Discussing dog breeds, dog-adoption, and the human-canine connection.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Golden Retriever - really a better breed than the Labrador?



I was recently reading a site that was talking about dog breed characteristics; it was obvious that the writer thought Golden Retrievers were the BEST breed of dog, as every other breed was compared to a Golden and in some way or other found wanting, example, "Not as friendly as a Golden" or "Not as trainable as a Golden."

Currently I am good friends with several amazing Golden Retrievers and I admit - this is a pretty wonderful breed of dog. Smart, trainable, friendly, affectionate...all the things this other writer was holding up as important considerations.


At the same time, I can't help but notice that popularity wise, the Golden is always playing second fiddle to the Labrador Retriever and it makes me wonder...why? Why do more people choose to live with Labs than with Goldens?


As far as training goes - these are both very trainable breeds, with some slight variation amongst individuals. (I've met individuals of both breeds who were less trainable than rocks, but they are not the norm.) In fact, these breeds share many ancestors in common, the Golden being a later development of retrieving lines.


Is it a size thing? Goldens tend to be slightly taller, a little leggier - they would for example tend to take up more room in a duck hunter's boat, or arguably a little more room on a living room floor or in a bed. There isn't a huge size difference though, so it doesn't seem to be a difference that would really make a difference.


There is a difference in coat length; while a Golden's hair is longer, they certainly don't shed any more than a Lab. Nothing sheds more than a Lab. A Yak that coughed up hair balls couldn't produce more hair than a Lab.







Is it really just a matter of choice in colors? Goldens are...gold.

The shades they come in range from a blond so pale it is white to a red so rich it rivals an Irish Setter.






Labs also come in shades from pale white to fox red; they also can be chocolate including the shade now called silver, and can be black.



Aside from color, there is one other difference - a slight difference in personality.

This is a harder difference to quantify. Having lived with both breeds from childhood I still can't quite put it in words. Either breed can have individuals who are more or less stubborn or eager to please, so that isn't it. I guess the best way I can think to say it is, overall the Golden has a slightly 'softer' personality than the Lab.







But what does that mean? While both breeds can be sensitive, and produce individuals who only need a stern look to shrivel up and crawl away, overall the Lab seems to be more impervious to yelling, shouting, changes in environment... both breeds love children but the Lab just seems a little hardier in the face of family chaos.Many Goldens seem to ever so slightly benefit from a somewhat calmer home than most Labs require.





Which may explain why a home with children is more likely to choose a Lab than a Golden (not all homes with children mind you, but many.)





That said, is it possible that this writer who preferred Goldens was correct, and that ultimately, Goldens are the better breed? Ever so slightly more sensitive, a little more elegant looking, and generally one of the most trainable and friendly tempered breeds, perhaps more of us should be living with Goldens rather than Labs.





And I'm not just saying this because Lil the Lab has once again been escaping from her crate to get into things...although if she reads this, maybe she will take it to heart for five minutes and smarten up!

 (Probably not though - the last book she looked at she just tore the covers off....)




Readers, as always, I'm interested in your opinions. I know some of you have lived with both, or are currently living with one of these breeds.










And of course, I know a few of you have the best of both worlds and have one of each - others of you have gone for the two-fer (two for one) Lab-Golden mix :-)

 Which breed suits your lifestyle and why? Or is there just one look that appeals to you more than the other?






PS - I think I chose a Lab because:

 a) I grew up with some amazing examples of the breed
(and our poor Golden was lovely but not exactly amazing...chewed the siding off the house, ate the butter off the table, and only tolerated children)






b) I knew a Lab would be less sensitive to the annoyances that go with living with terriers like Gracie











c) my family are Lab people and not so coincidentally also very loud people; Labs seem to find us less offensive than Goldens have....





84 comments:

  1. I am not a particular fan of either breed, although I do prefer the look of the working lab, and some of the Goldens. Sorry to say I have met some extremely stupid Labs along the way, belonging to friends or relatives. We used to look after a neighbour's Golden, and she was a terrible chewer as well. Yep, the lab shedding thing is appalling. I have absolutely loved the Flat Coated Retrievers I have met and think it's a shame they aren't more popular. A friend of mine is interested in the Goldendoodle cross and wants to acquire a Standard Poodle to have a few litters with as she thinks they are good family dogs. One of her friends has a male Golden and he has sired a few doodle litters already.
    The Flattie has a high cancer rate and their gene pool is small. Luckily, it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about except when I see the proliferation of show Labs in parks here, usually overweight and with shorter legs than the working Labs. Don't understand why they are more common than the working ones.

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    1. Hi Cate,

      I would hazard a guess that the shorter labs are more common where you are as they were developed in England, while the taller field dogs were developed largely in the U.S. - you can find both around the world but I've noticed there are more field Labs in the Midwest U.S.(and thus it doesn't surprise me that you see more bench Labs in your parks.)

      As with any over-bred line of dog, some members of the bred are poor examples of what they were originally meant to be and really could turn a person off the dogs altogether. Sorry you've tripped in to so many of poorly bred version :/

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    2. I have never owned a lab or a golden but we do have a Golden Lab as part of our family. He's smart, confident, friendly and athletic. I have friends with Goldens that can be a bit nervous and neurotic and I find labs are sometimes a little standoffish. I think the Golden Lab is the best of both worlds.

