What’s The Difference Between a Labrador and a Golden Retriever !


golden retriever vs labrador

Many people find it difficult and almost impossible to tell the difference between the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever. Although I find it understandable why people get confused, It’s because they have similar names, other than that they are completely different from each other, with a little education you will find it easy as well to tell the difference between them.

So what is the difference between a Labrador retriever and a golden retriever? Well, the short answer is that there are many differences, including hair type, activity level, behavior, body length, and many more, after all, these breeds are different from each other.

Origins of The Labrador Retriever

The Labrador Retriever comes from an old breed called St. John’s Water Dog, a Canadian breed from Newfoundland that went extinct in the late 1980s. We assume that Labrador got his love for water from this breed.

Like its ancestor both Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever fulfill the same purpose, they were developed to participate in hunting games, and if we look back, Labrador was extremely popular among hunters of waterfowl.

In 1814 this breed was first produced in northeastern Canada, where the Labrador name came from, and according to a book titled “instructions to young sportsmen” written by Peter Hawker, it proves that the Labrador Retriever has been a hunter’s dog right from the beginning.

Origins of The Golden Retriever 

Back in the mid-19th century, the golden retriever was founded in Scotland, at that time Scottish hunters were looking for a new breed for hunting

In those days the Retrievers breeds were famous in Scotland because of how they can easily adapt to their harsh environment that consists of marshy ponds and highland forests, therefore, they needed a dog that could hunt on land and water.

So they began breeding retriever breed with Tweed Water Spaniels to achieve their ultimate hunting dog, so they mixed a land retriever with a water retriever, to create a dog that both can hunt In water areas and land areas, as result, they created golden retriever, an excellent hunter dog for all kind of environment.

According to some false rumors concerning the origins of the Golden Retriever, some people are saying that Golden Retrievers resulted in the creation of three breeds, not two (retrievers with water spaniels) like it was proven.

Those three are The bloodhound, the Irish setter, and the st. John’s Water dog, that last one is what made that rumor false, because the Scottish hunting game created the Golden Retriever in the 18th century, and John’s Water Dog existed at least since the 17th century.

 The Height Comparison Between The Golden and The Labrador

­­­­­The Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever have similar height, according to AKC’s website, to be certified as a pure-blooded dog, they must fall within a certain height.

golden retriever vs labrador
Labrador and Golden Retriever

· Labrador Retrievers

21.5 inches-23.5 inches for females and  22.5 inches-24.5 inches for males.

·  Golden Retrievers

21.5 inches-22.5 inches for females and 23 inches-24 inches for males

As we can see, both breeds have almost the same height, the difference is only one inch between the Golden Retriever and the Labrador Retriever, however, the females have the same height, keep in mind that AKC is allowing any breed that is 0,5 inches less.

The Difference Weight Between The Golden Retriever and The Labrador Retriever

As you might well expect, requirements regarding weight are needed to access the AKC and other Kennel clubs, in this category, both the golden retriever and the Labrador retriever have similar weight.

· Labrador Retrievers:

55 pounds-70 pounds for females and 65 pounds-80 pounds for males

· Golden Retrievers:

55 pounds-65 pounds for females and 65 pounds-75 pounds for males

As you can see, these breeds have 5 pounds different from each other

Body Length of The Golden and The Labrador Retriever

When it comes to Dog’s body length, Kennel clubs are less picky compared to weight and height, so after doing some research and dig a little deeper to look at AKC standards for the golden retriever and the Labrador retriever, the general requirement for the length of the dog should be slightly longer than the height of the dog, In other words, it is measured at withers (the top of the shoulder blades). Anyway, this requirement is the same for both Goldies and Labs.

The golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever Have Different Coats and Tails

When we look at the coats and tails of the Golden Retriever and the Labrador we can see many differences, the most obvious one is that the Golden Retriever has long hair than Labrador , because Golden were the result of the mixture with Water Spaniels, which also have long hair.

 Tweed Water Spaniels
the Tweed Water Spaniels

After seeing the picture of the Tweed Water Spaniels (extinct), we can notice that this breed has a thick and shaggy coat similar to his relative, the Curly-Coated Retriever, that also have a similar coat, and we can also see that this breed was highly skilled for hunting in water areas.

Both The golden retriever and the Labrador retriever have a coat that can naturally repel water, although they are slightly different, in one hand, the golden retriever has a thicker coat that can protect him from cold, in the other hand, the Labrador has outer folds of skins that he relies on it to serve as an insulating layer.

The Lab has a straight-haired coat compared to the Golden Retriever who has a wavy coat, in practice, this means that the lab can swim faster than the Goldie, while the Golden Retriever is going to be warmer in the winter.

When it comes to tail, the Labrador Retriever is superior to Golden Retriever, because he has a paddle tail (flattened tail) that can help him swim, unlike the golden retriever who has a tail similar to the most dogs which do not have any hidden features, therefore, Labrador has a better tail than Goldens.

As you can see, there are many differences between the Golden Retrievers and the Labrador Retrievers, the only thing they have in common is the retriever in their last name.