A Complete Guide To Labradors Vs. Golden Retrievers: Similarities And Differences

Both of these beautiful breeds are known for their intelligence, friendly nature, and temperament, which make them ideal family pets and great working dogs.

However, people often get these breeds confused, and it’s easy to see why.

In both faces and often in build, they are very similar. However, there are many differences that distinguish the Labrador from the Golden Retriever.

Golden Retrievers Vs. Labradors

Before we learn about their similarities and differences, let’s learn a little about each breed.

The Labrador

Labradors, also known as Labrador Retrievers, are a breed of Retriever.

They were originally bred as hunting and retrieving dogs, but have become widely known as fantastic family dogs and service dogs due to their gentle temperament along with their intelligence!

The Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is another breed of Retriever. They were also bred as hunting dogs in Scotland, but specifically for retrieving game such as waterfowl, due to their soft mouth.

They are known for their intelligence, which lends them well to being service dogs, but their friendly and playful temperament means that they also make great family dogs, which is not dissimilar to the Labrador!

Similarities Between The Labrador And The Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers Vs. Labradors

Now we’ve looked at them individually, let’s delve into the similarities between these breeds.


As we have already learned, both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are known for their gentle, friendly, and loyal nature.

Both breeds are known to be playful, even well into their senior years! This temperament is why both breeds often rank highly on the best dog breeds for families with children lists!


Again, both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers are recognized as being extremely intelligent.

They tend to excel in learning, from obedience to learning role requirements of being a service dog!

They are great problem-solvers and respond very well to positive reinforcement. Yes, their great appetite for treats helps with this, which leads me to our next similarity!


Both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are notorious food machines!

Unfortunately, these breeds can be prone to obesity if dog owners are not careful with their portion control.

Whilst we all love to give our pooches whatever they want, both breeds are extremely enthusiastic about food (aren’t we all?), which means that they will happily overeat.

While intelligence is one of their strengths, listening to their full stomachs is not!

Needless to say, it is important to balance their diet and exercise to maintain a healthy weight, and make sure you keep up with those regular veterinarian checks to ensure they are remaining in a healthy weight range!

Don’t be fooled by those beautiful, pleading puppy eyes!


The average male Labrador stands at around 22.5 to 24.5 inches. Female Labradors typically stand at around 21.5 to 23.5 inches.

Marginally different, the average male Golden Retriever stands between 23 and 24 inches, and the average female Golden Retriever stands between 21.5 and 22.5 inches.

So, the average Golden Retriever lies within the range of the Labrador, but there tends to be less variation in height on average.


The average male Labrador weighs between 65 and 80 pounds. Female Labradors typically weigh between 55 and 70 pounds.

Again, only very slightly different, the average male Golden Retriever weighs between 65 and 75 pounds. The average female Golden Retriever weighs between 55 and 65 pounds.

As you would expect, where there is less variation in height of the averages, there is also less variation in weight, too.

Coat Shedding

Both Labradors and Golden Retrievers are known to be moderate to heavy shedders – most pawrents to these breeds will to attest to the ability to create a whole new dog each day from the shedding of fur alone!

Shedding, of course, does vary from dog to dog and will also change throughout the year with the seasons and depending on how frequently they are groomed.

Even if you keep on top of grooming both breeds, make sure you have an enthusiasm for using your hoover daily!

Life Span

This is something we all absolutely hate to think about, but the average lifespan for both Labradors and Golden Retrievers’ is between 10 and 12 years.

They cram so much joy and love into those years, don’t they?


Both dogs consistently come out on top of lists of most popular dog breeds around the world due to their wonderful temperament making them so likable and versatile (not to mention – have you seen the litters of squishy little pups they produce?)

Labrador Retriever Vs Golden Retriever Differences

Next, I’ll take you through some of the differences between these dog breeds.

Golden Retrievers Vs. Labradors

Coat Colors

For Labrador Retrievers, there are three primary coat colors that are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) – Black Labrador (the most common color), Yellow Labrador, and Chocolate Labrador.

However, as you might have guessed, for the Golden Retriever, the colors recognized by the AKC are different as they are all shades of, well, golden colors!

Like the Labrador, there are three primary coat colors recognized, but these are Dark Golden, Golden, and Light Golden.

Coat Length

The Labrador tends to have a double coat, which is water-resistant, short, and dense. The outer coat is straight, short, and dense, whereas the undercoat is soft and weather-resistant. Whilst it is important to groom the Labrador, the coat is quite low-maintenance with its length.

The Golden Retriever is known for its flowing Golden locks, so of course this will be one of the main differences! Whilst they also have a double coat, their fur is longer and also tends to be wavier than the Labrador Retriever.

For this reason, more regular grooming is required to maintain its’ good condition and to prevent it from matting.

Litter Size

Generally, you might expect a litter of Golden Retrievers to be slightly larger, on average, than a litter of Labradors.

Whilst the typical litter size of Labradors is 6-8 puppies, for Golden Retrievers, it is between 6-10 puppies.


So, although both Labradors and Retrievers are frequently used as working dogs, and it’s true that they share some of the same jobs, there are some differences here.

Whilst both breeds may commonly be used as service dogs, Labradors are also often used as search and rescue dogs, as well as hunting companions.

Golden Retrievers tend not to be trained in those roles as their breeding history and physical characteristics mean they are less suited.

For example, their softer mouth and coat type makes them less appropriate for search and rescue roles, but also for many hunting expeditions.

The Final Woof

I’ve always had golden retrievers, but I’m a huge fan of labs, too (in fact, you may see some lab content popping up pretty soon).

These gorgeous breeds share a lot of similarities and are often confused with one another, but they also have very distinct differences, which I hope I’ve helped you understand in today’s guide.

Ready to read more? Take a look at the differences between Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles.

Jade Miller
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