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    3. I have never owned a lab or a golden but we do have a Golden Lab as part of our family. He's smart, confident, friendly and athletic. I have friends with Goldens that can be a bit nervous and neurotic and I find labs are sometimes a little standoffish. I think the Golden Lab is the best of both worlds.

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    4. I saw a person's pet Golden Retriever in Petsmart this week and he/she was gorgeous. She let me come right up to her and she had the kind of loving eyes and temperament that was so soft and beautiful. I am 75 years old. For some reason, I so want a larger dog even though I have had many small and non shedding dogs which were perfect for me. But, I asked the owner how she exercised her dog... goes to doggy day care with large dogs, and takes to big fields to run and be outside. My little dog is getting old and slowing down. I just think God put me in Pet Smart that day to see this beautiful dog.

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    5. It sounds like you have a very loving home to offer a dog. I would suggest considering adopting an adult Golden if you decide to go that route - the puppies can be very energetic and need to learn not to jump up on people - they tend to be very excited to see the ones they love. Plus, an adult often comes already house trained, one of my favorite features :-)

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    6. I own a golden retriever who is about 1 year and 1 month old his name is Apollo. But i have read about labs and think they would be better. the only problem is that labs shed WAY more. also, every site i looked at said golden retrievers LOVE to swim but our golden is scared of the water but when we first got him, we put him in the pool and he was able to swim. If anyone knows could they PLEASE tell me how to get him (apollo) into the pool?????

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    7. Our breeder likes a blend between the field and the bench. Our boy is 25% bench, 75% Field. When we took him to training, all I heard from the lead instructor was how much she disliked field chocolates- this from a bench breeder. By the time we were done with puppy training, she said he broke all her rules of field and chocolates. I'm thinking my breeder has the right stock and the right idea. A combo is a great compromise.

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    8. I have "owned" both breeds. Had one perfect Golden for over 12 years, then 2 more before we went dogless for a couple years. Fell in love with a big black Lab pup who became part of our hearts and started to turn us into Lab fanatics. Love the kindly Goldens, but found they tend to get fat more easily, and the long hair is harder to keep looking good. I now have 3 Labs - one of each color, ages 9, 3 and 2. Grooming is a cinch and I disagree with the shedding statement.....maybe it's a question of diet or grooming but it's not a great problem for us, even with 3 dogs. The yellow male definitely does shed more than our black or chocolate. The Labs are indeed, less likely to get their feelings hurt, and tolerate chaos when the grandchildren or other visitors bring their dogs. And, because they've always had lots of freedom with daily outings off lead, they will not let me out of their sight when in the woods or fields. They run and chase but if I turn back one step, they are immediately at my side. Once a Lab is bonded to you, their faithfulness is legendary. Each breed....Goldens, German Shepherds or Labs are each wonderful, but the easy to train, easy to care for, stable Lab will always be the breed for me!

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    9. Since I have a black lab, a yellow lab mix and a golden mix, I love them all and find the golden the most affectionate and the black lab the most loyal

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  2. Bench v. field - hmmm which one - same with cockers, the field/working ones are much nicer I think.

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  3. Hmmmm... Golden, please. Both breeds have pluses and maybe fewer minuses than lots of others. After watching kids at yesterdays big party pet, hug, and spoon my goldens for hours, I think goldens are the ultimate attention sponging dogs. Would they tolerate kid rowdiness and manhandling as much as a lab? Probably not, probably depends on their kid exposure too. But if you want a dog that loves unlimited petting, a good golden is a sure bet. Kathy

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    1. I'm not sure you know what a Golden is really like - I have it straight from Gus' mouth that he in fact is not a dog at all, but a person in a dog suit ;-)

      (He said that Ollie is an experiment in crossing teddy bears with polar bears.) Your boys certainly are a pair of love sponges!

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  4. I got my first Labs by accident (a pair of littermates fell into our lives), and I've never wanted anything different! I love the athleticism of Labs, especially field Labs, and that's a big part of why I love them. I've never thought of Goldens as being as athletic as Labs, which is why I've never considered getting a Golden. I also love the drive of field Labs - they "need" to be trained and to use their minds on a regular basis. Although I've never had a Golden in my life, I have the impression that their drive is not as intense.

    As a practical note, I also love that Labs don't need very much grooming, aside from being brushed during shedding season and having their nails clipped.

    BTW, I disagree with the statement that Goldens look "more elegant"! :)

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    1. Sorry KB - as a life-long Lab person the idea of a "shedding season" makes me shake my head - whose kool-aid did you drink :-))))
      I agree with the cartoon I once saw that had two guys following a Lab with a shovel-dust-pan, and big broom - they pause for one panel of the cartoon, which says, "The one second a year when a Lab isn't shedding" and in the next panel they continue on sweeping up after the constantly shedding Lab.

      We'll have to disagree about the elegant part, because my definition of elegant includes long, flowing hair ;-) That's why my elegant back-up dog is a Collie; my Lab is athletic but oh-so-not elegant.

