Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever – Dog vs Dog Which is Better?
You’re Watching Animal Facts!
So, you’re looking for a lovable family
Retrievers are some of the most popular breeds
in and make a good choice.
But how do you choose between a Labrador or
They’re both incredibly similar, sharing
intelligence, athleticism, and a goofy personality
that dog lovers love!
Let’s find out what these two amazing retriever
breeds have in common and their difference
and decide which breed might be best for your
Let’s get started, but before we start,
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The Labrador Retriever descends from the Saint
Johns Water Dog, a now extinct breed (or just
renamed, depending on how you look at it)
that originated in Canada, bred to help fishermen
drag their nets across the ice and retrieving
fish, beginning in the 1700s.
The Saint Johns dogs were exported to England
sometime in the early 1800s to be used as
It’s in England where the Earl of Malmesbury
was the first to use the name Labrador, after
the Labrador region of Canada.
In Newfoundland, the Saint Johns breed disappeared
because of government restrictions and tax
Families were allowed to keep no more than
one dog, and owning a female was highly taxed,
so girl puppies were culled from litters.
In England, however, the now Labrador breed
survived and thrived, and the Kennel Club
recognized the Labrador Retriever as a distinct
breed in 1903.
Today, the Labrador breed is the most popular
dog breed worldwide.
While no single person can take all the credit
for creating the Golden Retriever, the main
person attributed its creation was a Scottish
aristocrat and avid hunter named Dudley Marjoribanks
the 1st Baron Tweedmouth.
Lord Tweedmouth live in the Highlands of Scotland
and it is here that the Golden Retriever arose
as an independent and separate breed of dog.
Marjoribanks was looking for a Retriever that
excelled in retrieving from water as well
as on land.
He also wanted the dog to be loyal and even-tempered
in the home.
His original cross was a yellow colored retriever
and a now extinct Tweed Water Spaniel.
In 1868, this cross produced a litter that
included four pups; these four became the
basis of a breeding program which included
the Irish Setter, the Bloodhound, the St.
John’s water dog of Newfoundland, and two
more wavy-coated black Retrievers.
The bloodline was also inbred and selected
for trueness to Marjoribanks’ idea of the
ultimate hunting dog.
Golden Retrievers were first accepted for
registration by The Kennel Club of England
in 1903, as Flat Coats-Golden.
They were first exhibited in 1908, and in
1911 were recognized as a breed referred to
as Retriever (Golden and Yellow).
In 1938, the Golden Retriever Club of America
Golden Retrievers are ranked number two for
American Kennel Club Registrations.
As with the Labrador, the Golden is consistently
in the top five most registered breeds by
Enough about their history, let’s get to
the stuff that makes these dogs so popular,
Although both breeds were born to be skilled
hunting dogs, their intelligence and gentleness
have brought them into the home as loving
As a matter of fact, both breeds are among
the most utilized breeds as service dogs,
You can check out more about that in the playlist
on the card.
The Lab is truly “man’s best friend,”
and at their happiest when engaged in family
Loyal, lovable, happy and friendly to all
he meets, the Lab has the reputation of being
one of the most sweet-natured breeds.
It’s outgoing, eager to please, and friendly
with both people (all people) and other animals.
They make an excellent choice for first-time
The Labrador Retriever not only loves kids,
but it also enjoys the commotion that kids
bring with them.
If a Lab has had plenty of exposure to other
dogs, cats, and small animals, and has been
trained in how to interact with them, he’ll
be friendly with other pets, too.
Golden Retrievers need people and are best
suited for large, active families.
This is one of the finest family dogs in the
world: cheerful, demonstrative, trustworthy
with everyone, and forgiving of any mistakes
made by inexperienced owners.
The Golden Retriever is the classic family
They are obedient, playful, intelligent, well-mannered,
great with kids, and friendly to strangers.
