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Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

goldendoodle vs golden retriever header

You would probably have no issue picking a golden retriever out of a lineup. They are, after all, the third most popular dog around. They have all the traits that have made dogs into man’s best friend over the years. They’ve earned their place, and that doesn’t seem to be changing in the foreseeable future.

It isn’t any wonder, then, that people have tried cross-breeding this wonderful dog. Goldendoodles are a mixture of a Golden Retriever and a standard Poodle. So, not only do you get all the fun-loving personality of the Retriever, but you also get the extreme Poodle intelligence. Has this newfound breed out-dogged the old? You decide.

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Visual Differences

goldendoodle vs golden retriever

A Quick Overview – Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever

  • Average Height (adult): 20-24 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): 50-90 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-15 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours/day
  • Grooming needs: Minimal
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Good
Golden Retriever
  • Average Height (adult): 21-24 inches
  • Average Weight (adult): 55-75 pounds
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years
  • Exercise: 1+ hours/day
  • Grooming needs: Weekly brushing
  • Family-friendly: Yes
  • Dog-friendly: Yes
  • Trainability: Good

A Bit About the Goldendoodle and Golden Retriever

The Golden Retriever is a highly well-established breed, first found in Scotland in the 19th century. They were initially used as hunting companions, but they ended up being better in-home pets. Since their existence, they have been cheering up the households of families across the globe with their friendship and service. They have been registered by the American Kennel Club (AKC) since 1925.

The Goldendoodle came into fruition in 1969 but didn’t gain much traction until the ‘90s. They were originally used as guide dogs to help the blind and excelled in their duties proficiently. While the AKC doesn’t recognize the breed officially, they can be registered by the Goldendoodle Association of America (GANA) and the Continental Kennel Club (CKC).

Goldendoodle | Credit: Pexels

What About Personality?

Both breeds are charmingly social and happy-go-lucky. They are well-suited for work, service, and companionship purposes. They each have incredible loyalty toward their humans and fare best with loving and positive reinforcement.

Golden Retrievers are notoriously good with people of all ages, from infants to elders. They can aid people with various disabilities, both mental and physical. They are easily trained and highly intuitive, which helps when teaching them to pick up on emotions, body language, and other non-verbal cues. They are reliable, even-keeled, and obedient.

Goldendoodles combine all the traits that make their retriever parent so enjoyable and combine them with the brilliance of the poodle. As with any cross, a Goldendoodle may exhibit more characteristics of the Poodle or Golden, depending on the individual dog. However, they all tend to be exceptionally amiable and love children and other pets.

Neither of these breeds makes a good guard or watchdogs. They are far too people-oriented to exhibit territorial or protective aggression. This makes both breeds ideal for social interactions but not so good for defending the household. Both dogs may suffer from separation anxiety if they are left alone frequently.

Physical Differences

The visual differences between these two may be the first thing you notice. The Golden Retriever, as the name implies, comes in various shades of golden hues, from dark to nearly cream. Their coats are shiny and long, and they do shed quite a bit. Adults fall into the medium-large category in size. Females range from 55 to 71 pounds and males range from 64 to 75 pounds.

Goldendoodles can vary both in size and color. Because of their breeding, they can be chocolate, caramel, and cream in color. They have classically curly hair and are known for their hypoallergenic qualities. They can be cross-bred with any size of a poodle, so they can come in miniature, medium, and standard sizes.

If shedding or dander are a deciding factor, the Goldendoodle reduces the risk of adverse reactions due to their light shedding. Retrievers, on the other hand, aren’t ideal housemates for people who suffer from pet-related allergies.

golden retriever
Image Credit: Olena Brodetska, Shutterstock

Health and Life Expectancy

Both breeds are moderately healthy, but they come with their share of concerns. Many factors will come from breeding and genetic issues. Buying any dog from a reputable breeder is essential to eliminate potential issues and familiarize yourself with risks in bloodlines.

Golden retrievers live an average of 10 to 12 years. For their size, this is a decently standard life expectancy. However, as with any breed, they can get various health problems that will vary from dog to dog. Sadly, a large percentage of Goldens will lose their lives due to cancer. Other health issues among the breed are hip dysplasia, epilepsy, and obesity.

Because of the breed mixture, the average lifespan for a Goldendoodle ranges a bit more. Their general life expectancy is between 10 to 15 years.  When breeds combine, you run the risk of susceptibility to health issues from both sides. Many of Goldendoodles suffer from the same problems as the Golden Retriever, as well as atopic dermatitis, cranial cruciate ligament rupture, and von Willebrand’s disease.


Both breeds are vastly intelligent. In fact, both the Poodle and Golden Retriever rank in the top five smartest dog breeds. It’s no wonder that combining them makes an even brighter mind. On top of being ideal companions for regular families, both dogs are perfect specimens for specialized training.

They are both highly receptive to new tasks, particularly with positive training methods. Both dogs are sensitive to harsh punishments, which you will likely find to not even be necessary for adequate teaching. They are eager to please and willing to complete any duty that will make their keepers happy.

While you may commonly see Golden Retrievers taking on service roles for people with diabetes, blindness, autism, and other mental and physical disabilities, Goldendoodles can fulfill these roles as well.

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So, Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever – Which Breed Is Best?

Deciding which of these magnificent dogs takes the trophy here may be more complicated than you’d assume. Let’s break down key points about each breed so we can see their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Have more color and size variety
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Have the potential health complications of both Poodles and Retrievers
  • Have tight, curly hair
  • Extremely social with people of all ages
  • Can act as service and therapy dogs
Golden Retriever
  • More established breed
  • Heavy shedders
  • Recognized by the AKC
  • Have somewhat shorter life expectancies
  • Have longer flowy fur
  • Extremely social with people of all ages
  • Can act as service and therapy dogs
golden retriever and goldendoodle
Golden retrievers and a golden doodle. | Credit: Pikist

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Any of these facts may make you partial to one breed or the other. Much of it will come down to visual appeal. Some will prefer the curly hair and size variety of the Goldendoodle, while others will love the long, soft waves of the Golden Retriever. As for personality, when it comes to the  Goldendoodle vs Golden Retriever, they are so closely linked you will probably luck out with either.

Whether your final decision comes to you in terms of physical preference or an allergy-related bias, it will still be a win-win. Either one of these loveable balls of fluff will make a wonderful addition to your family.

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