Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle…what are the pros and cons? How do you decide which is the best Doodle dog for you? 🤔
As the mom of a senior Goldendoodle, I get your dilemma. When I was trying to decide if a Doodle dog was the right fit for our family, I had many questions about the similarities and the differences between Labradoodles and Goldendoodles.
I weighed the Goldendoodle pros and cons and the Labradoodle pros and cons because I wanted to make the best decision for our pack.
Now, almost 10 years later as a crazy dog mom absorbed in all things related to Doodle dogs, I’ve met many Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. And I’ve fallen head over heals for all of them.
From my experiences and research, these two lovable breeds will respond to your positive parenting and make great family dogs. And when you go all in by providing heaps of TLC and care, then you’ll be rewarded with a lifetime of joyful companionship from an affectionate, smart, and friendly Doodle dog.
Ultimately, by pouring your love, time, and attention into your puppy—whether Goldendoodle or Labradoodle—you’ll be rewarded with unending love in return.
That said, you’re here doing your homework on both the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle. You want to wrap your head around the differences and similarities…so you can some day wrap your arms around a little teddy bear pup of your own.
So, without further a-doodle 😉, my fluffy pupper and I will be your guides to help you navigate Goldendoodles vs Labradoodles.
What’s the difference between a Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle?
First, the key difference between the Labradoodle and the Goldendoodle is this…
The Labradoodle is a hybrid or crossbreed between a Labrador Retriever and a Poodle.
The Goldendoodle is a hybrid or a crossbreed between a Golden Retriever and a Poodle.
In other words, the most obvious difference between the Goldendoodle and the Labradoodle is the parent breed (heritage) on one side of the family. Goldendoodles have Golden Retriever lineage and Labradoodles have Labrador Retriever lineage.
This brings us to the biggest similarity between Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.
Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles have the Poodle breed on one side of the family. They either have a purebred Poodle as a parent or they have some combination of Poodle/Goldendoodle or Poodle/Labradoodle heritage. (More on this in a minute.)
Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are hybrids, not purebred dogs
Now that we know the biggest distinction between the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle, let’s go one step further and clear up a common misconception…
Neither Goldendoodles nor Labradoodles are purebred dogs.
Rather, as I’ve mentioned above, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are hybrids or crossbreeds. A hybrid or crossbreed is an intentional mixing of two different breeds to produce an offspring that is a blend of both.
In other words, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles have distinctly different parents. This is unlike purebred dogs who have parents of the same breed.
By the way, since both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are not purebred dogs you won’t see them flaunting their fluff in registered dog breed shows like the Westminster Dog show. These dog shows are conformation events for purebred dogs only.
Also, because neither breed is a purebred dog it means they are not on the AKC breed registry. By the way, if you’re researching Goldendoodles or Labradoodles and come across the terms AKC Goldendoodle or AKC Labradoodle, something smells fishy…and it’s not your dog’s breath.
You’ve likely come across someone who’s either misinformed (at best) or is using the AKC terminology as marketing hype.
Also, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are similar in that they may be some combination of the two distinct breed types. For example, a Goldendoodle may have a Goldendoodle (50/50 Golden Retriever and Poodle) as one parent and a purebred Poodle as another parent (commonly called an F1B Goldendoodle.)
Basically, Goldendoodles are a combination of Golden Retriever and Poodle heritage.
Labradoodles are be a combination of Labrador Retriever and Poodle heritage.
Next, let’s take a brief look at the parent breeds—the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever, and the Poodle—to understand the nitty gritty on more ways the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle are similar and different.
According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), Labrador Retrievers are America’s most popular breed and “famously friendly.”
The breed’s upbringing and history is primarily as a sporting dog—retrieving waterfowl and even working alongside fishermen. (The breed is classified as a sporting dog by the AKC—a group of dogs who are active and have natural instincts in the outdoors.)
The Labrador Retriever’s short, dense water-resistant coat and famous “otter tail” make for natural retrieving in cold, icy waters.
