Goldendoodle or Labradoodle? How to Choose?

by | Jul 16, 2023

If you’re smitten with doodles, you’ve probably debated between a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle. Both mix two popular breeds with the intelligent, low-shedding Poodle. But there are some key differences when it comes to these two adored doodle hybrids.

As a proud goldendoodle owner, I want to give an honest perspective on their traits and help you decide if a golden retriever cross or a lab cross is the better fit. While Winston, my Goldendoodle, is the perfect pup for me, your lifestyle and preferences may make one variety ideal over the other. 

In this blog, we’ll compare and contrast the two doodle types covering topics like:

– History and origins

– Size, appearance, and coat

– Temperament and personality 

– Activity needs and exercise requirements

– Training and intelligence

– Health and care

Let’s delve into the details so you can make an informed choice! But first, just look at these cute faces – how can you pick just one?

Brief History of the Goldendoodle vs Labradoodle

The concept of crossing two purebreds to get a “designer dog” with ideal traits began decades ago. But when did these specific doodle hybrids originate?

The Goldendoodle

  • The Goldendoodle first appeared in the 1990s in North America. The pioneer breeders were hoping to blend the friendly, eager-to-please nature of the golden retriever with the Poodle’s intelligence and low-shedding coat.
  • The result was a dog with plenty of brains and hypoallergenic fur. Goldendoodles quickly rose in popularity as an ideal pet and service/therapy dog.

The Labradoodle

  • Labradoodles originated slightly earlier in 1980s Australia. Guide Dogs Victoria bred the first planned lab/poodle litter hoping for a capable guide dog that didn’t shed.
  • Success – the blend of a lab’s easy-going temperament with poodle smarts and hair rather than fur was a winner. Once introduced to North America and Europe, the labradoodle also became a popular hybrid.

So in summary, both doodle mixes were created with specific purposes in mind – reduced shedding paired with great dispositions and trainability. Let’s see how the breeds compare when it comes to other traits.

Goldendoodle History:

Labradoodle History

Size, Appearance, and Coats


  • Goldendoodles tend to range from 30-80 lbs and 16-26 inches tall at the shoulder. There are five common types: Petite, Miniature, Medium, Standard, and Large.
  • Labradoodles are typically 50-75 lbs and 21-25 inches tall at the shoulder. The three common sizes are Miniature, Medium, and Standard.
  • Labradoodles tend to be stockier, while Goldendoodles are more square-proportioned.

Coat and Appearance

  • Both breeds have the Poodle’s signature curly or wavy coat that makes them low- to non-shedding. The curliness can vary from tight corkscrews to a gentle wave.
  • Goldendoodle coats come in gold, apricot, caramel, and red shades – lighter variations of the golden retriever. They can sometimes be nearly white to dark golden mahogany.
  • Labradoodle coats cover the black, chocolate, and yellow lab color spectrum from nearly white to dark charcoal. Solid or spotted color patterns are common.

Coat Texture and Grooming

  • Labradoodles tend to have a bit denser, more weather-resistant coat, while goldendoodles have a silkier, feathered fur.
  • Grooming needs are similar, with regular brushing and clipping needed every 6-12 weeks. Both doodles require meticulous grooming to prevent matting.

So in appearance, both have the poodle influence but their colors mirror their retriever heritage. Now let’s break down their personality traits.

Temperament of Goldendoodles vs. Labradoodles: How They Behave and Interact

The reason doodle mixes are so popular as pets, and service dogs comes down to their wonderful temperament. But owners do report some subtle differences in personality between Goldendoodles and Labradoodles.

Intelligence and Trainability

  • All three source breeds – poodles, goldens, and labs – are highly intelligent and eager to please their owners. This makes both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles extremely trainable, even for first-time owners.
  • Poodles, in particular, have a reputation for being “smarter” than retrievers. They tend to be hyper-focused problem solvers. This lends Labradoodles and Goldendoodles their ability to succeed as guides and service dogs.

Both mixes are people-pleasers at heart and, when trained positively, respond readily to commands. The difference may come down to focus– Labradoodles have an exceptional ability to block out distractions and concentrate intensely on a job.

Affection and Playfulness

  • Goldendoodles tend to be more openly attached and “cuddly,” while Labradoodles show their affection through attentiveness.
  • In terms of playfulness, Goldendoodles are the more playful of the two, with their higher energy and goofiness. But labradoodles love active play as well.

Goofiness and Exuberance

While highly intelligent, Goldendoodles seem to have a greater tendency toward playful foolishness and antics. They never fully mature and remain forever puppies at heart!

Labradoodles show a somewhat more reserved nature in adulthood, containing their happy energy. They are still lively but not quite as boisterous and hyper as the average Goldendoodle.

So while both mixes make exceptional pets, the Goldendoodle takes the lead when it comes to outgoing affection, playfulness, and general goofy joyfulness. Next, let’s look at their activity needs.

Exercise Needs of Goldendoodles vs. Labradoodles: Who Needs More Activity?

Since all three source breeds have high energy needs, Goldendoodle vs. Labradoodle, both hybrids require a LOT of exercise each day—however, Goldendoodles edge out Labradoodles in their activity requirements.

Energy Level 

While individual dogs vary, Goldendoodles tend to have a *higher energy level* than Labradoodles. Their golden retriever heritage makes them very active with nearly boundless pep.

