Golden Retriever vs. Goldendoodle: Differences, Similarities, & Warnings

Considering a golden retriever vs. a goldendoodle?

That’s a tough one!

They’re both wonderful dogs and you can’t go wrong with either of them.

However, depending on what you want in a dog, one is more likely better for you and your family than the other.

In this post, we’re breaking down how these two compare in traits such as:

  • Energy level
  • Size
  • Whether or not they’re good for families with children
  • Temperament
  • Shedding
  • And much more

Let’s dive in!

Purbreeds vs. Hybrids

Before we can talk about goldendoodles vs. golden retrievers, it’s important to know about hybrid dogs vs. purebred dogs.

Purebred dogs, like golden retrievers, have two parents that are of the same recognized breed.

Hybrid dogs, like goldendoodles, are a mix of more than one breed.

Each have their own pros and cons.

One pro for purebred dogs is that when they have puppies, they’re pretty consistent.

If you’re getting a golden retriever puppy, you have a good idea of how big they’ll be, how much they’ll shed, and what their personality will be like.

However, when two dogs of a different breed come together, you don’t really know how much of one trait you’ll get.

For instance, some goldendoodles may inherit more of their shedding tendencies from their golden retriever side, and shed a lot, while others may inherit their shedding tendencies from their poodle side, and shed less.

I’ve heard many stories of people disappointed that their doodle wasn’t exactly what they expected it to be.

But one pro for hybrids is hybrid vigor, or the fact that the offspring of two purebred dogs are likely to be healthier than the parents.

This is because recessive genes (like those that cause cancer or other health issues) are unlikely to be present in each parent and passed on to the puppies.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get a little overview of these dogs.

Golden Retriever Overview

golden retriever or goldendoodle

Golden retrievers are sweet, loyal, fun-loving dogs.

They were originally bred to retrieve gunned down birds in the fields of Scotland, so they’re very athletic and have a ton of energy.

They also love working with people, and, because they’re so smart and easy to train, people love working with them, too.

Although they were originally bred as hunting dogs, today, they’re one of the best companions for families.

In fact, they’re America’s 3rd most popular dog breed.

They’ve got beautiful coats that range in color from cream to gold to red, and are medium-large dogs that typically weigh between 55-75 lbs.

Poodle Overview

golden retriever vs poodle

Poodles are the 6th most popular breed in America.

They come in three sizes: standard, miniature, and toy.

Standards are taller than 15 inches at the withers (top of the shoulder blades), minis are less than 15 inches tall, and toys are less than 10 inches tall.

They also come in several colors: shades of blue, gray, silver, brown, cafe-aulait (this like a beige color), apricot, and cream.

And although they often appear as foofy-looking dogs at dog shows (no offense, poodle lovers), they’re actually athletic and easy to train.

Not to mention — they’re really smart (more on this later).

They were originally bred to retrieve ducks in Germany, and are now the official dog of France.

They also shed very little and are hypoallergenic.

This means that they spread less dander around, which is what humans are allergic to.

Goldendoodle Overview

goldendoodle or golden retriever

After cockapoos and labradoodles were received with such popularity, goldendoodles started gaining traction in the early 1990’s.

Since goldendoodles are a cross between golden retrievers and poodles, they’re essentially a mix of their appearance and personality.

They have shaggy coats that are often gold, but can be other colors such as black, white, copper, cream, red, or apricot.

Their size depends on what size the parents were, but they can be mini goldendoodles weighing as little as 30 pounds, or standard goldendoodles weighing 50-70 pounds.

They typically don’t shed too much and are hypoallergenic like poodles.

They’re smart, eager to please, and friendly, which is a big part of why they’ve become so popular recently.

The Problem With Golden Retrievers & Goldendoodles

I love both of these dogs, but there’s one big problem with them…

Golden retrievers and goldendoodles are too popular for their own good.


There’s such a demand for them that prices are high and many breeders have a long waitlist.

Unfortunately, this has attracted the wrong types of people to become breeders.

People who are more interested in making money than bettering the breeds are getting into breeding and not taking the right care to properly screen the dogs they’re breeding.

This has created many golden retrievers and golden doodles with health and temperament issues, so be extra careful about who you purchase your puppy from.

You can learn more about how to choose a reputable breeder here.

golden retriever over goldendoodle

Golden Retrievers vs. Goldendoodles

Now that you’ve got a decent understanding of golden retrievers, poodles, and goldendoodles, it’s time to get into how golden retrievers and goldendoodles compare.

