Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: 5 Key Differences Explained

Written by Maura Hoff
Published: November 21, 2023
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Are you thinking about bringing a four-legged companion into your family? Consider dog breeds like the goldendoodle or the golden retriever. Regardless of which breed you choose, you can’t go wrong with either. Both breeds are loving, loyal, and intelligent dogs who love their people and are pleasant to be around. The golden retriever is a standard dog breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, and the goldendoodle is a cross between the golden retriever and a poodle. When comparing a goldendoodle vs. a golden retriever, there are a few differences to remember during your search.

From the origin to the size and appearance, we break down the five key differences when comparing goldendoodles vs. golden retrievers. Read on to learn more about each breed.

Comparing a Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever

The chart below is a general breakdown of the differences between a goldendoodle vs. golden retriever. We compared the origin, size, appearance, lifespan, temperament, trainability, and energy level between both breeds.

Golden RetrieverGoldendoodle
OriginEuropeNorth America
Size55-75 pounds, 21.5-24 inches55-77 pounds; 21-24 inches
AppearanceLonger, straight coat. Double-coated; red, golden, or cream-colored.Shaggy, wavy coat. Golden, brown, black, white, and grey-colored. Coat texture varies.
Lifespan10-12 years10-15 years
TemperamentFriendly, trusting, loyal, warm, intelligent, playfulHigh energy
TrainabilityEasy to train; Can also be trained as a hunting dogEasy to train
Energy LevelHigh eneryVery high energy

The 5 Key Differences Between Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles

Color Image, Cute, Horizontal, Nature, No People

Goldendoodles typically have wavy, curly coats compared to the golden retriever’s longer, straight coat.

©Dajuana Jones/ via Getty Images

The key differences between goldendoodles vs. golden retrievers are origin, size, appearance, temperament, and trainability. 

Since the goldendoodle is a crossbreed between a golden retriever and a poodle, the origin of both breeds is different. Their size is similar, but their coat texture, look, and coloring are strikingly different as well. While goldendoodles and golden retrievers are similar in temperament, the goldendoodle is more excitable. Both breeds are easy to train, but golden retrievers are trainable as hunting dogs. Read on to dive into the differences in more detail.

Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: Origin

Golden retrievers were bred originally in Europe, specifically in the Scottish Highlands. People developed the golden retriever to become a superior hunting dog that can handle rough terrain and weather conditions. A goldendoodle is a cross between a golden retriever and a poodle. Often referred to as a designer dog, the goldendoodle’s exact origin is unknown. They were bred in North America and became popular in the 1990s because many believed they were hypoallergenic. 

Goldendoodles tend to live between 10-15 years while golden retrievers usually live between 10-12 years of age.

Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: Size

golden retriever

Golden retrievers are sweet, loving, and intelligent dogs that make great family pets.

©Joop Snijder Photography/

While goldendoodles and golden retrievers are similar in size, their height differs slightly. A female golden retriever’s height ranges between 21.5-22.5 inches, while a female goldendoodle’s height is 21-22.5 inches. Both male golden retrievers and goldendoodles are 23-24 inches tall.

For both breeds, females are approximately 55-65 pounds fully grown, and males are 65-75 pounds fully ground.

Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: Appearance

Young black and white Goldendoodle lying on the grass

Goldendoodles can have many different colors in their coats including gold, brown, black, and white.

©Guy Banville/

Golden Retriever Appearance

The appearance of goldendoodles vs. golden retrievers is the biggest difference between the breeds. Golden retrievers are double-coated. A luxurious, straight outer coat covers their short undercoat. Golden retrievers are red, golden, or cream-colored, and their coats require consistent maintenance. If you don’t brush your golden retriever multiple times per week, it is at risk of matting. Matting can lead to a skin irritation commonly known as a hot spot. This is a common issue in the breed. A consistent grooming schedule will also help reduce shedding, a common occurrence with golden retrievers.

The classic golden retriever’s tail is long with naturally feathered fur, and they have floppy ears. It is imperative that you don’t shave your golden retriever. While they may seem hot in the warmer months, their coat helps them regulate their body temperature throughout the year.

Goldendoodle Appearance

Goldendoodles have wavy, curly coats that are soft to the touch. Since their coat combines the poodle and golden retriever, it is slightly hypoallergenic. Goldendoodle colors range from black, golden, and brown. There are also rare color combinations like black and white, brindle, and gray. A goldendoodle can also have colored spots and markings on their coat. This is a major difference from the golden retriever. While goldendoodles don’t shed to the extent of golden retrievers, a consistent grooming schedule is still important. They are still prone to matting, especially if their fur is curlier than others. Their coat is long or short, depending on the owner’s choice, but it is advisable not to shave down to the skin.

The goldendoodle also has longer facial hair compared to a golden retriever. They have bushy eyebrows, a mustache, and a beard. Their ears are fluffy and floppy but range in length since the poodle’s ears are generally longer than a golden retriever’s. Goldendoodle tails vary in size and shape. Some are long and feathered like a golden retriever, while others are furry and curled on top like a poodle.

Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: Temperament

Golden Retriever puppy sitting near adult golden retriever dogs. Senior and puppy. 8 week old puppy. three dogs.

Golden retrievers are affectionate dogs and very good around children and small dogs.


Both golden retrievers and goldendoodles have excellent temperaments. They are loyal, loving, and highly intelligent breeds that make great family pets. Many people choose either breed because of their patience and friendliness. Goldendoodles and golden retrievers are great with children and get along well with other dogs. They bond easily with strangers and behave well in public if they are well-trained.

Their temperament is similar because the golden retriever is the parent breed of the goldendoodle. Both breeds require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. Still, the goldendoodle can be slightly more destructive than a golden retriever if left alone. They are prone to separation anxiety, which is why exercise and activity are important parts of their lives.

Goldendoodle vs. Golden Retriever: Trainability

best dog food for goldendoodles

Both goldendoodles and golden retrievers are intelligent breeds and fairly easy to train.


Golden retrievers and golden doodles are both easy to train. They both have the will to obey and please humans and thrive with positive reinforcement. A focused training regime is key for both breeds since they are easily distractable. If you start training immediately, both breeds will respond well. Both goldendoodles and golden retrievers pick up tasks, commands, and tricks easily as long as you are persistent. Be aware that both breeds are sensitive, so positive reinforcement is the best way to train them. They thrive knowing their role in the family and genuinely want to understand their given task.

Because of the sweet, gentle demeanor between both breeds, many people choose to train golden retrievers and goldendoodles as service dogs. They can both work as guide dogs, and golden retrievers also excel as canine-assisted therapy dogs for military personnel.

Slightly different from the goldendoodle, the golden retriever was bred originally as a working breed. This means they excel when there is an objective to complete. They are natural athletes and perform well in agility competitions. Many people with golden retrievers plan to train them as hunting dogs. Their natural retrieve instinct means they perform well in the field. Waterfowl hunters often work with golden retrievers because of their trainability combined with a sweet demeanor.

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The photo featured at the top of this post is © Donamen/

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About the Author

Maura Hoff is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is dogs, travel, and hiking. She has been writing for over 10 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from Pennsylvania State University in 2016. When Maura isn't writing, she spends time with her husband and two Golden Retrievers, Basil and Sunny, in the Colorado mountains. Her passions are cooking, reading, music, and quoting her favorite show, The Office.

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