Labrador Retriever Vs Golden Retriever: 12 Main Differences

Labrador Retriever Vs. Golden Retriever: What You Should Know

When it’s time to get a new dog, many options come to mind: Poodle, Bulldog, Pitbull, German Shepherd, or maybe a chihuahua; but with so many options, it can be hard to choose.

This is when the good ole options of a Labrador Retriever or a Golden Retriever come into play. Both dogs are intelligent and loyal until the end. But, of course, they are not the same type of dog…they have different skill sets, and also different styles of personal expression.

And I’m here to give you both sides of their story. So let’s learn about the differences, and similarities, between a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever.


Both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are great picks if you want to have a medium-to-large sized dog around; but here is where they differ.

Usually, you’ll find Labrador Retrievers to be bigger than Goldens. Male Labradors can weigh anywhere between 65 and 80 pounds, where a female Labrador can less at around 55 to 70 pounds.

When it comes to the height compared to the shoulder blades, the male Labrador stands at a diligent 22 ½ to 24 ½ inches tall, with a sizeable female, standing at 21 ½ to 23 ½ inches tall.

Golden Retrievers are a popular, and slightly smaller sized brand of dog. Male Golden Retrievers compare closely in height at around 23 to 24 inches, and the females cutting it close at 21 ½ to 22 ½ inches.

Weight only differs within five pounds with male Goldens at 65 to 80 pounds, and females at 55 to 65 pounds.


The coats and colors of a Labrador Retriever and Golden Retrievers are one of their most eye-catching attributes.

You see, Golden retrievers tend to come in various shades of brown, with some of them having red hues, or straight up brownish-burgundy fur. In addition to brown and red, they may also have white fur as well.

Labrador Retriever, on the other hand, mainly come in three shades: black, yellow, or brown – also known as “chocolate”. – Their coating is different as well. Golden Retrievers have longer hairs that tend to be more wavy the longer it gets.

Labrador retrievers’ coats are basically the opposite: shorter in length, with their hair follicles being straight, instead of wavy.

Life Expectancy

For Labrador Retrievers, the life expectancy rate is between 10 and 12 years long. It is said that chocolate Labradors are live shorter lives compared to their yellow and black counterparts.

Their life expectancy rate is based on several factors, including inherited diseases, diet, and amount of activity.

The life expectancy of Golden Retriever is just around the same length of time, averaging between 11 and 12 years, with the occasional Golden Retriever than makes it to 15 years old.

Like Labradors, their life expectancy is based on primary factors as well, with their most prominent characteristic that can alter their lifespan is physical disease that they may genetically inherit.

Health Problems

Unfortunately, both of our furry friends have around a 60% chance of contracting a serious health illness as they age older during their lifetime.

Labrador Retriever’s biggest health threat is obesity; where a genetic mutation plays a major role in their weight regulation. Other health issues they may obtain are both elbow and hip dysplasia, eye disorders, and “exercise induced collapse”.

Whereas, Golden Retrievers have to worry about cancer. It’s suggested that a genetic mutation is also the culprit when it comes to the environmental triggers of cancer within a Golden Retriever.

Outside of cancer, there are heart problems, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye-diseases as well.

Genetic Diseases

Golden Retrievers have four main cancers to be concerned about, considering that 38% of them will die from one of them: Hemangiosarcoma, mass-cell tumors, Osteosarcoma, and lymphoma.

Neutering these dogs also increase the rate of these cancers arising. Uveitis, and Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis is a heart condition that affects outward blood flow from the heart, is also a condition associated with Golden Retrievers.

Labradors may suffer from lymphosarcoma, but it’s at a less alarming rate. Their major medical deals pertains mostly to eye-degenerations illness like glaucoma and cataracts.

And because of their more active lifestyle, exercised-induced collapse and hip and elbow dysplasia may become a prevalent issue for the dog as they continue to age.


In a nutshell, Golden Retriever shed a lot; like, just about year-round. The reason for this is because of their undercoat; a layer of fur that grows longer in the warmer months, causing the follicles to loosen, and fall off at a rapid rate.

This can be managed thankfully; a simple brushing of the animal’s fur three to four times per week should do the trick in keeping the Golden Retrievers’ shedding under control.

Labrador Retrievers actually follow the same process. so don’t let the fact that they have shorter hair fool you, because the rate of shedding is just about the same.

But because their overcoat hair is shorter, you can see their undercoat hairs better, thus being able to brush it out with better accuracy.


Labrador Retrievers are known for shedding, so they require grooming, about 2 to 4 times per week, in order to keep that beautiful double-coat tamed. Regular brushing with a deep-detangle dog brush will do wonders in extracting loose and dead hairs.

Now, the good thing about their hair being short is that Labradors do not require so much trimming of their hairs so frequently.

However, it’s still best to give them a snip every now-and-again, especially around the ears and underbelly of the dog.

Golden Retrievers are notorious for shedding, and we still enjoy seeing and petting those long shiny coats of theirs. For that reason, maintaining and brushing its hair should occur about three to four times per week, preferably outside.

That luscious coating of theirs may need frequent trimming, about twice per month, to keep their hair growing steadily, with less mess.


As we may be aware of by now, Golden Retrievers are one of the most lovable dogs that a human could pair with.

