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Labrador Retriever vs. Goldendoodle

Separate photos of a Yellow Labrador Retriever and a Goldendoodle meeting in the middle on the diagonal with the letters VS in the middle

Labrador Retriever has all the qualities that define a good pet. That’s the reason why this breed holds the top spot among the most popular dog breeds in the US. Many doodle breeds have also gained a lot of popularity in recent years and Goldendoodles are right up there. Given their lovely personalities and numerous benefits, it can be tricky to choose between Labrador Retriever and Goldendoodle. If you are facing the same dilemma, this article can help you make the decision.

Labrador Retriever

Close up portrait of a black Labrador retriever outdoors

Labrador Retriever is one of the oldest retriever breeds with its origin tracing back to the 1830s. The ships trading between Poole in Dorsetshire and Canada brought St. Jones Water dogs to Britain. These canines were then combined with British hunting dogs to produce Labrador Retriever.

The ‘short coupled’ physique of this breed is one of its key features. With a web of strong legs and spine, this breed can display high athleticism. Fully grown Labrador stands between 21.5 and 24.5 inches and can weigh up to 50-80 lbs. These dogs come in three colors, chocolate brown, yellow, and black.


Young Goldendoodle running through a grass field

This breed was first bred as a guide dog in 1969. Australia and America were the early breeding grounds for this breed. The 1990s proved to be the golden decade for Goldendoodles because hypo-allergenicity and friendly demeanor became the two subjects of interest for dog lovers. These pups have both these attributes and are still gaining popularity due to them.

A standard size Goldendoodle can grow up to 20-25 inches and weigh around 50-90 pounds. However, Goldendoodles also come in smaller sizes due to the variation in the Poodle parent. This breed can have a variety of shades, like golden, white, black, and brown.

Differences Between Labrador Retrievers and Goldendoodles

Some of the marked differences between these breeds are shown in the table below.

CharacteristicsLabrador RetrieverGoldendoodle
Height21.5-24.5 inchesCome in 3 sizes: Miniature: 13-20 inches   Medium: 17-20 inches Standard: 20-24 inches
Weight55-80 poundsCome in 3 sizes: Miniature: 15-35 pounds Medium: 40-50 pounds Standard: 50-90 pounds
Coat typeShort, dense, and water-resistantStraight, smooth, and frizzy
Coat colorsYellow, black, and chocolateBlack, grey, white, brown, etc.
DroolingModerateVery Low
Lifespan10-12 years10-15 years

Similarities Between Labrador Retrievers and Goldendoodles

Close up of a Goldendoodle outdoors

The following are some characteristics that Labradors and Goldendoodles have in common.

Shedding – Both Labrador and Goldendoodle are moderate shedders. However, Labs can shed heavily in shedding season.

Trainability – Both these breeds are highly intellectual, obedient, and always try to please their owners. Hence, they are easy to train.

Playfulness – Both these pups are lively and active. They love to indulge in physical activities and are proactive in dog games.

Adaptability – Both Labrador Retriever and Goldendoodle can adapt very well to lifestyle changes and do well in all living environments.

Kid-Friendly – These canines are very friendly, affectionate, and gentle with kids. But, if we talk about their sizes, large pooches aren’t ideal for small kids.

Socialization – Both these breeds are highly sociable and behave well in front of guests and even strangers. They won’t bark or get utterly excited, like some other breeds. Similarly, these dogs have a positive attitude towards other dogs and pets.

Health Issues – Labs and Goldendoodles share several medical problems, such as bloating,
cataracts, hip dysplasia, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

What is Better about Labrador Retrievers?

Black Labrador Retriever sitting on a grass covered hill with blue skies in the background.

Labrador Retrievers are multi-talented dogs. Apart from being great family dogs, they have a long history of serving as gundogs. No other breed can match the caliber and physical strength that is needed to perform retrieving tasks. Labs can retrieve small games from water because they are good at fetching, swimming, and jumping.

Likewise, they are also capable SAR dogs, detection dogs, and therapy dogs. Moreover, their sociability and friendliness towards strangers are best among all other dogs.

What is Better about Goldendoodles?

Goldendoodle running on a snow covered hill

The most prominent feature of this breed is its non-shedding coat, making these pups hypoallergenic. They are more affectionate and loving than Labrador Retrievers because Labs can be rude sometimes due to their independent nature. Hence, Goldendoodles can become great lap dogs.

These hybrid dogs are ideal for apartment life, especially their smaller versions. Apart from being great companions, these dogs can also serve well as watchdogs and babysitters for children. Moreover, their miniature versions are much safer around small kids.

Who Should Get a Labrador Retriever?

Yellow Labrador puppy sitting outdoors in grass

If you belong to a socially proactive family, Labradors can be an ideal pet for you. The amazing socialization skills of this breed allow you to attend your social events, peacefully. Furthermore, if you need a pup for dog shows and sporting events, Labs can win you many trophies.

Apart from their social and active side, Labradors are also good as service dogs. If you’re a part of the SAR team or drugs detection squad, they can be great partners at the job.

Keep in mind that Labs prefer to live in houses with backyards because of their rigorous exercise needs. However, you can train them to live in apartments by providing sufficient physical activity.

Who Should Get a Goldendoodle?

Goldendoodle puppy sitting on hard wood floors with a green wall and brown vases in the background.

Goldendoodles are much calmer and more composed than Labs. Therefore, these pups are recommended for you if you need a dog with moderate exercise requirements. Likewise, they can easily adjust in apartments and you won’t have to do a lot of effort to keep them happy.

Moreover, if you have a packed routine and can’t be available all the time, Goldendoodle is a better choice. This is because they are less prone to separation anxiety and can stay alone for some time. Last but not least, people vulnerable to dog allergies must go for this breed because they are considered hypoallergenic.

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