Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever

Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are two of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Their cuteness is compounded by their happy and intelligent personalities, making them perfect candidates as both working dogs and family pets. Though many group these breeds together, they are quite different. Here is a quick side-by-side comparison of the Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever.

Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever: Coats and Shedding

There are distinct differences in these breeds’ coats that owners will find contribute to the amount of maintenance they require.

Golden Retrievers

golden retriever

A Golden Retriever has a dense and thick coat known as a double-coat. Its coat is also water-repellent because of naturally occurring oils, and it comes in one of three colors: red, white or yellow. The Golden breed are moderate shedders and require regular brushing to both help the shedding process and minimize the amount of dog hair in the house.

Labrador Retrievers

labrador retriever

A Labrador Retriever has a dense coat with short hair that can be rough. Labradors also have natural oils in their hair that keep their hair waterproof, which is good as they love the water. Because of this hair, Labradors are moderate shedders, but they do not need to be brushed regularly during most months of the year. They are, however, seasonal shedders, so brushing them regularly during molting season will help prevent the spread of dog hair throughout the home.

A purebred Labrador’s coat will feature one of three colors: black, brown and yellow. The color of their coat is where they pick up the individual breed names like chocolate lab, yellow lab or black lab.

Maintenance and Grooming

Both breeds are low maintenance compared to other dogs. Of the two, Labradors typically need less maintenance, requiring only the minimum amount of upkeep to keep the dog happy and healthy.

Golden Retrievers

Basic maintenance for Golden Retrievers includes regular bathing. Regular baths don’t damage their coat; but, owners should be sure to use high-quality shampoo to keep their dogs’ hair and skin healthy. Nails should also be trimmed regularly.

As for the length of their hair, Golden Retrievers should not get regular haircuts. They rely on their hair to keep them comfortable during all seasons, and if they do not require it, they will get rid of extra hair naturally by shedding. However, there are three areas where owners need to trim their Golden Retriever. First, the hair around the dog’s feet must be trimmed as the breed tends to grow “slippers.” Owners should also trim the hair on and in the dog’s ears. Owners will also want to trim the dog’s tail, grooming it into a fan shape.

Labrador Retrievers

Labradors do not need regular maintenance like a Golden Retriever will. The natural oils in their skin keep the coat looking good at most times. In fact, regular bathing will deplete these oils and can ultimately damage the health of their skin and hair. Thus, owners should only bathe a Labrador as necessary, or three to four times a year.

In some cases, Labradors will also need their nails trimmed. However, if the dog goes for regular walks on hard surfaces, the problem may take care of itself.

Owners will also want to check the inside of the dogs’ ears on a regular basis to ensure they don’t have a wax build up or the beginning of an ear infection.

Finally, owners should be inspecting their Labradors’ mouth regularly. Both teeth and gums should be checked to make sure its mouth is healthy.


A dog’s love is invaluable but the dogs themselves often come at a price. In terms of Golden Retrievers vs Labrador Retrievers, the Lab will cost less up front. However, the average cost of ownership for both breeds is an average of $2,500 per year.

Golden Retrievers

A purebred Golden Retriever puppy might cost anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on the geographic location of the breeder and the puppy’s parents.

Labrador Retrievers

A purebred Labrador Retriever puppy will cost an average of $750. Puppy cost often comes down to geographic location and the individual breeder.


Both dogs are of similar heights and have similar growing patterns.

Golden Retrievers

A Golden Retriever puppy is born as a small bundle of fluff. By the time the pup is three months old, it will be around 33 cm tall. When the puppy reaches the half year mark, it will have grown larger and reach around 40 cm tall. By one year of age, the Golden Retriever will be nearly fully grown.

When fully grown, a Golden Retriever will be around 60 to 62 cm. Purebreds have a minimum height 58 cm and a maximum height of 62 cm.

Labrador Retrievers

Labradors will grow to be around 36 cm tall around three months old. By the time they reach six months, they will usually have reached 43 cm. Once the Labrador Retriever celebrates its first birthday, it will be close to fully grown.

Once the Labrador is all grown up, it will be somewhere between 58 and 63 cm tall.

Life Expectancy

Average life expectancies between the two breeds do not vary greatly with both dogs living just over a decade on average. However, both breeds will experience individual factors throughout their lives that will affect their life expectancy. A dog that has suffered from injuries and diseases throughout its life is unlikely to live past to average expectancy regardless of its breed.

Golden Retrievers

A happy and healthy Golden will live somewhere between 10 and 13 years.

Labrador Retrievers

A healthy and playful Labrador will live between 10 and 12 years on average. The life span of the dog should not change regardless of whether it is a black, chocolate or yellow Labrador.


Both breeds are sporting breeds. They both love to play, hunt and are good with people, including children. They have balanced temperaments and are loyal to their owners, only barking when required.

Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are described as being alert and intelligent, which makes them more than just sound hunters. Their quiet intelligence is also valuable in service and these breeds are often employed as hearing dogs, seeing-eye dogs and as search and rescue dogs.

As long as they get enough exercise, they are great house pets because they are also playful, friendly and quiet.

Golden Retrievers are also well known for being loyal dogs and well-trained, happy dogs will go out of their way to protect their families.

Labrador Retrievers

Labradors have big personalities, and their temperaments reflect their zest for life. As sporting dogs, they are alert, responsive and energetic. They are also highly sociable dogs who are affectionate, cheerful, friendly and loving. They are an outgoing breed who are overwhelmingly happy to see anyone who is nice to them. Labradors are also playful; however, they are gentle creatures and play well with children.

Their kind nature should not be confused for a lack of work ethic. They help serve their owners in a variety of ways. This breed is ideal for work as a seeing-eye dog and as a hearing dog. They are also popular breeds for military and police training operations.

Health Issues

Just like humans, dogs are influenced by the genetic factors passed down by their parents. Dogs that come from parents that suffered from genetic diseases are much more likely to suffer from these things themselves.

Golden Retrievers have fewer major health concerns compared to Labradors. However, the list of ailments that affect Labradors is often shorter compared to Golden Retrievers.

Golden Retrievers

The owner of a Golden Retriever should be wary of the three most common concerns to affect this breed. Canine hip dysplasia, cataracts and elbow dysplasia are all common in this breed but can be managed with the help of a veterinarian.

It is also important to note that these breeds might develop other diseases. Golden retrievers can have allergies, which can be managed with dietary changes and veterinary recommendations.

A Golden Retriever might also develop one of the following diseases:

  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Distichiasis
  • Entorpion
  • Epilepsy
  • Gastric Torsion
  • OCD
  • Osetosarcoma
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis
  • Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
  • Trichasiasis
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease

To keep abreast of the dog’s health, the owners should have their dogs’ blood, elbows, eyes and hips tested by a reputable veterinarian.

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers have a predisposition to a list of diseases that can affect the way the dog is able to run and play. Some of the common disease facing this breed include:

  • Canine Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Gastric Torsion
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Retinal Dysplasia
  • Skeletal Dwarfism

There are also some minor concerns that Labradors share with other breeds including:

  • Cataracts
  • Central Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Diabetes
  • Distichiasis
  • Entropion
  • Osteochronditis Dissecans
  • Pyotraumatic Dermatitis

To keep this breed playing longer in life, owners should have a veterinarian test their dogs’ elbows, eyes and hips.

Regardless of the difference between Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever, both of these breeds have their own charming qualities that make them unique animals and perfect pets.

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