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    2. Lab athletic? The show varieties in both UK and America are fat, chunky and waddle instead of walking. As for the field dogs, at a push a lean one could be called athletic... if you were squinting through one eye at it maybe :S

      Then again I owned a border collie and now have a belgian shepherd mix - I may have high standards for athleticism :p

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    3. Another example of the difference between examples of a breed that a person can have experience with. I've certainly seen my share of obese Labs. Both my girls parents earned field trial ribbons by running all day long, retrieving, and working. That's athletic ;-)

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  5. I"ve known a lot of labs of indeterminate breeding. They were all "good" dogs, lots of fun, certainly! I've really known very few Goldens, now that I think about it. When I first met him and we were just boyfriend-girlfriend, my fiance had a chocolate lab-golden retriever mix; she was a very pretty dog, very sweet and surprisingly calm.

    But, we know that I feel Doberman is the breed for me!

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    1. Jen, I once fell in love with a Doberman - Dreamer - and if I hadn't been helping place him in a home with a disabled person who needed him (as opposed to my just wanting him) I could have easily been a Doberman person for at least Dreamer's lifetime.

      It wasn't that long ago when I thought I'd never live with a Lab again; and now there's Lil. Careful what you say out loud, the universe has a wicked sense of humor ;-)

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  6. For obvious reasons, I love this post! My favorite dog breed is a lab/golden cross. That was my heart dog, Lucy's mix and now puppy Rosie's mix. Previously, we've had lots of Lab mixes and currently have a purebred Lab (uber tall Rudy) and a Golden/Border Collie mix, Jeffie. Jeffie is definitely a person in a dog suit - a very sensitive person in a very hairy dog suit. I've found their is a difference in their sweetness and I like your comment about "softness." Can't say this well, but Golden's (to me) seem to take things to heart more. It is probably the BC, but Jeffie is the sheddingest dog I've ever known :-0 I don't have dust bunnies; I have dust elephants!

    Why am I so attracted to Labs, Goldens, Border Collies? I don't really know. Though my folks had a Lab when I was born, he passed on while I was a toddler and I don't remember him. Subsequent dogs: Cocker Spaniel, Beagle, and Dachshund. My grandparents had Beagles and Staffies... My first dog of my own: Dobie / Shepherd mix. The theme is BIG dogs, I guess. :-)

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    1. Sue,
      My grandfather had a lab-golden (possibly border) mix - the biggest sweetheart, with eyes that were really soul melting. I agree, Goldens do tend to take things to heart.

      Lil just doesn't get my concept of wrong at all; she gives me a hurt look when I hold up a torn up item and loudly proclaim, "What bad dog did this?" But then she wags her tail, runs over and looks around like, "hey that was me! I'll do it again, just watch."
      Jenny will actually hank her head in shame when she sees something Lil has done and leave the room like, "You're just giving dogs a bad name now...."
      Even my big cat sometimes leans over and smacks Lil in the head, "Just smarten up you big doofus!"
      Lil takes none of it to heart though.

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    2. As I read your reply my own big doofus has his big head on my leg... looking at me soulfully and hoping I'll head towards the kitchen. I need to write a blog post about Rudy and his behavior towards puppy Rosie. (Actually, I need to take some video). The sweetness squeezes the heart. And so happy go lucky. I wish I could shrug things off like Rudy. Then there's my soulful poet, Jeffie :-) Okay... Rudy wins. I'm off to get some dog cookies.

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  7. I had a black lab ... She was wonderful with everyone. If you met her you loved her and her you. My son has a golden. Very loving dog too but more focused on the primary owner. My choice, lab... Hands down.

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  8. In my family, we have always owned labs, not only because we are a family who hunts, but also because we value loyalty, friendship, and compassion. My first lab was Jessie. She was an amazing beauty on and off the dove field. She was one of the best retrievers I have ever witnessed. My dad's friends were jealous of his dog when they went hunting with him. My dad can count 3 times when she didn't find the bird that he had shot. At home, she was gentle and calm. She only got into trouble once, and after that she never chewed another shoe. She rarely barked and always wagged her tail. Writing this makes me sad, she was such a good friend of mine. I knew her like a sister, honestly. My lab now is Tut. He is a beast on the dove field, but don't let my adjective deceive you, he is a small, agile lab. The thing about Tut that makes me love him so much is that he has a connection with our family. When my parents got divorced, it sent him into months of depression. I knew that this divorce broke his heart, as it did all of us. I can't imagine living a life where my Tutty isn't happily waiting at home for me everyday. I know very many Goldens and they are beautiful, great dogs, but I can't say that I've ever seen them connect with their owners as labs do. Of course they love their owners and their owners love them, but it seems as if that is the extent of the relationship. With labs, it goes much deeper. Goldens seem like they are simply a pet, but a lab is a brother or a sister.

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  9. We just said goodby to our third Golden. Our last was, as Sue K. put it, a person in a dog suit. The first was a retriever that put many a lab to shame. The second was our children's psychologist. We loved them all and will soon look for another. I truly believe that Goldens are especially intelligent and empathic.Let the conversation continue!

