Golden Retriever Vs. Labrador Retriever: What Is The Difference? | PUPPYFAQS

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: What is the Difference?

golden retriever vs labrador retriever
(Last Updated On: December 15, 2022)

Choosing a large breed of dog can be exciting as well as nerve-wracking. The temperament of the dog plays a crucial role. Labrador and Golden Retrievers are two of the most popular dog breeds. They are always high on energy and tend to be very loyal to their owners.

The question is, What is the difference between a Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever? 

While both of these dog breeds have many similarities, they can be distinguished through their morphology. 

Golden Retrievers are slimmer and taller when compared with Labrador Retrievers.

In this article, we will discuss the following:

  • Are Golden Retrievers and Labradors the same breed?
  • Golden vs. Labrador Retriever: Which One Is Easy To Train?
  • Are Golden Retrievers Larger Than Labrador Retrievers?
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Life Expectancy
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Grooming
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Shedding
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Health Problems
  • Are Labrador Retrievers smarter than Golden Retrievers?
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Aggressiveness
  • Are Golden Retrievers calmer than labs?
  • Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Which One Is Good For First Time Owner?
golden retriever vs labrador retriever

Are Golden Retrievers and Labradors the same breed? 

The golden retriever breed was developed in Scotland, and the Labrador Retriever originated from Newfoundland, Canada.

However, golden retrievers are more preferred by dog owners than labrador retrievers. These dogs have a distinct morphology.

They look different from each other as both golden retrievers tend to be slimmer and taller than labrador retrievers.

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Golden vs. Labrador Retriever: Which One Is Easy To Train?

Labrador Retrievers are extremely smart and instinctive. They tend to be good service dogs. This breed likes to socialize and form companionship with humans. It would help if you started with an obedience training program.

Labs are good learners. They like to follow commands that make trainability easier. You can even take advantage of dog training classes as it will help in teaching them socialization skills. Make sure that your Labs understand common commands like “fetch,” “come,” and “drop.”

Labrador Retrievers like to please their owners. They are people pleasers and socialize well with everyone in the family. So you can go ahead with the positive reinforcement technique to train your Lab. Affectionate nature, playfulness, and intelligence make them everyone’s favorite. So reward them whenever they behave well and listen to you.

While rewarding them during the training program, use small treats. Labs can become overweight if you give them excess food as treats. Instead, increase exercise and try to introduce new games to replace meals. Labs have puppy-like behavior even when they reach adulthood.

You can train your Lab to become a guard dog or teach them to become companions to patients in the hospital. Their flexibility while learning new skills makes it easier to perform any job. In addition, labs are happy when they have something to do.

When it comes to training golden retrievers, you need to be more patient. With proper training, they can become good therapy dogs, pet companions, and guide dogs. They are friendly with humans as well as other animals. You need to ingrain new socialization skills in your Golden Retriever.

During the socialization period, you need to ensure that your Golden Retriever goes through positive interactions when they meet anyone. The first month with this breed is one of the busiest for any owner. This is because this breed likes to follow a specific routine. They don’t want to stay idle.

Therefore, golden retrievers feel happy when they are taught to perform a particular task.Golden Retrievers are susceptible to their owner’s tone. So always try to be reassuring towards them. Positive reinforcement is something that works well with Labs as well as both golden retrievers too.

Golden Retrievers have a habit of biting if they get a chance. It would help if you let them know when they need to stop. If they nibble playfully, then give them a try. Once they start biting very hard, then shout at them. This will help in teaching good habits in your retriever.

golden retriever puppy

Are Golden Retrievers Larger Than Labrador Retrievers?

Labrador Retrievers are medium-sized dogs. Their fur is compact, short, and rough. In comparison to Labs, the Golden Retriever is taller, and its fur is long, water-resistant, and wavy.

Male Golden Retriever can grow 58 to 61 cm taller during adulthood. Males weigh around 29 to 35 Kgs. Females are lighter and shorter when compared to males. Female Golden Retriever can grow 54 to 57 cm tall. Females weigh 24 to 28 Kg when they grow up.

