Opinionated Comparisons

… compare and contrast

Labrador Retriever versus Golden Retriever

Posted by MAaP on June 5, 2008

The Labrador Retriever and the Golden Retriever are two of the most loved dog breeds. They’re also a common breed, and breeds you can truly call man’s best friend. The two are quite similar in some ways that many people don’t know which one to choose is asked what dog breed is the best.

Golden Retriever and Black Labrador

The Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

AKA: Black Labrador Retriever, Yellow Labrador Retriever, Chocolate Labrador Retriever, Silver Labrador Retriever, Lab

Color: Black, yellow, or chocolate colored. All colors are solids.

Height: Males 22.5 – 24.5 inches; Females 21.5 – 23.5.

Weight: Males 60 – 75 lbs; Females 55 – 70 lbs

The Labrador Retriever is a quick learner and is a very responsive breed. It is playful, energetic, and very friendly. It can get along with other dogs and household pets. There are many Labrador Retrievers that are hailed as heroes because of their intelligence and alert services for their human owners.

You might want to read about the following Labrador Retrievers who did their breed an honor:

The Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

AKA: Golden, Yellow Retriever, Goldie

Breed Group: Sporting, Gundog

Weight: males 60-80 lbs (27-36 kg), females 55-70 lbs (25-32 kg)

Height: males 22-24 inches (56-61 cm), females 20-22 inches (51-56 cm)

Color: The Golden Retriever has a coat that ranges from cream to a golden color.

The Golden Retriever is another heavy favorite among dog lovers. It is a well-balanced dog and is friendly and intelligent too. It gets along very well with other dogs and pets. It is also easy to train and makes a very good watchdog.

It is obvious how much Golden Retrievers are loved by the amount of stardom they have. The Golden Retriever is most likely the most used dog breed when it comes to TV shows and commercial ads, such as the following:

The Verdict: Well, in my list of my own favorite dog breeds, there is neither the Golden Retriever nor the Labrador. There are plenty of dog breeds to choose from and I usually opt for more distinctive breeds. Neverthless, I do recognize the lovable characteristics of the two and I would never complain of having either as a pet. But to choose one among them… well… I can’t choose. I’m a dog lover and I don’t really care what kind of dog it is.


36 Responses to “Labrador Retriever versus Golden Retriever”

  1. Hi

    To be totally honest, in the assistance dog world the cross between the Labrador and Golden retriever comes out as the most ideal model for the role. Having been partnered with Endal now for 11 years I obviously have a personnel preference in this debate… but saying that… we do live with Ikea, a nine year old Goldie, and he is as important in our lives as Endal is

    warmest regards

    Allen and Endal http://www.endal.co.uk

  2. Great comparison… Golden or Lab…. As someone who speaks with great authority I can tell you without a doubt that a Golden is the retriever with the mostest… No disrespect to any Labs that might be weighing in… (I have Lab friends…) but just look at any Golden…. we’re freaking gorgeous! (As full disclosure I should probably let you know that I’m a Golden Retriever…)

    Max the Golden Retriever
    Keep On Wagging!

  3. Jill said

    My dog has been acting very aggressive the past couple weeks and my cat is also acting strange. I hope they haven’t contracted rabies. I’m going to have to take them both to the vet.

  4. akash roy said

    you know i have been thinking of bying a dog but after discarding all other breeds i am left with these two it is very difficult to compere these breeds but in the end i have finalised that i will go with a LAB because looks are not so iportant for me accrding to
    me if looks matter to you go with a golden retriever if they dont go with a lab for sure


    WANNA SAY ANYTHING MAIL ME AT akash.ry@hotmail.com

  5. The two breeds do have other differences other than the ones you mentioned. Both are highly trainable dogs. They both descend from the St. John’s water dog, a breed bred in Newfoundland for hauling nets out of the water. Goldens, Labs, and flat-coats all have very close common ancestry even beyond these dogs, because well into the twentieth century, they were interbred. The practice was not stopped until 1916!

    Labs are mature earlier than goldens. Because of this, they are also better working retrievers and guide dogs, in part because the Lab does not have as much setter ancestry close in its pedigree. Goldens tend to quarter in long casts and air scent naturally like a setter, which is a no-no in a retriever trial, when the air scenting is meant to be much more controlled. Goldens are more sensitive than Labs, so they tend to get sulky if severely corrected. Most guide dogs are trained to intelligently disobey their handlers,despite harsh correction. This intelligent disobedience prevents the guide dog from taking its owner into a busy street, even though the owners is commanding the dog to go forward.