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  10. For me they are both good breeds because they value their owners and also protective. I have a labrador and my brother have golden retrievers and we have the same opinion regarding on it. Thanks for this one.

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    1. As I read over everyone's responses what I notice is that some people seem to connect more with one breed versus the other. That's one of the amazing things about dogs - there is one out there that suits just about any person :-)

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  11. I have had labs and golden retrievers, both awesome breeds, I must say that the golden girl I have now, is far and away the very best dog ever period! She is intelligent, loving, and beautiful. She is "soft-spoken", a stern look is all she needs for correction, and she is a love monger. In February she was bred accidentally by my neighbors chocolate lab (field lines), now we have 8 of the cutest little critters you ever laid eyes on. "Lexie," my golden girl will forever be loved and cherished. "Big Mac" is 4 weeks old and is the black male we are going to keep. Any info on these mixes?

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    1. This of course is a mix that leads to a very intelligent, loyal dog. In fact, Labradors are one of the breeds that were used to develop the Golden and when the two mix now it will vary by individuals in the litter which traits each pup pulls more from - the mom or dad's side. Typically though, the offspring will be just a tad more independent than a Golden, with a little more "drive" coming through from the Lab side.

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    2. Yes, I totally agree with Saved by Dogs. I have two dogs I've had since puppies, with each being a mix of Golden and Lab. Instead of having a mix of characteristics, in my experience, they are more of a pure breed of the dominant parent. Both of them have their daddies' breed characteristics, like I do! Cody, now over 12 years old, is totally Golden while Toby, now 5, has all of the typical Lab traits. There are a few minor variances, but are not their dominant characteristics. I can sum it up like this.. Cody is more my soulmate and Toby is more my companion.. I call them my "golden boy" and my "buddy boy". I agree with the other posts that mention how Goldens are more sensitive to their environment and their "person" and thus, do better in a calmer environment. If I am emotionally charged in any negative way and expressing this, Cody is nowhere to be found, while Toby is right beside me, and seems to be in agreement with me, ever loyal! In that aspect, there is also truth in the statement that a golden will love you as much as a lab, but will also love everyone else almost just as much! I have a cat, too, who loves both, but who truly adores Cody, grooming him one time for over an hour! Both boys equally give her kisses and are gentle with her, but she is a typical girl and gives them even more affection. I would describe Cody's personality as more gentle, while Toby is more resilient emotionally. This can't really be said in the purely physical sense as Toby's nervous system reacted to a new flea prevention medication by having seizure symptoms and I literally had to save his life! I'm an R.N., by the way. Toby is prone to separation anxiety still and I get concerned about how he will react once Cody is gone as I can't picture him all alone. And although he thinks he's the alpha male, not sure how he determined that, Cody's a delta dog and could care less. I frequently tell Toby when he jumps on Cody's back that we don't care if he thinks he's the master and ruler, for when it's all said and done, deep down Cody is the one is confident enough not to have to display his mastery. And it is I who are subject to both of them, with my heart full of love for both! :-)

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  12. Vets Minster
    I don't think so, because when in terms of activities I vote for Labrador and when it comes to behavioral part I go with Golden Retrievers. In the end it is really hard to tell who is better but just like any others both of them are very good companions. Dog is dog, they are loyal and they love us.

    http://wellpets.co.uk/minster/

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  13. We have had 3 Goldens and 3 Labradors in my less than extended family.

    As far as I'm concerned they are essentially identical. My impression is that Labradors shed more, not that Goldens don't shed a tonne. And The golden has these weird 2 week periods before and after winter where it's shedding kicks into over drive.

    Size-wise they are similar: about 65lbs. Goldens are taller and leggy-er; Labs: shorter, stouter.

    Personally, I'm partial to the longer fur and shape of a golden. But, that's just me.

    Both are immensely friendly and confident. They retain their puppy-ness for a very long time; 3 years.

    I don't quite understand the behavior complaints of "chewing, etc..." regarding either breed these are obviously trainable issues, and the result of poor training as a pup. People who adopt dogs should realize this was almost certainly the case for their rescue. Regardless of breed puppies want to chew as they teeth, and need pretty vigilant owners to direct that (I used ice for all my dogs), and have never had a chewing problem.

    I'm not certain I buy the "independence" comparison much either. At most the comparison could be that "Lab's Love you and like everyone else while Golden's love you and love everyone else too." That said both breeds want to hang out with you every moment of the day.

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  14. They are both very nice dogs indeed! My name is Vince Stead and I just got done checking out your site and really liked it. We make dog books in Paperback, Digital and Audio too. You can see them at Fun2ReadBooks and the audio books are very fun to listen to. Thank you very much and I really enjoyed visiting your site!

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  15. We have a 9 year old Golden Retriever. He loves people and is so sweet. He has always been perfect with our three, young girls. I couldn't have any other breed. They call him their furry brother. I have never owned a lab, so I can't compare there. My golden can still easily run 3-4 miles with my husband.

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  16. They are both wonderful dogs! we have a Chocolate Lab and a Golden Retriever - Emma (6), the lab is all about play play play , power naps and food. She will swim all day long, she is a blast to be around and the more commotion the better. Emma is also sweet to all of us and polite to others.