Male Labradors grow approximately 56 to 60 cm in height. They weigh around 29 to 34 Kgs. When they grow up, in comparison to their male counterparts, female Labrador Retrievers reach a height of 54 to 58 Cm, and they weigh 24 to 29 Kgs.

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Life Expectancy

  • Golden retrievers: 10-13 Years 
  • Labrador retrievers: 10-12 Years

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golden retriever puppy

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Grooming

Golden Retriever should be groomed regularly. It has a silky overcoat that is quite long and a soft undercoat. Golden Retrievers should be groomed once every week. Regular brushing helps in reducing shedding. In addition, you need to comb the golden retriever’s coat correctly to get rid of matting. Finally, owners can use a furminator to keep their fur clean.

Using shampoo should be avoided as it affects their soft undercoat. Instead, gently hose the sides and legs of the dog with plain water and avoid using any chemicals. If the dog gets very dirty, then you can take the help of a professional groomer.

Carefully trimming the nails and fur is essential. Trim their nails once every month to prevent divergence in feet. Nails must be trimmed with utmost care as it would cause immense pain if the process goes wrong. The same is the case with the trimming process. You need to make sure that you don’t hurt their coat while you trim their dog hair.

Golden Retriever, according to American Kennel Club needs the double coat to keep themselves protected. Before starting the trimming process, make sure that their fur is clean. The fur should also be dried before you start trimming them. Professional groomers recommend that blow-drying should be done in the direction of the growth of their fur.

Labs are comparatively easier to groom. They don’t have a dense coat on their body. It is waterproof and dries out fast. Make sure that Labs are used to grooming from their pup age. Provide a good massage before starting the grooming session.

Regular brushing is enough for your Lab. You don’t need to bathe your Lab too often. Please give them a good bath only when they get too dirty. Playing outdoor is suitable for their skin. Outdoor air will help in keeping the Labrador Retriever’s skin moist.

If you notice a stain around your Lab’s eyes, then use cotton to clean the stain. The cotton ball makes it easier to clean the stain around their eyes. In addition, they don’t require extra trimming as Labs don’t have extra fur around their neck and ear.

When compared with Golden Retrievers, Labs need lesser grooming. Labs are not as high maintenance as Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Shedding

Golden Retriever’s shed a lot. They shed all year round. Dog parents claim that you will have hair everywhere in your house if you own a Golden Retriever.

They shed more hair before winter starts. Using a good undercoat hair brush helps in removing hair quickly and keeping their coat clean. Brushing your dog is the only solution to keep your house clean. But, no matter what you do, Golden Retriever will not stop shedding.

Effective grooming techniques can help in preventing scattered and untangled hair. During spring, the undercoat of Goldens tends to grow thick. Extensive shedding almost blows the coat of the Golden retriever. Lint rollers are essential if you own a Golden Retriever.

Make sure that you bathe the Golden with lukewarm water. If the Golden scratches its skin more often while it sheds its hair, take it to a vet. It would help if you got rid of shedding related allergies before it gets dangerous. Providing nutritional food also plays a vital role in reducing excessive shedding.

Labs tend to shed the same amount as Goldens. The only difference is that Labs have short hair, which makes it easier to maintain their hair. Heavy shedding during the autumn season is prevalent in Labrador Retrievers. In warm weather, the undercoat experiences more shedding.


Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Health Problems

Labrador and Golden Retrievers are purebred dog breeds. Inherited health issues are common in purebred dog breeds.

Obesity, cancer, ear infections, hip and elbow dysplasia, and eye disease are common in both dogs. Long outercoat and the dense undercoat is the reason behind skin problems in both Golden Retrievers.

