Are Golden Retrievers Smaller Than Labradors?

by Shannon Merritt

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Are Golden Retrievers Smaller Than Labradors?

I am sure some of you have wondered about the difference between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador, mainly which one is smaller and more significant.

Our Golden Retriever Buddy was on the smaller size weighing just 65 pounds. Then my wifes Grandfather got a labrador named Molly and she was really small compared to the labs I had owned before.

This caused me to do some extra research and here’s what I found.

Are Golden Retrievers smaller than Labradors?

Golden Retrievers are generally a little bit smaller than Labradors. There is the possibility for the goldens to be larger than labs on occasion since no two dogs are exactly alike, even in the same breed, but this is not usually the case.   Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors, but they are similar in other ways, like the fact that they are athletic and make great family dogs. 

Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors when looking at dogs that go in the show ring for competition because they must meet specific criteria.    

Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors when it comes to the proportion of their whole body, while both are athletic and active there are some slight differences.  Golden Retrievers can be smaller than Labradors, but their body tends to be more graceful and streamlined. 

The Labrador’s body will typically be more sturdy and less refined than the Golden Retrievers.   Gender can also play a part in this since females of any dog breed tend to be slightly smaller in size.  

Golden Retrievers may be smaller than Labradors in most cases, but they are both still considered medium to large-sized dogs.  Whether they are smaller, both breeds are loving and make excellent companion animals for individuals and families.

Are Golden Retrievers Smaller Than Labradors?

Golden Retrievers and Labradors are both share a significant number of similarities in temperament, skill, grooming, and other areas of life but when it comes to size, Labradors are slightly bigger.  The difference is not very much and may not be noticeable to many people.

When individuals or families decide to welcome a dog into their lives and choose between these two breeds, it can be hard to decide since they are so close in size, personality and other attributes.

Generally speaking, Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors.  This comparison does not mean there can never be any Golden Retrievers that are bigger than Labradors.  Kennel clubs will set a size standard for each dog breed when it comes to show quality dogs. Whether Golden Retrievers or Labradors, there is no room for error or variances in the show ring.

Associations, such as the American Kennel Club, set the standard with Golden Retrievers as a show quality dog being slightly smaller than Labradors.  This, however, can and usually does vary for Golden Retrievers that are not show quality.

Variances in size that make Golden Retrievers smaller than Labradors are related to the proportion of their whole bodies, but both breeds are athletic, adventurous, and love the outdoors and exercise.

While Golden Retrievers can be smaller, they also tend to have a more graceful and refined, with a streamlined look to their body.  Labradors will have a sturdier and more stocky appearance to their body, but each is unique in its own right.

Golden Retrievers may be smaller than Labradors, but this can also be related to their gender.  Females of any breed of dog tend to be slightly smaller than their male counterparts. 

No matter which breeds of dog, or individual dog is smaller, both Golden Retrievers and Labradors make great family and companion animals that are friendly, loving, and fun.

What can make Golden Retrievers smaller than Labradors and vice versa?

There are many things that can make one breed or the other smaller, with genetics being the most prominent but not the only factor.

Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors, but this can be due to genetics, gender, age, and even something so unnoticeable as their diet while they were growing up as a puppy.

Females of any dog breed will be smaller than their male counterparts.  So while Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors, this can depend on the gender of each dog.  Since both of these breeds are very similar in size, a smaller Golden Retriever may be so because they are female.

When comparing two dogs together of any breed, the dogs must be of the same gender and close in age to get an accurate picture of the size difference.  Even then, since genetics do play role, it can still be hard decide with certainty that one breed or the other is bigger since each dog is individual.

Age can be another factor in why Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors.  Golden Retrievers that are younger will generally be smaller in size.  Again, this isn’t always the case as some dogs grow faster than others during the puppy stage.

Diet is another area that can factor into why Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors.  One Golden Retriever may not receive the same type of diet or had enough healthy food when they were puppies, affecting their overall health, including their size.

How does the standard breed factor into Golden Retrievers being smaller than Labradors?

How the breed standard factors into Golden Retrievers being smaller than Labradors is that organizations like the American Kennel Club set a guideline for what is and is not acceptable for each pure breed of dog.  This guideline is set for dogs in the show ring, not pets.

These standards or guidelines are in place for show quality dogs so that awards can be given for meeting specific criteria relating to appearance, behavior, and other factors.

Are Golden Retrievers Smaller Than Labradors?

Golden Retrievers may be smaller than Labradors, but this is related to breed standards, and not every dog of every breed will meet this criterion.  This is why some dogs are show dogs, while others perform other tasks in the community, such as working dogs and companion dogs.

According to the set breed standard Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors.  Those that are not show quality can be bigger, the same size, or smaller, in height, weight, or other aspects of their appearance.

These genetic variances would disqualify them in the show ring, but they will make beautiful, loving, and popular dogs in other areas of life.

How are Golden Retrievers proportionally different than Labradors?

Golden Retrievers are proportionally different than Labradors in how their weight is distributed around their body.

Golden Retrievers have a more streamlined, smooth look to them. This can relate to their head, facial features, torso, and other body parts.  Labradors tend to have a stockier and sturdier with an overall look that affects the characteristics of their face, torso, head, and other body parts.

Again, this doesn’t mean that all Labradors or Golden Retrievers will look this way.  Many factors can play into the way they look proportionately.

Such factors as age, gender, diet, and health can affect their appearance, making each dog unique and one of a kind.  Regardless of whether Golden Retrievers are smaller than Labradors, every dog will have unique features that make them who they are as a dog.

What is the exact weight and height difference in Golden Retrievers that are smaller than Labradors?

The exact weight and height difference in Golden Retrievers that are smaller than Labradors can be very slight.

According to the American Kennel Club, breed standard Golden Retrievers will be twenty-one and a half inches to twenty-four inches in height to their withers, with females being smaller.  With regards to the weight, they will be from fifty-five to seventy-five pounds.

The American Kennel Club sets the breed standard for Labradors at twenty-one and a half to twenty-four and a half for height and fifty-five to eighty pounds for weight, with females being, of course, smaller.

With this standard, it is easy to see the variance is minimal.  Labradors run an average of a half-inch taller in height and five pounds more in weight.  These slight differences while noticeable to trained judges, will likely go unnoticed outside the show ring.

In the rest of the world, outside the show ring variances can be bigger.  How much each dog exercises and eats as well as their health and lifestyle can factor into their appearance.  While this will not increase or decrease height, it can cause them to be heavier or lighter and even affect the way the weight is distributed throughout their body.

Breed standards or guidelines are just that, a guide.  They are not the hard and fast rule for every dog of any one breed.  As long as the dog is healthy and well cared for these differences are usually only slight between these two beautiful dog breeds.

In Conclusion

Golden Retrievers may be smaller than Labradors, but the difference is generally a small one.

While each dog will be unique in physical traits, including height and weight, they are loving, friendly, and athletic.

With all there is to love about each dog breed, choosing can be tough.  But perhaps we should focus on love, because isn’t that what having a dog is all about anyway?

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