    Frazier (13) is a big puppy. He is basically silent except for his beautiful expressions and panting when excited, not a barker and just a gentle giant. Stays by my side the whole day and when he wants to play he grabs a shoe or a ball and runs around for a bit then chills.

    Emma has a face that makes you smile and laugh - Frazier is just a beautiful dog. If I had to pick one - for me it would be the lab - only because of the grooming. Both shed but Frazier is harder to groom because of his longer coat and has to be taken to the groomer. We can give Emma a bath - much easier. They are both great breeds.

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  17. Both are beautiful breeds, though for my family a Lab was better suited, like you stated in your article they tend to handle noisier/chaotic environments better.

    That being said we decided the newest member of our family would have a little flair and opted for a black Lab X Maremma which has not only produced a beautiful puppy in appearance (i am bias) but a puppy that is quite independent ( and huge) like the maremma and yet still very family orientated and loyal like the retriever breeds.

    The only advice i would give to any one who would seek out this hybrid breed is to be conscious of the fact that they are very large hybrids ( our puppy is now 4 months and stands as tall as your average pure black lab female and weighs in at 15 kilos ) and exercising pack dominance as the human has to be done very firmly and early on as the Maremma breed is a heavily set pack orientated breed, due to their sheep dog background.

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  18. It depends on what you are after. If you are after a working/sport dog/allrounder, you can't go past a field lab or a working line lab (assistance/guide dog/customs bred dog)
    A Golden makes a nice family pet. Working line goldens are much harder to come by, they aren't so popular as a working dog and I think coat has a lot to do with that.

    I feel labs are more boisterous and crazy than goldens. They generally have higher exercise requirements and do best in an active home. Where as I know several pet goldies who are couch potatoes and are happy as long as they are getting love and attention. My lab would not be happy with just that- she needs something to do, and lots of exercise. She's really not that into cuddles, she would prefer to be working or doing something.

    Both can make lovely pets for the right person though. Personally I wouldn't get a golden as I prefer the more driven personality of the lab and I don't have time to attend to their thick coats.

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    1. You raise an interesting point - working Goldens are hard to find and like all breeds, there is a difference between the strong working lines and the strong bench lines. There is generally more drive and 'go-go-go' in working lines, while bench lines are more likely to adapt to life as a couch potato.

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  19. My 2 boys 5 an 10 are driving me crazy fro a dog... I am a dog magnet...they love me and I love them. I wish I could get a medium size but they don't seem right... I love the fact that the golden is not a big barker and doesnt shead as much as the labs. However we are loud. There is loud music, screams and life is kind of a rollercoaster ( happy crazy loud). My eldest is a swimmer. My youngest a ball player..any ball is fine. But other than that we are lay back....
    So the question is...would a Golden be able to handle this crazy happy home or would it be too much for him?
    Thanks for the advice

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    1. Maria, sounds like you have an active family, which is a bonus with either of these breeds. And each breed has a range of personality types with some members being more sensitive than others. If you take the time to meet at least a handful of Goldens I believe you will be able to find one that will be fine with your family.

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  20. A couple of more questions if you please. This time about the ladies ....Since you guys have the dogs and are know first hand about it.

    I would love my dog not to be Huge and overporwering me since I am only 5'4", bc of that I am leaning toward a female dog (sorry I hate the term bitch). Either Golden or Lab (right now Goldens are a little bit ahead since they are a little bit less crazy than the labs )
    So. Are females dogs as affectionate as male dogs, and as easy to train?
    When should we spray them? and also, is it true that bc they are not "intact" (another term I don't like) they are more prone to cancer and hip and joint deceases?

    Thanks so much

    ,,,,

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    1. Maria,

      I'm also 5'4" and wouldn't hesitate to have either breed because I have experience training dogs from puppyhood. If this is going to be a first dog for you, then I strongly recommend enrolling in an obedience class with the pup. I would also suggest you might want to look into adopting an adult dog that already knows the basics. Both breeds can be found in purebred rescues and in local shelters.

      Growing up we always had spayed females and they were wonderful family dogs. Neutered males are also great family dogs; it is the individual personality that is more important than the gender. A reputable rescue group can help match the personality of a dog with the needs of your family.

      Many regions of the country have breed-specific rescues that can work with you on finding a dog that is already in your area and in need of a home, plus they'll be able to tell you what the dog's personality is like, what it is already trained to do, and how it is with other animals. Such rescues can be found in most countries.

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  21. I will look int to that too since I will be a 1st time owner.

    Thanks

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  22. both great breeds - having lived with both, I agree that goldens tend to be more relaxed

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  23. Our Golden is almost a year old. He's a a show type GR but full of energy, very confident, playful and has a ton of energy. He's never chewed anything up, but he loves playing with his mountain of toys. Sometimes all the yelling in the world falls on deaf ears when he has his mind set on doing something - usually running off when he's out in the field for a walk. My sister has a Golden too and he is very different personality wise, far more relaxed and a bit of a couch potato. I prefer the look/coat of Goldens, and I guess as with people they all have different personalities so you could have a Golden that has more of a Lab temperament and vice versa.

