Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle: How Are They Different?

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are two breeds that have gained a lot of popularity recently. They’re both fluffy, dependable dogs with gorgeous coats. Given that they’re so similar in popularity, it might be hard to pinpoint their differences. But we are here to help.

Golden Retriever vs Goldendoodle

So, how are Goldendoodles and Golden Retrievers different? A Golden Retriever is a purebred that is an officially recognized breed, while a Goldendoodle is considered a “designer breed” created by mixing a Golden Retriever with a Poodle. The major visual difference is their coats.

In this article, you’ll find an in-depth breakdown of the differences between a Golden Retriever and a Goldendoodle, as well as a brief history of each breed. We’ll also give you insight into the best environment for each breed, so you’ll know which one is right for you.

What Are the Similarities?

Before getting into the differences between the breeds, it’s important to understand the similarities. A Goldendoodle is part Golden Retriever, after all, so they are going to have some similar traits.

Both Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are athletic dogs that need a lot of exercise and outside playtime. As the name might suggest, Golden Retrievers love to chase after things, so a game of fetch is sure to get their tail wagging. The same goes for the Goldendoodle: they love to play fetch, get outside, and get their paws dirty.

The two breeds also have similar coloring: usually a golden coat, of course, but there is the occasional red puppy that everyone goes crazy for. Though there are a bunch of different names for the colors, like ruby, bear, and daisy, they are all merely variations of cream, red, or golden coats.

Unfortunately, since the Goldendoodle is part Golden Retriever, they are at risk for a lot of the same health problems. These include hip dysplasia, which is common in a lot of larger breeds, as well as cataracts and epilepsy. If you’re aware of these possible issues and inform your vet if you notice symptoms, the problems that the breeds are predisposed to can be managed easily.

What Are the Differences?

When it comes to choosing dogs, getting the right one for you depends on differences, not similarities. Even though one stems from the other, the two are separate breeds and have differences that could be a deal-breaker.

Difference in Breeds

The most obvious difference between a Goldendoodle and a Golden Retriever is the fact that they’re different breeds.

Golden Retrievers

Unlike the Goldendoodle, the Golden Retriever is a purebred dog rather than a mixed breed. That means there is less risk involved when you’re picking out a dog. Instead of having to research two breeds and making sure that both breeds fit your expectations, you only need to investigate one.

The Golden Retriever we know today originated in Scotland. Before they became the family dogs we know and love, they were used for retrieving birds after they’d been shot. They were chosen for the job because, unlike pit-bulls and other bully breeds, they do not have hard mouths or locking jaws. That meant that they were able to find and return the dead animals without tearing into their flesh and contaminating their meat.

They still serve this purpose sometimes, though the more popular choice for hunting and retrieving these days is the Labrador Retriever, which is a bit sturdier than a Golden Retriever with the same benefits for the hunters. Today, Golden Retrievers, since they are big and easy to train, are often used as service dogs. Other than that, they are typically family pets.


Goldendoodles are a cross between Golden Retrievers and Poodles. There are three main types of Poodles used in Goldendoodle breeding: miniature poodles, toy poodles, and standard poodles. Depending on which size you choose to breed with a Golden Retriever, the size of your Goldendoodle may vary, with the standard poodle cross being larger.

While the Golden Retriever originated in the 1800s, the Goldendoodle only came about in the 1990s. They are used for service work, but they have not been known to make great hunting dogs. Goldendoodles are popular in the showing industry, too.

To learn more about Poodles, visit be sure to visit Poodle Report. They provide as much info on Poodles as we do on Golden Retrievers.

Difference in Coat

The Golden Retrievers coat is incredibly luscious and relatively straight. Though you’ll want to brush it because it’s longer, you won’t need to worry about matting if you run a brush through it once or twice a week. However, the Goldendoodle’s coat is not so forgiving.

While the Goldendoodle’s coat is still very soft, it’s also very curly, which makes it higher maintenance. The shorter curly coat needs to be brushed at least once daily to prevent matting, and as soon as you notice a they are dirty, you should bathe them. Allowing mud or anything else to get caked in the coat will result in matting, and then your dog will likely need to be shaved.

One bonus that many people like about the Goldendoodle is less hair left around the house. They tend to shed far less than their Golden Retriever pals. Not only that, but people tend to have less allergic reactions to Goldendoodles.

Difference in Size

Golden Retrievers are purebred, so their size stays consistent as you breed. An adult will stand at about two feet tall and around 70 pounds. These puppies grow fast; they’ll reach their full size by two years old.

Goldendoodles vary more in size since you have three breeds of poodles to choose from when breeding Goldendoodles. The most popular versions of the dog are the mini Goldendoodles, which range from 12-20 inches in height and 15-35 pounds in weight.

Though the maximum height of a standard Goldendoodle is 20 inches, too, they weigh anywhere from 40-50 pounds. Even the largest standard Goldendoodle is smaller than the average Golden Retriever.

Difference in Temperament

Golden Retrievers are all around docile family dogs that are loyal and easy to please.  Though they can get aggressive if they need to, they were not bred for their aggression.

If you don’t agitate them too much, then you should have no issues with your Golden Retriever displaying aggression. Doodles, however, are a different story. Being that they’re part poodle, they are prone to anxiety, especially in crowded social settings.

While anxiety doesn’t always mean aggression, anxious dogs are inherently more likely to act out. To combat this, your Goldendoodle needs a lot of socialization from a very young age so they feel okay in those situations.

Choosing a Golden Retriever or Goldendoodle

Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles aren’t very different in their needs in terms of exercise. They both need a lot of outside playtime. While having your yard might be more convenient, they’ll be just as happy to go to the dog park and play if you live somewhere without a yard.

Both dogs can thrive in apartments, as long as they get plenty of roaming time outside. Leaving them cooped up inside too long is not suitable for them. It might lead to overeating, lethargy, and depression. With that in mind, if you know you can’t take the time out of your day to play, then neither of these dogs is right for you.

The most significant factor to consider when trying to choose between the breeds is the amount of maintenance they need. Goldendoodles need to be brushed every day, or otherwise, they’ll have matting. Golden Retrievers don’t need to be brushed so often; only about twice a week. Whenever you notice a Goldendoodles’ coat getting a little less smooth, you should brush it, while a Golden Retriever’s coat is less prone to tangles.

If you’re not prepared to either maintain their coat yourself or hire someone to do it, you should not own a Goldendoodle. Matted fur can be extremely painful and unsanitary for the animal. Shaving them is usually the only option once they’ve matted and may damage their coat.

On the other hand, a Golden Retriever will shed more. Expect to spend more time cleaning up the house and vacuuming. Many people invest in a robot vacuum cleaner to keep their floors clean, as the hair can build up fast.


Either dog you choose will make a great companion. Both dogs are great family dogs and work out well for families of all sizes, including those with children. Just make sure you choose a dog you are willing to give time and love to, and enjoy your time together.

If a Golden Retriever is for you, then be sure to check out our article on the Types and Colors of Golden Retrievers to see just how diverse the breed is, and to see what you may like.

Corey Rawlins

Corey Rawlins has loved Golden Retrievers since he was a boy. His current Golden Retriever, Brady, was his inspiration to create Golden Retriever Society. He and his wife have three children who are always keeping Brady entertained. They love spending time together, traveling, and meeting other dog families.

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