtime interacted with different species of dogs mostly through breeding and training; according to him, man’s best friend is yet to find solace in the company of man, as they are continuously mistreated. He, therefore, runs a rescue center that provides shelter to stray dogs, and has been advocating for the rights of animals; the Golden Retriever dogs are among his favorites, the reason he came up with the extensive excerpts to help educate the society on the right treatment and care of the respective breed. Tom spends most of his time running his dog shelter; he is a husband and proud father of two boys and loves to go fishing during his free time.

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