The golden retriever and Labrador retriever are two incredibly popular dog breeds with many similarities. Both are retrievers and are members of the American Kennel Club's sporting group. However, they are two different breeds with different histories and physical characteristics.
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Golden retriever vs. Lab history
Is a golden retriever a Lab? Despite a similar appearance when comparing a golden retriever vs. a yellow Lab, they are different breeds with different histories. Golden retrievers originated in the 1800s in the Scottish Highlands as gun dogs. They are a cross of several breeds, including the extinct Tweed water spaniel and Irish setter. A golden retriever was First Dog to President Gerald Ford, which increased the breed's popularity in the United States.
The Labrador retriever originated in Newfoundland as a duck retriever and mates to fishermen. English nobles brought the dogs back to England and refined their breeding. The dogs have been ranked as the most popular dog by the American Kennel Club every year since 1991.
Labrador retriever vs. golden appearance
Golden retrievers have a medium-length double coat that is golden in color. The gold may range from light to dark. They have a feathery tail and broad head. Male goldens grow 23 to 24 inches tall and weigh 65 to 75 pounds. Females grow 21.5 to 22.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 65 pounds.
Labrador retrievers have a short double coat. They come in three colors: yellow, chocolate, and black. Labs have an otter tail that tapers toward the end. Labs are a similar size to goldens, but some dogs may get a bit bigger. Males grow 22.5 to 24.5 inches tall and weigh 65 to 80 pounds. Females grow 21.5 to 23.5 inches tall and weigh 55 to 70 pounds.
Lab vs. golden retriever temperament
The Labrador and the golden retriever are both members of the American Kennel Club's sporting group, and while breed is not a reliable indicator of temperament, the two breeds have many similarities in personality. Both breeds are very affectionate with family members and do well with young children and other dogs. Both the golden retriever and the Lab are playful pups, but the Lab tends to be a bit more playful than the golden.
The Labrador retriever is described as friendly, active, and outgoing. They have a high energy level and need plenty of exercise each day. Without a constructive outlet for their energy, Labs tend to become destructive and hyperactive. The golden retriever is described as friendly, devoted, and intelligent. Goldens only have a medium energy level, and they tend to bark less frequently than Labs. They still need daily exercise to avoid unwanted behavior.
Both breeds are intelligent and eager to please. Use positive reinforcement methods during training sessions. The dogs also excel at many canine sports, including agility and obedience. Labs commonly work as search and rescue dogs, as police drug and bomb detection K-9s, and as service dogs.
Retriever health concerns
Both golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are generally healthy and have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years. There are some genetic conditions that are common to each breed. Both breeds may suffer from elbow and hip dysplasia.
Golden retrievers are also prone to a number of eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy, pigmentary uveitis, and juvenile cataracts, as well as some heart conditions, such as subvalvular aortic stenosis. Labradors may also be prone to heart disorders and eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy. They may also develop a form of muscle weakness called hereditary myopathy and exercise-induced collapse.