Almost all Golden Retrievers suffer from skin problems once in their lifetime. Itchy skin, allergies, flak, and pyoderma are common skin diseases present in Goldens. Skin problems generally arise due to mites, mold, parasites, pollen, fungus, flea, ticks, dirt, and bacteria. Food allergies can also lead to skin problems in Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retrievers also suffer from ear infections and cataracts. They have big ears that are floppy and consist of a lot of hair. The presence of extra dog hair affects airflow. Dogs that have firm ears receive proper airflow. If you notice that your Golden is shaking its head excessively or its ear is itchy, visit a vet.

Cataract problems arise in Goldens when they are 4 or 5 years old. It would be best to clean the stains around their eyes with cotton balls to reduce abnormalities around their eyelashes. Make sure that you treat cataracts on time, or it can lead to blindness.

Hip and elbow Dysplasia is common in Golden Retrievers. Goldens are more prone to this disease when compared with Labrador Retrievers. Abnormal growth of the ball around Golden’s hips causes this problem. During this condition, the socket around the hips of the dog becomes too shallow. If the ligament becomes weak, then the dog might suffer from permanent disability. Golden Retrievers are also prone to cancer.

This disease occurs more frequently in Goldens when compared to Labrador Retriever. Research shows that 60% of all Golden Retrievers present around the world die from cancer. The most common form of cancer in Goldens is hemangiosarcoma. It is a highly invasive form of cancer, and it occurs due to ruptured blood vessels.

Obesity is a common concern in almost all Labrador Retrievers. It is more prevalent in Labs when compared to Golden Retrievers. Researches show that genetic mutation has a significant impact on the appetite of Labs. Obesity can be controlled if Labs are active and go through daily exercises. Labradors consist of a gene known as “POMC.”

Dogs that have this gene are generally 4 kg. Heavier than other breeds. Weight management is standard in almost all dog breeds. Extra focus on weight management techniques becomes essential in dogs that score more in their food motivation examinations.

The overall picture of different health conditions in Labs and Golden Retrievers shows that Labrador Retrievers are healthier. High-risk health issues in Labradors can be treated easily.

For example, labs have strong joints, and their vision stays clear for a longer time. Labrador Retrievers should be your first choice if you focus on the health of the dog.

black lab

Are Labrador Retrievers smarter than Golden Retrievers?

Golden Retrievers appear to be smarter than Labs. Goldens are known to be very intelligent as they are good learners.

Labs are smart, but their high energy level comes in their way to learn instructions. Patience is the key to Golden Retriever’s smartness. It helps them in being attentive and learn from their master.

Golden Retrievers learn commands quickly. This breed loves to be rewarded, and they like to follow a specific routine.

Therefore, Golden Retrievers will listen to all your instructions attentively.

Golden Retrievers are extremely friendly. They are loyal to their owners and protective of the whole family. When compared with Golden Retrievers, Labs lack patience. Though Labs are intelligent, their impatience affects their ability to learn fast.

They are always high on energy and don’t like to stay alone. Labrador Retrievers like to indulge in regular activities and make great hunting dogs. If you can’t give enough time to your dog, then Labs are not the breed you would like to choose.

They are always eager to learn new activities. This breed learns fast, and it is known for its smartness. The only problem with Labs is that their enthusiasm comes in their way to concentrate on training sessions.

It would be best if you taught your Lab to focus on your instructions patiently. Labrador Retrievers are playful dogs that and they are known to be a canine child of the house. This breed matures pretty late when compared with Golden Retrievers.

If you start training from the pup age, you will have an intelligent dog with an extra level of patience.

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Aggressiveness

You can rarely experience aggression when you are with a Golden Retriever. These dogs are affectionate, and they are known to be friendly with strangers too.

If you are looking for a guard dog, then don’t opt for a Golden Retriever. Pet parents who own Golden Retrievers are rarely worried about their behavior. This breed is loyal and affectionate towards everyone. Aggressive tendencies occur in Golden Retrievers only when they face a dominant dog.

Golden Retriever temperament is something new Golden Retriever owners are concerned about but shouldn’t. They are lovely dogs for the family and young children. If they meet any other breed with dominating behavior, then they show defensive aggression.

