Labrador vs Golden Retriever Photos (What is the Difference?)

The Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever breeds are similar for several reasons, one of which is the companionable and sweet nature they both have. It’s no wonder they claim the title of “best family pets.”

Let’s examine the historical background of these two lovable breeds to bring to light the respect with which they diverge. 

Labrador vs Golden Retriever
Labrador vs Golden Retriever photos (What is the difference?)

History of The Breeds

Despite the similarities between these two breeds, these two furry companions have different historical backgrounds and ancestry. However, both breeds were bred in similar working conditions. And over the years, both have evolved to become awesome family pets. Let’s examine a brief history of both breeds.

Golden Retriever 

The existence of the Golden Retriever pet can be traced back to the 19th century in Scotland, England. The desire of Lord Tweedmouth to have a gun dog born to the Golden Retrievers was fulfilled. The Golden Retrievers were created from the extinct Tweed Spaniel, Irish Setter, and Bloodhound.

In history, Golden Retrievers were generally referred to as “soft mouths” that masters took for hunting. It could sniff the master’s prey and collect it without rough handling it. It was a popular breed at the time, and it still is today.

However, their popularity didn’t begin until the 38th president, Gerald Ford, adopted a Golden Retriever who always appeared on the screens.

golden retriever smiling

Labrador Retriever 

Although Labradors are also working dogs and came into existence in the 19th century, their ancestry can be traced to Canada. As working dogs, Labradors worked on water rather than land, unlike their Retriever counterparts. They became like sea hunters that hunted sea foods in the water, and therefore became the fisherman’s favorite.

Labrador Retrievers came into the spotlight when a noble Englishman sailed them to Britain. From its name, you might think the breed originated in Labrador. Rather, it originated from Newfoundland and has also become a favorite of families.

Labrador with red collar
Labrador with red collar sitting outside in an afternoon.

Differences Between Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever  

Here are the common differences between the Retriever brothers. 


Even though the Labrador and Golden Retrievers are similar in appearance in that they are both medium-speed dogs, the Labradors beat the Goldens by a few inches in height, as they are generally 24.5 inches tall.  

Also, the Labrador Retriever is plumper in weight than the Golden Retriever by an average of 5 pounds. That’s specifically the same as the weight of a bag of sugar.

In addition, Golden Retrievers are more graceful with their model-like slender structure, but Labradors, on the other hand, are a bit fatter than Golden Retrievers. This fat or beefy appearance has a lot to do with their coat. Golden Retrievers are double-coated, having an inner and outer coat that makes them less vulnerable to either condition.

But the outer coat is longer than the inner coat, which gives them the elegant and graceful look you see in them.

Meanwhile, Labradors also have inner and outer coats, but unlike Golden Retrievers, their outer coats are shorter than their inner coats. In the same way, the Labrador’s coat traps heat, which keeps him very warm in the freezing Canadian climate. Although the coats of both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers are water-resistant.

However, Labrador’s coat is one step ahead in that its coats are also ice resistant.

Labrador and Golden Retrievers
Labrador and Golden Retrievers stay together.

Coat Color

Labradors have a variety of colors. Among the many colors that Labradors’ coats come in are yellow, red, black, and chocolate. Contrastingly, Golden Retrievers are known for having more than one golden coat color. But as Golden Retrievers mature, their coat gradually changes to a white or dark golden-red shade.

But Labradors, besides the few grey hairs they might have, their initial grey color doesn’t change.

Another thing that contributes largely to the elegance and exuberant glow of the Golden Retriever is its tail. Its tail dangles left and right like human hands when they walk. A Labrador’s tail, on the other hand, is a very different build-up. It has a thick, long tail with short hair that resembles the tail of an otter.

white Labrador Retriever
A white Labrador Retriever sits quietly.


Both Golden Retrievers and Labradors have similar temperaments, they are kind, outgoing, friendly, affectionate, and obedient. Nonetheless, there are also temperamental differences that differentiate them. These temperamental differences help families decide which breed suits them best.

