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Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle: How the Two Breeds Differ
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Labradoodle vs Goldendoodle: How the Two Breeds Differ

Rachel, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Nov 26, 2020

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Labradoodles and goldendoodles are the two most popular types of doodles. A doodle is a dog that combines a poodle with those of another breed. In the case of labradoodles, this is the lovely, loyal Labrador retriever. For goldendoodles, it’s the affectionate, friendly golden retriever.

While these two dogs may look similar, there are some distinct differences in their appearance and temperament. The best way to choose between the two is to learn more about each breed’s specific requirements. That way, you can see how well they are likely to fit in with your family and your routine.

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Labradoodles and goldendoodles are similar sizes

Goldendoodle puppies look very similar to their labradoodle counterparts sdominick / Getty Images

Shared poodle genes mean doodles have plenty in common. Labradors and golden retrievers are also around the same height and build, so it’s no surprise that there is not much of a difference in the average size of these two breeds. Their standard height is between 20 and 24 inches, while their weight ranges from 50 to 70 pounds. However, poodles come in three distinct sizes, so there are different kinds of doodles. Medium labradoodles and small standard goldendoodles are 17 to 20 inches, while the miniature versions of each dog are around 13 to 17 inches.

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Both breeds have low-shed coat

Doodles are highly prized for their non-shed coats, which they inherit from their poodle parents. Group4 Studio / Getty Images

Labradoodles were the original doodles back in the 1980s. They were bred in the hopes of creating allergy-free guide dogs for the visually impaired. Labs, traditionally used in this role, were the natural choice to combine with low-shedding poodles.

Many other dogs have now been cross-bred with poodles to create hypoallergenic breeds, including golden retrievers, around a decade later. As all dogs shed to some extent, there really is no such thing – but doodles can come pretty close.

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Their coats can vary

The goldendoodle's longer coat may need a little more looking after. JasonDoiy / Getty Images

These dogs inherit one of three coats: the curly poodle coat, the Lab or golden’s smoother coat, or wavy coats that sit somewhere in between. This will dictate their specific grooming needs, although all doodles require regular brushing. While labradoodles and goldendoodles dogs can look almost identical as puppies, their adult coats are not alike. Labradoodles tend to have thicker, shorter hair that can feel quite coarse. The goldendoodle’s longer and fluffier fur gives them that teddy bear look they are known for.

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Labradoodles are more colorful

White is a more common color in labradoodles than goldendoodles. Chris Stein / Getty Images

Another big difference between the two is their range of coat colors. Goldendoodles are commonly found in more golden hues, as their name suggests. They can be gold, caramel, red, and sometimes black.

Labradoodles, on the other hand, inherit more color variations from each of their parents. They come in both solid and parti-colors patterns, which include black, white, golden, red, chocolate, and cream.

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Goldendoodles are more sociable

Goldendoodles often love to be cuddled. JasonDoiy / Getty Images

Goldendoodles have the edge when it comes to friendliness. Relentlessly happy, they get along with everyone, even other animals. This makes them the better choice for households with young children but more prone to separation anxiety if their owners are away at work during the day.

Labradoodles are thoughtful dogs and can be a little reserved around people they don’t know. For this reason, they require more socialization training as puppies. However, they often get along well with older children who can take them out on plenty of adventures.

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Labradoodles make better working dogs

Training a labradoodle might be a little bit easier. fotografixx / Getty Images

Both breeds are athletic and highly intelligent, having inherited these traits from their worker dog parents. Because of this, they require careful, consistent training from a young age to stop them from developing any bad habits. Labradoodles, on the whole, are more focused and tenacious. This is why they make great service animals. They are often used as guide dogs but can also be trained as police or search and rescue dogs.

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Goldendoodles make good therapy animals

Goldendoodles are incredibly sweet-tempered. martinedoucet / Getty Images

Goldendoodles also, in their own way, are highly trainable pups. As natural people-pleasers, they enjoy showing off the new skills and tricks that they are able to quickly pick up.

This, alongside their warm nature, adaptability, and cute looks, makes them perfect therapy dogs. Trained to give comfort, they can frequently be found in hospitals, assisted living facilities, and even in physical therapy clinics.

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Labradoodles can be highly protective of their owners

Labradoodles make loyal, loving pets. FatCamera / Getty Images

Family-focused and friendly, doodles are not aggressive dogs by nature. They don’t make particularly good watchdogs unless specifically trained for this purpose. However, because of their shier, more cautious nature, sometimes labradoodles may develop overprotective characteristics.

While loyalty may seem like a good trait, overprotective dogs can sometimes snap at strangers. So, this shouldn’t be encouraged too much. Luckily, socialization training can really help to get rid of these types of behaviors.

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Goldendoodles have slightly higher energy levels

While both dogs have a ton of energy, goldendoodles are the livelier of the two. nycshooter / Getty Images

Enthusiastic and excitable, both breeds have a considerable amount of energy and generally require around an hour of dedicated, outdoor exercise a day to stop them from getting bored and barking or chewing on the furniture. Owners often say, though, that goldendoodles seem to have more zeal for life, while labradoodles are calmer, more even natured pups. Neither type does particularly well in an apartment as they need plenty of room to run.

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All doodles love the water – but labradoodles love it just a little bit more

With a little encouragement, goldendoodles are happy swimmers. Todd MacPherson / Getty Images

When given the opportunity, labradoodles love to swim. Both parent breeds are avid water dogs. Poodles were bred as water retrievers, and Labs helped the fisherman of Newfoundland to retrieve their nets.

While goldendoodles also come from water-loving dogs, they tend to be a bit more nervous around it. With some a little patience and some loving encouragement, their owners can usually quite easily coax them in.

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