Golden Retriever vs Yellow Lab
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Golden Retriever vs Yellow Lab [which breed is best for you]

Finding the right dog for your home is important. Everyone has a different situation and taking the time to research the dogs you are interested in makes good sense. 

Many people are intrigued with the Golden Retriever and the Yellow Lab as great family pets. These two dog breeds top the list of popular dog breeds but they have key differences. 

Most Popular Dog Breed
Most Popular Dog Breed

Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs are Two of the Most Popular Dog Breeds

Both breeds are smart, playful, gentle, and loving dogs. Yellow Labradors and Golden Retrievers both make great service or therapy dogs. Both breeds love to please their masters.

Yellow Labradors and Golden Retrievers are retriever breeds and natural hunters with water-resistant coats. They love to play fetch the ball so be ready for some fun exercise with these dogs!

Differences Between the Yellow Lab and the Golden Retriever

While the Golden Retriever and Yellow Labrador are very similar they also have some significant differences you need to be aware of before you decide which is best for you.

Yellow Labs have a broader and more full face and jaw while the Golden Retriever has a narrower longer snout or muzzle. The Yellow Lab is usually a heavier dog with a more muscular build and shorter hair than the Golden Retriever. 

Keep reading to learn what you need to know about both these amazing dog breeds so you can make the best decision possible for your family!

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are the stereotypical perfect family dog. With their fluffy golden coats and soft mouths, they’ve gone viral just over how sweet and loyal they are. 

Below is more about why a Golden Retriever may be the best choice for you.

History of Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers were not always the highly popular, well-loved dogs they are today. They originated in Scotland.

History of Golden Retrievers
History of Golden Retrievers

In the old days when dogs were mostly used just for hunting, darker colors such as chocolate brown and black were more highly chosen due to their ability to camouflage. 

Those dogs that had a lighter coat color would often be put down or otherwise disposed of as strays.

In the late 1800s, a golden-colored dog was bred with a Tweed Water Spaniel to produce a genetically superior offspring that could hunt on land and water. 

It is believed that this was the first true Golden Retriever. 

The Golden Retriever was soon declared an official breed by the American Kennel Club and is now known as the third most popular breed in the United States. 

Golden Retriever Appearance

Golden Retrievers have a beautiful thick, long, golden coat that is known for shining brightly in the sun. They have floppy ears and a beautiful appearance that makes most people smile!

Did you know that some people say dogs can smile? Well, if that is true then a Golden Retriever is one dog that definitely does smile and they also frequently wag their long tails when happy.

Golden Retriever Appearance
Golden Retriever Appearance

Golden Retriever Size

Golden Retrievers range between 21 to 24 inches in height. They typically weigh between 55 and 75 pounds. Females dogs generally are shorter and weigh less than males. 

Golden Retriever Coat

Coats are typically golden but can range between cream and yellow as well. They also have a tendency to drool and will require lots of grooming due to their long hair.

Golden Retriever Males vs Females

As previously mentioned, male Golden Retrievers are often slightly taller and stockier than females. 

Female Golden Retrievers also tend to live one to two years longer than males on average, but it varies by the individual dog and how well they are cared for. 

Females also tend to be more gentle but males are more outgoing and playful. 

Regardless of your dog’s sex, you will want to make sure they are spayed or neutered unless you intend on having purebred puppies. 

Females will need to be spayed to prevent their heat while neutering your males can decrease the chance of them becoming territorial or aggressive. 

Marking will also be decreased or eliminated once your male puppy is neutered.

Golden Retriever Puppy Care

Golden Retrievers need the same puppy care as any other breed of dog. 

Make sure you take your new puppy home after eight weeks so it has enough time to feed from its mother and socialize with its litter. 

It is important that you chose a puppy that is outgoing and friendly rather than one that is timid and afraid, as they will be easier to train and are less anxious.

Feeding your puppy high-quality puppy food that gives them enough nutrition to grow larger and develop a healthy, shiny coat is very important! 

