Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle: Differences, Similarities, And Which is Best?

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle: Differences, Similarities, And Which is Best?

Deciding between a Golden Retriever and a Goldendoodle can be a tough choice. Both make wonderful family pets known for their friendly, outgoing personalities. While the breeds have some key differences, they also share many similarities that make them both great options.

This guide will compare the breeds side-by-side, looking at their history, appearance, temperament, trainability, exercise needs, grooming requirements, health issues, and more. Read on to learn whether the loyal Golden Retriever or the low-shedding Goldendoodle is better for you

Breed Characteristics

First, let's look at some of the main characteristics of each breed.

Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever originated over a century ago in the Scottish Highlands. They were bred as gundogs prized for their excellent retrieving abilities and soft "mouth" when carrying hunted game. Beyond their hunting skills, Golden Retrievers also excelled as loyal family companions.

  • Originated in Scotland in the 19th century
  • Bred as gun dogs to retrieve waterflow
  • Medium to large-sized breed
  • Males 65-75 lbs. and females 55-65lbs.
  • Double coat sheds seasonally
  • Golden color fur in various shades
  • Happy, friendly, obedient temperament
  • Eager to please
  • Excellent with children and other pets


The Goldendoodle is a hybrid dog bred in the 1990s by crossing Golden Retrievers with Standard Poodles. Goldendoodles were developed to combine the energetic and friendly temperament of Goldens with the intelligence and low-shedding coat of Poodles. Here's a summary of their characteristics:

  • Hybrid of Golden Retriever and Poodle
  • Bred in 1990's to be hypoallergenic
  • Varies from medium to large in size
  • 50-90 lbs. , depending on the Poodle parent
  • Can have a straight, wavy, or curly coat
  • Wide range of coat colors like cream, brown, black, grey, and red.

History of the Breeds

The Golden Retriever originated in the Scottish Highlands in the mid-1800's. The first Lord Tweedmouth bred a yellow retriever with a Tweed Water Spaniel to create a skilled hunting dog with a "soft mouth" for retrieving waterfowl undamaged.

Over the next few decades, the Golden Retriever was refined by mixing in Irish Setter, Bloodhound, and other breeds. The name "Golden Retriever" became official in 1920 when the breed was recognized by the AKC.

In contrast, the Goldendoodle is a much newer crossbreed that was developed in the 1990's. Breeders wanted to combine the friendly temperament of the Golden Retriever with the intelligence and low-shedding coat of the miniature Poodle. The resulting Goldendoodle hybrid quickly grew in popularity as an excellent family companion.

The breeds have very different origins, with the Golden Retriever starting out as a gundog in Scotland and the Goldendoodle being recently engineered as a hypoallergenic hybrid. But both were ultimately bred to be loving companions and adored family pets.

Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever: Size & Appearance

When it comes to size and appearance, there are some notable differences between these two breeds.

Golden Retrievers are medium to large dogs, with males reaching 65-75 lbs. and females 55-65 lbs. They have a double coat that sheds seasonally, consisting of a thick inner layer and a longer outer layer. Their fur is signature golden in color, ranging from light cream to dark red-gold.

Goldendoodles can vary in size, depending on whether a standard, miniature, or toy Poodle was used for breeding. Standard Goldendoodles are the largest at 50-90 lbs. Their coat can be straight, wavy, or curly like a Poodle's, and comes in a wider variety of colors like cream, black, brown, gray, and red.

Here's a quick comparison of the size and appearance of the two dogs:

CharacteristicGolden RetrieverGoldendoodle
SizeMedium to largeVaries from medium to large
WeightMales 65-75 lbs.
Females 55-65 lbs.
Standard 50-90 lbs.
Miniature 13-35 lbs.
Coat TypeDouble coat - sheds seasonallyStraight, wavy, or curly -
Low shedding
Coat ColorGolden shadesCream, black, brown, gray, red

Temperament & Trainability

Both breeds make wonderful family companions thanks to their affectionate, lively temperaments. However, there are some subtle differences.

Golden Retrievers have a famously friendly, obedient nature. They are extremely loyal and eager to please their owners. Their intelligence makes them highly trainable and easy to handle even for novice dog owners.

Goldendoodles are energetic, smart dogs that are very attached to their families. They are usually playful and gentle, but some can be more cautious around strangers due to their reserved Poodle temperament. Goldendoodles are sensitive and highly trainable like Golden Retrievers.

In terms of trainability, both breeds are very responsive to training when it is started early using positive reinforcement techniques. Golden Retrievers may have a slight edge for obedience work and competitive dog sports due to their strong work ethic and focus.

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Grooming, Diet & Exercise


Golden Retrievers require regular brushing year-round to control loose hair and prevent matting. During seasonal shedding cycles, daily brushing may be needed. Bathing is only required occasionally.

Goldendoodles need professional grooming every 6-8 weeks as well as weekly brushing. Their coats must be clipped periodically to prevent matting. Less frequent bathing is required though compared to Golden Retrievers.


Both breeds do well on high-quality commercial dog foods formulated for large breeds. Three cups of kibble per day divided into two meals is typical, but exact needs vary based on age, build, and activity level.


Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles have similar exercise requirements. They both need 30-60 minutes of activity per day. Long walks, playing fetch, socialization, and training sessions will help meet their needs. These energetic breeds enjoy swimming, hiking, agility, and other vigorous exercise.

Common Health Problems

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are prone to certain joint, eye, heart, and digestive conditions. Regular vet visits for screening along with proper nutrition and exercise can help prevent issues. Overall, mixed-breed Goldendoodles tend to be slightly healthier.

Cost Comparison

Purchase Price

The upfront cost to purchase a purebred Golden Retriever puppy is $500-$3000, with most from quality breeders priced at $1500-$2000.

