Labrador vs Golden Retriever – Which breed is better?

Deciding between Labrador and Golden retriever is like choosing between one of your almost similar twins with some teeny tiny differences that put them into separate categories.

The struggle is real! You are a dog lover, and all you want in your dog is present in both Labradors and Golden retrievers, but you can’t have them both, right?

So, Labrador vs. Golden retriever – Which breed is better?

Although Labradors and Golden retrievers belong to different dog breeds, their personality traits and health concerns, etc. are almost similar. But when you have got to choose either of them, I don’t think there is any way to tell which one is better. Both of them are loving, caring, obedient, great at work, adorable, and the best part, easy to train.

I bet, you’re still confused, so hey! Why don’t you read along and gain a perspective on which one do you want the most by comparing the two most popular dog breeds?

Labrador vs. Golden Retriever: A Quick Comparison

Have you ever been asked this question in childhood that went something like ‘Do you love your mom most or dad?’

Yeah, I know, how hard it was to answer that! But do you remember what you used to do when it got you thinking?

That’s right, compare! So, that is exactly what we’re going to be doing here to help you make a sensible and satisfying decision that you won’t regret later.

Here it comes.

Labrador Retriever Golden Retriever
OriginCanadaScotland
Personality traitsAffectionate, friendly, playful, energeticEnthusiastic, less sensitive, loving, friendly.
Weight65-80 lbs.55-75 lbs.
Lifespan13-14 years11-12 years
ImmunityProne to cancer, knees malformationElbow dysplasia, seizures, skin problems
Child-friendlyYesYes
SwimmersGreatExcellent
NoisyNot muchBearable
Dog-friendlyYesYes
TrainabilityVery easy to trainExtremely obedient
Attention seekersNot a lotNot so much
GroomingFrequent vet visitFrequent vet visit
Cost$900-$1500.$800-$1200.
ColorBlack, chocolate, yellowGolden, Blonde

So, as you can see, there are not many big differences between the two breeds, but there is something that separates them, right?

For that, you’d have to learn more, and also understand better to decide which breed suits your requirements best.

Look, here is what I’ve concluded for you as of now:

  1. The colors of both the breeds are different, so pick one with your favorite color.
  2. The cost also varies but there is not much difference that you can’t manage.
  3. Both are friendly and adjusting to new environments, people, and other animals.
  4. They are extremely easy to train, as they are supposed to be work dogs.
  5. If you’re concerned about noisy barking all the time then don’t worry, they got it all sorted, as they bark only when necessary.
  6. The diseases that both dogs are likely to have should be one of the main concerns because you want to remain prepared.

What’s all this supposed to mean?

Still not able to make a decision? Alright, I get what’s troubling you here.

No wonder that’s a tough one! So, I’m going to make it all simpler, divide each category, and we’ll have a brief discussion on each difference between Labs and Golden retrievers.

Fair enough, right?

Here we go!

The cost

So, what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you decide to buy something?

Yep, you plan a budget. Thus, while I’m helping you choose the best between Labrador and Golden retriever, let us first look into the most important aspect, i.e. the cost.

But wait, let me tell you something. Retrievers are one of the most demanded dog breeds in the UK and the US, which means that their demand is a lot higher than the others.

Hence, when the demand is high then obviously, the cost is on the higher side too.

By now, you’re definitely eager to know which one is cheaper and best too, Labrador or Golden retriever?

Well, here comes the interesting part. There is not much of a difference in cost of both the breeds, because hey, when you have around 1000 bucks in your pocket, then you can easily increase the budget by a couple more hundred, you know?

As I’ve mentioned earlier, Labradors cost around $900-1500, whereas, Golden retrievers can be bought within $1200, then it’s not that difficult to make an exception, if you decide to go with the expensive choice.

So, I don’t think cost should be more of an issue here. as it’s pretty much manageable, I suppose.

Appearance

This one is my favorite part of the topic to discuss with dog lovers like you.

You know that soft and fluffy touch of the dog while you caress it, when it comes running to you?

Oh well, if you’re the one who likes their dog to be hairier with the prettiest skin coat, then retrievers are your absolute choice.

So, how about we write down the appearance qualities of each breed, so you can know which one do you like the most.

Sounds fun, no? C’mon, let’s do it!

Labrador Retriever

  • They have a thick skin coat and a lot of furs that protects from damaging climate changes.
  • They come in three colors: black, chocolate, and creamy yellow.
  • They have prominent eyebrows.
  • They have short hanging ears with not much hair on them.
  • They have a large muscular physique.
  • They have long tails.
  • They have a height of around 22-24 inches.

Golden Retriever

  • They also have a thick skin coat, but they are hairier than Labs.
  • They have a lot of wavy hair below the neck and all over the body that makes them furrier.
  • They come in golden and creamy blonde colors.
  • They are usually smiling to express a friendly gesture.
  • Their ears are long and hanging.
  • They also have a height of more or less 22 inches.

