Field Golden Retrievers vs Show Golden Retrievers: 7 Differences

Field and show Golden Retrievers are all loyal canine companions. But what are the differences between field vs show Golden Retriever? Some dog enthusiasts fancy the show Golden Retrievers, while others prefer the field Golden Retrievers. It all narrows down to one’s choice and preference. 

Whats the difference between a field Golden Retriever and a show Golden Retriever 1 Field Golden Retrievers vs Show Golden Retrievers: 7 Differences

What’s the difference between a field Golden Retriever and a show Golden Retriever?

Field Golden Retrievers were bred for hunting and playing in the field all day while Show Golden Retrievers were bred to showcase their breeding. Other significant differences between these two retrievers are their size, energy levels, temperament, abilities, needs, and body types.

As much as you may not notice any significant differences in these two styles of Golden Retrievers, they appear entirely different when placed side-by-side. The purpose and demands of the show retriever and the field retriever make the fundamental difference in their appearance.

These two retrievers are loving and gentle dogs that are easy to maintain. Most importantly, their overall personality is excellent, and they make lovely family pets.

Common Differences Between the Field Golden Retriever and the Show Golden Retriever

The differences between the show Golden Retrievers and the field Golden Retrievers are in their features and specialization.

Below are typical differences between these two retrievers.

1. Personality

Field Golden Retrievers

These kinds of retrievers’ personalities differ significantly concerning their purpose. The field Golden Retrievers, being outdoor dogs that play hard and move a lot, are more driven and energetic. 

The field dogs have an affinity to bite things as they are bred to retrieve items.

Since these dogs are bred to hunt in the field, they enjoy many activities, from running to swimming. Since these dogs are active and energetic, they need regular exercise to stay content and healthy even in adulthood.

As full of energy, agile, and athletic dogs, the field Golden Retrievers do not fare well sitting in the house all day. Keeping them indoors can make them restless and destructive. Even though these dogs tend to be mouthy and play rough, they are also loving and affectionate.

Show Golden Retrievers

Unlike the field Golden Retrievers, the show Golden Retrievers are soft and more pleasant. The show dogs’ primary aim is to please, and therefore they are friendlier retrievers. These dogs are versatile, gentle, and affectionate.

Show Golden Retrievers get along well with other pets, and they’re gentle with children. These retrievers require more attention as compared to field retrievers. They are more likely to be around humans. Personality changes like depression and aggression can result if these dogs don’t get maximum attention.

Their purpose is to showcase beauty and functionality, making them an ideal choice for indoors. They possess a specific personality to have a look that judges at conformation shows expect.

Show dogs are less energetic as they are not motivated to perform tasks or driven to get into things.

2. Size and Body Type

Whats the difference between a field Golden Retriever and a show Golden Retriever 1 1 Field Golden Retrievers vs Show Golden Retrievers: 7 Differences

Field Golden Retrievers

The field Golden Retrievers are smaller than the typical Golden Retrievers. These field dogs’ size ranges from 60 to 70 pounds for males and 55 to 65 pounds for females. For the height, males are between 22 inches and 24 inches, while females are between 21 inches to 22 inches.

Field Golden Retrievers fall on the smaller end of the retriever size spectrum because they are more of working dogs. Unlike conformation dogs, their leaner bodies help them be more agile while swimming and retrieving shot waterfowl.

Working dogs are more athletic while carrying out their duties on the field. Therefore, the field Golden Retrievers have sturdy, solid, and muscular bodies. Their heads are wedge-shaped, and their slim bodies allow them to carry out activities like running, swimming, and jumping easily.

Show Golden Retrievers

Show Golden Retrievers have bigger, stockier, and thicker bodies. The male show Golden Retrievers’ size ranges between 75 to 85 pounds, with their height ranging between 22 to 24 inches. The females’ size, on the contrary, is between 65 to 75 pounds with a height of 22 inches.

The show retrievers’ bodies are built for less work and more balance in their overall body composition. They are more likely to have blocky heads to create unique show dogs.

The body of show Golden Retrievers mostly depends on the breeder as they may be interested in creating show dogs with unique and excellent gaits. The show dogs also have fuller tails that make them appealing.

3. Coat

Field Golden Retrievers

The working-type dogs have short and wiry coats that do not have as many hairs. Their hair is not as fluffy overall, which is more practical for field retrievers. The field-bred dogs have darker coats in shades from mid-gold to darker gold. Some Golden Retrievers have mahogany or red-colored coats.

Since field Golden Retrievers have shorter coats than the conformation goldens, they have less volume of fur to shed. Hence they shed less. The working dogs’ coats are shorter primarily because of their nature and purpose.

The shorter coats enable the dogs to swim without tangling or picking up any debris, which could affect their efficiency in swimming. These dogs also have a thick undercoat that makes them resistant to frigid weather, making their retrieving game more comfortable.

Show Golden Retrievers

The show Golden Retrievers have long, full coats with more feathers. The coats are typically in shades of light gold to gold in color. Their long coats are ideal for these dogs’ purposes and are crucial in show rings.

