Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Key Differences Explained

Siberian Husky - taste of the wild guide
© Sbolotova/

Written by Katelynn Sobus

Published: May 6, 2022

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The Siberian Husky and Golden Retriever are two beautiful, popular, beloved breeds. While they have their similarities, Huskies, and Goldens are pretty different from one another. One has a broader range of fur colors, live a couple of years longer on average, and has high energy levels.

Learn more about these breeds and their differences below!

Comparing Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever

Size sets the Siberian Husky apart from the Golden Retriever.
Siberian HuskyGolden Retriever
Size20-24 inches, 35-60 pounds21.5-24 inches, 55-75 pounds
AppearanceBred in various colors, floppy or upright ears (or a combination), often has blue or multi-colored eyesGolden in color, floppy ears, brown eyes
Lifespan12-14 years10-12 years
Energy LevelExtremely highAverage
Watchdog InstinctsLowMedium
TrainabilityIntermediate, has an independent streakEasy, eager to please
Tendency to BarkVery HighLow

7 Key Differences Between the Siberian Husky and Golden Retriever

The biggest difference between Siberian Huskies and Golden Retrievers is their appearance. Retrievers are larger and heavier dogs, golden in color and floppy-eared.

Huskies are bred in various colors, can have either floppy or upright ears (or a combination of the two), and often have blue or multi-colored eyes. Other differences to note are their lifespan, energy level, watchdog instincts, trainability, and tendency to bark.

We’ll look more into all of these differences below!

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Size

These dogs are similar in height, with Retrievers standing a bit taller. Their weight varies quite a bit, with Huskies weighing between 35-60 pounds and Retrievers 55-75 pounds.

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Appearance

Siberian Husky on white background

Huskies are bred in a variety of colors accepted by the breed standard.


You’ve likely noticed that these breeds look completely different from one another. Golden Retrievers technically come in three colors: golden, dark golden, and light golden. They have deeper chests than Huskies, floppy ears, and brown eyes. Their backs are long compared to their legs.

Siberian Huskies come in a variety of colors accepted by the breed standard:

  • Agouti and white
  • Black
  • Black and white
  • Black, tan, and white
  • Brown and white
  • Grey and white
  • Red and white
  • Sable and white
  • White

Their ears seem to have a mind of their own, much like the dogs themselves and might stand upright or flop downward. Some dogs even, adorably, have one of each. Huskies also often have heterochromia (two different eye colors) or have two blue eyes. Their eyes can also be brown.

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Lifespan

A golden retriever puppy at the vet's office

Golden Retrievers live slightly shorter lifespans than Siberian Huskies.

©In Green/

Both dogs live a fairly average lifespan for their size, but Huskies tend to live a few years longer than Retrievers. While Golden Retrievers live 10-12 years, Siberian Huskies live an average of 12-14 years.

The oldest Golden Retriever on record lived to be 20 years old!

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Energy Level

Siberian Huskies were bred to pull sleds, and for this, they needed high endurance. They love activity, and without it, they’ll likely become obnoxious, vocal, and destructive. Even house pets benefit from having a “job” to do, and it’s important to stimulate their minds as well as to exercise their bodies.

Golden Retrievers can also withstand plenty of exercise and may display problem behaviors if they don’t get enough activity. According to the AKC, however, there is such a thing as too much exercise for these dogs, as it can harm their joints and bones.

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Watchdog Instincts

Neither of these pups makes good guard dogs because they’re too friendly. They see everyone, human or dog, as a brand new friend.

However, Golden Retrievers can make decent watchdogs. They’ll let out a bark or two to alert you when someone’s around who shouldn’t be.

Siberian Huskies don’t tend to have the alertness needed for the job.

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Trainability

food for Siberian huskies

Huskies can be stubborn and difficult to train.

©Sergey Bogdanov/

These breeds are almost on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to training. Golden Retrievers are quick to learn and eager to please, which makes training simple.

Huskies are also intelligent dogs, and they do learn quickly. However, they have their own ideas and may stray from their training if something else sounds like more fun. They’re known for stubbornness and the occasional tantrum when they don’t get their own way. You’ll have to lure them into training sessions by making them into a fun game, staying positive, and having a lot of patience.

Keep sessions short so neither of you gets too frustrated with one another, and try to end on a high note whenever possible. This will set you up for success and leave your pup wanting more!

Siberian Husky vs Golden Retriever: Tendency to Bark

Though the Siberian Huskies aren’t much of watchdogs, they’re incredibly vocal. They tend to prefer other vocalizations to barking, such as howling, whining, moaning, and what Husky owners lovingly and simply call “talking.” These pups love to communicate with their people, and it seems like they always have something to say!

Golden Retrievers, however, typically only bark to alert you of something abnormal. This could be a quick bark at the mailman or even an intruder.

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About the Author

Katelynn Sobus is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on pets including dogs, cats, and exotics. She has been writing about pet care for over five years. Katelynn currently lives in Michigan with her seven senior rescue cats.

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