10 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Golden Retrievers

Written by Kellianne Matthews
Published: January 24, 2024
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According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the golden retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds out there, and it’s easy to see why. Not only are these graceful sporting dogs beautiful, but they are also intelligent, friendly, and have plenty of affection to share. Golden retrievers are easy to train and easily become go-to companions for both adventures and cuddling. They are sweet and gentle and do great with both children and other dogs and are infrequent barkers. If you’re looking for a dog similar to a golden retriever, then check out these 10 breeds! 

1. Labrador Retriever

dogs similar to golden retrievers - Young woman with dog

Labrador retrievers are friendly dogs who seem to love everyone they meet.

©Vasyl Dolmatov/iStock via Getty Images

The American Kennel Club ranks the Labrador retriever as one of the most popular dog breeds, right alongside the golden retriever. Labs are sporting dogs and close cousins of golden retrievers, with similar playful and enthusiastic personalities. Both Labs and goldens are good with children and other dogs and are eager to please their owners. However, Labrador retrievers tend to be a bit more outgoing and need a lot more exercise and activity to keep them healthy and happy. 

2. Irish Setter

Dogs similar to golden retrievers - Irish Setter panting while laying outside

Irish setters have their long, silky coats that need to be brushed every day. 


Like the golden retriever, the Irish setter is a friendly dog with a super sweet personality. Irish setters are also good with children and other dogs. However, while they are sporting dogs like golden retrievers, Irish setters have a lot more energy and need vigorous daily exercise. These dogs love to run and play and thrive with social interaction. They also have the potential to be more vocal than golden retrievers and require more training.

3. English Springer Spaniel

English springer spaniel sitting down looking out over the countryside.

English spring spaniels are sensitive and need more attention than golden retrievers.

©Jeff Dalton/Shutterstock.com

Another popular sporting dog breed, the English springer spaniel is a cheerful companion who loves adventure. These sweet dogs are very friendly like golden retrievers, as well as intelligent and eager to please. They are sensitive souls, although they are more prone to separation anxiety than golden retrievers are. In addition, English springer spaniels have endless energy and need a lot more exercise and playtime than golden retrievers do.

4. Newfoundland

Dogs similar to golden retrievers -Young girl with huge dog breed Newfoundland

Many people affectionately refer to Newfoundlands as “Newfies”.

©kozorog/iStock via Getty Images

The Newfoundland is a total sweetheart who is devoted, patient, and great with children and other dogs. Although these dogs can be stubborn and independent at times, they are generally calm and laid-back, and they enjoy human companionship, much like golden retrievers. Newfoundlands do not bark a lot, and although they need regular exercise, they are not overly energetic dogs.

5. Collie

Dogs similar to golden retrievers - A Scotch collie attentively looking to the left

Collies are watchful and attentive, but they are not aggressive.

©11A Fotografie/Shutterstock.com

Like the golden retriever, collies are very intelligent and friendly dogs. They are also one of the most trainable dog breeds and are eager to learn and show off. Collies are typically gentle with children, but it’s best to supervise them as they may try to herd smaller children. Although they are friendly like golden retrievers, collies can be more wary of strangers. With their families, however, they are very loving and affectionate. Collies have higher energy levels than golden retrievers, and without enough exercise and mental stimulation, they can get bored easily. This can lead to destructive behavior, so it’s important to give them daily exercise and activity. 

6. Bernese Mountain Dog

Large Bernese Mountain Dog lying on the grass in the park, panting.

Bernese mountain dogs are gentle protectors.

©Kriste Sorokaite/iStock via Getty Images

Although much larger than a golden retriever, the Bernese mountain dog shares many of the same traits. These dogs are gentle giants, with calm and good-natured personalities. They do well with children and other dogs. However, Bernese mountain dogs aren’t quite as high-energy as golden retrievers. While they enjoy playing with their families and going for walks, Bernese mountain dogs usually prefer lounging around the house. In addition, they can be independent and stubborn, but in general, they are easy to train. Due to their large size, Bernese mountain dogs need lots of space both inside and outside of the home.

7. Flat-Coated Retriever

dogs like golden retrievers - flat-coated retriever

Flat-coated retrievers have higher energy needs than golden retrievers.


The flat-coated retriever is a happy and cheerful dog who loves to play. These athletic sporting dogs tend to have more energy than golden retrievers, however, and they need a lot more exercise and mental stimulation. Flat-coated retrievers are intelligent and eager to please, but early socialization and training are important for them to live their best lives. These dogs are typically playful and gentle with kids. However, they are more enthusiastic than golden retrievers, so it is best to supervise them with young children.

8. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever 

Dogs similar to golden retrievers - Nova scotia duck tolling retriever dog standing on a rock on sunny spring day.

Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers have strong prey drives.

©Marina Plevako/Shutterstock.com

The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever is friendly, outgoing, and loves to play. These sporting dogs are similar to golden retrievers, as they are very playful, intelligent, and eager to please. However, Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers are also higher-energy dogs and need more exercise and daily mental stimulation than golden retrievers do. These energetic dogs can be overwhelming for small children, but overall, they are playful and gentle.

9. Cocker Spaniel

Dogs similar to golden retrievers - A golden cocker spaniel with curly ears cocks its head

Cocker spaniels are gentle and affectionate dogs with very loving, sensitive souls.


If you’re looking for a small dog that is similar to a golden retriever, then a cocker spaniel may be a great fit. Much like golden retrievers, cocker spaniels are playful and happy dogs, and are quite adaptable to various living situations. They aren’t quite as high-energy as golden retrievers are. Cocker spaniels love to relax and cuddle up with their favorite humans, but they still need daily walks and playtime. When it comes to training, cocker spaniels can be independent and stubborn, and they need lots of patience and consistency with positive reinforcement. They are gentle and playful with children and other dogs, but they may nip if they get excited.

10. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Dogs similar to golden retrievers - Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Running

While they enjoy playing and going for walks, cavalier King Charles spaniels love relaxing too.

©Liudmila Bohush/Shutterstock.com

The cavalier King Charles spaniel is another smaller dog with a similar temperament to the golden retriever. These gentle and affectionate companions are good with children and other dogs. They are friendly and gentle dogs, but due to their smaller size, they need to be supervised when playing with children and can be startled easily. They also need early socialization and supervision, as their gentle and sensitive nature can make them submissive to more assertive dogs and playmates. Cavalier King Charles spaniels also need daily exercise, but not nearly as much as golden retrievers.

Summary Table of the 10 Dog Breeds Most Similar to Golden Retrievers

Labrador Retriever
Irish Setter
English Springer Spaniel
Bernese Mountain Dog
Flat-Coated Retriever
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Cocker Spaniel
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Olha Didenko/Shutterstock.com

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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