Labrador Retrievers are athletes—strong and sturdy. They require daily exercise for both physical and mental health.
The AKC describes the Labrador Retriever’s personality as, “friendly, outgoing, and high-spirited companions who have more than enough affection to go around.”
As a reminder, the Labrador Retriever is the parent breed of the Labradoodle. By understanding the Labrador Retriever characteristics—working, athleticism, affectionate—you can gain insight into the Labradoodle. Next, we’ll look at the purebred Golden Retriever.
The Golden Retriever takes a “joyous and playful approach to life and maintains this puppyish behavior well into adulthood,” according the the American Kennel Club’s breed standards.
The breed, which was originally intended to retrieve water fowl, often has a natural love for swimming and fetch. Like the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever is classified as a sporting dog by the AKC. Among other qualities, sporting dogs tend to be naturally active and have natural instincts for the outdoors.
For this reason, Golden Retrievers require daily exercise. Golden Retrievers have high-shedding coats in colors of golden from light golden to reddish golden.
As a reminder, the Golden Retriever is the parent breed of the Goldendoodle. By understanding the Golden Retriever characteristics—retrieving, playful, joyful, active—we have insight into the Goldendoodle.
Next, let’s get an overview of the Poodle breed.
The Poodle (parent breed to both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles) is highly regarded for their incredible intelligence, amazing athletic ability, and distinctive low-allergen, low-shedding curly coat.
The breed’s long history of working as water dogs makes them natural retrievers, and many have a love for swimming. Unlike the Golden Retriever and Labrador Retriever, Poodles have been bred to three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy. (This is why you’ll see Doodle dogs as large as 80 or more pounds and as small as 30 pounds.)
With a better understanding of the parent breeds, next let’s look at the origin of the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle to understand why crossing these distinctly different purebred dogs came about.
Origin and history of the Goldendoodle vs Labradoodle
LABRADOODLE HISTORY VS GOLDENDOODLE HISTORY
Wally Conron is credited for introducing the Labradoodle in the 1980s when working with the Royal Guide Dog Association of Australia. In his urgent quest to find a guide dog for pet allergy sufferers, he crossed the low-shedding, allergy-friendly Poodle and the highly trainable, friendly Labrador Retriever. This is the widely accepted origin story of the Labradoodle.
According to my research, there are a couple of different stories on the origin of the Goldendoodle. One widely held belief is that the popularity of the Goldendoodle sprang out of Wally Conron’s breeding of the Labradoodle. The other origin story credits Monika Dickens (yes, related to the famous author, Charles Dickens) with introducing the Goldendoodle in the 1960s. However, the Goldendoodle did not grow in popularity until the1990s.
Goldendoodle versus Labradoodle: Paw-to-paw comparison
Next, let’s get a better understanding of how the Goldendoodle and Labradoodle are similar or different in relationship to health, physical characteristics, and temperament.
Of course, as with all things related to hybrid dogs, everything can be taken with a grain of salt. This is because, there is more variety when crossing two very different breeds. In fact, if you have your heart set on a very specific size, color, coat type, weight, personality of dog, you may find that a purebred is more your style. However, if you love unwrapping a gift and finding a happy surprise in side, then you’re in for a treat with both breeds.
Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are similar in that they both may be susceptible to inherited or genetic conditions from their parent breeds. What conditions? According to Embrace Pet Insurance claims analysis on Goldendoodles and Labradoodles…
- Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles share hip dysplasia as a common health issue.
- Elbow dysplasia is a common health issue in Labradoodles. (Source: Embrace Pet Insurance Common Labradoodle Health Issues)
- In Goldendoodles, subvalvular aortic stenosis, cataracts, and Addison’s disease are common health issues. (Source: Embrace Pet Insurance Goldendoodle Health Issues )
Next, according to Nationwide’s story on Poodle mix popularity and cancer claims…
“Not only are Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, and other Poodle-cross dogs increasingly popular, but they’re also far less likely to have claims for cancer than the breeds used to create them.”Nationwide Insurance, Popular Poodle Pups Outpacing Purebred Parents, January 2022
The article from Nationwide (a pet health insurance provider) goes on to explain how their veterinary analytics team studied claims for a hefty 1.61 million dogs over a period of six years.