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    1. Iv never had the pleasure of owning a goldy before but have a friend with one and she is beautiful, very dog and human friendly great on the lead and i was almost considering getting one till i put my hand up to doggy sit a lab for the past 4 weeks and have feel in love with her, I'm dreading the day her owners come to pick her up in 2 weeks she has been that good and great with my ASD 7 year old son she has so much patience for him and follows him and me everywhere , now for the shedding OMFG i could vac 5 times a day and still need to vac a another 5 times a day, as soon as you give her a pat she drops it everywhere it unbelievable the amount she drops but worth it even in the bad :)

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    2. As a Lab owner I have to agree - one can never vacuum too much but in the end, it's all worth it :-)

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  24. We were blessed by God to rescue a Golden/Chow mix that was all Golden in his personality. Never have I known a more gentle, good natured dog who was soft and silly, always at peace with other people and dogs. Harley was the best dog I've ever known and I am still grieving his loss, having been hit and killed by a car near our driveway last Wed. Gonna take some time to adjust, but plan on getting another Golden mix later this year.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss.
      When it is time for another dog to enter your life I'm sure they will find your home a blessing; some other soul will be fortunate that Harley has left a soft place for them to land.

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  25. I HEART GOLDEN RETRIEVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sorry, Lab fans, but I believe Goldens are far past the BEST!!! For many reasons...

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  26. Golden retrievers are the best dogs ever! EVER!

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    1. We've had two Chow mixes, a Golden and now a Yellow Lab in our house and the Golden was definitely the best. We got the Lab puppy right after we lost our male Chow mix to cancer. That little fellow darn near drove us out of house and home until he finally started settling down when he was almost a year old. We still had the Golden when we got him and she took over the job of raising him but then she developed mast cell tumors and we lost her about a little over two months later. We love our little boy but we'd love to have another Golden. They really are the best (except for the male Chow mix we had, who was the BEST DOG EVER!

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  27. The amazing thing about the dog-people relationship is, for every breed of dog there is, there are people who "know" that breed it the best - ever! One person's best breed isn't necessarily another's and that's why I advocate for finding the right breed for the individual's situation :-)

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  28. Hi, my name is Jureshka, and I`m getting a dog, I am not sure which breed is better for small animals, you see I have 10 bunnies and I don't want my new dog to frighten or kill them, what is the best dog breed for me?


    I was considering a golden retriever or a lab but if they are to violent to small bunnies I would certainly take a different breed.

    you can send me an email at jureshka.naidoo@dilowa.co.za or post a comment at jureshka.com

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    1. Jureshka - with either a Lab or a Golden this seems to me a matter of training; raise the dog with obedience lessons and teach them that the bunnies are off limits. Any dog that is introduced to rabbits without accompanying training is likely to chase them if they suddenly bounce and run.

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  29. I'm kind of late coming to this conversation but I have to put my two cents in :) I've grown up with labs at my dads and my mom has two toy poodles. I myself have a goldendoodle and a lab/pit mix. So I've had several breeds growing up and I think I can safely say that for me there is nothing better than a golden or a golden mix. While I've never owned a purebred Golden I can definitely say that my Goldendoodle Elsa (she was around before Frozen so no, I did not name her after it) is by far more intelligent and a better dog than any of my dads labs have been growing up and much more intelligent than my moms poodles. This could be just because of the trainer, I'm a little more strict with my dogs and have them better trained than my dads labs have ever been but Elsa seems much more intelligent than any of the labs I've had growing up or the two my dad has now. He won't admit it but I think my dad likes Elsa more than his two labs. Also, Duke is our lab/pit mix and he is a neurotic, destructive nutcase. That could be the pit but my dads labs are also destructive so maybe it's the lab too. That being said I think that it really depends on the person as far as looks go, my dads black lab Kona is gorgeous, tall and sleek, while Elsa being a mix obviously has some curls but looks much more golden and is a little stockier, but she is much much softer. She just has a better disposition and really does seem like a human in a dog suit because of how sweet she is, and for the record she LOVES kids, even rowdy ones. So for me it's the golden or a goldendoodle even. Labs can be pretty but in my experience they're dumb as rocks in comparison to my girl Elsa. Just my two cents! :)

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  30. I have the best of both worlds - a black lab/ golden retriever mix. All I know is that I love her with all my heart, and she feels the same.

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  31. I have the best of both worlds - a black lab/ golden retriever mix. All I know is that I love her with all my heart, and she feels the same.

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    1. I'm sure you have a most loving and beloved pup :-)

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  32. I absolutely love my labrador--I got her at a year old when I was 14, and I'm 18 now. My family had an older golden retriever at the time who was the sweetest dog, but my lab imprinted on me in a way my golden never did. One time, for example, my parents decided to keep her at the base of the mountain with them while I hiked a few hours and back to this peak. My lab escaped and ran all the way up the mountain to find me. I love this dog to death, and she is so loyal and playful. She's the best friend I could ever have, and I can't imagine a better dog. It's hard for me to imagine adopting any other breed. For an active person who can devote time and love to a dog, adopting a field/hunting lab is the best decision you could make.

