Dogster is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever: The Key Differences (With Pictures)      

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

Golden Retriever VS Labrador Retriever_Apr 23 2024

Golden Retriever vs Labrador Retriever: The Key Differences (With Pictures)      

Choosing a dog to add to your family can be one of the hardest decisions of your life. Your new pet should mesh with your life, be part of your daily activities, and essentially become your best friend. Two popular dog breeds that people find themselves drawn to are the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. Both are sporty, energetic, and loyal. Their calm demeanors and eagerness to keep their owners happy make either dog a perfect companion. But the question is, what makes them different? How do you choose?

In this comparison, we look at both the Golden and the Labrador to help you learn the differences between these two adorable breeds. Hopefully, this information will help you decide which dog will make your life complete.
divider-dog paw

Visual Differences

Dogster_Side by Side Comparison_Golden Retriever VS Labrador Retriever_Apr 30 2024
You are free to use this image but please link back to for credit

At a Glance

Golden Retriever
  • Average height (adult): 21–22 inches
  • Average weight (adult): 55–75 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Loyal, attentive, affectionate, active
Labrador Retriever
  • Average height (adult): 21½–24½ inches
  • Average weight (adult): 55–80 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10–12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours a day
  • Grooming needs: Moderate
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Other pet-friendly: Often
  • Trainability: Intelligent, loyal, eager to please


Golden Retriever Overview

The Golden Retriever has landed a special place in the hearts of many. This beloved dog is one of the most popular dog breeds worldwide. This is due to their great disposition, beauty, and gentleness. Originally bred for hunting, these dogs have moved beyond their beginnings and found their way inside the home.

These dogs are also known as natural swimmers due to their webbed feet. These were considered quite useful when Golden Retrievers were used as hunting companions. Often, these dogs were used to retrieve ducks, fish, or other prey and return it to their owner.

The popularity of the Golden Retriever has also helped them find their way into the top three on the popularity list composed by the AKC. This goes to show just how perfectly this dog breed can fit into any environment.

Golden Retriever licking nose while walking in snow
Image By: In Green, Shutterstock


The Golden Retriever is often referred to as the perfect companion. These dogs exhibit loyalty to their families and aren’t afraid to show their affection. This great demeanor has also made them a popular choice for service and therapy dogs.

As puppies, these dogs can be slightly rambunctious. While this breed takes a bit longer to mature, this doesn’t take anything away from their intelligence or ability to learn. It also does little to change how Golden Retrievers pick up on the needs of their owner. They are very in tune with the emotions and actions of their humans, which makes them ideal service dogs.


Due to their hunting backgrounds, Golden Retrievers are great when it comes to training. Their need to please their owners also makes training easier. When working with a Golden, you’ll see they have the ability to catch on to most commands quickly. This and their intelligence level make them perfect for helping humans.

While Golden Retrievers are very hyper during the puppy phase, this doesn’t change their learning ability. By starting training early, your pup will soon be following your commands and ready to show you what they can do. Golden Retrievers do best with positive reinforcement training. Their need to please will help even beginning trainers achieve the desired results.

female owner walking her golden retriever dog on a pathway
Image Credit: LightField Studios, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

The Golden Retriever is suitable for everything and everyone. With their hunting background and ease of training, they are ideal for being used as service dogs. This breed is very intuitive and will pick up on issues or situations when their owners are in trouble. The gentle temperament of this dog breed makes them ideal for any home. Great with children and other pets, the Golden Retriever loves to play, swim, spend time with their families, and run in the backyard.


Labrador Retriever Overview

The Labrador Retriever dog breed originated in Newfoundland. Originally used for hunting, this water-loving dog was a master of retrieving their owner’s shot-down prey. With their thick tail, these dogs were able to maneuver easily in the water, which made them stand out in the hunting field.

Luckily for the Labrador, their loving and kind nature helped them become more than a hunting dog. They soon became a house dog and member of the family. Once inside the home, the intelligence and loyalty of the Labrador truly began to show through. They are now considered the most popular dog for families in America and have held this distinction for over three decades.

Due to their popularity, Labradors are quite easy to find. When purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder, you should expect to pay upward of $1,000. This breed is also used as a support and therapy animal, which helps increase the purchase price of the pups.

chocolate labrador retriever dog standing outdoor
Image By: Anna Darahan, Shutterstock


The Labrador is one of the easiest-going dogs around. Their happy demeanor and ability to become part of any routine help them acclimate to life with their family quite easily. No matter your activity level, a Labrador wants to take part. If you are active, constantly exploring the outdoors, or into exercise, a Labrador will go on the adventure with you. For those who prefer hanging out at home, your pup will gladly become a couch potato with you.

Labradors are quite friendly and outgoing. This makes them ideal for people who like to socialize but not for families seeking a guard dog. These dogs rarely consider anyone a stranger, even one breaking into your home while you’re away.

Speaking of being away, don’t plan on leaving your Labrador alone for long. If you work extensive hours or plan on leaving your pup alone for lengthy intervals, they could show signs of separation anxiety. The Labrador needs a connection with their family and may act out if they don’t get it.


By bringing a Labrador into your home, you’ll quickly discover they are among the easiest dogs in the world to train. Like the Golden Retriever, these dogs can learn commands easily. It’s important to remember, however, that training should start early. If not, you may find yourself with an unruly Labrador that doesn’t understand what you expect from them.

This dog breed also loves treats. While the Golden Retriever prefers positive praise, the Labrador wouldn’t mind training to include rewards and plenty of them.

labrador retriever lying inside dog cage
Image Credit: Parilov, Shutterstock

Suitable For:

The Labrador is a happy-go-lucky dog that always wants to be by your side. These dogs are great with families or singles, as they want to be a companion. Even first-time dog owners will find this breed easy to train and make part of the family. Social families will love their Labrador’s ability to take part in whatever activities they choose.divider-dog paw

Which Breed Is Right for You?

Whether you choose to bring a Golden Retriever or a Labrador into your home, you’re making a great choice. Both of these dog breeds do well with families and other animals. Their need to please their owners makes them great companions who will mind their manners when around others. If you’re struggling with which breed you should choose, spend time with each! You and your family will fall in love with one and then spend years loving them unconditionally.

You may also want to read:

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Get Dogster in your inbox!

Stay informed! Get tips and exclusive deals.
Dogster Editors Choice Badge
Shopping Cart


© Pangolia Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.