Golden Retriever vs Labrador Similarities & Differences (Indepth Guide)

Golden Retrievers and Labradors are two popular dog breeds with many similarities, such as being family-friendly, active, intelligent, and affectionate. While both breeds are high shedders and not hypoallergenic, Golden Retrievers require more grooming due to their long double coats.

In terms of appearance, Golden Retrievers come in all shades of gold, while Labradors come in black, chocolate, and yellow. Labradors are known to be more lively and have a higher prey drive than Golden Retrievers.

yellow lab vs golden retriever
labrador retrievers vs golden retrievers

Goldens are prone to certain health problems that are less common in Labradors. Whether you’re looking for a compatible pet or a working companion, understanding the difference between lab and golden retriever can help you make an informed decision.

Golden Retriever vs lab: Breed Registry Of Retriever Breed

American Kennel Club (AKC) announced Labrador Retriever as 2nd most popular dog breed and Golden Retriever as the number three most popular breed in 2022. Golden Retrievers and Labradors are highly intelligent and love being around small children. 

Ultimate Comparison Guide: Goldens Vs Labs

 Golden vs Labrador Retriever: Origins

Golden RetrieverLabrador Retriever
Origins can be traced to the Scottish highlands.Bred in Canada in the mid-1800s as a water gun dog and as hunting dogs.
They have a soft and gentle mouth and were used for bringing prey shot by their owners.They are known for being excellent sporting dogs.

golden retriever vs labrador size

BreedChest Size
GoldensSlimmer and narrow

Lab vs golden retriever: Coat

BreedCoat TypeCoat Description
Golden RetrieversDouble coatDense, long, feathered undercoat to keep them warm
Labrador RetrieversDouble coatThick undercoat, oily outer coat impermeable to water

lab vs golden Retriever personality

BreedDependence on HumanIntelligence Level
Golden RetrieversHappy when humans are aroundHighly intelligent
Labrador RetrieversFar more independent than Golden RetrieverModerate intelligence

Labrador retrievers vs golden retrievers: Coloration

Golden RetrieversLight golden to dark golden as they age
Labrador RetrieversBlack, yellow, chocolate, champagne, fox red, silver, white

Labradors vs golden retrievers: Trainability And Competitiveness

Golden RetrieversLove to compete with other dogsLess inclined toward competition
Labrador RetrieversRespond well to rewards and praiseLess inclined towards competition

Labrador vs golden: Exercise

BreedExercise RequirementEnergy Level
Golden RetrieversAt least one hour of exercise dailyHigh energy for long walks and hikes
Labrador RetrieversAt least 30-60 minutes of exercise dailyHighly energetic, can handle more

Golden Retriever vs Labrador personality

BreedPersonalityTrainabilityFamily Compatibility
Golden RetrieversGoofy, gentle, sweet, and gentleEasy to trainExcellent family dogs
Labrador RetrieversGoofy, gentle, slightly rougherSlightly less intelligentExcellent family dogs

Golden vs labrador: Health Concerns

BreedCommon Health Concerns
Golden RetrieversHip and elbow dysplasia, skin issues, seizures, cancer, genetic diseases, obesity
Labrador RetrieversEntropion, exercise-induced collapse, malformation of knees and elbows, hip and elbow dysplasia, laryngeal paralysis, etc.

Labrador retriever and golden retriever: Nutrition

BreedNutritional Considerations
Golden RetrieversHigh-quality food rich in Omega 3
Labrador RetrieversAnimal protein is more important. Foodie tendencies

Golden labrador vs golden retriever: Cancer Rates 

BreedCancer Rates
Golden RetrieversHigher chance of catching cancer, e.g., Hemangiosarcoma, Lymphoma
Labrador RetrieversLower chances, but can be afflicted by Lymphosarcoma cancer