They enjoy attention and personal interaction with their caretaker. Although they are bigger sized dogs, they are still willing to hop on the couch and snuggle up with you. Let’s not forget about their intelligence!

They are capable of listening and learning from their caretakers, are very smart dogs to have around.

Labrador Retrievers fall into the same suite of favorites, as one of the top favorite dogs of all time.

They are trainable, friendly, and a bit more tough than the Golden Retriever. Why? Because they have a higher capacity for being able to accept a scolding and move on with their day, as a Golden Retriever would physically sulk about it.

This is why they are the highest rated dog to have; they’re very well-balanced.


Both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are very trainable dogs. Why is this? Because they both have a knack, and desire, to please their caretakers!

We tend to sway their training compliments, praise, and treats, which they simply love to receive; thus, making them easy to train.

Another feature about both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers is the fact that both breeds of dogs are intelligent.

The have a high adaptability for learning, and are capable of learning commands, comprehending body language, and remembering action pretty well.

All-in-all, both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are fairly simple dogs to train.


An interesting features that compares Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers is the fact that their diet is approximately the same as well, excluding a slight feature or two.

Both Labs and Goldens are omnivores, and are able to eat a diverse array of food including: fresh meat to satisfy the high-salinity of their bodily fluids, along with small amounts of whole foods such as potatoes or rice.

They are capable of digesting vegetables pretty good as well, which gives them a great amount of fiber to keep their inner workings functioning properly; and fruits like bananas and pineapples make for a great snack!

These properties are comparable to their dry dog food as well. Be sure to stay within the range of around three cups per day; remember, Labrador Retrievers are prone to obesity, while Golden Retrievers are known to pack on the pounds pretty easily too.


Golden Retrievers have a slightly longer gestation period than Labrador Retrievers, by about two or three days! However, the phases of the gestation period of both breeds are quite the same.

In her early stage of pregnancy, she may lose her appetite; as time goes on, her body mass will increase, her nipples will swell, and she’ll fall into what will seem like a depression – this is a natural part of the process.

As pregnancy tends to come to an end around 61 days for Labradors, and 63 days for Goldens, the female dog will seem more irritable, and may begin scratching her bottom on floor, which is a good indication that puppies are on the way.


Labrador Retriever puppies are cute and active breed of dog to behold.

They are able to develop secure attachments with their mother, or adoptive caregiver, through feeding and interaction. Labrador pups are have a sturdy physical frame, and are known for growing pretty fast in the first few years of life.

Golden Retriever puppies are pure eye-candy for anyone who takes a look at them.

As puppies, they can be very docile, and may come off a bit shy at first.

But after a few sniffs and licks, Golden pups can develop connections fairly easily as their caregiver can.

Are They Good With Families And Children?

Indeed they are; both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are among the top 3 family dogs to have!

For Golden Retrievers, it’s their compassion and connection. They are very good at becoming part of the family because they absolutely enjoy physical interaction, and doing anything that is personal between you and the dog.

Labradors retrievers have the same qualities; their difference is more towards playfulness and protection. They enjoy both an easy-going walk round the block, and rough-housing around in the backyard for a few rounds.

Are They Good With Other Dogs?

If you’re looking for a group of mixed dogs, be sure to have some Labs and Golden Retrievers in the bunch, because they are both great with being with other dogs.

Both breeds are about comfort and social interaction; it’s what helps them live a longer and healthier lifestyle.

Now, Labradors may seem a bit more assertive than Golden Retrievers simple because of their playfulness, with lack of awareness concerning their size.

In the end, both dogs should do fine when introduced to other breeds of dogs.

Are They Good With Cats?

Labrador Retrievers do well with cats because of their kind spirit and assertive status.

They are capable of becoming friends with just about animal that won’t attack it. If this were the case, this dog would have no problem defending itself; which makes it a great companion for a smaller animal that may need more protection, like a cat.

Golden Retrievers do pretty well with cats also.

With proper introduction, and training of the Golden to be gentle with the cat, due to their size difference, a Golden would do nicely in a mixed animal environment.

Do They Bark A Lot?

Golden Retrievers are known to bark at a moderate level.

This is because they can be very expressive about what they see and hear. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen very often, unless there is a threat, or a serious issue at hand.

Labrador Retrievers may bark slightly more than a Golden; this may be because their hearing. Labradors have superb hearing, especially in their adolescent and adult years.

It’s good to know that this only happens in emergencies, so no need to be concerned about excessive barking from a Lab.

Do They Make Well For Guard Dogs?

Labrador Retrievers are not the best guard dogs, although you may think so based on their size and quick ability to protect and serve.

With the way that Labs are bred, as well as their natural docile demeanor, their major components are awareness, intelligence, and kindness; whereas protection and aggressiveness are only present when absolutely necessary.

Golden Retrievers are even less of a better choice.

Their obedient and nurturing attitude makes its challenging for a Golden to harm another being, especially a human that’s bigger than it is.

Do They Make For Good Hunting Dogs?

Labs and Goldens actually do make for good hunting dogs.

They make for great companions due to their superb ability of interaction, as well as having a great sense of smell.

In addition to having a great partner for hunting, once you spot your prey, the dogs are not keen to trying to harm it, which makes them not only fun to hunt with, but also a skilled and handy hunting partner.

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