Ok, this is definitely not a question of which is "better". After all, this is the JUST LABRADORS board and I can bet I'd know the answer I'd get to THAT question!!
Our family is considering both breeds, and I have a question for those that either have of have had experience with both. What are some of the differences (both positive and negative), between the two?
UPDATE: Thank you SO much everyone for your feedback. It was so helpful (in addition to doing our own "homework") in coming to a decision. So....I feel almost guilty saying this on here...we've decided to go with the Golden Retriever! We really looked at everything, and for this particular point in our lives it seemed like a better fit.
Although we have both had dogs this will be our first "family" dog as we have three fairly young kids. I'm also looking at doing some obedience work and hopefully getting her therapy certification too! We've placed a deposit with the breeder for her spring litter. Although now we are VERY confused because it turns out she has one female available from the litter she has now (she has decided to keep one less for herself-already keeping/co-owning three). What to do?? So, will either be December or March...we'll see!
The only "bad news" here is that I guess I have to go start looking at the golden retriever forum instead! Even though I hardly posted here I have been reading for a long time and have really learned so much from you all...THANK YOU!!
My brother has a golden retriever that I fostered for two months when he moved back to Mexico. Both breeds are great. I´ve also met a lot of Goldens and in my experience this is what I see:
a) Both breeds shed a lot, but the golden´s need more maintenance (i.e. pick up more dirt and debris from the woods, mud, etc)
b) Goldens are more sensitive dogs than labs in general, labs tend to be "tougher" rough dogs (like a hummer compared to a light suv)
c) In my opinion Goldens are smarter (not necessarily a better trait though - i.e. if they get bored watch out). My brother´s Golden is definitely smarter than both Misha and Homer but she will try to outsmart you if you let her.
d) My boy and girl are too rough with small kids whereas my brother´s golden is a sweetheart and very delicate - but this might be because both my dogs only live with me and I do rough play with them while the golden grew with small kids
Retriever Mama has Brooklyn and Remy (golden and lab), I bet she can give you a lot more info.
Both breeds are great in my opinion, just research well and analyze your family to see which breed suits you better and remember that dogs are individuals so in reality there are no "fixed" rules. There are rough goldens and sensitive sweet labs too.
I personally find Goldens a little too clingy. Needy. Not that this is a bad thing for everyone. Just something I have observed.
Grooming. They require it. I don't groom.
I also seemed to find in my own experiences that temperaments can really vary. I've seen some really nasty temperaments, even in some really well bred dogs. I am sure this can even apply to Labs)
They seem to have terrible wild child puppyhoods LOL
Cancer. SO many Goldens are lost to cancer. Some far too young. Scares me.
They shed - a lot.
Positive. Great family dog. When you have a good temperament you cannot beat a Golden. Obedient yet still able to maintain that airhead quality...so I will also lump airhead into a positive LOL Pretty much all the good things I can say about a Lab.
When I was researching breeds I was down to Goldens, Labs and Bernese Mountain Dogs. But I really wanted a Standard Schnauzer. I quickly ruled out BMD's. My research kept directing me to Goldens and Labs. I ruled out Goldens for some of the reasons mentioned but also because I also wanted a black dog. I love black. Labs were definitely the right choice for me.
I can say NOTHING bad about a Lab.
Other than they shed A LOT!
Both are great dogs you can't go wrong with either one. One thing I know about goldens is they can have more ear and skin problems than labs and are very prone to cancers.
I have one of each..well kinda...Brewster is exactly like a Golden but with black fur. I was a dog walker for a long time and was around a lot of Goldens too. I totally agree that they are more clingy than Labs. The ones I know/knew were constantly pawing at you for more petting. Velcro dogs is what I call them. And what cinderbaylabs said about them being airheads...I agree
I don't groom Brewster but his butt hair (feathers?) shed a lot and leaves long flowing strands of hair on the floor instead of short Labby hair.
I don't think you can go wrong with either though! I personally prefer Labs. Shhh, don't tell Brewster!
I absolutely love both breeds. Personality wise, the biggest difference I've found is that Goldens are mellower than a Lab. Now, the fur- that lightweight outer coat floats. When we used to babysit our friend's Golden, I'd find hair on top of the console TV- never found Siberian or Lab hair there. LOL And that coat needs a bit more attention than a Labs. Don't brush a Lab often enough, and you have more hair all over the place. Don't brush a Golden often or well enough, and you get mats, especially behind the ears. My sister's ended up with a hot spot on his neck because of dead undercoat that wasn't totally brushed out.
Our Golden, Sandy, only lived till 6, and HK is approaching 2. I don't know that I can say either is better. Very similar, but different. I could probably find the same differences between two of either breed. HK is definitely our better dog. Better as in behavior. She has more energy than our Sandy, but I have spent a lot more time working with her. I think it primarily depends on which appearance you like better. Sandy did reqire brushing, whereas HK does not.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
My first was 1/2 lab 1/2 golden. She was a sweetheart. I don't see any difference between the breeds except for hair length.
OK. I have both. Brooklyn, our Golden, is 3 and Remy, our black lab, is 11 months. This is my experience with these two dogs:
Brooklyn comes from a show dog line and is very mellow. She's very smart and affectionate. Doesn't bark much and is a cuddlebug. However, she really doesn't like other dogs - not in a fighting aggressive way...more disinterested. She loves people. Very sensitive too. The best way to correct her when she did something bad as a puppy? Lock her in the kitchen. Being separated from us was the worst thing ever. High maintenance fur? Not so much. We trim her nails and the fur on her feet and she does get some matting behind the ears, but we've been lucky. Our breeder's dogs have great coats. Water dog? Not so much...she's more of a wader who keeps her tail in the air to keep it dry. She does not fetch. Well... she will for kibble. Goldens are reknowned for allergy issues, which unfortunately I can attest to. We spent a lot of money on vet appointments with dermatologists til we figured out what was going on. But we have Brooklyn on allergy pills and she gets her weekly bath and she's good to go. She sheds like crazy in the fall and the spring blow-out of her coat is impressive. I've stopped wearing black. But...as much as I love my monkey Remy...she is my baby girl.
Remy is a bundle of energy. No really. Crazy energy. I get tired just watching his tail wag. He's stronger and tuggier on walks which make it difficult for me to walk him (hubby does). He is always so happy to see us! He is so happy to do anything! He is very food motivated...even more so than Brooklyn which has made training so easy - he'll do anything for kibble. He loves the water - dove right in after a stick and paddled away. He loves to fetch. He loves meeting other dogs. He is a joy at the dog park. He is a dog's dog. He sheds worse than Brooklyn on a daily basis. His black fur is on everything! And his higher energy level means it takes more to tucker him out....longer walks, more run around time, more training just to keep him out of trouble.
They both were hyper bitey puppies. They both trained very quickly on their commands. Both were difficult on the leash - Remy more so because he is stronger. Both make us laugh and keep us smiling. Both are very family oriented and want to be with us. Remy wants to be in the room - Brooklyn wants to be on us. Remy is a goofball and Brooklyn is a sweetheart.
I would look at the breeders around you and what qualities they are breeding for if you are getting a puppy. And then you just need to decide on what energy level you are looking for in your dog and what you might want to do with it. They are both great family dogs. Great companions. Eager to please and love their people. I think the best way to tell the difference between our two is Brooklyn is going to make a great therapy dog while Remy? Agility all the way.
If you have any specific questions please feel free to PM me.
Melissa, Remy & Brooklyn