Your puppy will also need water at all times to stay hydrated. 

Contact a Veterinarian Before You Bring Your Puppy Home

Make sure you have a veterinarian picked out in advance so your Golden Retriever puppy has access to great medical care when needed.

You also want to make sure they receive regular care such as required vaccines and preventive screenings. 

Golden Retriever Favorite Activities

Golden Retrievers are energetic dogs with a high drive for exercise. These dogs will need lots of exercise in the form of games, walking, running, and even swimming. 

If they are with you, they will often like anything you want to do. They love pleasing you!

Goldens love to chew as well. Make sure your Golden Retriever pup has access to chew toys so they can chew to their heart’s content. 

Tennis balls are a retriever’s favorite as they get to chew the ball and also run to chase it. 

Golden Retriever Health Risks

Golden Retrievers are at risk for some specific health issues. For example, hip and elbow dysplasia is particularly common in Golden Retrievers. 

Golden Retriever Health Risks
Golden Retriever Health Risks

This occurs when the head of the femur does not rotate properly in the hip socket. This condition is often only fully treated with surgery, which can get expensive quickly.

Cancer is unfortunately common in Golden Retrievers. On average, over 50% of Golden Retrievers die from a cancer-related condition. 

If you suspect your Golden Retriever is developing cancer, talk to your vet immediately to discuss your options. 

Golden Retriever Eye Problems

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an eye problem to be aware of with Golden Retrievers. A form of retinal degeneration, this eye disease is inherited and can begin to show signs around years four and five in their stage of life.

Golden Retriever Pros

Golden Retrievers are known as some of the most gentle and loyal dogs in the world. They are beautiful and love to play, and are great if you enjoy going to the lake or beach often. 

They are also excellent with children and families. 

Goldens are great to travel with and make excellent cuddle buddies. They are also not very large in size and are frequently under 80 pounds. 

This means the cost of feeding them can be less compared to other large dogs. Golden Retrievers are also intelligent and will take to training quite quickly and easily. 

Golden Retriever Cons

Golden Retrievers, while beautiful, have thick coats that often need lots of regular brushing and bathing. They can also get dirty easily because of their long hair. 

They are also very curious and can inadvertently get themselves into dangerous or unsafe situations without realizing it.

Besides more grooming, Goldens also have a tendency to develop specific medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and are at a higher risk of obesity. 

Your Golden pup will likely need to be kept on a regular feeding schedule and may not do well with gravity feeders or grazing. 

Yellow Lab

Yellow Labs make excellent first dogs for many people and their families. According to the AKC, they are known as America’s most popular dog breed. 

With their short, thick fur and sparkly eyes, it’s easy to understand why so many people fall in love with this sweet breed. Read below to see if a Yellow Lab is right for you!

History of Yellow Labs

Labrador Retrievers originated in Canada in the Labrador province.

History of Yellow Labs
History of Yellow Labs

They traveled between North America and Europe several times until 1814 when the term “Labrador” was first used to identify them with their exceptional hunting skills.

Though they first received recognition in Europe in 1903, the American Kennel Club recognized the breed later in 1917. 

Yellow Lab Appearance

Labrador Retrievers come in many colors including black, brown, and yellow!

Their skulls are broad and they have wide-set eyes. Frequent smiling, panting, and wagging are common amongst Yellow Labs.

They also have long, floppy ears similar to the Golden Retriever. Their tails are thin but still strong. 

Yellow Lab Appearance
Yellow Lab Appearance

Yellow Lab Size

Yellow labs range between 21 and 25 inches in height and weigh between 55 and 80 pounds.

Yellow Lab Coat 

Yellow Labs have thick, short yellow coats that experience moderate shedding.

Yellow Lab Males vs. Females

As with other dog breeds, male Yellow Labs are typically a bit taller and stockier than females. 

Males also tend to be slightly more athletic when it comes to running, hunting, and swimming compared to female labs. 

Female labs tend to live slightly longer than males on average, though this depends on your specific dog.