Yellow labrador vs golden retriever: Grooming

BreedCoat TypeGrooming Needs
Golden RetrieversSoft, flowy coatRegular bathing and more attention to grooming
Labrador RetrieversShorter top coatEasier to maintain, less frequent bathing required

golden retriever vs labrador shedding

Goldens shed more hair than Labrador Retrievers. Hence, you must groom the Golden retriever daily and not the Lab. 

golden retriever vs labrador energy

BreedEnergy LevelActivity Preferences
Golden RetrieversHigh energy levelEnjoy an active lifestyle, running, swimming, playing
Labrador RetrieversModerate to high energy levelSome prefer a tranquil, calm environment, but still active

Labrador versus golden retriever: Intelligence 

Goldens and Labs are both intelligent. Golden Retriever has been categorized as the fourth most intelligent breed, and Labradors as the 7th most intelligent breed. 

Golden retriever v lab: Life Expectancy

Goldens have a little more life expectancy than Labradors. Goldens live about 10-13 years, while Labs around 10-12 years. However, the lifespan may vary based on food quality, health problems, etc.

Labrador puppy vs golden retriever: Barking 

If you own a dog, barking comes as a bonus. Labs bark much more than Golden Retrievers. Use proper training techniques to eliminate barking issues if severe. 

Labs vs golden retrievers: Obesity 

Labradors are more obesity-prone compared to Golden Retrievers. Labs have a specific gene variant making them 8 pounds heavier than other breeds. 

Golden retriever versus labrador: Webbed Feet

Labradors have a membrane between each toe that connects them and makes a webbed paw. However, Labs are not the only breed with webbed feet; Portuguese Waterdogs and Poodles also have. 

labrador puppy vs golden retriever
yellow lab versus golden retriever

Yellow labrador vs golden retriever

Golden Retrievers have long, flowing coats ranging from light to dark gold, while Yellow Labradors have short, dense coats that come in shades of yellow. Yellow Labradors tend to have more energy and require more exercise than Golden Retrievers. Yellow Labs are often considered more stubborn and independent than Golden Retrievers,

Are golden retrievers and labs related?

Now as the golden retriever and labrador difference is clear, time for some similarities. Both breeds share a history as hunting retrievers. But wait, is a Golden Retriever a Labrador? They are not the same, but their social temperament is the same. Both are kind. This is evident from their relationship with infants to older people.

Labs and Goldens mix well with other dogs. You will rarely see an aggressive retriever. A well-trained pooch from both breeds will be gentle, loving, and playful. Let’s check some more similarities, shall we?

Do golden retrievers or yellow labs shed more?

Shedding is another commonality. Both are not hypoallergenic. A yellow labrador is often confused with a Goldie. A Golden or a Lab can become a destructive dog when left alone. Enthusiasm is high in both. Their energy must be channeled in the right direction with adequate mental and physical exercise. Typical areas of similarities are –

  1. Coat Color: The Golden hues in both breeds make them look alike. You must look closely to distinguish. 
  2. Golden retriever vs labrador size: Male Golden retriever is 23-24 inches tall, while Labs are 22.5-24.4 inches. Female Goldens are 21.5-22.5 inches tall, and Labs are 21.5-23.5 inches. 
  3. Weight: The weight of a Male Golden Retrievers is about 65-75 pounds, and that of a Lab is 65-80 pounds. A female Golden Retriever is 55-65 pounds, and a Lab is 55 to 70 pounds.
  4. Both friendly dogs are always enthusiastic. Their long, wagging tails can make them look alike. 
lab retriever vs golden retriever
labrador versus golden retriever

How To Tell These Look-Alike Dog Breeds Apart?

At times, it is hard to distinguish between a Golden and a Lab. However, after this blog on the two breeds, you can tell which is which easily.  Interested to know how to do it at first glance? Let’s dive in

Confused between flat-coated Retriever vs Labrador?

Check for the color and coat. The dog with a feathery coat and golden hue is mostly likely your Golden Retriever. And one with a short outer and furry coat has to be your Lab. Did you notice the jaw?–  The Golden retriever’s jaw is lean compared to Lab’s broad jaws. 

