Labradors vs Golden Retrievers

Although yellow labs and Golden Retrievers do look like cousins, there's a big difference in their coats that might surprise you. If you are more a "go with the flow" dog, one of these dogs is a much better option than the other. 

You will see Golden Retrievers serving as great therapy dogs, cheering people up in hospitals or nursing homes, and Labradors helping differently-abled people. These two dogs are pretty similar and are both originally bred to work with people, but how they're used today has changed. 


Both golden and lab retrievers were originally bred to be hunting dogs. Golden Retrievers originated in Scotland, and labrador retrievers originated in Canada. They each have double coats to keep them warm in the cold water, and they even have webbed feet that helps them swim better. They're still used as hunting dogs, although labs are more commonly used as hunting partners than Golden Retriever s. 

They are also used as service dogs, but again, labs are more common than Golden Retrievers in this one. They are just better workers.


Labradors are more strong-willed. Part of the reason they're such great workers is that they've got a great work ethic, and they're very driven. Golden Retrievers, on the other hand, are more like fluffy goofballs. They want to play more and be loved, which makes them such therapy dogs.

Ease of training

According to Dr. Steinly Corn's book, the intelligence of dogs, Golden Retriever s are the 4th most intelligent dog breed while Labradors are the 7th. They were both bred to work with people, they love treats, and they like to learn, which makes them easier to train when compared to other breeds.

But even though Golden Retrievers are smarter, Labradors are easier to train because of their intense work ethic and focus. 

Family dogs

That is the first of a few similarities between Golden Retrievers and labs. They are both great family dogs, loving, loyal and want to hang with their families. They are gentle, intuitive, and suitable for families with kids.


Golden Retrievers and labs are both medium to large size, so they can easily knock over little kids if they're not careful. 


Golden Retrievers

Labrador retrievers


23-24 inches tall

65-75 pounds


22.5-24.5 inches tall

65-80 pounds


21.5-22.5 inches tall

55-65 pounds


21.5-23.5 inches tall

55-70 pounds


Golden Retrievers aren't just good dogs for families with kids. They are also great for families with multiple dogs or other animals. Studies say that 31.6% of Golden Retrievers' owners have more than one dog and can also be good with cats and other animals because they have a low prey drive.  Although they were bred to help hunters, they were also "specifically" bred to retrieve birds once they were shot.

Energy levels

It's literally in their blood to have lots of energy and endurance. If you like to relax at home all day, your dog will get bored and restless, and that is where the problem starts to happen. Barking, digging, jumping, chewing up everything in the house, or any unwanted habits can only occur in a bored dog with pent-up energy. So, if you decide that a Golden Retriever or a Labrador is the right dog for you, plan to give them 1 to 2h of exercise each day to meet their exercise needs.

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