Goldendoodle puppies range from $1500 for smaller dogs up to $5000+ for puppies bred from champion show lines. The poodle parent used plays a major role in price.

Lifetime Costs

Over a lifespan of 10-15 years, expect to invest around $15,000-$20,000 for either breed. Key costs:

  • Food - $500-$600 annually
  • Vet Care - $600-$800 annually
  • Grooming - $500-$1200 annually for Goldendoodles vs. $250-$400 for Golden Retrievers
  • Supplies/Miscellaneous - $200-$500 annually

Professional grooming accounts for the higher lifetime costs of Goldendoodles compared to Golden Retrievers. Both require a substantial financial commitment.

Similarities Between the Two Breeds

Despite some differences, Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles share many qualities that make them both wonderful family companions.

Both Are Affectionate Family Dogs

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles form extremely close bonds with their families. They crave attention, playtime, cuddles, and just being near their loved ones as much as possible. Neither likes being left alone for long hours regularly.

Both Are Gentle With Children

Provided they are socialized early on, Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles do extremely well with kids of all ages. They will patiently tolerate climbing, ear, and tail pulling, dress up, and other antics from little ones. Always supervise young children and dogs.

Both Are Intelligent and Trainable

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are very smart breeds that learn quickly with positive reinforcement training techniques. Their eagerness to please makes them highly responsive to instruction. Either breed can succeed at obedience, agility, tracking, service work, and more with proper training.

Both Require Significant Exercise

These high-energy breeds thrive on at least an hour of exercise daily, whether it's jogging, swimming, playing fetch, or going on leisurely walks. Without enough activity, they are prone to boredom, hyperactivity, and destructive chewing behaviors. An active family is a must.

Both Have Friendly Sociable Temperments

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles tend to get along wonderfully with new people and other pets when socialized young. They bring their toys to strangers to play with and are sweet and gentle when properly introduced to other dogs. Proper socialization is key for both breeds.

In so many ways, both of these breeds make ideal family pets. Their affectionate natures and trainability allow them to thrive as beloved members of households with the right time commitment.

Which Is Better For Your Family?

When choosing between a Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers, consider your family's lifestyle and needs:

Families with Young Children:

Golden Retrievers are ultra-patient with little kids. Their larger size makes them better leash walkers for toddlers. Goldendoodles work too but may get overwhelmed by grabby fingers.

Families with Allergies:

Shed-free Goldendoodles produce less dander. However, no dog is 100% hypoallergenic. Meet the individual dog first to test reactions.

Families Seeking Loyalty:

Golden Retrievers bond intensely with their people. They crave maximum time together and don't do well left alone for long periods.

Families Seeking Trainability:

Eager to please Golden Retrievers and quick-learning Goldendoodles are both highly trainable using positive reinforcement.

First-Time Owners:

Patient and biddable Golden Retrievers adapt well to novice dog owners. Goldendoodles may be slightly more independent.

Active Families:

Both breeds thrive with 1-2 hours of exercise and play daily. Retrievers lean more energetic while Doodles are slightly calmer.

Assessing your family's lifestyle and commitment level helps determine whether a Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle is the better fit. Meet breed representatives and trusted breeders to make the best decision.

The Verdict

Deciding between two such excellent breeds the Golden Retriever and Goldendoodle is not easy. Both make wonderful family companions who form tight bonds and treat their owners with loyalty and affection. They are gentle around children, highly intelligent, relatively easy to train, and require significant daily activity and exercise.

Some key considerations are that Goldens shed more while Goldendoodles are lower-allergen. Golden Retrievers cost less initially but professional grooming makes Goldendoodles more expensive long-term.

Golden Retrievers tend to be more outgoing and energetic while Goldendoodles can be more independent. For families seeking an intensely loyal dog that thrives on constant togetherness, a Golden may be the better fit. Golden Retrievers are a popular dog breed and even ranked top three by the AKC.

Ultimately, assess your family's lifestyle, experience level, activity commitment, and budget to determine which of these breeds is right for you. Meet both dogs if possible before deciding. Whether you choose a Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle, you'll gain a loving four-legged family member eager to share life's adventures with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Goldendoodles Better Than Golden Retrievers?

There is no definitively “better” breed. Both make great family pets. Goldendoodles shed less and are slightly more hypoallergenic. However, Golden Retrievers tend to be more loyal, easier to train, cheaper upfront, and better for novice owners. Evaluate your family’s needs and meet both breeds before deciding.

Do Goldendoodles Shed More Than Golden Retrievers?

No, Goldendoodles shed significantly less than Golden Retrievers thanks to inheriting the poodle's low-shedding coat. Golden Retrievers shed a lot year-round. Goldendoodles require professional grooming to prevent matting but capture less dander and hair for families with allergies.

Which Is The Healthier Dog? Goldendoodles or Golden Retrievers?

There is no clear winner. As a crossbreed, Goldendoodle may benefit from hybrid vigor making them generally healthier. But Golden Retrievers from responsible breeders screened for diseases can be similarly healthy. Both need high-quality care, exercise, vet visits, and early health screening to prevent common issues.

Are Goldendoodles Calm Dogs?

Goldendoodles are often calmer than Golden Retrievers but still require 30-60 minutes of daily exercise. Providing adequate activity and proper training from puppyhood results in a laid-back temperament. But personality varies in crossbreeds so ensure your Goldendoodle gets its needs met.

Which Breed Is Easier to Train?

Golden Retrievers are generally easier to train than Goldendoodles thanks to their extreme eagerness to please owners. Both are highly intelligent though. Starting training early and reinforcing desired behaviors consistently ensures an obedient dog of either breed.

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle: Differences, Similarities, And Which is Best?

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