Female labs are quite affectionate but not as affectionate as males. Males tend to be more attention-seeking and enjoy cuddling more than females. 

However, females are typically quicker to pick up both housetraining and obedience training. 

Yellow Lab Puppy Care

Yellow Labs need the same care as other puppy breeds. You will want to pick a Yellow Lab that is affectionate and outgoing rather than those that are shy or anxious. 

Try your best to socialize your Yellow Lab early and often so they learn to trust others.

Yellow Labs will need high-quality puppy food to help them grow strong as they enjoy a high amount of exercise. 

Also, be sure to have a local vet picked out to get your puppy preventative care such as vaccines and to have access to emergency care as needed. 

You will also want to make sure your lab always has access to fresh water and puppy chew toys as they teethe. 

Yellow Lab Favorite Activities

Yellow Labs are very high energy, so enjoy anything having to do with exercise. You’ll also find that they love the water and enjoy swimming and playing in puddles. 

As a result, you may want to keep your Yellow Lab away from large puddles of mud, as they won’t hesitate to jump in.

Yellow Labs also enjoy chewing, so be sure to get them some high-quality chew toys. Games such as fetch and tug-of-war are great to get some energy out at home outside of walking. 

Finally, Yellow Labs love cuddling and simply spending time with you, as they are very loyal. 

Yellow Lab Health Risks

Yellow Labs, though they have fewer health risks than Golden Retrievers, still have some health problems specific to their breed

Yellow Lab Health Risks
Yellow Lab Health Risks

Like Goldens, they can be susceptible to hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia, during which the top of the femur and the hip socket grind against one another. 

This is typically only successfully treated with surgery.

Along with hip dysplasia, arthritis is common in older Yellow Labs due to their size and the strain they put on their joints with frequent exercise. 

They may be prescribed supplements or arthritis medication to reduce pain and increase mobility over time. 

Finally, Yellow Labs are also prone to laryngeal paralysis, which affects the muscles surrounding the larynx. 

A change in your dog’s bark or breathing can indicate this condition. Reach out to your vet immediately for an assessment if you believe your pup has any of these health conditions.

Yellow Lab Pros

Yellow Labs still have thick coats but they are much shorter than a Golden’s, which makes regular grooming much easier and more infrequent. 

Yellow Labs are also very fast and have strong jaws which makes them excellent hunters. They enjoy hiking and swimming and will enjoy time with you in nature.

Yellow Labs also love cuddling and are incredibly loyal. They will get along great with children as well as other pets in the home with proper introductions. 

Labs make great family dogs and dogs for hunters as well. 

Yellow Lab Cons

Though Yellow Labs have shorter coats than Golden Retrievers, their coats are still thick so you will still experience quite a bit of shedding. 

They are also light in color, which makes them difficult to camouflage when hunting. 

Yellow Labs are high-energy, so you will need enough space for them to run and play as well as enough time to play with them during the day. 

They will also likely not “age out” of this energy until they are quite old, and that is normally only due to mobility issues. 

Finally, they are prone to obesity as they love to eat, so likely cannot be fed with a gravity feeder.

Golden Retrievers vs Yellow Labs

The choice between a Golden Retriever and a Yellow Lab can be a tough one. Both breeds are quite similar in size, weight, color, and temperament. 

The primary differences are in the length of the coat, breed origin, and hunting abilities. 

Golden Retrievers are mostly known for their beauty and show quality rather than their hunting abilities these days. 

Meanwhile, Yellow Labs are still known for their hunting abilities and can often run and swim faster than a Golden. 

However, both breeds are energetic, gentle, and loving, and can be an excellent choice for you and your family. 

Which Breed Should You Choose?

Your choice ultimately depends on what you want and what you have the time to do. Golden Retrievers may take more time to care for due to their frequent grooming needs. 

Yellow Labs may be better at hunting if you intend on taking them on hunting trips.