    Goldens can be more easily precision trained than Labs, so they do better in obedience trials and agility. Goldens are almost as easy to train in this regard as border collies are, especially if goldens come from a line that focuses on trainability as its main goal. Goldens are also preferred breed for assistance dogs for the mobility challenged, because they can be trained so precisely.

    Both breed are split into show and performance-bred ( for obedience and field) lines. Labs are the most popular dog in America and outnumber the Golden by at least 3 to 1. Labs are also international favorites, and it is estimated that they are the most popular dog breed in the world.

    Both breeds shed, but goldens have much more undercoat than the Labs do. Their shedding can be in epic proportions. If you don’t believe me, just get one and watch how much coat comes off of that dog in the spring and autumn. It is rather impressive, but it is also a massive mess.

    My own personal favorite of the two is the golden. I have a special place in my heart for the dark-colored field-line golden that most people think is a golden-Irish setter cross.

  6. rajesh said

    If its inbetween a lab and golden, I would preffer a golden. golden retrievers are more pleasing and more friendly, infact they are friendly with every one and any one.
    write to me on mynenirajesh@yahoo.com

  7. gaby said

    i love it

  8. Elizabeth said

    I love what Allen said about the cross of the two breeds for assistance dog work. I work with future guide dogs, and from what I’ve seen, his statement is very true. Both our purebred Labs and Goldens have their strengths and weaknesses, but the Goldadors have proven to be excellent dogs overall.

  9. Maya said

    Wow! This is such a great debated! Honestly, I don’t think you can say which is the “better” breed. I’ve had both, individually and separately, and truly, they are better together.

    I think they are perfect compliments to each other… flip sides of the same coin, if you will. Both are unerringly loyal, but your Golden will try to play with your Mail Man, while your Lab runs him off! Your Golden “needs” you more, while your Lab is more independant. Though your Lab thoroughly enjoys a good romp with you, your Golden more likely enjoys a good romp with your kids.

    Other than that, I don’t know if I’d agree with the statement that “Labs mature earlier than Goldens.” I’d be more likely to say that both stay quite puppy-ish for some time… a blessing and a curse! 😀

  10. One interesting fact I know about the Lab is that they have been used to help fishermen bring nets back to shore becasue they are particularly good at grabbing floating corks at the end of nets and dragging them back to shore.

  11. Katie said

    I would say I love both: labs and golden retrievers.
    I’ve had both breeds and although I dont know much about them I’d say I prefer Goldies cause they are less anxious and crazy!!
    Although my dog, which is a dark-colored goldie, is too protective and so I have had to seriously learn on how to educate him.
    But still I’m totally in love with this breed eventhough labs are absolutly adorable specially cause they are crazy active!
    All dogs are just adorable!
    Is us who need to learn about them!

  12. lola said

    I’m so excited about reading this article. I love the debate, and it is time for a new puppy for our family. I am in love with the furry appearance of the Golden, and now I just need to find one and pick out a name!

  13. GOLDENRYAN said

    i love goldens i like labs but i like the golden sorry labs

  14. vlad said

    oh sorry i forgot this was the dog part :)) i like labs

  15. I love goldens labs are just too spunky for me, and goldens are always sweet and lovable and there just bout the cutiest little things ever!

  16. Baby Britt said

    love goldens always have, and there puppys are adorable

  17. Ashley said

    I choose the labs I love the colours they also come in Silver and fox red too just as goldens too which lots of people don’t know 😀

  18. BB00 said

    I have a 3 yr old yellow lab and I’m getting a golden retriever puppy in a few weeks! So ill have one of each!

  19. My aunt breeds labs and goldens, and i see them a lot and know a thing or to of them.
    goldens are more mellow, need around a long walk in the morning and evening and around 15 minutes of fetch or ball games, plus mental stimulation. they are generally better in smaller spaces, since they tire quicker. Golden puppies are slightly less mouthy, easier trained, and just so cute! they do act puppylike for a while longer, but not too exuberant. to me, they are the perfect dog, but labs arent bad either! just from experience from my golden retriever, Cookie. oh, and did i say they are sooo friendly?

