Lab vs Golden?


New Member
I have been debating between a Yellow Lab and a Golden Retriever. What are the main differences? The most i can really find online right now is that Retrievers have a longer coat. What would you guys suggest for me?

I am a lost soul attempting to find a lifelong companion.

Background information:
-I am a 21 year old college student
-Girlfriend owns a male Yorkie pup which I am the main trainer. I learn how from this site!:doglaugh:
-Roommate owns a female Rottweiler pup which I do not train but she is well socialized and gets along with the yorkie very well.
-I live with 5 roommates who like to go running from time to time.

Also, How is shedding with both breeds?

Any additional information would be appreciated!

Thanks in advance!:dogtongue2:

Jean Cote

Staff member
I'm not personally familiar with the two breeds, but here is what I have found in my dog bible book...

Golden Retriever
Country of Origin: Great Britain

History: The golden retriever was developed in the late nineteenth century from a cross of flat- and wavy-coated retrievers, tweed water spaniels, and red setters. It was bred by British aristocrats as a retriever and companion. The golden retriever is one of the most popular companion dogs, but is also used for a variety of work, including hunting, search and rescue, and assistance work.

Physical Description: The golden retriever is a medium to large-size, athletic dog. It has a broad head with small drop ears, brown eyes, and a black or brownish black nose. The double coat has a soft, dense undercoat and a thick, straight or wavy outer coat in various shades of gold. There is a ruff around the neck and feathering at the legs, chest, belly and tail. The coat is shortest at the head, ears, paws and front of legs.

Height: 21.5 to 24 inches.

Weight: 55 Pounds to 75 Pounds.

Temperament: The golden retriever is very outgoing, friendly, playful and even-tempered. It gets along with almost everyone, including children and other dogs.

Activity Level: Modera to high.

Best Owner: It does best with an active family in a suburban or rural home.

Special Needs: Exercise, grooming.

Possible Health Concerns: Cataracts, ectropion, entropion, heart disease, hip sysplasia, PRA, cancer.

Labrador Retriever
Country of Origin: Newfoundland (Canada)

History: Bred as a hunter and water retriever, the Lab was developed from Saint John's Newfoundlands and other gun dogs in the early nineteeth century. It was a distinct breed by the mid-nineteeth century. The Labrador retriever is the most popular companion dog in the U.S. and still is used for hunting, as well as a number of other jobs, including search and rescue, detection and service work.

Physical Description: This is a medium to large-size, muscular dog. It has a broad head with a black or brown nose (black on black and yellow Labs, brown on chocolate Labs); brown or hazel eyes; and short, triangular drop ears. The otter tail is long and thick. The double coat has a short, dense undercoat and short, straight, water-resistant outer coat in black, yellow, or chocolate. There may be a white spot on the chest.

Height: 21.5 to 24.5 inches.

Weight: 55 to 80 pounds.

Temperament: The labrador retriever is enthusiastic, social and biddable. It is even-tempered and friendly with almost eveyone, including children and other dogs. It loves the water and carrying objects in its mouth.

Activity Level: High

Best Onwer: It does well with an active family in a rural or suburban environment but can adapt to city life with sufficient exercise.

Special Needs: Exercise, training.

Possible Health Concerns: Arthritis, hip dysplasia, PRA.


New Member
Thanks a lot Jean! You are doing a wonderful job on this site!

I've recently considered a border collie. Too active? That's the only worry I have is that it may be too hyper.


New Member
I work in boarding kennels, and I can tell you that with labradors the bottom of the kennel floor is COVERED in hair. I'm a bit of a hair freak, and would not have a labrador for that reason. Golden retrievers I have not noticed the hair issue.
Aside from that, I have not found much difference in their personality. I've found them to be very boisterious in general.

I like more rare breeds, so I would be more inclined towards a different breed retriever... I quite like curly coats, and flat coats are quite distinctive.

Most of the border collies I have met in boarding kennels have been very obviously a herding breed... They zone out and stare at stuff a lot. I'm not sure where these BCs come from, or what kind of environment they're used to, but they kind of creep me out a bit to tell you the truth - they get so focussed on watching moving stuff.

This in mind, I have seen many BCs doing lovely tricks. They are a lot more agile than a lab or golden, so that may be appealing?


