Great Pyrenees Vs Golden Retriever: Top Breed Differences

Written by Megan Martin
Published: March 7, 2022
Image Credit everydoghasastory/Shutterstock.com
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The Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever are two breeds of dogs, one of which you may be more familiar with thanks to a particular 90’s movie. When you’re looking at a Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever comparison, you’ll find that they’re more similar than you may have originally thought. However, there are a few top breed differences that stand out.

To learn what sets the Great Pyrenees apart from the Golden Retriever, keep reading below!

Comparing the Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees differs from the Golden Retriever in size, color, and temperament.

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While you may be able to tell the difference between the Golden Retriever and Great Pyrenees just by looking at them, do you know just how many differences there are? Learn below in this comparison chat. 

Great PyreneesGolden Retriever
Size25 to 32 inches at the shoulder
85 to 150 pounds
21.5 to 24 inches at the shoulder
55 to 75 pounds
Coat/Hair TypeThick double coatDense outer coat to repel water with thick undercoat
ColorsWhite but may have different colored markingsGolden (dark or light) with no markings
TemperamentAffectionate, protective, strong-willedAffectionate, friendly, gentle, intelligent 
TrainabilityHighly trainableExtremely trainable 
Life Expectancy10 – 12 years12 years
Energy LevelsModerate energy levelsModerately high energy

Great Pyrenees Vs Golden Retriever: 6 Key Differences

The Great Pyrenees is considered a giant breed.

There are many differences between the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever. First, aside from sharing a double coat, they have entirely different coats. The Golden Retriever has a cool or warm golden coat with a thin topcoat. The Great Pyrenees has a thick, fluffy white coat that may have different color markings. They’re also double the size of even the largest Golden Retrievers. Their personalities are different too, with the Golden Retriever being more playful and aloof than the serious guard dog, that is the Great Pyrenees. 

Now since you know a basic overview of the differences between the Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retrievers, let’s explore these 7 key differences in more detail to see what factors make each breed unique. 

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Size

One of the most noticeable breed differences? Their size!

The Golden Retriever isn’t a small dog by any means (no, they’re usually categorized as a “medium” breed), but they’re small compared to the Great Pyrenees. With a maximum weight of 150 pounds, the largest Great Pyrenees weighs the same as two of the largest Golden Retrievers. 

While the height difference isn’t as noticeable between these two domestic dog breeds, it is there. The largest Great Pyrenees is nearly a foot taller than the smallest Golden Retrievers. In fact, even the largest Golden Retriever isn’t as tall as the smallest Great Pyrenees, although the difference is only an inch. 

The Great Pyrenees is also longer, coming in at a body length of 40 to 53 inches compared to the Goldie’s 37 to 42 inches. 

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Coat

Great Pyrenees at the seaside
Great Pyrenees’ coats help regulate their body temperature.

everydoghasastory/Shutterstock.com

The Great Pyrenees has a thick white coat with an undercoat. While their most coloration is white, you can also find smaller light markings in some dogs. These can range from creme to beige. 

It may seem like the Great Pyrenees would be uncomfortable in the summer with such a heavy coat, but it actually works to keep them cool! Since they have pink skin beneath all that fur, they’re prone to sunburn. Their coarse double coat helps protect their skin while also working to regulate their temperature. 

The Golden Retriever’s coat is much different. 

Aside from their warm to cool golden color, their coat is also designed to help them in a different way. Golden Retrievers were originally bred to help retrieve waterfowl during hunting, which means that they needed a water-resistant coat. Their undercoat helps block off water, which keeps the Goldie light and warm in the water. 

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Training

Both the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever have high levels of trainability. However, the Golden Retriever is less independent and strong-willed than the Great Pyrenees. This means that they’re easier to train, as they don’t tend to push your boundaries as much as the confident Great Pyrenees. 

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Personality

Types of Retriever Dogs
The Golden Retriever is more playful than the Great Pyrenees.

iStock.com/Tatyana Consaul

While both of these dog breeds are affectionate and loyal to their families, that’s around where the similarities end.

The Great Pyrenees is a more serious breed. Dedicated to providing the utmost level of protection to their “herds”, they have a watchful eye and won’t be the most playful. They can be loving with family members but may exhibit warning signs to strangers. It’s important to socialize them while they’re young in order to help prevent this protectiveness from evolving into full-blown aggression. 

The Golden Retriever is less serious and more playful, although adults may be more aloof than their rambunctious puppy selves. This breed is more likely to want to play, especially when it comes to games of fetch that ignite their hunting instincts. Goldies are also more likely to cuddle than the Great Pyrenees, though the latter may have its moments of affection as well.    

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Energy

Despite having a more aloof personality, the Golden Retriever is known for having a higher energy level than the Great Pyrenees.

The Great Pyrenees can often be happy with around one hour of exercise each day in the form of a walk. The Goldie, however, will need a bit more interaction outside of the walk. When in doubt, their name offers the best past-time activity: fetch!

Great Pyrenees vs Golden Retriever: Role in the Family

While both the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever can make great additions to the family, their roles and relationships are different. 

The Great Pyrenees is bred to be a livestock dog. They’re watchful and provide protection to the entire family, human or pet alike. On the other hand, the Golden Retriever is traditionally a hunting dog, so they lack this behavior. However, their gentle and kind personalities help make them a great fit for humans and other pets alike.

No matter the breed, a dog’s role in the family, while largely dependent on genetics, also has to do with their upbringing. This means proper training and socialization from an early age are essential. 

Conclusion

Golden Retriever in a Field of Yellow Flowers
Golden Retrievers are a popular family pet.

In many ways, the Great Pyrenees and the Golden Retriever are very similar breeds. Both adore their families and were bred for important tasks that help them survive beside humans. However, whether it’s in their appearance or their personalities, you’ll find that are differences between the two – differences that help create two unique breeds with their own abilities and behaviors. 

The Great Pyrenees can be a great addition to an experienced family, however, the Golden Retriever may be better for first-time owners. 

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Great Pyrenees dog outdoor portrait against sky
Great Pyrenees dog outdoor portrait against sky
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About the Author

I'm a writer with almost five years of experience. I recently graduated from Wingate University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and a double minor in biology and professional and technical writing. The American kestrel is my favorite animal, but I also like sharks and alligators. In my free time, I like to write creative fiction, watch documentaries, and explore nature.

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