However, keep in mind that the statements below are generalities.

Each dog is an individual and their looks, personality, and health largely depend on their pedigree and how they were raised.

Now, let’s get into it!

Energy Level

Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers have a lot of energy.

They need 1-2 hours of exercise per day and need to be both physically stimulated (by playing games like fetch, tug, or chase) and mentally stimulated (training and puzzle toys are perfect for this).


Poodles and golden retrievers have a lot of energy, and so do goldendoodles.

Like goldens, they need to be physically and mentally stimulated often.


Both of these dogs have a lot of energy, so no matter which breed you decide on, plan on spending at least 1-2 hours per day (depending on how old they are) playing with, training, and exercising them.

Are They Good For Families & Children?

golden retriever good with kids

Golden retrievers:

Goldens are some of the best family dogs around.

They’re sweet, playful, and gentle, and always want to be around their family.


Any dog mixed with a golden retriever is going to be a good family dog, and goldendoodles are generally known as good family companions.


Both of these breeds are known for being good family dogs.

Just be sure to socialize them when they’re puppies.

Get them used to being around people of all ages to give them the best shot at being comfortable around people.

Are They Easy To Train?

Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers are easy to train because they’re smart, they like pleasing people, and, perhaps most important of all, they love treats!

However, they can be easily distracted, which may make training a little more difficult.


Poodles are easier to train than goldens, so goldendoodles are likely to be easily trained as well.


If you’re looking for a dog that can be easily trained, either of these dogs will work for you.


golden doodle vs golden retriever temperament

Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers are some of the kindest, most loving dogs out there.

They like to spend time with their families and are very playful (and often goofy).

They love just about everything and everyone.


Goldendoodles have great temperaments just like poodles and golden retrievers.


As far as temperament goes, you can’t go wrong with either of these breeds.


Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers shed a lot.

Each time we brush our golden, Oliver, we’re left with another small puppy.


Thanks to the poodle, goldendoodles don’t shed that much.

This is definitely one of the reasons why all of the doodles have become so popular in recent years


If shedding is a big issue for you, a goldendoodle will be the better choice.


Golden retrievers:

Goldens need to be brushed several times per week, but grooming them isn’t only about brushing.

They’ll need their teeth brushed, nails trimmed, and floppy ears cleaned often.

They’ll also need baths every month or so.


Since goldendoodles’ coats are much curlier than golden retrievers, they need a lot more care to keep them healthy and prevent mats.

You’ll need to brush your doodle and take them to the groomers more often than you would with a golden retriever.

In addition to that, they’ll also need their teeth brushed, nails trimmed, and ears cleaned.


When it comes to grooming, golden retrievers are lower maintenance because of their straight, soft coats, compared to the goldendoodle’s curly or wavy coat.


golden retriever vs golden doodle size

Golden retrievers:

Males: 23-24 inches tall at the withers (highest part of their shoulder blades) and 65-75 pounds.

Females: 21.5-22.5 inches tall and 55-65 pounds.


Since there’s no breed standard for goldendoodles, they come in a variety of sizes.

Some are miniature golden doodles that weigh under 30 pounds, while others are larger and can weigh 50-70 pounds.


With golden retrievers, you pretty much know how big your dog is going to be, but with golden doodles, you’ll have to ask the breeder.

If you don’t like dogs in the 55-75 pound range, then you might want to find a breeder that breeds smaller goldendoodles.

Life Expectancy

Golden retrievers:

The average life expectancy for golden retrievers is 10-12 years.


Goldendoodles typically live 10-15 years.


Goldendoodles seem to live a little longer than golden retrievers.

This makes sense because poodles have a longer life expectancy than goldens (10-13 years).

And another thing to keep in mind is this: smaller dogs typically live longer than bigger dogs, so a miniature goldendoodle may live longer than a larger goldendoodle.

Common Health Problems

Golden retrievers:

According to PetMD, some common golden retriever health problems include:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Sub-aortic stenosis (SAS)
  • Eye disorders
  • Mast cell tumors
  • Seizures
  • Lymphoma
  • Osteosarcoma
  • Hemangiosarcoma
  • Skin problems


Goldendoodles may experience some of the same health problems as golden retrievers (above) and poodles (below).

But also, as mentioned earlier, they may benefit from hybrid vigor and be less likely to succumb to these common health problems.

