Labrador Retriever vs Golden Retriever (Which Is Better?)


golden retriever vs labrador

You might not even know the difference between these two, but which type of retriever is better? It is a complicated question, so I hope that this post might help you understand the answer a little bit better.

I will try my best to answer this question, but please bear with me as I go through all the tiny details since you need to also consider that golden retriever and a labrador have many similarities.


Cost of Labrador vs Golden Retriever’s Expenses

Similar to our previous posts, this article will follow the basic format of comparing two different breed of dogs. First, we will cover the financial cost related to raising a dog, and then, we will go on to personality traits.

Unlike our last two posts, I will be adding a section concerning outward appearances since it might be the deciding factor when choosing between a golden retriever and a labrador retriever.

Last but not least, we will be ending with a short question and answer section before saying our farewells. I hope that you enjoy this post, and please be sure to comment down below if you have any questions!


1. Initial Cost of Buying Retrievers

Labrador retrievers will take the spotlight for this first section, and financial cost is something that you need to seriously consider since it is not something that you should overlook!

If you can barely afford the financial cost of your household, you need to wait until you have a stable financial footing since you need to cover the cost of training, food, supplies, regular checkups, and medical treatments.

  • Average Price of Buying Labradors – $700 ~ $1,400
  • Cost of Buying a Labrador From a Reputable Breeder – $1,500 and Higher
  • Estimated Amount of Adopting a Labrador – $300 ~ $600

By the way, the cost of adoption is not fixed since there are animal shelters out there who ask prices lower than $100. I’m letting you know the calculated cost, but you can always search for cheaper options!

Next up, we will be going over the initial cost of buying a golden retriever, and similar to the list above, I’m going to let you know that these costs are not fixed since they may ask for lower or higher prices.

  • Average Price of Buying a Golden Retriever – $500 ~ $2,000
  • Cost of Buying Golden Retriever With Superior Lineage – $1,000 and Higher
  • Estimated Amount of Adopting a Labrador – $350 ~ $550

You might edging towards the option with the cheapest price, but you might regret it down the road. Keep in mind that getting a dog from a reputable breeder or from a superior lineage might save you money down the road!

Buying a dog from the lower end of the cost spectrum might mean frequent trips to a vet, which can cost couple thousand dollars at a time. If you have the financial support, it might be a good idea to pay a high cost upfront and save money down the road.


2. Continuing Cost for Retrievers

After you have already bought the dog, you still need to pay to take care of your dog by providing for basic necessities. You might have a tendency to save when it comes down to food, but don’t save too much!

Get a good-quality dog food and feed in moderate amounts since you don’t want to get in a habit of overfeeding your dog. Overfeeding hurts both your dog and your purse, so gradually increase the amount as the years go by.

  • Food/Snacks for Retrievers – $650 ~ $800 Per Year
  • Health Check-Ups/Vaccinations for Retrievers – $200 ~ $400 Per Year
  • Training Sessions/Group Lessons for Retrievers – $600 ~ $1,000 Per Year
  • Needed Supplies for Retrievers – $200 ~ $400 for FIRST YEAR
  • RETRIEVER’S TOTAL ANNUAL COST – $1,650 ~ $2,600

Since the continuing cost is relatively the same, I have combined both groups into one and called it the cost for retrievers. Even though the training cost is not mandatory, it is highly recommended!

Golden retrievers and labradors are popularly used as service dogs due to their high level of friendship and intelligence. It would be a sad thing to see their talents go to waste due to the lack of training.


3. Emergency Cost for Retrievers

This probably applies to retrievers which were bought at a low cost, but please keep in mind that emergencies can happen to any dog regardless of its background.

The trip to a vet regarding a retriever’s medical treatment can range as low as $200 and up to $15,000! However, if you have a healthy retriever, you will expect the expenses to be about a few hundred dollars per year.


If you can financially afford golden and labrador retrievers, the next section will determine which dog breed will be the best fit for your home. It will be hard choosing between the retrievers, and if you don’t want to choose, get both!

We had many similarities when it came to the financial cost, and they will probably follow the same trend as we go on to personality traits. In short, the final decision will come down to your personal preferences.


Personality Traits of Golden Retriever vs Labrador

In this section, we will be looking at historical records, personal temperaments, and living patterns of both golden and labrador retrievers. Hold on to your seat belts since there is a lot of information to cover!


1. Retriever’s Historical Records

Before we get too deep into the golden retriever’s past, we can get a quick glimpse of their old profession by looking at their name “retriever”. Just as its name states, golden retrievers were used to retrieve waterfowls.

Due to their thick double coat, they had no trouble going through harsh winters, and their waterproof coat makes it possible for retrievers to love water and especially swimming.