The Coat

Labradors and Golden Retrievers have a thick skin coat. However, what differentiates their coat type from one another is the amount of hair on their bodies.

You see, you get amazed by a Golden Retriever when it comes running to you while that soft and fluffy golden hair is moving up and down!

It’s a wonderful sight, I must say!

However, when we compare it with Labradors, there is no such thing that happens.

Look, we all know that dogs are hairy, but just like every other human or animal, some have more and some have less of it.

By the way, one thing that you should be aware of, is that hairy dogs do look great and all, but when there is more hair, the responsibility to take care of it for skin issues and shedding etc. increases a lot.

Grooming

When you talk about grooming, there are a couple of things that come to mind:

  1. Vet visits
  2. Hygiene issues

Okay, so first let’s discuss vet visits for both the dog breeds. See, Labradors and Golden retrievers are different breeds, but belong to the same family.

This means that the reasons why these dogs should be taken to a vet are almost similar.

Here, let me explain.

  • Both Labs and Golden Retrievers need to be taken for frequent vet visits.
  • The reason for this is life-threatening health issues that are more like genetic.
  • Cancer, obesity, and other types of severe knee and elbow problems are very common in both breeds.
  • Hence, if you do not take your dog to the vet every month or once in two months, then there are chances that you might be neglecting its hidden health concerns.
  • Also, this would make you a very bad dog owner that does not care about its grooming.

Secondly, the actual meaning of grooming is related to taking care of the dog’s physical appearance.

You know, brushing its hair daily and bathing regularly. This is very important if you’re also worried about shedding.

See, Labradors and Golden retrievers shed a lot. Especially, when seasonal changes happen. There is no stopping to hair falling in every corner of the house.

Having said this, I have not yet come up with a way or remedy that actually stops the shedding. You can definitely reduce it, so that it becomes bearable, but stopping is an impossible thing to attempt at.

So, yeah, if you want to prevent shedding beforehand, then make sure to care about it’s grooming as much as you do yours.

Brush daily, apply oil, and don’t forget to give a bath every alternate day. It helps a lot in minimizing the hair fall to the least.

Friendliness

Okay, this has to be everyone’s favorite part!

Why do you wish to own a dog? Because you love dogs and you’re also looking for a loyal companion that also understands you?

Yeah, that was pretty obvious, I guess.

So, coming back to the point, while you’re thinking of buying a dog that is friendly enough to not cause compatibility problems, Labradors and Golden retrievers are your best bet.

They are:

  • Fun
  • Happy-go-lucky
  • Never complaining
  • Always ready to light up your mood
  • Prepared for you mood swings
  • Easily adjusting
  • Very much child-friendly
  • And not insecure of other animals’ presence around, especially dogs.

All of this goes for both the breeds, and this is also probably one of the main reasons for their immense popularity in the UK and the US.

Life Expectancy

Alright, before you buy a dog and get attached to it like crazy, it’s important to know how long it is going to live.

In my own experience, the life expectancy of Labradors and Golden Retrievers is almost the same, but with a small difference of a couple of years.

As I’ve mentioned earlier in the table, Labradors live for around 13-14 years whereas a Golden retriever might live a little lesser than that, maybe for 11-12 years.

That’s not much of a difference that helps you choose between the two, right?

But let me tell you something that you might not have thought about yet.

If you’re buying a puppy of either of the breeds, then this life expectancy difference doesn’t really matter, because by the time it dies, you had already spent some great time together.

But when you’re buying an older Lab or Golden Retriever, then you must discuss its age, so that you know how much longer it’s going to be there or is it worth it or not.

Health

Health is one of the very important aspects that you should be considering while buying a pet, and while, we’re talking about dogs here, genetic diseases should be the first thing to mention.

Here, let me tell you a little about history first.

  • Labradors and Golden Retrievers are a mixed breed that was basically worked upon by hunters, who had to cross a river to bring their hunted species.
  • This is also why these dogs are great swimmers.
  • They have soft mouths to prevent damaging the small animals like fish in their mouths, while crossing the river.

Okay, the reason for mentioning this right now? Well, all of it makes sense when I will tell you that because they are a result of mixing two different breeds, both of them have some particular genetic health issues, including:

  • Cancer
  • Obesity
  • Ear infections
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Laryngeal paralysis that mainly causes voice box damage and breathing difficulty
  • Seizures
  • Skin issues

So, even if this is your first time buying a dog, then also this must not come as a shocking truth to you, because some of these diseases are very common to happen in every other dog breed.

However, if this helps you a little, I would like to inform you here that in comparison to Golden Retrievers, Labradors have higher chances of getting one, two or all of these diseases at some point in life.

Also, their issues are more related to physical health like malformation of elbows and knees that make it immensely hard to live with.

Temperament

Let’s jump straight to the point!