Indeed, both breeds do well in families, but Labs adapt better to lively households with young children. Many Goldens, however, prefer an environment with tranquillity.

Whatever happens, your choice of either breed must be induced by your lifestyle and how the personality of the breed fits into it. An active family, for instance, with kids, would most likely prefer an energetic Lab, while a retired couple would likely prefer a calm Golden Retriever instead. 

golden retriever playing
A Golden Retriever playing in the backyard.

How Much Exercise Should A Retriever Be Exposed To?

As working dogs, both the Golden and Labrador Retriever require more bodywork than the average dog. As a result, it is recommended that both breeds get at least 60 minutes of exercise every day

Both breeds derive joy in retrieving objects. It’s a thrilling exercise you can engage them with retrieving objects. 

Among other things, both breeds are intelligent and highly trainable. The ease that comes with training these pups accounts for why, among other canine breeds, they are the best choice for the blind and sniffer.

The fact that they have been tagged as sociable and friendly, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t train them. They still need to be trained from a young age because socialization is the way to ensure they grow into well-behaved members of the family.

To put this into perspective, try examining babies, for instance. Babies always appear as the most innocent, friendly, and cutest beings ever conceived. But you’ll notice that without proper training from their cradle days, the once cute baby might evolve into a spoiled brat.

Now that’s how it is with these breeds too.

Labrador and Golden Retriever
Labrador and Golden Retriever getting fit with their own activities!

Common Health Issues 

As is common with any other dog breed, Golden Retrievers are prone to health problems, some of which are inherited. However, it is not in all cases that the Retrievers inherit health issues. They may, or may not. Nonetheless, both breeds are prone to the following health issues:

Hip and Elbow Dysplasia

This occurs when there is a deformity in the formation of the hip and elbow joints, which can cause lameness and arthritis over time.

golden retriever on the couch
A golden retriever stays beside his owner on the couch.

Injuries from Excessive Exercise 

Excessive exercise can sometimes cause a loss of muscular control, which could lead to a reduced pace in walking and eventually collapse.

Best dog beds for labs
A Labrador lounges on his dog bed

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This health issue is common to most dogs. In this case, both Golden Retrievers and Labradors are susceptible to this condition. It occurs when the retina degenerates to the point where the dog loses its sight.

It is also important to note before making your choice that most Golden Retrievers are pretty predisposed to cancer. A 1990 study discovered that about 61% of Golden deaths are a result of cancer of some sort. And their mortality rate, especially in parts of Europe, is 38%.

Additionally, it is the belief of scientists that this cancerous trait in them is due to a genetic mutation in the North American Golden Gene pool.

On that note, you must check with the Golden Retriever’s parents’ health to ensure cancer is not a family disposition. Also, as with other health issues, if you notice certain symptoms in your dog, be sure to consult a vet for treatment advice.

Golden Retriever with owner
Golden Retriever with his owner on her laptop.

How Often Should I Groom My Retriever?

As previously established, both Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers have double coats, which help them sync with the “earth elements.” Both breeds, on a general note, require brushing once or twice a week. However, during their shedding season, like summer, they usually require more brushing.

During summer, both breeds shed their undercoats, but in winter they grow more hair to protect them from the biting cold.

Golden Retrievers require extra grooming that even goes beyond merely brushing their coat. This is because of their long furs, which go beyond brushing and require trimming as well.

Trimming is one extra grooming that Golden Retrievers require. Another important grooming need is bathing. They need to be bathed every four weeks, unlike Labradors, who require a bath every six weeks.

Whatever you do, be sure to not exceed the bathing recommendation for each breed because it could damage their natural coat oils, which can dry out their skin. 

cocolate labrador retriever
A chocolate Labrador Retriever having its coat brushed


Both Retrievers, the Golden and the Labrador, are among the top and most popular dog breeds. They are ranked among the top three most popular dog choices in the world. 

This is no surprise, given their tender and calm temperament. If anything, they love exploring, retrieving things for you, or playing in the garden. Both breeds will be an amazing addition to your family.

Whichever breed you decide to choose, you can rest assured that everybody will love and adore them.