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    1. You raise a good point. Being happy with a dog includes choosing a dog that matches a person's lifestyle, habits, and behaviors. If someone doesn't like to be active, then an active breed will be miserable and make their person miserable; if a person likes a dog to go hiking with them, then an active dog will be a welcome companion.

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  33. I'm not so active n confused btwn lab n golden.
    Now more confused as I'm also possessive n dont want my dog to love others same way. I alwys seen labs as vry lazy type dogs in India. Plz help urgently.

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  34. I'm not so active n confused btwn lab n golden.
    Now more confused as I'm also possessive n dont want my dog to love others same way. I alwys seen labs as vry lazy type dogs in India. Plz help urgently.

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    1. Both Labs and Goldens were bred to be hunting dogs and as such, one should not count on a young dog of either breed to be lazy. What, besides a dog who is loyal to you, are you hoping for in you dog companion?

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  35. If you want good rescue dogs, the qualities you have to look for are patience, obedience and amenability to training. It takes time to raise a puppy, especially if you want them to grow up and become rescue dog. As the owner it is your responsibility to condition your puppy for future training. Like a child your dog will need positive Read More...

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  36. On Christmas Day I brought a 6 month old dog home that the lady said was a mixed yellow lab. Very friendly, happy, extremely full of energy. He is a lab but a creamy yellow color and don't look like any common mixed labs I have ever seen. He also is very, very big for his age.

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  37. I say Labs and Golden are booth good dog breeds it depends on how you handle them, golden vs labs its up to you since these breeds have almost the same traits though there are some negative traits on both species. . . i like both golden and labs retrievers

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  38. I lost my black lab/aussie mix today and am just heartbroken. I inherited her from my sister-in-law who died so I was only privileged to have her a year and a half but she was the best dog I've ever had. She was my constant companion and the sweetest, most gentle creature I have ever met. And that dog loved me like nothing else! She once escaped my husband when I was out kayaking on the bay, jumped into the water and swam out into the middle of the bay after me. Scared the heck out of all of us.

    After a battle the past couple of months with intestinal cancer I finally had to love her enough to do the right thing and let her go today. She wagged her tail at me till the end. Man I loved that dog. A year and a half just wasn't enough time. Sweet dreams Delilah..I'll always love you my beautiful girl.

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    1. Denise,
      I'm very sorry for your loss. How fortunate for Delilah that she knew so much love in her life.

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  39. Thank you. I appreciate your kind words. I think I was the fortunate one to have had her, even for the brief time we had

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  41. Maybe I'm a teeny bit partial to chocolate labs.

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  42. We had one of each at the same time until a few years ago, so I can contrast them. Tallah, the Golden, was a less disruptive puppy. She was known as Tallah-Wallah-Bing-Bang, or just Tally-Wally (or many other silly, affectionate things). Corey, the Lab, was The Black Dog of Chaos until she was about 2 years old. Corey smelled good, always (except for that time with the skunk!); Tallah smelled like a wet dog, always, and usually needed brushing. Corey had the wonderful 'Labrador Lean' and would spend more time with me. Tallah smiled, Corey did not. Neither one of them would retrieve anything. I could go on for a long time. I loved them both, but Corey a bit more. If I were to get another, I'd get another lab. In my sampling of one and one, she was a bit hardier and aged better. Maybe a cross...

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  43. I would love to find a true golden lab cross, but here in CT I haven't been able to find a breeder. We rescued our last two pups (both yellow lab mixes) and they were both excellent family dogs. Our last lab, Remington, looked like a lab, but was soft like a golden . . . he had a beautiful build with longer legs, big chest . . . he could hold his weight. In the end he was 100 lbs, but looked like a puppy still at 11-1/2! His coat was soooooo soft, so he may have had some golden in him! I miss them both dearly. I'm keeping my eye out for another yellow lab mix . . . I'm hoping we stumble upon another "soft" one.

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    1. Good luck with your search! The Lab I live with is very soft, no Golden in her - so it is possible to find a soft Lab.

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  44. I personally think that Labradors are better. Although Labradors do shed, they do not shed NEARLY as much as a golden. Also, Labradors are on the top of the best family dog breeds for a reason, all Labradors care about is pleasing their owner (only if it is a loving owner though) and the life essentials. Labradors are more willing to please than any dog by a mile. Labralove = Labralife

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  45. We just lost our Lab of 15 years and then our Golden of 6 years within 8 days. For me the Golden was the dog of a lifetime but the Lab was pretty special, too. We have had three Goldens and one Lab and they were all great but the Golden was more affectionate and had that special appeal - she always wore a smile. Let's face it. Doesn't it depend a lot on the personality of the individual dog? While we can't replace Wrigley or Saffy, I will do my best better now than later.

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  46. The best difference in personality I have ever heard is "A golden wants to be part of your life and a lab allows you to be part of their life". We currently have both a lab and a golden and have found this to be true. As for which one is the better breed, I could never make that choice. Not having to get the lab groomed is a bonus.