Defensive aggression can be dangerous for Golden Retrievers. Therefore, it is essential to deal with this issue quickly. This behavior can get worse, and aggression can increase if it is not appropriately dealt with. Socialization is the best way to curb aggression. Instead of shouting at your Golden Retriever, teach them different socialization techniques as it reduces defensive aggression.

Labrador Retrievers are also known for their gentle nature. They don’t attack strangers, and this breed is good with young children. However, it would help if you channelized your Lab’s energetic behavior efficiently.

Training them from pup age can be beneficial. Regular walk and exercise keep them calm. Playing games with Labs is vital as they get bored quickly. A bored Lab can develop aggressive tendencies.

They indulge in different activities that can help them burn their energy. Labs create a habit of chewing other objects when they are young. Labrador Retrievers might start biting people if they are not appropriately trained.

Teach them what should be chewed and what should not be chewed. They need to listen to you attentively.

Labs might seem more aggressive when compared to Golden Retrievers as they are always high on energy. However, Labrador Retrievers stay friendly and obedient if they don’t get bored. Both breeds remain calm if other dog breeds don’t try to dominate them.

black lab

Are Golden Retrievers calmer than labs?

Golden Retrievers are calm when they are indoors. However, their protective nature comes to action whenever they see a stranger in front of the house. When compared with golden retrievers,

Labs might appear more aggressive as they need more space and attention.

Labrador Retrievers have always been known for their athletic ability and high energy levels. This breed needs ample space to perform its activities. They rest for short intervals, and then they are ready to indulge in other activities.

Labrador Retrievers have a waterproof coat that is perfect for outdoor living. This helps Labrador Retrievers in taking care of themselves quickly.

Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Retriever: Which One Is Good For First Time Owner?

Choosing between a Labrador Retriever or Golden Retriever can be a difficult task. While selecting Golden Retriever puppies, you should get a health checkup done. Instead of worrying about behavioral problems, owners should focus on health for Labrador or Golden Retrievers.

The friendly and loyal nature of both breeds makes it easy to handle them. But because they are prone to genetic diseases, the owners should ensure that they select healthy dogs. Vet checks and health screenings make the job much easier.

Along with health checkups, you should also meet the parent dogs. Labs and Goldens will resemble their parents’ personalities. So observing their parents’ health condition will help you get an idea of your pup’s fitness.

If you are a first-time dog owner, then you can opt for male Golden Retrievers. You might not have dealt with an aggressive dog, which will make it challenging to deal with a Lab’s energetic nature.


The Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever are two different breeds. If you want a good dog with kids or other animals, the Golden Retriever may be your best bet.

However, if you prefer a more active dog breed, then the Labrador Retriever might suit your needs better. Labs are more active and perfect for hunting dogs. No matter what type of pet owner you are, there’s an excellent chance that one of these dogs will make a wonderful addition to your family! Both breeds are great for dog lovers.

The Golden Retriever is a smaller, more agile dog with less hair and an active lifestyle. They are great for people who live in medium-to-large houses or need to take their dogs hiking on the weekends.

Labradors are larger, heavier breeds that require less exercise because they can quickly adapt to any home environment and do well living inside all year long.

If you’re looking for a furry friend that will follow your every step as you head out into the world, this guide should help inform which of these two breeds would suit your needs best!


I'm a self-employed blogger, life-long pet parent, and lover of dogs. I have always loved animals, especially puppies. So when my family got our first dog 15 years ago, it was love at first sight. We named her Sassy because she was so small, cute, and had a sassy personality! Once we got her home, I wanted to know everything about caring for her, so I researched online. Eventually, this led me to create the PUPPYFAQS website, where I write about nutrition, health, and care of puppies and the latest news in the world of puppies. In my spare time, I volunteer at my local shelter, which is run by volunteers who are passionate about helping homeless dogs find their forever homes. If I'm not working or volunteering for dogs, you can find me spending time with my family, friends, and my puppy. I have been writing professionally online since 2009. In addition to PUPPYFAQS, I also write for several other pet-related publications.

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