Golden Retriever vs Labrador : Which one to choose?

golden retriever vs labrador

If you're reading this article, you might be wondering what are the main differences between the Golden Retriever and the Labrador. Good news, you've come to the right place!

History, personality, health, activeness ; in this article, learn everything about these two dog breeds.

Before we start

Golden Retrievers and Labradors are two beautiful breeds that people can easily confuse.

After all, they're both big dogs that have many brilliant qualities and different characteristics. The Golden Retriever originates from Scotland and England, and the Labrador comes from Newfoundland in Canada, which was later brought to England.

Plus, the Golden Retriever can come in four different colors: light golden, cream, dark golden, and golden. In comparison, you can find a labrador's coat to be all black, yellow, or chocolate. Likewise, both breeds have an average life expectancy of 10-12 years.

On average, you'd expect to find a Golden Retriever that will cost between $500-$2000 depending on the location and the breeder. A Labrador will cost anything from $800-$12000 depending on its bloodline and breeder.

But the real differences between a labrador and Golden Retriever are more than just its country of origin, price, life expectancy, and color coat.

To help your decision, we've compiled a list highlighting characteristics of a Golden Retriever vs. Labrador. To do this, we're going to look at the two breeds on their own and then compare them. So if you want to know which is better, then we suggest scrolling to the bottom.

Important information you need to know about Golden Retrievers

yellow lab vs golden retriever

Golden Retrievers are one of the smartest dog breeds and are renowned for their high intelligence and obedience. But other than that, what else do Golden Retrievers offer a dog owner?


If you're looking for an enthusiastic dog full of life, then a Golden Retriever may be a good choice for you.

This breed is known to be friendly to anyone they meet, from family members, children, and even strangers. Similarly, a Golden Retriever has a welcoming bark as opposed to an intimidating and aggressive one.

However, to maintain this personality, you must socialize it from a young age with other dogs and expose it to new people and surroundings. Otherwise, Golden Retrievers could become aggressive towards strangers or other dogs.

Golden Retrievers, young and old, as mentioned by the American Kennel Club (AKC), are renowned for their love to chew objects and carry them around in their mouths. Their mouths are believed to be so soft that they can carry an egg in them without breaking it!

Are Golden Retrievers easy to train?

Golden Retrievers are truly unique dogs; they can double up as therapy dogs, guide dogs, best friends, and pets. They are relatively great dogs who learn quickly and can be trained easily because they have a loving and obedient temperament.

This goes for potty training if you start at a young age. Great ways of training golden retrievers are through positive reinforcement by rewarding them with treats for their good behavior and using the crate training method.

How active are Golden Retrievers?

golden retriever running labrador

Did you know Golden Retrievers are a sporting breed? Because of this, they require regular daily exercise. We're not talking about a light stroll either. As per PDSA, Golden Retrievers require a minimum of 2 hours of exercise per day.

Such exercise could include swimming, playing fetch, running, or brisk walks. Golden Retrievers also need to be exercised frequently to stimulate their brains and sharpen their intelligence.

Do Golden Retrievers Shed Much?

If you're looking to get a low maintenance dog for your home, then you may wish to reconsider when it comes to a Golden Retriever. Even though they have gorgeous glossy golden coats, this breed is terrible when it comes to shedding.

If you want a Golden for your home, expect to find hair everywhere on your furniture and clothes. It tends to shed moderately all year round and increases during spring and fall.

Part of their shedding is because they have a double coat, and when new hair needs to grow in place, they start shedding. The only way to get on top of its excess hair is by grooming it regularly or having a dog vacuum.

Golden Retriever Health Problems

Most of the time, Golden Retrievers are a healthy breed to have at home. Just like all dogs, they can be at risk of a few health problems, which are:

  • Hip Dysplasia: When the ball socket of their hip comes out of line, causing pain and mobility problems.
  • Cancer: This disease is common in all dogs.
  • Cardio and Respiratory Conditions: Because Golden Retrievers are a large breed, they risk their vessels becoming narrower, making it hard for oxygenated blood to reach other parts of their body. This is known as Aortic Stenosis.
  • Cataracts: Their eyes lens becomes thicker, causing their vision to be impaired and can later lead to blindness.

Important information you need to know about Labradors

differences golden retriever labrador

In the west, you may find Labradors just about everywhere; this breed is one of the most popular ones to have in the western part of the world. Similarly, the AKC states they are America's most popular breed of dog.

But, other than their popularity, what else can they offer a dog owner?


The temperament of a Labrador is loving, friendly, laidback, and full of patience. Because of their warm nature, they're the ideal dog to have in the family home.

Similarly, due to their loving personality, they're often used as therapy dogs in care homes for the elderly and hospitals.

However, because they're friendly, they're not the best at guarding or protecting the home. Should a stranger enter your house, they would most likely welcome them instead of barking at them.

If you have a Labrador puppy, you must introduce it to new animals and people from earlier on. Socializing is essential to ensure this breed remains and stays happy.

Are Labradors easy to train?

If you own a labrador, then you'll know they love companionship. Because of this, they're often a breed that is easy to train. However, they are strong and have lots of energy, and need to exercise frequently.

If they don't, they may become distracted, and training a Labrador could be difficult. Having a lot of energy is even more of a reason why Labradors require training because if they don't, they can grow into becoming large, rowdy, and unruly dogs.

One of the best ways of training a Labrador is through positive reinforcement, rewarding them with a treat and praising them when they've done good behavior.

How active are Labradors?

If you're looking to own a dog with little commitment, a Labrador may not be for you as they require vigorous exercise every day. A Labrador has an athletic nature, which means it loves to run and swim.

Because this breed has lots of energy, Labradors require around 2 hours a day to keep them physically and mentally fit. You can exercise Labradors by playing fetch games, taking them swimming, or taking them on a brisk walk.

If you fail to give a Labrador an ample amount of exercise, they may put on lots of weight and develop behavioral issues such as excessive chewing and digging.

Do Labradors Shed Much?

Labradors are another big dog with a double coat, which means they shed large amounts of fur regularly. Its undercoat is designed to keep a Labrador warm when in water and grows regularly.

There are rumors that yellow labs may shed more than other labs; however, as of yet, there is no sufficient scientific evidence out there to prove this. Labradors shed the most during summer and fall and during heat (if they're a female).

Labrador Health Problems

Labradors, most of the time, are a healthy breed, but now and again, they can be prone to the following health problems:

  • Hip Dysplasia: When the ball socket of their hip comes out of line, causing pain and mobility problems.
  • Arthritis: This is commonly found in older Labradors; their size can cause them pain and strain on their joints.
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Elbow Dysplasia: When the bones in a Labrador's elbow joint does not align properly, causing pain and mobility problems.

Which is better: a Golden Retriever vs. Labrador?

golden retriever labrador

We know Golden Retrievers and Labradors are both very good doggos, but which is better? A golden retriever or a labrador?

Well, the truth is, we feel the two breeds are both marvelous. It depends on what you're seeking out of a dog.

There's not that MUCH difference between Labrador and Golden Retriever. Yes, a Labrador may come in a range of different colors, but they share the same shedding abilities. The breeds both have a double coat and like to swim.

Similarly, they have the same life expectancy and energy levels. They aren't that aggressive either; both breeds are loving and sweet and loyal dogs. If you're looking for a dog for your family, we say they are both a great addition.

They're both generally healthy breeds, too, with little health problems.

So ultimately, we feel a Golden Retriever vs. Labrador is down to personal preference. We love them both, and they share so many similarities. It's up to you to decide.

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