If you are looking for a mid-sized, cuddly dog that loves exercise, traveling, and swimming, you can’t go wrong with either one of these breeds. 

Both will provide you with love and loyalty and will enjoy a number of activities you may involve them in.

Related Questions

What is the difference between Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs?

Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs are both separate breeds with different origins. 

Though their temperaments and skills are quite similar, they differ slightly in the length of their coats, the color of their fur, and their swimming abilities. 

Both breeds will still be extremely loyal and live excellently with children and other pets.

Where can I find a Golden Retriever or Yellow Lab?

Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs can both be found via reputable breeders through the American Kennel Club (AKC).

Reputable breeders post litters often and pups often range between $500 and $1000 depending on breed and color. 

However, these breeds can also be found at animal shelters or breed-specific rescues, often at a lower cost than a purebred dog from a breeder.

Rescues and shelters are great choices for those looking for a pet rather than a show dog or professional service dog.

Are Golden Retrievers or Yellow Labs Better Service Dogs?

Actually, both Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labradores make great service dogs. Those two breeds are probably the top two dog breeds that are utilized as service or guide dogs.

There are some subtle pros and cons with each but you can’t go wrong choosing either one.

Both dogs are highly intelligent breeds, alert, have high energy levels (in a good way), and are easily trainable. They also love to please their human. 

The Main Differences are Physical Appearance

The main differences probably just revolve around their physical appearance. 

Sizewise they are pretty close with the Lab being slightly larger on average but the noticeable difference is with their coats. 

Note: Both dogs have a double coat of fur.

Yellow Labradors have short dense coats that repel water. Golden Retrievers have much longer wavy hair. So grooming may be a little easier with the Yellow Lab. 

Are Yellow Labs aggressive?

Yellow Labs are typically not aggressive at all. They are very laid back and enjoy cuddling, walking, licking, and simply spending time with you. 

However, any animal can be aggressive if improperly trained or exposed to mistreatment. 

Always make sure you ask questions and spend time with any adult dog you are considering purchasing or adopting. 

Are there any famous Golden Retrievers?

There are many famous Golden Retrievers! One great example is Duke from the Bush’s Baked Beans commercials. 

Buddy, a Golden Retriever from the 90s, was another star-studded pup, having starred in the Air Bud franchise after learning to play basketball. 

Finally, Comet was another famous Golden in the 90s due to his roles as both Minnie and Comet on the TV sitcom Full House. 

Which dog swims better, the Golden Retriever or Yellow Lab?

Though both of these breeds are great swimmers, Yellow Labs tend to be a bit faster at swimming than Golden Retrievers. 

This is likely due to both the long hair on Goldens weighing them down, as well as the fact that Goldens are now mostly bred for beauty rather than their sporting ability.

How often should I brush my Golden Retriever?

It is recommended that you brush your Golden Retriever 3-5 times per week to prevent mats and knots. 

Your Golden may need a deeper brushing every one to two weeks with a brush that is able to reach your dog’s thicker undercoat. 

Most Golden Retriever owners use both slicker brushes and special types of de-shedding brushes for this purpose. 

What are gun dogs?

Gun dogs are basically a term used to describe dogs that hunters use to retrieve the game that they shot with their guns.

Labradors and the Yellow Lab in particular are often thought to be the most popular and skilled gun dogs. 

While not quite as popular as labs for this purpose (but a close second!), the Golden Retriever still makes an excellent gun dog as well.

Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs Both Make Excellent Family Pets

Regardless of what breed you choose, both Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs are excellent dogs that are perfect for both solo owners and families with young children. 

They are both playful, loyal, sweet, intelligent dogs that are easy to train.

Keep in mind, to be happy, these high-energy dogs need an active lifestyle with plenty of exercise and outdoor play.

If you are still unsure about which breed to choose, consider visiting your local shelter or breeder to interact with these breeds and make a final decision. 

Calling your local vet for advice is also a great idea as they have a great understanding of the pros and cons of both Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs.

Golden Retriever vs Yellow Lab

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