Labrador vs Golden retriever, what sets them apart? Retriever breeds never fail to excel in fieldwork, dog sports or as service dogs. Both dogs show uncanny ability as they stride with great speed and grace to different trails either in cold water or rough terrain.
Undeniably, these dogs surpass the expectations of dogs as “just pets”. They are the two of the most popular retriever breeds. But the million-dollar question goes, “Which is better, the Labrador or Golden retriever?”
Breed origins: Labrador vs Golden retriever
The first Labrador retriever
The Labrador is a descendant of the Saint John’s water dog (a now-extinct breed) which is a native breed in Canada. The Labrador’s breeding is intended to assist fisherman in hauling the nets across the ice to retrieve fish in the old days of the 1700s.
As the Lab was exported to England, the name was changed from St. John’s dogs to Labrador retriever, coined after the Labrador region in Canada. Further, the Labrador retriever is believed to have been a product of a St. John’s water dog and a Newfoundland dog as well as other native dogs.
The first Golden retriever
Golden retrievers hailed from Scotland and contributed by Sir Dudley Majoribanks who was the Lord of Tweedmouth. As with the Labs, Golden retrievers were initially bred for specific tasks including flushing and retrieving game either on land or in water.
For years and years, Sir Dudley wanted to achieve an ideal canine with excellent skills in hunting and retrieving birds or any other small games. In addition, the dog should have the willingness to help his owners with the use of his remarkable sense of smell.
He should have a calm temperament with desirable traits such as loyalty and others. The said goals are met in the face of the Golden retriever that we see nowadays. It is believed that Goldies came from an outcross between a Tweed Water Spaniel dog and a red setter.
Hunting skills: Labrador vs Golden retriever
Labs as hunters
- Webbed paws and water-resilient coats
- Strong sense of smell
- Persistent and can be flushers and retrievers for hours
- Eager to please combined with their intelligence make them easy to train
Goldies as hunters
- Webbed paws and water-resilient coats
- Affinity to water
- Golden Retriever’s intelligence and eager-to-please personality make them respond well to training
These points present how the Golden Retriever and Labrador are the best hunting dogs in their own ways. If you are looking for a hunting furry companion, you have to consider the application of proper hunt training as well.
Physical comparison: Labrador vs Golden retriever
Size is an important consideration during the selection of pets you are getting. Dogs, in general, have male dogs that may appear bigger than their female counterpart.
|Male Labs||Male Goldies||Female Labs||Female Goldies|
|Height||56 - 61 cm||58 - 61 cm||53 - 58 cm||55 – 57 cm|
|Weight||27 - 36 kg||29 - 34 kg||25 - 32 kg||25 – 29 kg|
|Male Labs||56 - 61 cm||27 - 36 kg|
|Male Goldies||58 - 61 cm||29 - 34 kg|
|Female Labs||53 - 58 cm||25 - 32 kg|
|Female Goldies||55 – 57 cm||25 – 29 kg|
Grooming needs: Labrador vs Golden retriever
Both the Labs and Goldies have double coats which serve as water-resilient coats. Let’s see how both breeds differ when it comes to the grooming department.
Golden grooming requirement:
Goldies have medium-length coats. There are certain areas including their neck, legs, and tail have longer fur. It should grow longer and soft to touch. Owners are required to groom their Goldies on a regular basis.
They usually have denser undercoats during the cold seasons and tend to shed them off under warm temperature.
Labrador grooming requirement:
The Labrador’s topcoat is relatively shorter than the Goldies. You don’t have to pay special attention to trimming their neck and other areas as they do not have the feathering fur like the Goldies do. However, Labs still need regular maintenance for their double-layered coats.
Quick facts: Labrador vs Golden retriever
The Labrador retriever and the Golden retriever are two breeds that serve as assistance dogs. They have remarkable traits to be qualified for specific tasks.
For Labrador lovers:
- Labs have three colour classifications: chocolate, black, and yellow.
- They have an athletic body that makes them appear sturdy and strong.
- It is a relatively friendly breed that is happy to befriend children, other animals, and even strangers.
- Labs are highly capable of responding well to commands without being too submissive.
- It is an active breed but not hyperactive.
For Goldie lovers:
- They look amazing in a variety of coats: wavy, straight or feathered.
- Goldies have the ideal size and strength to offer physical support to people in need.
- They are affectionate and loyal towards their owners but not overly in public.
- The Goldies have desirable traits including being obedient, devoted, and intelligent. In fact, this breed makes the first three dogs to win the American Kennel Club’s Obedience Championship Title.
- They make great family pet, they are open to affection and friendship with enough tolerance towards children.
It should never be a question of which breed is better. As dog ownership entails a long-term commitment it should be a matter of suitability with your personality and lifestyle. So, which suits you better, a Golden retriever or a Labrador retriever? Check out our Dog Comparison tool for the breed comparison summary.
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