As a slight caveat, this information is not the result of a substantial scientific study, but rather based on claims. However, it’s rare to find any data at all about Goldendoodles and Labradoodles. So, in my opinion, Nationwide’s findings are exciting and newsworthy.
Now that you have a brief overview of some health conditions in both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles, if you’re like me, you want to do everything in your power to lessen the chances for those conditions. So, I rounded up three helpful tips for you:
- Choose a reputable breeder who is committed to the future of the breed. Reputable breeders use the latest health testing and genetic research methods to make sure their puppies have the best chances for living a happy, health life. For example, if you’re choosing a Goldendoodle puppy, make sure you know how to identify a reputable Goldendoodle breeder.
- Help your Doodle dog maintain a healthy weight. According the American Veterinary Medical Association’s article, Study Finds Overweight Dogs Live Shorter Lives, overweight dogs’ lives are cut short by up to 2 1/2 years in comparison to dogs that are a healthy weight.
- Establish a great relationship with your veterinarian. As part of your new puppy checklist, plan to take your pupper to the veterinarian within a few days of bringing him or her home, so you can start your puppy off on the right paw with the vaccinations and care they need. Then, plan to take your dog for yearly physical exams and well checks.
Now that we have an overview of health, what about Goldendoodles versus Labradoodles when it comes to personality? Friendly? Chill? Loyal? Let’s find out.
Temperament and personality
A well-bred Labradoodle (sometimes referred to as a Cobberdog) is typically a smart, loyal, family dog. Since both parent breeds (the Labrador Retriever and Poodle) are energetic, the Labradoodle will be happiest when they’ve had daily exercise. Due to their loyalty to their owner (from the Labrador Retriever lineage), they tend to make better service dogs (i.e. dogs who work or perform a service for an individual with a disability).
The Goldendoodle (or Groodle) is generally known as a smart, eager-to-please, and rather comical family dog. The Golden Retriever heritage typically makes Goldendoodles natural retrievers. They may like nothing more than to play a game of fetch in the backyard. They are ideally suited for a fenced in yard or place where they can enjoy energy burns. Due to the social nature of their Golden Retriever heritage, they tend to make better therapy dogs (i.e. dogs who provide comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc.)
Neither Goldendoodles nor Labradoodles make good guard dogs.
Also, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles do well in homes that have fenced in yards, or a place where they can get daily exercise.
Both Labradoodles and Goldendoodles are smart, which means they are quick to learn and enjoy mental stimulation and dog enrichment activities, toys, and games.
If you give these dogs a job such as agility training, nose work training, or simply teaching them tricks, they will flourish.
On the flip side, intelligence also means they are smart enough to come up with their own interests if they are bored. (Anecdotally, I’ve heard many a Doodle parent mention sock chewing as a favorite past time for idle Doodle dogs.)
Next, let’s compare Goldendoodles and Labradoodles by size.
Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles can vary greatly in size. Why? The Poodle side of the family gets most of the credit for bringing such a wide variety of sizes to the mix.
Purebred Poodles range in size from miniature to standard. This is why both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles can range greatly in size.
One caveat: If you’re imagining tiny little 5-pound lap sitters, that won’t be the case with either the Labradoodle or the Goldendoodle. This is logical when you consider that the parent breeds (the Golden Retriever for the Goldendoodle and the Labrador Retriever for the Labradoodle) are good-sized dogs. Their offspring aren’t going to be itty bitty things. Here’s a size comparison.
- Miniature: 15 to 30 pounds
- Medium: 30 to 45 pounds
- Standard: 45 to over 100 pounds
- Mini Goldendoodle: 26 -35 pounds
- Medium Goldendoodle: 36 – 50 pounds
- Standard Goldendoodle: 51+ pounds
Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles have the same average lifespan—around 10 to 15 years. (In very general terms, the smaller the dog, the longer the life.)