  1. Labradors and Golden retrievers are highly energetic dogs
  2. They are always enthusiastic
  3. They never disappoint you when you need a happy and chirpy atmosphere
  4. They love to play and because of their ‘work history’, they’re really good at fetching
  5. Both of them usually have a smiley expression on the face, Golden Retrievers in particular
  6. They are very active and will never express disinterest for walking or jogging
  7. They love to explore as well which is why you don’t have to worry about changing surroundings
  8. They are unbelievably intelligent

Oh God! I know the dilemma! I can understand how hard it is to choose between the two, but you can do what I did, spend some time with both and figure out which one suits your temperament the most?

Yeah, it becomes easier this way, because otherwise, you’ll remain doubtful considering all these similarities in their nature.

Intelligence

Talking about intelligence here, you should know that although Labradors and Golden Retrievers are popular as ‘work dogs’, they don’t make very good guards, if that’s what you’re looking for.

They provide great service when you tell them to bring things or behave in public but due to their extremely friendly nature, it is too hard on them to scare or suspect anyone.

On the other hand, Labs and Golden Retrievers are very easy to train, as they are supposed to be following instructions and obeying them as a gesture of love and friendship.

So, from following orders like sit and fetch, they can also do some great stuff like becoming a guide for other blind dogs and humans also.

They are known to be very patient that explains their easy-going nature, so they also don’t mind the leash.

Training A Puppy or An Adult Labrador/Golden Retriever: What’s Rasier?

While you might be thinking that this question has the most obvious answer, i.e. a puppy, I must add a little to it that puppy or adult dog, Retrievers are always easy to train and adjust according to the current environment.

Look, now that we all know that both Labs and Golden Retrievers are one of the friendliest dog breeds. This means that regardless of their age, the temperament remains the same.

Hence, it does not matter, if you buy a puppy or an adult Lab or Golden Retriever, it would not make much of a difference.

They are always gentle, energetic, obedient, loyal, and most caring, when it comes to following instructions, bonding, or behaving.

Differences Between Facial Features of Labradors and Golden Retrievers

Labs are popular for being more muscular and larger as compared to Golden Retrievers.

So, there ought to be some differences in their facial features as well that might help to distinguish.

  • The jawline of Labs is very solid and happens to be a prominent facial feature while Golden Retrievers have a soft jaw structure.
  • Both the dogs have hanging ears but Labs have shorter ears in comparison with Golden Retrievers.
  • Golden Retrievers have broader nostrils.
  • A Lab’s eyes are more inclined and therefore, look small, whereas, the eyes of a Golden Retriever are usually wider.

Final Thoughts

Being a dog lover since forever, it has been quite a dilemma for me, to decide between dogs of the same breed.

Having said that, we all have our personal favorite aspects of selecting a dog, like appearance, habits, and nature, etc. So, you have got to choose one considering those.

Therefore, I can’t say which one is a better option, Labrador or Golden Retriever; as I love both. But I hope I’ve made you help in deciding for yourself by giving simple answers to each of the obvious concerns

Related Questions

Are male or female Golden Retrievers better?

When you’ve finally decided to buy a Golden Retriever, the next thought to come to mind is to select the gender. So, the better choice between male or female? Let’s understand this with the help of some clear differences between the two.

  1. Male Golden Retrievers have a more muscular physique than females.
  2. Males are bigger in size and weight, but there is not much of a difference there.
  3. Female Golden Retrievers have less mane as compared to the male ones. The hair on the neck and overall body are more and fluffier on males.

What are the three types of Golden Retrievers?

Just when you thought that the toughest thing of choosing between Labradors and Golden retrievers is over, the fact cannot be ignored that Golden retrievers have three types.

Let’s talk about the color first.

  • Golden
  • Light golden
  • Dark golden

The color of the breed does not make any difference in the general characteristics.

Then comes the origin.

  • English
  • Canadian
  • American

So, you choose your personal favorite, whichever the way you want, but in the end, all of it does not really matter because they belong to the same breed.

Are Golden Retrievers the nicest dogs?

There is no doubt that retrievers are one of the nicest breeds of dogs you can ever own. They are exceptionally friendly and kind when it comes to making new friends, treating people/animals with love, and adjusting to changing surroundings.

Their demand all over the world is undisputable, which means that they are one of the favorites of people who wish to have a dog that not only looks lovely, but also has the best temperament.

Are male or female Labradors better?

Unlike Golden Retrievers, there are some clear differences between male and female Labradors. This might help in understanding it better.

  • Neutering a male dog might not cost you a lot than it would to castrate a female Lab.
  • Male Labradors are known to be more foodie than the female ones because not only is their demand very high, but they also like to try different food tastes.
  • Female Labs are more easy-going in terms of being protective of stuff or puppies. While males do not get aggressive on the stance, but are likely to be more concerned about it.

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