Honored Member
Staff member
Personally I would not recommend you going out a getting a Border Collie on a whim(no offense, not that you are). Some Border Collies can be difficult for a beginning trainer, and some can be quite easy. They require quite a bit of exercise. I have known Border Collies who lived in suburban or urban areas that did quite well(with large amounts of exercise), and I have known some who desperately wanted something to do. The owners gave them the job of "fetcher," and because of their desire to work, they became obsessed with the game to the point that it was not just a healthy desire for the game. The owners couldn't keep them physically and mentally happy and had to find them a family with a lot more land and time. I love my border collie and my border collie/blue heeler, but I spend a lot of time keeping them occupied because they really need something to do. They are really a joy to train and learn extremely fast, but they require a lot of mental and physical exercise. I don't mind this, but I live in the country where it's quite easy to give them all the exercise they need. I also have horses, lambs, and steers, so they stay busy.
A friend of mine has a lab that is really a great dog. She found him as a stray, neglected and severely undersocialized. He's very timid because of this, but still a very sweet dog. He's very eager to please and learns things quite quickly. He's been great with her other dogs(and mine), her horses, cats, goats, lambs...everything. He's a big old softie but he does shed a generous amount if not groomed regularly.
I've known a few goldies, and really haven't ever met a "bad" one. It all depends on what you're looking for and how much time you're willing to dedicate to your dog. =) I might also suggest going to a shelter. Most shelters have purebred dogs of some kind, if you're heart's set on a purebred. Even if it's not, mixed breeds tend to have less health problems than some purebreds. And mixes make good pets too. :doghappy: Besides, you'll be giving some dog a second(or third or fourth...) chance, and you'll feel good about it. :dogsmile: And yes, I do own a rescue---my border collie. ^^


New Member
Amen to tx_cowgirl in regard to looking at a shelter. SO many shelter dogs are dogs begging for something to do. I've had experience with many shelter dogs and most are BCx or heelerx or kelpiex - and are incredibly eager to work!

However, I have met 'bad' goldens... And labs... And BCs... ;)

Editted to add:
Not that I haven't seen a fair few labs go through shelters. I think people think they're the automatic wonderful family dog, but really they are quite boisterous and I think people end up surrendering them because they are too rough for them or other family members. :(


Experienced Member
Jean;2090 said:
I'm not personally familiar with the two breeds, but here is what I have found in my dog bible book...
I know it's not for this thread, but could you post it here what they write about bearded collies?
And I vote for goldens. In Hungary they are the biggest trend now, and really loads of people have goldens.
I wanted a golden so bad when I was 6 years old...:doglaugh:


New Member
I've met aggressive goldens and labs who are fear biters. (oh the woes of working in a vets office.) Just remember that any dog can be a potential "bad" dog, so make sure you start training & socializing early. Also look into purebred rescues in your area, a lot of rescues already know the dogs behavior pretty well. In my experience, both labs and goldens can be a handful, but i wont say that includes every one of them. Good luck!

missouri gal

New Member
Labs vs GOLDENS???

I agree with Cowgirl and Starbuck!! At our clinic, this has been my experience, so, I'll put down MY pro/con do with it what you wish!:dogtongue2:

Labs: Require more grooming--really Do shed more! However...the "Furminator" works well at pulling out the undercoat to cut down on shedding! You can buy them at most clinics now and through catalogs and probably even go online to purchase one! They work GREAT!!
Labs have shorter hair, so does not get tangles/matts as easily! However....the labs tend to be more high strung---although the young lab I adopted several years ago was a truly wonderful companion--not hyper at all!! Starbuck, you tell me if you've noticed this issue--Around the holidays, we board more chocolate labs!! The owners of blacks and yellows tend to take them with them!! Chocolates tend to be the most energetic, then black and yellow being the calmest! Do not know why, or if it has only been from our area of breeding, etc...but, that is what I have found to be true here! Not to say that there are not some yellows full of energy...there are....just not as consistently as choc.!

