How To Recognize The Beautiful Lab vs Golden Retriever

Labradors and Goldies are some of the most popular dogs in the world. And it is for a good reason. Both dogs are highly affectionate, intelligent, and friendly. Due to their similarities, some people struggle to differentiate the Lab vs Golden Retriever. 

Looking at their appearance, Labradors have shorter, less fluffy coats compared to Goldies. Golden Retrievers are more relaxed, compared to the energetic Labradors. There are a few more noticeable differences between these two breeds.

Lab vs Golden Retriever – Pros And Cons

Both breeds have their positive and negative traits that you should know about before choosing one.

The Labrador Retriever is an intelligent, affectionate, and friendly dog that perfectly fits in a loud household. Its coat is made perfectly for swimming. The negative sides of this breed are its susceptibility to separation anxiety and exercise-induced collapse.

The Golden Retriever is as loving, friendly, and smart as the Labrador. It enjoys the quiet, so it will be better suited for relaxing households. Its coat is perfectly crafted for protection. The disadvantages of Goldens are their predisposition to separation anxiety and heart disease.

Origins of Labrador and Golden Retrievers 

Even though they are similar dogs in their appearance, both come from different parts of the world.

Labrador Retrievers originate from Newfoundland, Canada. They gained the most popularity in the 19th century when they were used by fishermen and hunters to hunt birds and fish. This dog was accepted by the AKC in 1917 and has been the world’s #1 dog since 1991.

Golden Retrievers originate from Scotland and were bred by Lord Tweedmouth who wanted to create the perfect gun dog. The breed was popularized in the USA when president Gerald Ford adopted one for himself. It was officially accepted by the AKC in 1925.

Differences In Their Appearance

Labs and Goldens are both medium-sized dogs with developed bodies. They both have folded ears, webbed feet, and soft mouths. But they are also very different. Labradors have broad chests and “otter tails” helping them swim better. Goldens have slim, narrow chests and longer fluffier tails making them look more elegant.

Labrador vs Golden Retriever Size

Labrador Retrievers can grow as tall as 21.5-24.5 inches and weigh as much as 55-80 pounds. Golden Retrievers can reach a height of 21.5-24 inches, and a weight of 55-75 pounds. 

Coat And Color

Labrador Retrievers have a short double coat. Their dense undercoat protects them from the cold, while their oily top coat helps them swim in the water. They only come in three colors: black, chocolate, and yellow, without any patches.

Golden Retrievers have a medium double coat. They also have a dense undercoat for keeping them warm, and a long top coat that protects them when moving through brambles. They also come in three color variations: light golden, golden, and dark golden.

Lab vs Golden Retriever Personality

Both breeds need a lot of exercise during the day and will get destructive if they don’t receive it. After they’ve had their exercise, Goldens tend to be more relaxed and like to cuddle with their owners. Compared to them, Labs are very energetic and enthusiastic and will like to play as much as possible.

Goldens like to think first before doing, compared to Labs that like to go in head first in everything. Both dogs are very intelligent, but they are also quite stubborn and have a mind of their own.

Are Labs Or Golden Retrievers More Affectionate?

There isn’t a clear answer to this question. Both breeds are very affectionate with their family and love to cuddle. They form strong bonds with their family and don’t like being alone for too long. Labs shouldn’t be left alone for long. The same goes for Goldies. Both are prone to separation anxiety.

Both dogs get along with children well. Labs tend to like older children more as they like to play, compared to Goldens who like the more quiet homes.

Taking Care Of The Labrador And The Golden Retriever

Caring for a Labrador vs a Retriever will not differ too much. Both dogs require proper health checks, nutrition, grooming, exercise, and training.

Health And Lifespan

The life expectancy of Labradors is around 11-13 years. Golden Retrievers have a lifespan of 10-12 years. There are a few common health problems in these dogs to have in mind.

