How Similar And Different Are Golden Retrievers From Labrador Retrievers

One of the hottest debates regarding dog breeds is whether one should buy a Golden retriever or a Labrador retriever. Well, we cannot say NO to any of the two. Where one is a good-natured dog, the other is a lovable one. Besides, if you are buying a dog, you need to know the difference and the possible similarities in their breeds – the two most popular breeds, indeed!

Yes, both dogs are correspondingly appealing, intelligent, easy to train and share certain eye-catching traits. But they also have potentially different characteristics. Uncountable dog owners often ponder upon which breed will go well with their families. American Kennel Club ranked Labradors number one back in 2017 and Golden in third place in terms of popularity. And if you want to know, the second rank was given to German Shepherds. They truly deserved to be!

Labrador Retrievers vs. Golden Retrievers: The Similarities

It goes without saying, but the most considerable similarity is the addition of the title “Retrievers,” showing that both breeds are purposely bred to retrieve game for enthusiastic hunters. So it wouldn’t be wrong to name them “GUN DOGS” or “BIRD DOGS.” They typically assist hunters hunting birds with their strong rifles, by retrieving dead or dying birds and ducks.

Another thing they have in common is their soft mouths. Moreover, both breeds show a specific behavior called “biddability.” It means retrievers are bred and trained to follow directions given by their commands. Both have water-repellent fur coats. Both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are extremely smart.

That is not all!

Labs and Goldens are categorized as energetic dog breeds and into a sporting group, demanding daily exercise and long periods of mental stimulation. In the case of having an insufficient exercise schedule, they might start showing abnormal, destructive, messy, and undesirable behavioral patterns (excessive barking, unnecessary digging, and over-excited jumping) that can be taken as the symptoms of hyperactivity.

Labrador Retriever vs. Golden Retriever: The Differences


Although both belong to a selection of medium-sized dogs, they slightly differ in their sizes. On the one hand, Labradors measure within 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall with a 55 to 80 pounds weight range. On the other hand, Golden measures from 21 to 24 inches in height and 55 to 75 pounds in weight. That is why you will find Labradors relatively athletic and more muscular and Golden Retrievers in a sleek body and narrower profile.

Energy Level

Although both are gun dogs, Labradors have slightly higher dynamism means energy levels.


If we talk about the background, both breeds trace back to Europe. Their difference comes in their time of origin which is the 1830s for Labrador and mid-19th for Golden. Another difference is in their exact location. Where Labradors are from Britain, Golden Retrievers originated in Scotland.

Shape of Muzzle

One of the most noticeable features is their different shapes of muzzles. You will find Labradors with a wider and shorter muzzle giving them a full-faced, and a smiling-face look typically explained as “jowly.” For Golden Retrievers, the muzzle is significantly narrow and appears longer, shaping their face in a leaner and slender appearance. 


Labrador’s temperament is defined as “kind, pleasant & outgoing” coupled with tractable nature and eagerness to make their owners happy. Golden Retriever’s temperament is described as “kind, reliable, friendly & confident,” and yes, they are trustworthy partners.  

Traits of Coat/fur/skin

Coat color

First, they differ in their coat color. As the name implies, Golden Retrievers have a golden coat that comes with a slight difference in shades, but the most undesirable shades are unnecessarily pale and solid dark. Well, the good thing about Labrador Retrievers is that they are bred in three strikingly lush coat colors, including black, yellow, and chocolate. They look marvelous in all three! Yellow Labs usually appear in a hint of straw-gold or beige.

One thing to remember is that Labs never change their skin color. But, Golden Retrievers change the colors from white to beige to red to mahogany from infancy to adulthood. Their coat usually appears lighter in infancy and get darker in adulthood.

Coat length

If you like dogs with short, straight, and highly dense coats, go for Labradors. The short coat looks fun and easy to handle, but they give a pretty harsh experience when touched. Golden Retrievers have luscious long, and extremely dense coats. The hair is longer, especially around.


Labrador Retriever has a pointy tail, all covered in short, wiry, and rigid to-touch hair. In comparison, a Golden Retriever comes with a cute, feathery, and fluffy tail that goes back to the belly and legs covering the underside.

Health Concerns

Both Retrievers tend to experience the same health concerns. The most common are hip dysplasia and eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy.

In particular, Labradors suffer from obesity, heart disorders, exercise-induced collapse (EIC), and hereditary myopathy. Meanwhile, Golden Retrievers suffer from seizures, skin problems, laryngeal paralysis, hemangiosarcomas, elbow dysplasia, subvalvular aortic stenosis, and cancer (60% of the Golden Retrievers get cancer at one point in their lives).