They are good watchdogs, but make lousy guard
dogs as they love people far too much to be
Personality wise the Golden Retriever can
be a bit more in tune with his human’s emotions
and needs than the Lab, but both breeds are
excellent family companions.
Coats and Colors
Get ready for dog hair.
The Golden Retriever comes in all colors,
as long as that color is Gold, in all shades
of gold, from light to dark gold.
Golden Retrievers have a dense, water-repellent
outer coat with a thick undercoat.
Some coats are wavy, some are straight.
The fur feathers on the back of the front
legs and underbody, with heavier feathering
on the chest, back of the thighs, and tail.
If you live with a Golden, you’ll need to
adapt to a certain amount of dog hair in your
house and on your clothes.
The Golden’s thick coat means lots of grooming.
Daily brushing is recommended to prevent tangling,
and once a week is the very bare minimum.
Your Golden will also need a bath at least
once a month, often more frequently, to keep
down his noticeable doggy odor.
You can find the Lab in Chocolate, Black,
Its sleek and easy-care coat also has two
layers: a short, thick, straight topcoat,
and a soft, weather-resistant undercoat.
These two-layer coats protect the dog from
the cold and wet, a good trait to have for
a water retriever.
Grooming doesn’t get much easier than with
a Lab, but like the Golden, the Lab does shed
— a lot, a really, really lot.
Buy a quality vacuum cleaner.
Labs also need a bath every month or so to
keep them looking clean and smelling good.
Of course, if your Lab or Golden rolls in
a mud puddle, which it’s apt to do, it’s
fine to bathe him a bit more often.
Both breeds are of comparable size and are
considered large dog breeds.
The Golden Retriever weighs between 55-75
pounds at 20-24 inches tall, while the Labrador
Retriever weighs between 65-80 pounds at 21-25
As I mentioned before, both breeds are highly
selected for assistance dog work.
Besides their people loving personalities,
these breeds possess a high level of trainability.
They both have an intelligence and eagerness
to please that make them a breeze to train.
And, training is definitely necessary because
they both have a lot of energy and exuberance,
and are easily bored.
But, these dogs are always at the top of their
obedience classes and are often the champions
of sporting competitions.
Just be aware that you are looking at a highly
They need to run, they love to play and they
really like water.
They can both be successfully housed in an
apartment or other small homes, but you’re
going to have to get out of the house with
him several times a day and take frequent
visits to the dog park.
These are not couch potato dogs.
If you are a highly active person who enjoys
outdoor activities, this is the dog for you.
If you’re not up to the task, there are
many other breeds to fulfill your needs.
A bored Golden or Lab is not a happy dog.
Health and Lifespan
Both breeds generally live between 10-12 years,
about average for dogs their size.
Though some do live considerably longer.
Adjutant the Labrador was born in 1936 and
died in 1963, some 27 years and three months
The oldest known Golden was nearly 20 when
• Health concerns that golden retrievers
and Labradors share: High cancer risk, Obesity,
Hip dysplasia, and ear infections.
Some health concerns specific to the Labrador
• Entropion: an abnormality of the eyelids
in which the eyelid rolls inward, irritating
• Malformation of knees and elbows.
• Laryngeal paralysis: an illness affecting
older Labs that partially paralyzes the voice
box, resulting in a muffled bark and difficulty
Health concerns specific to golden retrievers:
• Elbow dysplasia
• Skin issues such as hot spots
So with all the similarities, how do you choose
between these lovable breeds?
Since both breeds are so popular, it shouldn’t
be too hard to find one at the dog park or
a local meetup to spend time with, you may
even have a friend that has one.
No matter which you choose, you’ll be gaining
a lovable family member.
Remember, if you’re considering one of these
dogs or any other breed for that matter, there
are breed specific rescue organizations all
over the world that are usually a simple Google
search away, or being so popular, you may
just find one in your local shelter.
So, which of these amazing retriever breeds
would you pick?
Let us know in the comments.
If there are other breeds you’d like us
to compare, shout them out, we’ll give them
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