Looking for a loyal and good family companion? You could never go wrong with golden retrievers and labradors! These two dog breeds are usually in the top rankings when it comes to popularity. Retrievers are famous for their intelligence and labs for their perseverance to work hard.
These canines have personalities and characteristics that dog owners just can’t get enough of! If you’re torn between which is the best breed to own, keep on reading as we help you to select which one is the right one for you.
The Appearance of Golden Retriever vs. Labrador
Knowing the difference between these two is easy when you start on their physical characteristics. Even though they are both medium-sized dogs, you’ll notice that Golden retrievers are a bit smaller by inches than Labradors when sat next to each other. You will also see that Retrievers tend to have a fluffier coat than the other. This means that they will shed a generous amount of fur that can be a lot of work, especially during their shedding seasons.
It is noteworthy to mention here that Golden retrievers can only be “gold.” Their coat varies from light gold shades to darker ones, and sometimes they’re accompanied with reddish tones. On the other hand, Labradors can also be golden colored. However, their coat can also range from chocolate brown to black hues.
History of Golden Retrievers vs. Labrador
People used to believe that Golden Retrievers originated when Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, a wealthy person in 19th century England, had bought a litter of circus dogs from Russia and bred the first batches of Golden Retrievers from there. However, that’s not true.
What happened is that Marjoribanks came upon a golden colored-dog with wavy hair named Nous. Years later, after he acquired Nous, the man bred the dog with Belle, a Tweed water spaniel, and gave birth to 4 golden-colored female pups, the ancestors of Golden Retrievers today.
On the other hand, our Labrador friends originate from Newfoundland around the 1500s. Most fishers owned these dogs to help them catch fishes that have fallen from the net. These canines were great at swimming with their coat that repels water and webbed paws that made them an excellent companion at sea. When some dogs moved to Poole, the Earl of Malmesbury brought some dogs to themselves, and the Earl’s son began breeding the dogs whom the modern Labrador Retrievers descendants are from.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Breed
The versatility of Golden Retrievers is remarkable. They can be couch potatoes and cuddle with you all day long, or they can also be a dog working for the law enforcement. Golden Retrievers are also an athletic breed that would do great in dog sports competitions.
Labradors are also athletic like Golden Retrievers. Historically, they were fishermen’s little helpers when fishing in the Northern Atlantic. Nowadays, Labradors also work as hard as their ancestors. Some Labradors undergo training to be service or therapy dogs, sniffing for illegal drugs and other dog jobs.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Lifespan
Golden Retrievers and Labradors share the same range for lifespan. These dog breeds have a life expectancy of around 10-12 human years – the average lifespan for canines. However, Golden Retrievers used to have a life expectancy of about 16 to 17 years. One theory on why the lifespan of this beloved breed has decreased is because of the health conditions that they have, which we will talk about later on in this article.
Labradors are also affected by inherited diseases and cancers that can limit their life expectancy. According to National Geographic, chocolate-colored Labs tend to have shorter lives than other colored Labradors. It is because some breeders introduce harmful genes that affect their lifespan. This kind of Labrador is prone to flea infection and skin or ear conditions.
On a lighter note, do you know that a Labrador named Adjutant lived up to a little over 27 years? He was the oldest lab ever to live and ranked 7th place on the oldest dog in history, regardless of breed.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Food and Nutrition Requirements
A healthy Golden Retriever should have a diet composed of a balanced amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Your goldie will need these macronutrients to get sufficient energy for the day.
Since this breed is often active, they should consume at least 30% of proteins every day to enhance their muscular bodies. You can also feed Golden Retrievers with food enriched with Omega-3, such as salmon or herrings, as these can add shine and strength to your dog’s coat.
Every Labrador owner knows that they need their protein for growth. You can find proteins in meat, fish, and eggs! However, it’s also worth mentioning that overfeeding protein to Labrador puppies may affect their bones since they will grow so fast that their bones can’t keep up. You should always check with your veterinarian to watch out what food your pup should eat.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Temperament
If you have little children playing around and you’re worried about them playing with a dog, don’t worry! Golden Retrievers are an even-tempered and affectionate animal. They can play with children of all ages, and they are also said to be gentle with smaller kids. This kind of dog also has a heightened energy level, and most often, they will do the “zoomies” to contain their excitement.
