Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever: Which one is the best pet?

Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever: Comparison chart

  Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever
Energy Levels High High
Compatibility with other dogs Very Very
Relationship with children Friendly Friendly
Expected lifespan 10-12 years 10-12 years
Height 21.5” to 25” 21.5” to 24”
Weight 55 to 80 pounds 55 to 75 pounds
Coat Color Yellow, chocolate, or black Light to dark gold
Common health issues Obesity Cancer
Coat length Medium Short

As is evident, both breeds are similar in several ways. They the same energy levels, they are both friendly with children and other dogs, and they have the same level of intelligence. When it comes to their differences, Labs are relatively larger. They also have different coat lengths, a factor which should be a serious consideration if someone in the home has allergies related to long coats.

Energy levels and temperament

Both of these breeds have high energy levels. This is because initially, they used to accompany humans on hunting trips to retrieve their catch. This explains their names.

If you are considering either breed, be sure you can provide your pet with at least 60 minutes of exercise or playtime. Also, give him sufficient space so that he can roam freely.

Labs are more intense, which means they easily become restless. If he gets edgy, he may try to get your attention by chewing things or just being destructive to get your attention. When walking them, a Lab is more likely to go off exploring compared to a Golden Retriever. Having him constantly on a leash will save you lots of unwanted chase games. They are also more susceptible to suffering separation anxiety.

Both breeds have a friendly demeanor which makes them great pets. However, this characteristic makes them poor guard dogs. It would only take a game of fetch or a dog treat from a stranger for your retriever to befriend him.

Both breeds are rather sociable, kind, affectionate, and obedient. However, once the Golden Retriever is done with his daily hour of exercise, he is likely to lay around or snuggle. He will also entertain himself if he is left alone. On the other hand, a Labrador Retriever is often too busy to take have himself an afternoon nap. Intense exercise and mental stimulation will rarely wear a Lab out.


Both of these breeds have similar nutritional needs as both need 2 – 4 cups of food every day depending on their diet, size, and energy levels. Both need to be fed 2-3 times a day. As with any other breed, good quality food will keep your Lab or Golden retriever in good condition.

Most Labradors have a genetic mutation which makes them susceptible to obesity. You will need to regulate his appetite by providing him with small but high-quality diets. On the other hand, Golden Retrievers are predisposed to food allergies and skin conditions. For this reason, you may have to invest in hypoallergenic dog food in the future.

Be sure to ask your veterinarian about your specific pet’s feeding and nutrition needs.

Grooming Needs

As both breeds have double coats, they need to be brushed one or two times a week. They may require more grooming during their coat shedding season which happens twice a year.

Labrador Retrievers have fewer grooming and maintenance needs as their coats are relatively shorter. This makes then ideal for people who fancy a tidy home. The Lab only needs to be bathed every six weeks. You can use dry doggy shampoo, wipes, or perfume if he gets dirty in between baths.

The Golden Retriever is more demanding when it comes to grooming due to its long fur. The fur is longer around the feet, neck, ears, and tail hence you may need to trim it every two to three months. This breed also needs to be bathed every four to six weeks. You will also need to regularly make use of an undercoat rake on your Golden to keep its fur from matting.

While bathing these breeds, be sure not to exceed the recommended number of times as you risk damaging the natural oils on their coats thus drying out their skins.


Due to their high intelligence levels, both breeds are rather easy to train. This makes them perfect for even first-time dog owners. They often approach training with the same zeal and vigor as they do playtime. They love to please their owners and will learn commands quite easily.

While they are easy to train, you will need to start at an early age. Also, you need to socialize them so that they are comfortable in environments outside their home.

Compatibility with other pets and with children

Both breeds are rather friendly with other dogs. Most of them will also tolerate living within the same house with a cat. Where Goldens are rather passive and forgiving when it comes to small children, Labs are more boisterous and could knock them down in their excitement.

Health issues

Both breeds are predisposed to certain health problems. They include:-

  • Ear infections
  • Bloating
  • Joint diseases, and
  • Eye problems

Health issues that are specific to Golden Retrievers include seizures, elbow dysplasia, cancer, and skin issues. Labrador Retrievers are susceptible to health conditions such as laryngeal paralysis and exercise-induced collapse.

Are they ideal working dogs?

As they are both quite loyal and easy to train they make good guide dogs, service dogs, or even search and rescue dogs. They are both good swimmers.

Golden Retriever vs Labrador: Which one should you get?

A golden retriever

When comparing these two breeds, it is evident that they are rather similar. Both are loyal, intelligent, friendly, and easy to train. You may need to spend some time with each dog to decide on which one would be best. As both are popular breeds, it not be hard to get one at a local dog shelter. When adding a pet into your home, remember to ask for such information as:-

  • Its health history including veterinary checkups, health screenings, and a record of its immunizations
  • Its personality and temperament
  • Whether the dog is well socialized
  • Whether the dog has been house-trained

No matter the breed you settle for you will be adding a lovable member to the family.

Recent Posts