Poodle vs Golden Retriever (Breed Comparison WITH PHOTOS)

If you’re on the market for a new dog, you’re wise to compare the Poodle vs Golden Retriever. These breeds are fun, loving dogs that are excellent with children and strangers.

But although they share some of these basic similarities, the reality is that Poodles and Golden Retrievers diverge in more areas than they’re similar. 

Poodle vs Golden Retriever
Poodle vs Golden Retriever (Breed Comparison)

I’ve spent a lot of time with Golden Retrievers and Poodles. So, I’ll give you the low-down on the must-knows about bringing one of these dogs home.

A Historical Perspective

The Poodle and Golden Retriever have been loving companions for many years. And it just so happens that people historically bred them for similar reasons.

The Poodle’s History

Even though many dog enthusiasts believe Poodles originated in France, they’re really from Germany. People initially bred these dogs to retrieve birds they hunted and killed in the water. 

three Standard Poodles
The three Standard Poodles are standing on the field.

In fact, the Poodle’s name originates from the German phrase, “to splash in the water.”

Today, Poodles still have a high-energy personality that powered them through a day in the woods. Although it’s common to find these dogs in family households, they’re highly intelligent, making them great guide and therapy dogs.

The Golden Retriever’s History

The first Golden Retriever made its debut in Scotland in the late 1800s. They soon became beloved dogs among hunters since they have a calm demeanor and love to retrieve fallen prey.

Golden Retriever guards property
Golden Retriever standing and guards over a property.

Like the Poodle, hunters used Golden Retrievers to catch fowl they shot in the water. So, both Golden Retrievers and Poodles are naturally excellent swimmers.

As the years progressed, Golden Retrievers became a popular dog to have as a pet. Their even temperament makes them great for young children, and they’re large enough that a young child can’t easily accidentally injure them during play.

Physical Characteristics

Poodles and Golden Retrievers have many noticeable differences, so it’s easy to tell them apart.

panting Standard Poodle
A panting Standard Poodle observing her surroundings. (Image: Instagram/@gilliegalpal)

Poodles have a coarse, curly coat that grows indefinitely like human hair. In contrast, Golden Retrievers have a medium-length double coat that’s softer and flowy. 

Golden Retrievers also have feathering on their legs, neck, belly, and tail. Poodles have no such feathering, as their coat grows an even length throughout their body.

Golden Retrievers three colors
Golden Retrievers with different colors in snow!

Both Poodles and Golden Retrievers have floppy ears. Given that these dogs love the water, it’s vital to dry the inside of their ears with a towel after they return from playing in the water to prevent an ear infection.

Whereas Golden Retrievers have a rounder head and body, Poodles have a square-shaped figure. In addition, they have a more slender appearance compared to the Golden Retriever’s stocky build and long muzzle.

Coat Color

Golden Retrievers have limited coat colors compared to Poodles. They include:

  • Golden
  • Dark golden
  • Light golden
what were Poodles bred for
What were Poodles bred for? – 11 Facts Past Jobs, Roles & History

In contrast, the Kennel Club recognizes 11 different Poodle coat colors. Some examples are:

  • Black
  • White
  • Apricot
  • Cream
  • Red

Furthermore, Golden Retrievers don’t have any distinct body markings. But Poodles can have black points and black or white masks.

Size Comparison

One of the most notable differences between Golden Retrievers and Poodle is that Golden Retrievers come in one size, and Poodles come in three sizes.

carrying Toy Poodle
Happy owner carrying her Toy Poodle!

Golden Retrievers are tall dogs, ranging from 21.5 to 24 inches when you measure them from their paw to the top of their shoulders. As with all dogs, female Golden Retrievers are usually at the smaller end of this spectrum.

In contrast, Poodles come in the following three size categories: 

  • Toy Poodle: Up to ten inches
  • Miniature Poodle: 11-15 inchescos
  • Standard Poodle: 15-22 inches

So, Poodles are a better fit for people who live in a small apartment or those with little yard space, given that you can choose a smaller variety.

Regardless of the category of Poodle you choose, all of them have the same Poodle genes, meaning they’ll have the same appearance, including color patterns.


When comparing the Poodle vs Golden Retriever in terms of their personalities, it’s hard to go wrong. Both dogs are patient and gentle with children, although you won’t have to worry as much about a smaller Poodle knocking down a toddler.

golden retriever playing
A Golden Retriever playing in the backyard.