On the other hand, Labradors are a friendly-spirited breed that makes them an ideal pet to have for first-time dog owners. It’s essential to keep this dog occupied with physical and mental exercises to keep them satisfied.
Labs have high energy levels in which you should provide a healthy outlet to avoid them running around and ruining your furniture and stuff. Labradors also make good service dogs for people with disabilities. They are sweet creatures that love to help their humans as much as possible.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Exercise
The Golden Retriever and Labrador are both active dogs. This means that they require physical and mental exercises to keep them healthy and reduce the chances of obesity. Goldens should at least have 20 to 30 minutes of hard exercises two times a day. You can do this by walking or running with them, or even make it more creative with a few games of tug of war.
Labrador Retrievers also have a lot of energy that you should take care of. Labs need 30 minutes to an hour of physical exercise regularly to ensure that they are doing something productive for their energy. Lack of physical activities will lead Labs and Goldens to boredom and result in frustration and sometimes aggressive behavior.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Grooming
Golden Retrievers are one of the most fluffy and furry dog breeds. They have this golden coat that sheds quite often and can also get entangled. There should be regular grooming to avoid that and keep them clean. It might get messy owning one, so be sure you are ready for that!
Labradors or any other dog breeds can look much more adorable when you groom them. They also don’t have as much fun as the other one, so you don’t have to clean up after them that much. Labs need regular grooming once or up to four times a week.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador Training
Training Golden Retrievers shouldn’t be much of a challenge. This dog breed is very sociable, and it all depends on how consistent their owner will be in training them. These charming dogs can get even more fun to play with when properly trained. Don’t forget to give them treats for a job well done!
Labradors learn to do things quickly as they are intelligent and friendly dogs. It won’t be that hard to teach them a couple of tricks. With a lot of patience and rewards like treats or toys, you can make training more manageable and fun for them! Who knows, maybe you can teach yours to give you a massage.
Golden Retrievers vs. Labradors Health Issues
Golden Retrievers are, without a doubt, one of the friendliest dog breeds. Although, these cute and fluffy creatures have a devastatingly high rate of being diagnosed with cancer, and some studies show that more than half of Goldens die because of it.
They are also prone to skin issues since they have thick furs that make it an ideal environment for infection to grow. Like other larger breeds, Golden Retrievers have high chances for health conditions that affect the heart and lungs.
Unfortunately, as cute as Labradors may look being big, they are vulnerable to joint problems. As they grow older, it becomes more common to them. It causes pain and takes away their freedom to move freely, even at the simplest of tasks like climbing the stairs or walking. Labs may also experience separation anxiety, which happens when their owners go out and makes them feel scared of being alone.
Golden Retriever vs. Labrador: Which Breed Should I Choose
You can never go wrong with any of these dog breeds. After all, they are always in the top 5 list of America’s most popular dogs! Both are affectionate and make a good family companion that stays loyal to their humans. However, there are three things you should consider when selecting which one is the best fit for you.
1. Your connection with your future dog
Since these breeds are popular, you’re more likely to see some in the park. You can visit there and take a look at which breed will appeal to you. It will also help if you visit the dog first before getting him or her permanently.
2. Their maintenance needs
Goldens have longer fur than Labs. They may leave traces of golden strands on every piece of furniture and corner of the house. Be sure to groom them by regularly going to a professional groomer or doing it yourself with some deshedding products.
3. Your availability
As mentioned earlier, these are active dogs. You’ll need time to give them adequate exercise so that they won’t resort to destructive behavior such as chewing or ruining your furniture. Also, these dogs are affectionate, and they may require your attention from time to time.
Now that we’ve discussed the difference between these two, it’s up to you to pick which one you want! All dogs have their issues, just like with Goldens and their heightened risk for cancer as they age, and Labs for their tendency to experience separation anxiety.
However, with the right discipline and TLC, either of these will surely be the best bet for the family! If you happened to pick one already, it’s vital to regularly set up appointments with a veterinarian to ensure that your pet will receive only the best care possible.