When we look into the historical records of labrador retrievers, they originated from Newfoundland, which is known for short summers and long winters.

Even better swimmers than golden retrievers, labrador retrievers have webbed-paws that make them efficient swimmers even in cold weather. Similar to its cousins, labradors have a coat that is highly resistant to water.


2. Retriever’s Personal Temperaments

In other words, personal temperaments are characteristics that set apart one dog breed from the next. However, the personal characteristics of both golden retrievers and labradors are very much alike since they are tasked with similar jobs.

  • Active/Energetic – Name Retrievers Originated From Fetching
  • Compassionate/Friendly – #1 Family Dog
  • Kind/Non-Aggressive – Gentle and Eager to Please
  • Intelligent/Adaptability – Flexible and Easy to Teach

Even though we didn’t go over every characteristic of retrievers, the short summary is that they are great athletes when it comes to sports and highly intelligent when it comes to hunting, tracking, and helping. To give a few examples, we see retrievers as police dogs, service dogs, and even as search-and-rescue dogs.


3. Retriever’s Living Patterns

In our last sub-section, we are going to look at the activity level, shedding rate, and grooming maintenance for retrievers. Since the living patterns for both retrievers are highly similar, we will not separate them into two different categories.

  • Golden/Labrador Retrievers – High Shedding Rate / High Grooming Maintenance
  • Activity Level of Retrievers – High (More Than 40 Minutes Per Day)

In addition to physical activity, retrievers also need mental exercises to further develop their intelligence. The living space for golden retrievers is preferably indoors since they place a great emphasis on their “pack”, which in this case is your family.


Can you see the difference between a golden retriever and a labrador? I sure can’t! In order to provide a more distinct factor, I have decided to include outward appearances as our last and final section.

I hope you got the basic knowledge of retrievers, and let’s go on to our next section which talks about the physical perks of a golden retriever compared to those of a labrador.


Retriever’s Outward Appearances

Similar to what I did in the financial section, I will first list the outward characteristics of a labrador followed by that of a golden retriever. Be sure to read each section carefully since this is the section where it might differ a lot.

  • Labrador’s Otter-Like Tail – Thick Tail Used for Water Navigation
  • Very Thick, Dense Coat – Used to Withstand Atlantic’s Icy Waters
  • Gentle Eyes, Straight Muzzle, Webbed Foot
  • Comes in Colors of Yellow, Black, and Chocolate

If we look into the key characteristics of Labs, the otter-like tail is a thick, tapering tail that Labs use as a rudder in the high seas. Thick coating is great for cold winters, and its water-proof coat means they have no trouble swimming.

  • Golden Retriever’s Intelligent Eyes – Loves Learning / Training
  • Golden Shining Coat – Its Name Originated From Their Coat’s Color
  • Short Ears, Friendly Eyes, Feathery Tail
  • Comes in Colors of Dark Golden, Light Golden, Cream, and Golden

The key characteristic of golden retrievers is its golden coat, which is a key characteristic that labradors do not have. I hope that you have chosen your companion, but if you haven’t, please don’t worry since time is on your side!


Before we officially end this post, we’ll finish by answering the top popular questions asked by many dog owners. If you want to keep on researching, then please go on! If you have time for extra information, please stay till the last question has been answered.


What Is the Life Expectancy of Golden Retrievers Compared to Labradors?

The estimated life expectancy of golden retrievers is about 10~12 years while the labrador’s estimated longevity lasts about 10~14 years. Even though the minimum life span is the same, labradors have a higher life expectancy when compared to that of golden retrievers.


What Is the Size Difference Between Golden Retrievers and Labradors?

When comparing these types of retrievers, there is little to no size difference between golden retrievers and labradors. They are both medium-sized dogs that require much attention and care, so don’t leave them at home unattended for long periods of time!


Do Golden Retrievers Shed More Than Labrador Retrievers?

We have looked at the shedding rate of both retrievers and came to the conclusion that golden retrievers and labradors shed similar amounts. If we really want to get into the nitty-gritty, labradors will shed more in the spring since it has a thicker coat than golden retrievers.

In this case, labradors will shed just a little bit more than golden retrievers in the spring, but both dog breeds shed all-year round. If you or one of your family members are allergic to dog hair, you should try to get something other than the retrievers.


How Well Do Golden Retrievers Get Along With Labradors?

Since both labradors and golden retrievers are family dogs, golden retrievers and labradors will be the best of friends if you put them together. Be sure to do the social bonding at an early age since they might not get along well if they didn’t get trained as a pup.

I hope that you have enjoyed the contents of this post, and if you want further information regarding this topic, I have added our latest post in the list above. Be sure to share with your friends if you have found this information helpful!

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