Definitley check into rescue groups!! There are so many that think a large lab is so cute as a puppy, but do not have the space or inclination/knowhow to actually give their dogs a positive way to burn off their energy---(sounds like *you* will not have this problem! LOL!) and those cute pups grow into big lugs that have so much energy, then they constantly jump up to get attention because possibly they have been alone all day??--only to be hit down:msncry: by a large swipe from someone who does not know how to control their animal or *want to* learn how to help them be all that they can be! Also...both labs and goldens are wonderful with children, but goldens are more relaxed in lettting a child pull on the ears, accidentally fall on them, etc..:dogrolleyes: Of course, we all know we have to train the children, as well as the dog!!:dogwink:

Goldens: Covered most of the issues above, I guess:dogwub:, but just wanted to say a few more things..the Golden seems to be calmer, be more reliable and consistant, and eager to please....also, their hair tends to come out in small clumps (easier to pick up as you walk by and see it on the floor!) and if you don't want a hairy tail in your face at times....:dogtongue2:don't get a Golden!! Lol!! They both love water and people...just make sure you teach the lab/golden not to be too bouncy around the yorkie and play too rough...a large paw put down with force on the yorkie's back can do major damage and costly vet bills!

Remember, this is just my opinion.....I'm sure I've peeved off some lab owners:msngiggle: NOT my intention...this has just been what I've observed!

But, unless you have the time and energy to help a BC get rid of their would not be fair to the breed if you got one!! They are truly awesome dogs...and require lots of time and attention and room to frolic (as Cowgirl suggests!)..or they will find their own fun...which may not be what *you* consider fun!!!:msngiggle:

In the end, You will be the only one to decide what is best for you.....we can't tell you what to choose!!:dognowink:

Good Luck!!:dogwink:

missouri gal

New Member
labs vs goldens!

Forgot to mention.....

If you are really wanting a sure to go to only breeders that you can see *BOTH* parents on site, so you can see their personalities/training levels/experience, etc... You may not want a pup from an uncontrollable bundle of legs and fur jumping 3 feet in the air without being commanded to do so! :doghuh:Also, if the parents are calmer, it's not a guarantee the pups will be, but it sure helps them to be able to focus easier on what you want to teach them if they are calmer! And I would much prefer to *buy* a puppy from an owner that have the dogs living indoors with them rather than out in a kennel! Of course you need to understand that the mother/pups may be outdoors when you go to see we all know how much poo adds up if you have 13 pups!!:dogwacko:

Hope this helps!!!


New Member
I've had more experience with labs than I have with goldens, as my father had a yellow lab hunting dog when I was small.
She was trained to do just about everything, and was always my valiant protector.
We lived in the country, and when I was 3 or so, I decided to run off. Handkercheif on a stick and everything (I guess I wanted to be a hobo?).
Mocha decided to come with.
We went through barbed wire, tromped through the woods, and were eventually found hours and miles later.
She was pretty mellow, but always up for play. Very protective of my sister and me, smart and loyal. There are the hyper, goofy labs out there, but so far, all the labs I've met were good, stable dogs.
I've not had positive experiences with goldens, but perhaps that's because they've been over-bred lately?


New Member
Well, I prefer goldens, but don't misunderstand, I think labs can be awesome dogs. I guess the goldens I've met where just better?
A friend of mine owns a really, really sweet golden. She loves to play and is really nice with kids, she is very calm and smart. play with her and you'll surely get fur all over your face...gods I have shedding xD


New Member
I voted Goldens (but I'm a little biased as I have two). I find Goldens to be slightly more amenable to training & eager to learn. Labs are great working dogs too but it is a little more difficult to focus their attention. Both breeds are high energy.


New Member
I grew up with a Lab, and now own a Golden. In my experience, both are extremely smart and loyal family dogs. However, I prefer the Goldens because as mentioned a few times before, the hair shedding is not quite as bad as the Labs. Also, I love their golden curls and long hair. Either way though, both are wonderful and you can't really go wrong with either.


New Member
Actually,I do not own any of the two breeds,but I can only see my neighbors dog.My best friend has a lab but bars very exessively.If i will compare the two,I will give two paws up for the Golden!


New Member
My brother in law has owned 4 labs, 2 are still with him. The other two both died of heart attacks in old age (R.I.P. Jigs & Skittles) so I am thinking the breed may be more prone to heart problems than other breeds. They are indeed very active dogs & are extremely energetic. They seem to mellow out a bit around 4 yrs old or so. They are smart but require a lot of exercise & obedience training to keep them busy & out of trouble.