By Andrew Fischer

Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever
which one is more suitable for you?

Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers have quite different personalities and temperament. 

Although both were raised to do retrieving, they are quite difference from each other both in behaviour and appearance. 

In this article we will have a look at some major differences between both breeds and look at which one is more suitable for your personality and lifestyle. 

Similarities between Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever

Both breeds have a number of great qualities. They both are very loyal, smart, loving and family-oriented. They are great with children and love to play and interact with people and other animals. 

The fact that they are trusting and friendly makes them both quite bad at being a watch dog. Labradors may be a bit better as they like to bark to alert owners of a potential intruder, but most probably neither of them will act to defend you.

They both love sports, swimming and retrieving objects. 

Both breeds are eager to learn new things and they are quite easy to train. This makes them great for first-time owners and to those who like dogs willing to obey them quickly. 

Also, both breeds are very adaptable to weather. This means you don’t have to put some winter wear on them to go out in colder days. 

They are both food driven so make sure not to overfeed them. Because of their food addiction they both need regular exercise. Make sure you have enough time to take them to a dog park to keep them fairly active in order to maintain their fitnessIf you have a large garden, you may supplement their daily dose of walking by playing fetch with them for 20 mins or so.

Both breeds are also dry mouthed. This means that they don’t drool. Sometimes they can drop some saliva from their mouth but not excessively like other dog breeds. 

None of the breeds suffer from bad breath, which is actually a quite common problem among many other dog breeds. 

Physical differences between Labradors and Golden Retrievers

Labradors have shorter coats which come in three main colour variations (black, yellow and chocolate). Golden Retrievers have longer coats that are usually yellow or yellow-whitish. 

Labs are slightly larger than Goldens.

Golden Retrievers have more expressive face than Labs.

Golden Retrievers require more grooming than Labs do. They have a denser undercoat and lose a big pile of hair every few weeks. Golden Retrievers need good grooming and daily combing. You will also need to use some detangling conditioners and shampoos for their golden mane. For this reason Labs generally need to be bathed less frequently than Goldens.

On the other hand, Lab’s coat is short and gets lodged in your clothes and carpet very easily. For this reason, although Goldens shed more their fur is easier to vacuum. 

Basic Personality Profile of Labradors

Labradors are more rambunctious than Golden Retrievers. Some people like that about Labradors, some don’t. 

Labs love to play and they can get so absorbed in the game that it may get a bit wild. This may happen also with Golden Retrievers, but it’s more rare. 

Labs are more energetic and playful than Golden Retrievers. 

Even when you train your Lab not to charge or jump it can still happen occasionally. They are quite bumpy and can bowl over seniors and children, furniture etc. Labs also have a muscular tail that was designed to propel them through water. This tail can become a dangerous weapon in smaller flats around your precious breakable objects. Labradors also love to chew everything they find up to 2 years of age. You need to make sure to train them properly otherwise they may destroy your antique carpet or brand shoes. 

Golden Retrievers on the other hand are more calm and careful and don’t bump into others as often.

Labradors may be more protective of their human family than Goldens. I have been visiting for few years my friend who has both the Labrador and the Golden Retriever and still the Lab seem not to trust me as much as the Golden does. Labrador occasionally still barks at me. 

Labs are a working breed. They are easily trainable for hard tasks. Golden retrievers can be trained only for a few public service.

Basic Personality Profile of Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are a bit more gentle and cautious than Labradors. They have lower energy levels and therefore also fewer dominance issues. 

They are a bit more human bonded than Labradors. Therefore they don’t manage well being chained or fenced for a prolonged  period of time. They start to whine and may get depressed. 

Golden Retrievers are not as well adaptable to new environments as Labradors so if you move a lot and travel to new places, a Labrador may be more suitable to you. 

Although both dogs are great with small kids, Golden Retrievers may be a bit more suitable for you if you have young kids since they are not so clumsy and don’t bump to others as often as Labs do. 

Goldens are also one of the the lowest ranking barkers so if you live in an apartment and don’t want to disturb your neighbours, Goldens are great for you. 

Goldens are better at communicating with other dogs than Labs. They are great at responding to the body language of other animals. Labs on the other hand have a hard time recognizing that the other dog doesn’t like his specific behaviour, which may lead to some fight. 


Labrador Retrievers are in general easier to maintain. Although both breeds shed a lot, Golden Retrievers need more grooming. The coat of Goldens will occasionally mat if neglected. This is a rare issue with Labs. So if you don’t like to spend much time grooming your pet, Labs are better for you. 

Also, if you are an active family that likes to spend a lot of time in nature, walking, swimming etc., Labs should be a clear choice for you as their coat is easier to clean and to dry. Long hair of Goldens takes a lot of grooming to stay good looking and without odour.

Its grooming needs are not as demanding and it fits well for owners who are not willing to spend time and money on upkeep.


Both breeds have some health problems. Golden Retrievers tend to have a bit more health issues than Labs. 

Goldens are for example more prone to developing cancer than Labs. 

2 thoughts on “Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever – which one is more suitable for you?”

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