    Labs, are more energetic and need two long walks plus 30 minutes of free running and some type of mental stimulation. they need a little more space, since lab puppies can be hyperactive if not bred well. they are one of the top breeds to be mouthy as pups, and are not recommended for first time owners. labs are stubborn when they want to, but can be trained. they are very friendly, loving, and smart. they are more independent, businesslike, which makes them good for sports.

    both shed, but it is somewhat easier to brush a golden than a lab. labs have short hair, so when it sheds it is so hard to get it all off the floor. goldens have longer fur, easier to see but if u dont pick up will be an eyesore. despite beliefs, they do not have a smell unless they have a problem which means a vet visit. labs are great, versatile dogs, but goldens are more intelligent, simply because they are more responsive and when bored labs do their thing and dont listen to you. both are not great guard dogs, labs a bit more protective, goldens not high barkers. labs are friendly, but from my experiences goldens are loyal for life.
    correct me if im wrong, but my aunt and i have helped many dogs give birth, registered, raised them, and been in contact with them.

  20. Natalie said

    Hi i am getting a puppy soon it is a Labrador retriever cross golden retriever.
    Mother is a golden retriever and father is black labrador.
    The puppies are black.
    Will their be a difference with the puppies being a cross between both??

    Just need some informtation?

    Do you think the dog will be abit smaller with it being a cross ?
    And will it be less hyper?

    Thanks Natalie

    • goldens and labs said

      well its very hard to say because they can all be related, but when they grow up they may all be very different.such as thier temperaments.they can have long coats with the black lab color or short coats like the lab.but not all dogs are akc standard suck as some goldens and labs are aggressive from over crossing two related dogs.some dogs may have older relatives that had very bad temperaments and they may have good temperaments when thier pups but thier personalities are just starting to develope and they could have that temperament ,but when you cross breed a dog you usually cross those kind of problems out of the breed.i tink the dog you pick will be wonderful because both breeds are sweet as pie
      -good luck

  21. Sami said

    i used to have both, my lab was rly energetic and a little more independent and reserved. my golden was more laid back and affectionate. so from ma experience those are the main differences between them, other den dat i think theyre the same. but i like goldens better, haha i have one right now 🙂


  22. Linda said

    Decisions, decisions! Life is too short to spend time debating this when either one is a Win Win situation!

  23. MAACH said

    If the debate is Btwen golden & labrador retriever ,sorry goldies, my words are for LABS.
    I have two labs; a yellow & black. Both surprise me every moment.They always make me alive. Labs are very pleasing , playful , independent , energetic & gentle dogs.As both the retrievers have the brain to catch the human language , I think labs stand first in it. Labs may be poor in looks when compared to Goldies. I have to agree for it. But Goldies need more vet care than Labs. This may troubled some of the Goldie Lovers !!
    This comment doesnt mean I am against Goldies. Ilove Goldies but prefer LABS more.

  24. amanda said

    I am looking for a new dog..I am thinking more and more of a Yellow Lab. A golden is beautiful too..The husband is set on a “Marley” dog. 😀 BUT I AM SET ON A FEMALE! I have my eye on a dog, I have to go get her. (5 hr train ride & 5 hr drive, that is one way) Hope she is a good traveller! 😀

  25. Shammi said

    Goldens are ofcourse the better dog to own, it is a master’s delight & lot more obedient. This i am saying after owning a Labrador with whom i am very happy to own but i know Goldens are better, it is not the case of finding the other part of grass to be green. I personally would like Golden better. If you have plans of buying a Golden or Lab, choose a Golden.


  26. Brody's Mama said

    I have always had a tough time with labs, they are sooooo energetic and tough to keep busy if you have a busy lifestyle. When I saw my Brody I just couldn’t say no. He is a yellow lab golden retriever mix and I have never seen a dog that loves kids more!!

    He knows just how to act with my 4 month old nephew or my 6 year old nephew. Exactly what they need to feel comfortable and happy. They all say “Brody loves me” and it couldn’t be more true. He is amazing with children. He does dig, which is obnoxious, but never in the grass and only in the kennel. We definately don’t exercise him enough. My husband and I both had demanding jobs and now that I am pregnant and not working, I can’t walk both the 100 lb great dane and the 61 lb Brody. Also, Brody doesn’t like water, strangely.

    The dane has definately destroyed more things then Brody, which surprises me as I have had labs before and they are destructive if not properly exercised. Brody is my baby and one of the favorite dogs I’ve ever had. Even though as we speak he is getting yelled at for dragging clothes out of the dirty laundry. After he gets yelled at he will just sit with his ears cocked and want me to pet him.