According to the Poodle Club of America, here are some common health issues that poodles may suffer:

  • Addison’s Disease
  • Atrial Septal Defects in Standard Poodles
  • Bloat
  • Chronic Active Hepatitis
  • Cushings Disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes
  • Neonatal Encephalopathy (NEwS)
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Optic Nerve Hypoplasia
  • Sebaceous Adenitis
  • Vaccination Information
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease


Both golden retrievers and poodles have several health problems that are common in their respective breeds.

Yes, goldendoodles may benefit from hybrid vigor, but one of the biggest things you can do when trying to get a healthy dog is to choose a breeder that breeds healthy dogs with health clearances.

Here are the clearances the AKC recommends for golden retrievers:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Elbow Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • NCL DNA Test

Here are the clearances the AKC recommends for standard poodles:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

And here are the clearances the AKC recommends for miniature poodles:

  • Hip Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • PRA Optigen DNA Test
  • Patella Evaluation

Are They Good With Other Dogs?

golden retriever vs goldendoodle good with other dogs

Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers are usually great with other dogs, but you’ll still need to properly socialize them with other puppies and adult dogs.


Goldendoodles also get along well with other dogs.


Both of these breeds are known for being good with other dogs, but you’ll want to socialize them properly to ensure they grow up to be good doggy playmates.

Are They Good With Cats?

Golden retrievers:

Golden retrievers love just about anyone and everyone, and that can include cats, especially if they’re raised with them and/or introduced to them properly.


Goldendoodles, like golden retrievers, can get along with cats if there’s a proper introduction and training.


Both of these breeds can learn to get along with cats, but the key thing is to properly introduce and monitor them.

Do They Bark A Lot?

Golden retrievers:

Although a golden retriever has the Guinness World Record for the loudest bark, they’re typically moderate barkers.


Goldendoodles are also typically moderate barkers.


Neither of these breeds are known for being super barkers, like hounds, but they do bark.

Barking will vary from dog to dog, as well as the situation they’re in.

For instance, they may bark if they have pent up energy, or there are unknown people or noises outside.

To limit unwanted barking, make sure they’re well trained and thoroughly exercised (mentally and physcially).


golden doodle vs golden retriever price

Golden retrievers:

Golden retriever puppies typically cost between $500 to $3,000, depending on the breeder, location, and what the puppies are bred for.

Goldens bred to be family pets will be on the lower end, while goldens bred specifically for hunting or show will be on the higher end.


Like golden retrievers, the price of goldendoodles will depend on the breeder and location, but you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $4,000 or more.

A “normal” goldendoodle will be on the lower end of the price spectrum, while fancier variations (like mini, teddybear, or English) will be priced on the higher end.


Since goldendoodles are designer breeds, they’re most likely going to cost more than golden retrievers up front.

However, the upfront cost is not the whole story, so don’t just look at the price tag of the dog to decide whether you can afford it.

Both goldendoodles and golden retrievers will cost around $1,000 to $2,000 or more each year, so think about your budget carefully before getting a dog.


Golden retrievers:

According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s book, The Intelligence of Dogs, golden retrievers are the fourth smartest dog breed.


According to the same book, poodles are the second smartest breed, so it’s a safe bet to say that goldendoodles are pretty smart.


If you’re looking for a smart dog breed, these are both winners.

Common Behavior Problems

Golden retrievers:

Goldens are high energy dogs that were bred to work and chase down game in the fields all day.

If they aren’t sufficiently exercised, they can get bored and get themselves into trouble.

Here are some common golden retriever behavior problems:

  • Jumping on people
  • Pulling on the leash
  • Destructive chewing
  • Demand barking/demanding attention
  • Digging


Goldendoodles can have similar behavior problems to golden retrievers.


Although both of these dogs have generally good temperaments, they will need lots of training to control their energy and excitement for life.


golden doodle vs. golden retriever

If you’re trying to decide between a golden retriever and a goldendoodle, it’s going to be a tough decision!

They’re both great dogs with great temperaments.

If you dislike shedding, then a goldendoodle will probably be a better choice.

If you want a proven breed where you pretty much know exactly what you’re going to get as far as looks, size, and temperament, then go for a golden retriever.

If you want a dog that’s less than 55 pounds, then a smaller goldendoodle will be a better choice.

Do you have one of these two breeds?

What’s your experience been like?

Let us know down in the comments!

See other breed comparisons here:

And if you want to learn more about whether or not a Golden Retriever is right for you, take this quiz!

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