Another smart technique

Now look to identify the lookalikes is looking at the snout. Golden Retrievers have a long snout compared to the wide snout of the Lab.

Check the tails

So which one is fluffier? Labrador Retrievers have pointy tails, and Golden Retrievers have fluffy ones. 

golden retriever vs golden lab
lab vs retriever

Which is more elegant?

Golden is more slender; you can expect an elegant look. While Labrador Retriever exhibits a muscular appearance. Labrador puppies can be distinguished based on this.

Let’s come to eye color.

Expect the Golden Retriever to have a slightly darker eye color than Labrador Retriever. While both have brown eyes, Goldens have slightly darker. 


This is another distinguishable trait. A Golden Retriever is more clingy toward its dog owners. Labs, on the other hand, look more independent. Use these techniques next time you see any of the two and are unsure about the breed. While they do look similar, now you can differentiate them in minutes 

lab vs Golden Retriever pros and cons

Let’s look at the pros and cons of a golden retriever vs labrador.

golden retriever and labrador difference
golden lab vs golden retriever

Common Mixes

People wonder whether they should get a yellow Lab or a golden one. While the debate between Golden Labrador vs Golden Retriever continues, the Lab is only available in black, yellow, and chocolate.

Golden retrievers generally have a yellow, golden tinge. Breeders have bred them together to create an awesome mix like the Goldador. They are also medium-sized dogs that get the best of both parents.

Golden retriever vs labrador puppy: Costs of Raising

Irrespective of your breed, be prepared to spend about $ 2000 per year for proper care. Your pooch pal needs attention, care, food, maintenance items, toys, vet bills, etc. Actual cost will vary depending on your dog food’s quality and other items. The cost of an adult pooch will differ from a young one. 

Expect to spend between $ 2100 to $ 2900 in the first year of a Golden Retriever. For adult years, it might cost $ 1700 to $ 2600. For Labrador Retrievers, ready to spend anything between $ 85 to $ 835 per month. The yearly cost can stretch from $ 1200 to $ 10000. However, any unexpected injury or accident can add up to the final costs. 

yellow labrador vs golden retriever
lab vs golden retriever

Why Is It Essential To Understand The Needs of Both Breeds?

You are up for a ride if you don’t have time to train your dog properly. Significant changes in behavior have been seen when their needs are not understood.  A Golden Retriever is a high-energy breed trained to work hard and carry things in their mouth. Insufficient physical exercise can land you with a few problems. Common behavioral problems associated with a Golden Retriever are –

  • Pulling on the leash.
  • Jumping on people.
  • Digging.
  • Demanding Attention.
  • Destructive Chewing.

Since Labs were bred to do similar work of carrying things in their mouth, they also reflect similar issues. Want to know how you can tackle the problem? Whether it is Labrador Retriever vs Golden, here are a few tips to prevent and handle the bad behavior of both breeds.

  • Remember to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.
  • Ensure to meet their social, sleep, and play needs.
  • Stop accidentally reinforcing bad behavior. 
  • Redirect them to do something you want them to do. 
  • Practice positive reinforcement training techniques.

Behavioral issues are normal. However, there are several ways to fix their behavior. The best way is to satisfy their needs, remove temptation, and provide them with a job. 

  1. Give them puzzle toys,
  2. provide them with chew toys,
  3. take them on walks,
  4. train them and
  5. take your dog to daycare.

While both breeds are lovely and playful, not paying attention to their needs can make them naughty. You can also take professional help if required. 

labrador vs golden retriever
golden retriever vs lab

Golden Retriever vs. Lab: Which Breed Is Right For You?

While both breeds have perks, it’s hard to tell which suits you better. The final call comes down to your personality and lifestyle. Here are a few personality traits to help you match the right breed.