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  47. I have 1 9Yr old Golden whom I just adore and 2 labs 1 7mths 1 is 3mths. My golden is and was calmier than the labs and keeps up well but is so well mannered niw maybe bc he is a senior now and these 2 are pups but i dont prefer any one of the other. I adore both breeds and enjoy every moment I am lucky to spend with my guys..

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  48. I love both dogs, but I prefer the Golden Retriever because of how loyal, friendly, and sweet that breed is.

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  49. I had a Golden Retriever and she was the gentlest dog I have ever had. When she was a puppy, she was quite mischevious though and loved to chew up everything in site. She also had some seperation anxiety. Goldens shed like crazy and you will have to vacuum several times a week. They are also so trusting that they don't always think before they do. My Sisters Golden jumped right out of their moving car as soon as it saw the beach to B-line it to the waves. He was very lucky he did not get hit by a car that day. He also used to run down the street, far from their house and neighbors would be calling them atleast 4x's a year. This behavior can get them into trouble. The Goldendoodles are a mix of a Golden and the Standard or Small Poodle. Depending on the parents, they can be non-shedding and hyperallergenic.

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  50. We have a 7.5 month old black lab who has about 25% golden in him...his mother was a chocolate, and his father must have been a "goldador." He is absolutely fantastic - a little rambunctious at the moment, but 'tis the age and stage he's in. He was a dream to train; potty trained in a week or so, was easy to crate train, and has never chewed anything up (so far.) We only have 2 issues with him that are taking longer to sort out; his love of eating sticks, and his over excitability when he sees another dog or person. Because labs are such big lovers, I have read that over excitability is one of the main issues with them (other than chewing.) Goldens overall, seem to calm down a little bit easier early on, while the lab can stay "puppyish" well into their first 5 years. I have met and spent time with many goldens over the years, and they are fabulous dogs, but I don't think I would rush to get one. There is something more preferable about the lab, and I can't quite put my finger on it. I do much prefer "the look" of the athletic field lab (english or bench have a tendency to become overweight which throws off the look in my opinion.) And I find that sometimes goldens are overbred. Some of them have extremely handsome heads - while others almost appear as though their eyes are too close together? (lol)...sounds strange, but I'm not the only one who has ever pointed this out. I do love how easy going they are, and how adaptable they are in different environments. Labs can be a bit much when you take them to a new place. (At least my young chap is!) Overall, I think crossing the two breeds is an awesome idea...best of both worlds! and even though my guy is only 1/4 golden, I do see some distinctive qualities in him. To each their own! dogs are the best.

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  51. I have a black lab who is about 25% golden as well. He is fabulous - a bit rambunctious at the moment, but being 7.5 months old, he is in that stage. I have met and spent time with many goldens over the years, and while I adore them, I tend to favour the labrador. The look of the american or "field" lab is my preference, with the bench or english lab lines often becoming over weight which throws off the athletic look in my opinion. If you have ever seen the movie "Far from home, the adventures of yellow dog", you might know what I mean - just a gorgeous dog! What I do appreciate about the golden, is their adaptability and easy going personalities - goldens tend to "settle down" earlier on, while the lab can stay quite puppyish well into their first 5 years. This can be a bit much for some people. I do know that both are easy to train - my guy was potty trained in a week, crate trained almost instantly, and has never chewed anything up (yet.) I can trust him hanging out downstairs for instance, while I am upstairs folding laundry and know he's not chewing on something he shouldn't. He just grabs a toy. The two biggest issues we have had sorting out with him is his desire to eat sticks, and his over excitability when he sees another dog or person. It is very manageable on leash and in the home when guests visit, but off leash, his recall goes out the window if he sees another dog, lol. For labs, over excitability and over friendliness are some of the biggest issues, other than chewing. Goldens tend to be more "chill" or suave. What I have found about goldens, is that they tend to be overbred, at least where I live. As a result, I almost find they have a strange look to their faces, almost as if their eyes are too close together...I am not the only one who has made this observation, albeit it's a strange one. All in all, I think both are fabulous, and mixing the two breeds gives you the best of both worlds! Even though my guy is only about 1/4 golden, I can see some distinctive traits.

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  52. Our family is dedicated to Flat Coats, but I have lived with Goldens and known many labs. In addition, at the dog park, I have met many Goldens and Labs. The three breeds are more alike than unalike, but I think there is, on average, a difference. In terms of "people oriented" I would rank then Flat Coat>Golden>Lab, although the Goldens are very close to the Flat Coats in this respect. At the dog park, the Goldens regularly come by to greet other dog owners and give them a hug, this is much less common in the Labs, who are more "other dog" oriented. On the other hand, from what I can tell, the Labs may be the smartest of the three breeds. I have not lived with a Lab, but the Goldens shed more than our Flatties (although our current dog sheds much less than our last one). Goldens shed a LOT! But then again, that fur is what makes them so huggable. Another minor factor is that as Labs get old, their fur turns coarse and not very pleasant to pet--this does not occur nearly as much in the Flatties and Goldens. I have heard of Golden/Flattie crossbreeds in England, where I guess they are a popular guide dog (in this roll, they are often attacked by bull breeds according to one research report), but not seen any of these in the US.

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