Difference Between Golden Retriever & Labrador Retriever Dogs

This golden retriever is ready to work!
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The golden and Labrador retrievers share some qualities, and many people tend to confuse the two, but they are different breeds with unique features. Both are heavy bodied and a bit low in leg. They have heavier heads, and and very sweet eyes. These dogs make great companions, and still can work the field. Many have been selected for service dogs, because of their steady temperaments and perfect size.

Water Dogs

Both Golden retrievers and Labradors are popular family pets in the United States. The Labrador retriever ranks first in terms of the American Kennel Club's breed registrations, and the golden retriever is third. The dogs are happy to share any family activity, but water sports are their favorites. Because of their retrieving heritage, goldens and Labs love to carry things - a toy, a towel or their own leashes - and they are very careful not to damage the goods.

Golden Retriever Basics

Golden retrievers have been used for hunting, as guide dogs, in search and rescue and they make great companions. The golden was developed in Scotland in the late 1880s from retriever and spaniel breeds that are now extinct. Their famous flowing locks make this breed easily recognizable, and the water-repellent coat is features feathering on the underbody, front of neck, thighs and tail. The rich color can be any shade of gold, but white or red coats are not correct.

Labrador Basics

The Labrador retriever is a native of Canada and is famous for its swimming ability. Its double coat is water resistant, and seasonal shedding can be expected. According to the American Kennel Club's breed standard, these fabulous dogs are versatile, intelligent and make great pets. The dogs come in three colors: yellow, black and chocolate. Labs love to please, and they love to work--which makes them desirable as guide dogs, search and rescue dogs, drug detection dogs, and therapy dogs.


Both breeds have a lifespan of between 10 and 13 years, but conditioning can extend these predictions. Several diseases have been seen in these popular dogs, and it is imperative to purchase a dog from a reputable breeder who is knowledgeable of genetics, and has worked to eliminate physical and temperamental problems from his line. Potential problems include hypothyroidism, heart problems, cancers, and orthopedic problems, such as hip dysplasia. Regular veterinary care, exercise and diet can help keep dogs from developing diseases known in these breeds.