People who can prefer Golden Retriever –

  • Are you willing to be your pet’s sun, star, and moon? It means you must be there for your dog most of the time. It is because a Golden will do the same for its owner. 
  • Someone unwilling to leave the dog for long stretches during the day. 
  • Golden Retriever can suit you if you are happy simply with the presence of a pooch. Because the dog may not have too many ideas of their own. 
  • Someone ready to give proper training for a solid foundation. If you want a Golden Retriever to be able to help mentally and physically, training on your part is a must. 

People who can prefer Labrador Retriever –

  • If you want a loyal dog even after saying no to treats, you are a Labrador person.
  • If you appreciate the smartness in your pooch and are ready to support him mentally and physically. 
  • If you know how to balance your dog’s downtime and exercise. 
  • Someone interested in teaching the dog chores, fishing, and hunting.
golden retriever vs labrador puppy
golden retriever vs yellow lab

How Can You Choose Between a Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever?

With an arsenal of similarities and differences at the helm, it ain’t easy to decide. So, how do you make the final decision? You can try spending some time with reputable breeders. They accurately understand a breed’s history, heritage, and temperament. They will better suggest the right breed based on your personality. 

You must know of a local kennel club. Go there and talk to reputable breeders about their dogs and get tips. Hearing from someone with first-hand experience will give you quality insight. So, instead of talking to that one person in the dog park, you will get diversified opinions. 

Dog lovers are less likely to go wrong with any breed. A Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever are the world’s two most popular dog breeds. Irrespective of the type chosen, they can be excellent family additions. Whatever your personal preference is, expect to have a loyal and energetic pooch. You are guaranteed to bring home a dog you will love and adore. 

golden retriever vs labrador
labs vs golden retrievers

FAQs: Golden retriever puppy vs labrador puppy

Which is better, a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever?

Both breeds make excellent family pet dogs. However, opt for Golden Retriever if you prefer intelligent and energetic pals. They can also be good therapy dogs. And if you want a sporting dog and local friend, try a Lab. 

Which is more intelligent, the Golden Retriever or the Labrador Retriever? 

Both Golden Retrievers and Labradors are highly intelligent breeds. However, when it comes to ranking, Goldens are ranked above the Labs. 

Which is bigger, Golden Retriever or Labrador Retriever? 

You can expect the Lab to be stockier and more muscular than the Labrador Retriever. While both are medium-sized pets, Labs can be slightly bigger.

Do Golden Retrievers bark less than Labrador?

Goldens bark slightly lesser than Labrador Retrievers. However, Labs can also be trained well to keep the barking moderate.

Which is better, a Labrador retriever or Golden Retriever for kids?

A Golden Retriever is believed to be gentle and prefers a tranquil atmosphere. At the same time, Labs adapt quickly to households with loud and lively kids. However, both are family-friendly pets.

While still a puppy, can you distinguish a golden retriever from a labrador?

Yes, you can distinguish. A Golden Retriever pup has thicker hair compared to a Labrador Retriever. Labs also have a broader jaw, while Goldens are narrow and lean. 

Does neutering have any negative effect on the health of a dog?

Neutering is a major operation and needs anesthesia. With anesthesia comes the risk of complications that can also cause death. However, modern anesthetics lower the risk to a great extent. 

Are golden retrievers smarter than labs?

According to a study published in the journal Intelligence, golden retrievers are ranked as the fourth smartest dog breed, while Labrador retrievers are ranked as the seventh smartest dog breed.

Are golden retrievers and labradors the same?

Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are both retriever breeds but not the same breed. There are some key physical and personality differences between the two breeds.

Are golden retrievers bigger than labradors?

Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are about the same size. Male golden retrievers weigh between 65 and 75 pounds, while male Labrador retrievers weigh between 65 and 80 pounds. Female golden retrievers weigh between 55 and 65 pounds, while female Labrador retrievers weigh between 55 and 70 pounds.

Do golden retrievers have webbed feet?

Yes, golden retrievers have webbed feet. This helps them to swim more efficiently. Labrador retrievers also have webbed feet.

Are They Good With Other Dogs and Cats?