    I vote for a cross. Amazing dog.

  27. mandy said

    I have a litter of golden retriever cross yellow labs at the moment, my dog has had a previous litter of these cross pups before and i`ve kept in touch with all owners of pups, everyone who has brought a puppy from me think the cross is a perfect family dog and can`t speak highly enough of them.

  28. Pete Gough said

    I have both, a black lab and a golden retriever, they are both excellent dogs who are very loving. They were born within 6 weeks of each other and they have grown up together, they look after each other as well as looking after the family.

    I would recommend them as pets, they are surely the best dogs in the world…..Bias I know 🙂 I am a very lucky guy!!


  29. Kate said

    I love both breeds, but the Lab is my favorite breed of all. At its best the Lab has everything: the most loving temperament, the keenest intelligence, and the highest ability to work in partnership with mankind as a service dog. This is why Labs predominate in all service capacities. My lab has never once shown aggression toward a human or another dog, yet he bravely stood down a large coyote who came onto our deck one night. I agree with the comment above that Labs have an exceptional capacity for learning human language. My own Lab has mastery of about 200 words. People say that Goldens are more beautiful, and that is hard to dispute, but a Lab with a large, fine, handsome head and expressive dark eyes is gorgeous beyond compare to me! Watching a Lab in action–both on land and in water– is thrilling! We are blessed to have two such fabulous breeds on Earth! Each is an extraordinary gift to mankind!

  30. Rachel said

    I love both breeds myself but I own a Golden Retriever and he is the best damn dog I have ever owned….My family just got a Golden Labrador Retriever, the hybrid, and she is starting to rate right up there with him and she is only 16 weeks old. 🙂 But I loved this comparison…I am a dog lover too and as long as the dog is good to my kids its a winner to me! As I dearly miss my 13 year old Bassett Hound I lost last year.

  31. John said

    My wife got me a Lab/Golden mix back in febuary he was born in dec 11. His looks are just like the yellow lab. He has by far been one of the most loyal and smartest dogs I have ever had.after all my research online an can say he has taken to the golden as far as getting yelled at and that almost never happens due to him being so increadably smart and loyal. I have just added a 6 month old akc yellow lab female to be his lifelong companion we got her from a lab rescue someone spent good money for her and turned her in (said she was to hyper) In findings from the two our female Lab is vocal and has learned to speak for a treat super fast and our lab golden is not very vocal just if someone has pulled up or next door and he hears other dogs bark. our females bark is even deeper. he is easier to train and picks up faster.
    all and all they are both wonderfull bundles of joy I have never had an akc golden but having akc lab and him being a mix I would never have it any other way.

  32. brad h said

    i think as a hunter,if you took the top 50 dogs in the u s, the top would be a golden.but 9 of the ten would be labs.make sense ?.think the labs are little more consistent.can’t beat a golden for a housedog though.

  33. Barry said

    Our Tuffy a male 16 months old black Labrador is the best we have ever seen of any breeds, he is so agile & loyal. He is non stop action & is very very mouthy. He wants to chew on anything that is available, round the clock. He is extremely adorable & is the favorite of everybody in our family. My vote for Labrador (I have no experience of Golden though)

  34. Leslie said

    Our lab/golden mix is a wonderful dog. Because of the hybrid, she has been so healthy and free of any cancer or ortho problems. She is now on her way to 15 years old and is loyal, sweet, wonderful with kids and just the most adaptable and best companion dog in the world. I wish it were easier to find this designer breed so my daughter and son in law could find a pup like this! They are looking. Anyone have one to sell in California?

  35. Fiona M said

    Would love some feedback….. I own a 3yr male retrievador named Baxter and yes agree with all statements above his temperment is very loyal and loving whilst having a very very checky nature about him. I also have another 3yr male labrador retrievor called Benson who is very active and love to antagonise Baxter where ever he can. As I am looking to invest in larger property for my boys to run around in, thinking about purchasing another two female companions in the near future (more the merrier). I am wanting to stick with the same breeds and wanting them to be from a solid black litter. Especially interested if there is a breeder or website where I can find a female black retrievador (Retrievor / Lab X) as I am having difficulties in finding breeders who are selling these puppies. Can anyone provide any suggesions to assist wih my search.

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