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia – This musculoskeletal disease affects the hip and elbow joints. It happens because of the badly developed ball and socket joints. Your dog will have pain in its joints and you will notice it limping and having difficulty walking.
  • Eye problems – Progressive Retinal Atrophy is common with both Goldies and Labs. It deteriorates retinal cells and leads to night vision problems and blindness. Golden Retriever Pigmentary Uveitis is another eye problem common in Goldies.
  • Exercise-Induced Collapse – This inherited neuromuscular disease is more common in Labs than in Goldens. The symptoms appear after some strenuous activity. They include muscle weakness, lack of coordination, and even sudden death.
  • Heart disease – Subvalvular aortic stenosis (SAS) is a common disease found in Goldies. You might not notice it until your dog collapses, but it should be screened for early in its life. These dogs are also prone to Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM).


No matter if you have a Golden Retriever or Labrador you will need to feed the dog with high-quality food. This food should be from a reliable company. Choose between companies like Pedigree vs Purina dog food and similar. It should include more protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fatty acids. It should also have fewer grains, fillers, and artificial ingredients.

You should watch out for how much food you give your dog. Both breeds will need around 3 cups of food every day. If you give them too much food or treats, these dogs have a risk of becoming overweight and obese.

Exercise And Training

Because both breeds were bred as working dogs, they have developed a high energy level. On average, both dogs will need around 1 hour of exercise every day. You can split this into two or more sessions. Besides walking to the park, you can take the dogs running, hiking, or playing some games. Labradors are great swimmers, but so are Goldies, and they will enjoy going swimming with you.

Training both dogs can be easier due to their high intelligence. However, they can get a bit stubborn and need some persistence in their training. Either way, if properly trained and socialized, these dogs can even be used as guide dogs and therapy dogs.


Comparing yellow Lab vs Golden Retriever grooming needs will show a few differences. Both dogs tend to shed so they will need to be brushed at least once a week. This should be increased during the seasonal shedding. Goldies should be bathed once every 4-6 weeks, and the same goes for Labs. 

You should use a shampoo made for dogs and avoid overbathing them. After bathing, make sure to clean their ears to prevent ear infections. Their ears should also be checked regularly due to their floppy ears.

Goldies grow a lot of fur around their ears, neck, legs, feet, and tail which need trimming once every two months. Both breeds need their nails trimmed and teeth brushed regularly.

Price Difference Between Golden Retriever And Labrador

If you decided to get one of these dogs for yourself, there are two options you can try. One is buying from a groomer, and the other is adopting from a shelter

Cost Of Buying

The price of a Labrador Retriever puppy can range from $1000-$2500. Compared to that, a Golden Retriever puppy costs around $1000-$1300. Make sure you buy puppies from reliable breeders. They should give you all the documents and information about the puppy. You can also ask to see its parents to see how the pup will grow up to be. Avoid puppy mills at all costs.

Option Of Adopting

Another option to get one of these pups for yourself is to adopt one. Giving a home to a puppy that doesn’t have one is a humane thing to do. Most of the time shelters have mixed breeds and older pups for adoption. There are some beautiful mixed puppies out there, like the Pomeranian and Golden Retriever mix puppy. But if you are okay with that, adopting one will give you a lifelong friend. It will also cost you much less than getting it from a breeder.

Final Thoughts – Lab vs Golden Retriever

Labrador and Golden Retrievers are some of the most popular dogs in the world. And for a good reason. Both dogs are affectionate, intelligent, and friendly, which makes them the perfect family dog.

Being raised for hunting and retrieving, both breeds developed a strong build and a high energy level. But they require a lot of exercise to remain satisfied. Goldies developed a fluffier coat to protect them when moving through brambles. Labs developed an oily coat and otter tail to help them swim in the water.

These dogs also need proper training, grooming, and nutrition to be happy and healthy. If you want one for yourself, you can buy it from a breeder or adopt it from a shelter.


Can you mix Labradors and Golden Retrievers?

Yes. Mixing a Labrador with a Golden Retriever will give you a Goldador. This dog has the best traits of both parent breeds. It is an affectionate, friendly, and happy breed that makes for an amazing family pet.

Is a Lab smarter than a Golden Retriever?

Scientists compared the intelligence of dogs and noticed that if we compare the Lab vs Golden Retriever, Goldies end up on top. To be precise, Goldens are the 4th smartest, while Labs are the 7th smartest dog in the world.

Do Labradors and Golden Retrievers shed the same amount?

Golden and Labrador shedding is equal in intensity. Their shedding intensifies during “coat blowing” season in the spring and fall. But Goldies have longer hair which makes it as though they are shedding more.

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