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are both good with other dogs and people. Both breeds are excellent candidates if you are considering multiple dogs at home.

Labs and Goldens top the table of cat-friendly dogs. However, they will need proper training. Once done, they can be a good roommate for the cats. 

Do They Bark A Lot?

If you have a dog at home, some barking comes along. However, neither Golden Retrievers nor Labrador Retrievers are serious barkers. Also, Goldens bark a little less than Labrador Retrievers. 

Do Golden Retrievers smell?

Not all Golden’s smell. However, the breed is expected to produce a particular odor due to excessive fur. If the thick coat harbors dirt and bacteria, it can smell fishy.

Does a Golden Retriever become aggressive?

Golden Retrievers are inherently not aggressive. They are gentle, affectionate, loving, and excellent family dogs. They mix well with people, kids, and other pets at home. 

What is the difference between golden and Labrador Retriever?

Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are both popular breeds of dogs, but there are some differences between them.

Golden retrievers have a longer coat that is typically golden, while Labrador retrievers have a shorter coat that comes in black, chocolate, or yellow.

Labradors tend to be larger and more muscular than golden retrievers, but both breeds are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities.

Are golden retrievers calmer than Labradors?

Both golden retrievers and Labradors are generally friendly and affectionate dogs, but there is no clear consensus on which breed is calmer. It depends on the individual dog and its personality, as well as its training and socialization.

Can golden retrievers be left alone?

While no dog should be left alone for extended periods, golden retrievers can handle being left alone for a few hours as long as they have access to food, water, and a safe place to rest. However, ensure they get plenty of exercise and socialization when you are home with them.

Why are Labs so popular?

Labrador retrievers are popular for several reasons, including their friendly and outgoing personalities, versatility as working dogs, and trainability. They are popular with families because they are good with children and pets.

How can you tell if a golden retriever is purebred?

To determine if a golden retriever is purebred, you can look for certain physical characteristics such as its long, golden coat, floppy ears, and muscular build. It’s also important to ask the breeder for documentation that shows the dog’s lineage and registration with a reputable kennel club.

Why are Labs more popular than Goldens?

While golden retrievers are also a popular breed, Labradors are often more popular because they are known for their versatility as working dogs. A lab is often used as a service dog, search and rescue dog, and hunting dog, which has helped make them a popular choice among many.

Is Labrador a guard dog?

Labradors are not typically considered to be guard dogs, as they are generally too friendly and outgoing to be effective at protecting their home or family. However, they can be trained to bark or alert their owners if they sense a potential threat.

Is a Golden Lab a good family dog?

Golden Labs, a mix of golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers, can make great family dogs as they tend to inherit both breeds’ friendly and outgoing personalities. However, each dog has their unique personality and needs.

Is a golden retriever a good first dog?

Golden retrievers can make great first dogs for people willing to commit the time and effort to train and socialize them properly. They are generally friendly, affectionate, and easy to train but require plenty of exercise and attention.

Which dog is easier to train, Labrador or a golden retriever?

Labrador and golden retrievers are generally easy to train, as they are intelligent and eager to please their owners. However, Labradors tend to be more food-motivated and may be slightly easier to train.

Which is more loyal golden retriever or Labrador?

Golden and Labrador retrievers are known for their loyalty and devotion to their owners. It’s difficult to say which breed is more loyal, as it depends on the individual dog and its relationship with its owner.

Author Profile

Shradha Kabra
Shradha KabraLifetime dog Enthusiast
Shradha is a seasoned writer at, an authoritative resource for all things Labrador Retriever. Her experience as a pet owner and dog enthusiast drives her to create meticulously researched and fact-checked content, offering valuable insights on Labrador training, grooming, and health. Each article reflects Shradha's passion and dedication, enriched by personal experiences with her beloved Labradors, Tom, and Kurt. Whether exploring breed-specific training techniques or providing product reviews, Shradha ensures Labrador owners receive the most accurate, up-to-date, and trustworthy information, aimed at enhancing their companions' health and happiness