Both Poodles and Golden Retrievers are excellent around strangers as well. However, Poodles tend to bark more than Golden Retrievers, and they might get a little territorial on their home turf if you don’t expose them to other dogs and people at an early age.

But overall, Poodles and Golden Retrievers have the classic qualities you think of in the phrase “a man’s (and woman’s) best friend.” 

barking Poodle outside
The Poodle is barking at the stranger. (Image: Instagram/@ licklick210)

Regardless of the breed you choose, you can expect lots of cuddles from them and for them to be loyal.

Grooming Needs

Poodles and Golden Retrievers have vastly different grooming needs because their fur is so different. Below is the run-down on what to expect.

Poodle Grooming

Poodles have hypoallergenic hair, meaning that they shed little and often don’t produce an allergic reaction in people who would typically have one. 

grooming white beautiful poodle
Grooming a white beautiful Poodle at a pet salon.

So, although you won’t spend as much time vacuuming your floors by owning a Poodle instead of a Golden Retriever, you should aim to brush your Poodle daily

Furthermore, Poodles need to visit a professional groomer about every six weeks. The cost of this can add up, so some Poodle owners choose to learn to groom their dogs themselves.

Golden Retriever Grooming

Unlike Poodles, Golden Retrievers are big shedders. The situation gets even worse during the fall and spring when they strip their winter coats and prepare to grow new ones.

grooming a Golden Retriever
Grooming a Golden Retriever before a dog show!

So, to prevent tons of hair from building up in your home and reduce the potential for matting, I recommend brushing your Golden Retriever daily.

It’s also helpful to take them to the groomer every eight to ten weeks. A Golden Retriever’s hair doesn’t grow indefinitely like a Poodle’s, but a deep grooming session will help to keep their fur looking in tip-top shape and make your daily brushing sessions more manageable.


Since Poodles and Golden Retrievers are eager to please their owners, they’re both a joy to train. 

owner plays with Poodle
The owner plays fetching game with his Poodle.

But of the two, Poodles catch on to training commands faster since they’re one of the smartest dog breeds. 

So, while you might be able to get away with repeating the same training techniques with a Golden Retriever, your Poodle will grow bored of training unless you switch things up.

Cost Differences

The price of Golden Retriever and Poodle puppies ranges significantly, especially for Poodles. That’s because Toy Poodles are always more expensive than Standard Poodles. Miniature Poodles fall somewhere between them.

So, whereas a Standard Poodle starts at around $1,400, a Toy Poodle is often in the low $2,000 range. In contrast, Golden Retrievers start at around a $1,000 price point. 

But the exact cost of your Poodle or Golden Retriever puppy will depend on their lineage, age, breeder reputation, and health.

Health Issues

If you’d like a dog that will live as long as possible, I recommend choosing a Toy or Miniature Poodle. That’s because Poodles have a life expectancy of 10 to 18 years, but the smaller the dog, the longer they usually live.

sick brown poodle
A sick poodle lies on the bed.

On the other hand, Golden Retrievers have a shorter lifespan than most Poodles; they live an average of 10 to 12 years.

Some of the most common health issues that Poodles face include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Addison’s disease
  • Gastric torsion
  • Progressive retinal atrophy

In contrast, Golden Retrievers have a relatively high rate of the following conditions:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Panosteitis
  • Aortic Stenosis
  • Cancer
Golden Retriever with owner
Golden Retriever with his owner on her laptop.

As you can see, hip dysplasia is a common condition among both Poodles and Golden Retrievers. But since this is a condition that’s most common in large dogs, you likely won’t have to worry about it as much if you purchase a Toy Poodle.

Some of the most common causes of hip dysplasia include inherited genes, faster than average growth rates, and too much intense exercise as a puppy.

The good news is that you can help prevent many other health conditions from occurring in Poodles and Golden Retrievers by taking them to annual vet visits.

Are You Ready To Pick Out Your Pet?

It’s hard to go wrong personality-wise when comparing the Poodle vs Golden Retriever. 

So, many dog owners-to-be often choose their preferred breed based on how large or small they want their dog, whether they’d like a hypoallergenic pet, and the animal’s grooming requirements.

Hopefully, all that’s left to do now is for you to start searching for your next Poodle or Golden Retriever companion.