According to the AKC breeds standards, the show Golden Retrievers should only have golden coats, and all other colored markings are considered flaws. The show retrievers have a double coat. The top layer is soft and long, while the underlayer is thick.

The show Golden Retrievers’ coats thicken in colder months and keep them warm. Due to their long and full coats, the show Golden Retrievers shed a lot during spring and early summer. This type of shedding brings a lot of effects, especially if you suffer from allergies.

4. Temperament

Field Golden Retrievers

The working Golden Retriever has an even temperament and is a brilliant dog. These are popular service dogs that like to be active. Unfortunately, the field Golden Retrievers do not do so well around children as they want rough play.

The field goldens are agile and full of energy. These dogs become mouthy and tend to play rough from time to time. 

These dogs are bred to retrieve things which is why they are so fond of snatching things with their mouth. It’s always wise to watch the field dogs when children are around. Investing in durable chew toys can keep your dog’s work instincts in check.

Field Golden Retrievers are bred for hunting. Their temperament makes them perfect family pets. With proper exercise and a good game of fetch, the Field Golden Retrievers can adapt to any home.

Show Golden Retrievers

The show Golden Retriever has a good temperament, and they are affectionate. They get along well with strangers, children, and other pets. Although these dogs are not as playful, they are eager to please, which explains why they respond well to excellent care and maintenance.

The show dogs love being around people. They always appear happy when around people, and you will notice them wagging their tails in happiness when in a social setting. These dogs do not make good watchdogs as they are over-friendly and greet everyone.

In addition, the show Golden Retrievers are always happy to go on walks even though they are not highly active as the field retrievers. Even in their adulthood, the show retrievers maintain their puppy personality. Generally, these dogs have a well-mannered temperament, making them great family companions.

5. Energy Levels

Field Golden Retrievers

The field-bred retrievers are a particular type of Golden Retriever with tons of energy as they are bred to hunt all day. The field retrievers are excellent at retrieving show games and waterfowl. These dogs have high energy levels as they are good in:

The working dogs have a strong urge to fetch things and are ideal for fieldwork. To maintain their personality and energy levels, these dogs require regular activity. Their bodies are wiry to enable them to efficiently go about their field activities.

Unlike other dogs that are only energetic as puppies, field Golden Retrievers remain energetic into adulthood. This is because these dogs enjoy a wide range of activities throughout their lives.

Show Golden Retrievers

The conformation retrievers typically have less energy than the field-bred retrievers. However, like any other Golden Retriever, they are still a handful and should not be underestimated. Apart from excelling in shows, these dogs are used as therapy dogs.

The show Golden Retrievers are bred for a specific look, depending on their breed standard. These dogs need less work than field retrievers because they are not bred for working. Their drive is not as high, but they are still energetic dogs.

Show Golden Retrievers are typically calm dogs that require little exercise as their purpose does not call for extreme and regular exercise.

6. Needs and Abilities

Field Golden Retrievers

As part of the working dog groups, field Golden Retrievers have their needs, some of which you must meet daily. These dogs require at least one hour of daily exercise. Exercise keeps them healthy and active as their nature calls for them to be agile. 

Failing to provide the necessary exercise to the field Golden Retrievers leads them to depression and aggression.

Other abilities of the field Golden Retrievers are:

  • Retrieving anything thrown unto them
  • They make excellent hunting companions
  • They are good feeders
  • They are good at participating in obedience and agility events

As an owner of the field Golden Retriever, you have to ensure that you feed your dog a properly balanced diet as it’s one of their essential needs.

Lastly, it is essential to have the field Golden Retriever participate in agility events as service dogs. These dogs do not like staying indoors for long. They should always be free to join in the activities they like, including swimming, running, and jumping.

Show Golden Retrievers

Generally, the show Golden Retrievers are outgoing, playful, and gentle. These dogs require attention, and they love social settings. One needs to love them and pamper their eager-to-please personality. These show retrievers are not bothered by noise, activity, and commotion, and they can cope well even in an apartment as long as you take them out once in a while.

Once in a while, it is vital to allow the show Golden Retrievers to exercise. Even though they are not working dogs, exercise is essential in their lives. The happy demeanor of the show dogs makes them draw a lot of attention, even from strangers; hence pleasing them is easy.

Being show dogs, these Golden Retrievers have thick and fluffy coats that shed heavily in spring and fall. To make their life comfortable, you should groom them and brush them daily to prevent tangling and remove dead hair.

7. Training Differences

Field Golden Retrievers

Field Golden Retrievers are smart and intelligent dogs. They understand a lot of complex training items that are ideal for their job. Agility training and hunting competition are some of the skills that these dogs can train and perform.

Field Golden Retrievers can learn and master complex tricks and tasks too. They are easy to train because they are willing to perform field tasks with their owners every day.

Show Golden Retrievers

Although show Golden Retrievers are trainable, they do not enjoy complex training tasks. These dogs enjoy learning simple tricks like hiking or jogging with their owners. Unlike the field Golden Retrievers, the show dogs have a low drive to learn complicated tricks.

Show Golden Retrievers are people-pleasers; therefore, they are always willing to make a considerable effort in learning anything you teach them. While the intentions behind keeping the two retrievers are different, their fundamental personality is always the same.

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