However, there’s more to the story! If you’re like me, you want your pupper to live way longer than the average lifespan—more like forever. The good news is that there are things that you can do to help your pupper have the best chance to live the best life now and for many years to come. Whether you’re leaning toward a Labradoodle or a Goldendoodle, check out my tips about Goldendoodle lifespan and making life expectancy “Golden” for your dog.
Combing 😉 through my sources, it looks like Goldendoodle grooming may be slightly more involved versus Labradoodle. This makes sense if you think about the parent breeds. The Golden Retriever has a long coat while the Labrador Retriever has a short coat.
It’s important to note, grooming needs for both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles will depend on the individual puppy and whether he or she inherits more of the Poodle coat or more of the straight coat of the Retriever. Also, be on the look out for the Doodle puppy coat transition—a time when the coat changes over from fine puppy hair to the adult coat. It’s a challenging time for many Doodle parents when dog mats seem to appear almost over night. (BTW…you may want to check out my hack for using cornstarch for matted dog hair.)
That said, at adulthood the Labradoodle may have a slight edge over the Goldendoodle when it comes to a shorter, slightly easier-to-maintain coat.
If you’ve heard that the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle are hypoallergenic, I’d like to dispel this myth. No dog is completely hypoallergenic. However, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles tend to be more allergy friendly than high-shedding dogs like Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers. However, the Poodle is the most allergy-friendly of all.
For more, check out my article: Are Goldendoodles Hypoallergenic.)
At-a-glance comparison: Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle
Finally, here is an easy reference guide to the Labradoodle and Goldendoodle.
Labrador Retriever & Poodle
21 to 24 inches
45 – 75 lbs
Smart, loyal, friendly, Stays close to person
Tend to be very smart,
making them easy to train
Daily physical exercise and mental stimulation
|Coat types: |
Straight, wavy, curly. May be shorter
Depending on coat type, may be slightly easier to groom. Plan to brush 2 to 3 times a week.
Black, cream, apricot, red, caramel, chocolate, parti
|Also called: |
Golden Retriever & Poodle
22 to 25 inches
45 – 100 lbs
Smart, comical, friendly, social
Tend to be very smart,
making them easy to train
Daily physical exercise and mental stimulation
|Coat types: |
Straight, wavy, curly. May be longer
Depending on coat type, may need slightly more grooming than the Labradoodle. Plan to brush every other day.
Cream, apricot, red, black, chocolate, parti
|Also called: |
Groodle, Golden Doodle
Not sure if you have a Goldendoodle or a Labradoodle?
If you have adopted a Doodle dog from a shelter or rescue, you may not know what type of Doodle dog you have. If you’re curious, you could try out a doggie DNA test.
A dog breed identification test like the Embark DNA test may help you identify whether your dog is a Goldendoodle, a Labradoodle, or other Poodle mix. Additionally, you can even get a summary of your dog’s genetic health to share with your veterinarian.
Goldendoodle versus Labradoodle: Doods you’ll ❤️
In summary, well-bred Goldendoodles (or Groodles) are Golden Retriever and Poodle crossbreed dogs who tend to be energetic and require daily walks, energy burns like games of fetch, sniffari walks, or even agility training. They are typically a smart, eager-to-please, comical family dog. As with all crossbred dogs, characteristics in Goldendoodles are not as consistent as with purebred dogs.
Well-bred Labradoodles are typically smart, loyal, obedient family dogs. Labradoodles are Labrador Retriever and Poodle crossbreeds who are energetic and happiest when they’ve had daily exercise. Similar to any hybrid mix, characteristics of Labradoodles are not as consistent as with purebred dogs.
While both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles make wonderful family companions, the more you pour your love, time, and attention into their well-being, the more love and affection you will receive. With your commitment to positive parenting, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles are eager to fit in with the pack and bond with you for a lifetime.