Labradoodles have *moderately high energy* – enthusiastic about exercise but with an easier “off-switch” than Goldendoodles. Labradors were bred for endurance, while goldens were designed for maximum liveliness.

Exercise Time Per Day

  • Goldendoodles generally need 60-90 minutes of hard exercise every single day – runs, swimming, hiking, and play. Without this outlet, their energy can manifest in undesirable ways like chewing, barking, and unwanted behavior.
  • Labradoodles need 45-60 minutes per day of vigorous exercise to stay fit and burn energy. Their slightly lower activity needs to make them *better suited* to calmer households.
  • Both crosses enjoy activities like agility, dock diving, and chasing balls! Their high drive to run makes regular off-leash exercise essential. Apartment living is typically not recommended for either.

When it comes to energy output, the Goldendoodle takes the trophy. They demand an athletic lifestyle with plenty of daily activity. Next, let’s look at training and care.

Training Goldendoodle vs. Labradoodles: Styles They Respond To Best

While both hybrids are obedient and highly trainable, Goldendoodles and Labradoodles may respond best to slightly different training approaches.


Labradoodles tend to be *extremely food motivated*. This allows trainers to leverage treats very successfully as positive reinforcement during training. The food drive is useful in guide and therapy settings.

Goldendoodles are more *praise motivated*. They absolutely thrive on human attention and interaction as their primary reward. Food is useful but not central to training Goldendoodles.


  • Labradoodles do well with *structured, focused training*. Their calm attentiveness lets them excel at measured, dedicated practice. They respond eagerly to “business-like” training.
  • Goldendoodles benefit from *playful, engaging training*. They light up and respond best when sessions seem like fun! Adding toys, puzzles, and games helps keep goldendoodle puppies interested and motivated to learn.

Both benefit from positive reinforcement, like all dogs. But Labradoodles appreciate business-oriented training, while Goldendoodles want playtime. Finally, let’s compare health and care.

Health and Care Needs of Labradoodles vs Goldendoodles

Unfortunately, mixed breeds are not immune from inheriting some of the health issues of their parent breeds. Here are the main concerns to look out for:

Health Conditions

  • Labradoodles are prone to hip and elbow dysplasia-like Labs, along with progressive retinal atrophy and eye issues.
  • Goldendoodles are more susceptible to joint dysplasia and allergies/skin problems. They can also inherit golden retriever health woes like cancer. 
  • Both mixes can develop health conditions common to Poodles, like Addison’s disease and others. 
  • Buying from health-tested parents through a reputable breeder reduces risk but cannot fully prevent heritable conditions.


  • As mentioned, their thick Poodle coats mean *significant grooming needs* for both crosses. Daily brushing helps prevent mats, and regular professional grooming is essential.
  • Shedding is minimal but not nonexistent. Some owners find Labradoodle’s coat slightly easier to care for with a bit less matting.
  • Most owners opt to keep their doodles trimmed short for manageability. Keeping up with grooming is a big commitment!

In health and grooming, the breeds are quite similar, with no clear differences. An individual dog’s coat type can vary.

Goldendoodle or Labradoodle: Key Takeaways 

So in summary, at first glance, Goldendoodles and Labradoodles seem quite interchangeable – both combine the stellar traits of poodles and retrievers. But the differences become apparent in energy, affection, trainability, and more.

To recap the key comparisons:

– Labradoodles are calmer and more focused, while Goldendoodles are livelier with higher energy

– Goldendoodles bond intensely to “their” people, while Labradoodles are more confidently independent  

– Labradoodles require less vigorous exercise compared to extremely active Goldendoodles

– Trainers may find Labradoodles respond better to focused sessions with food rewards

– Goldendoodles thrive on playful, interactive training and lavish praise

– In health and care, both require significant grooming and have similar genetic disease risks

The choice between a Goldendoodle or Labradoodle depends on your lifestyle. Labradoodles better suit calmer homes looking for an attentive but less clingy dog. Goldendoodles fit active owners wanting a highly energetic, people-focused pup.

Of course, every dog is unique, so choose based on each pup’s temperament rather than breed traits alone. Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles make wonderful family pets! Let me know if this comparison helps your choice between these two amazing doodles.

Choosing Your Perfect Doodle

At the end of the day, deciding between a Goldendoodle and a labradoodle comes down to choosing the temperament and lifestyle fit for your family.

While this comparison highlights key differences between the breeds, every dog is an individual. The ideal doodle for you may not align with all the breed tendencies described here.

The most important factors are your activity level, training style, and preference for an affectionate Velcro dog or a slightly more independent companion.

Speak in-depth with breeders you trust about your needs and each puppy’s emerging personality traits.

And remember – a responsible breeder will take back any dog that turns out not to be a good match, so you can make your decision confidently.

The most important thing is welcoming a healthy, happy doodle into your home, no matter the specific breed mix! Both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles make wonderful family pets with their playful spirit, loyalty, and love.

Let me know if you would like me to modify or expand this conclusion section in any way. I’m happy to keep refining it to help wrap up the comparison effectively!

Frequently Asked Questions 

Are Goldendoodles or Labradoodles better for allergies?

While not 100% hypoallergenic, both Goldendoodles and Labradoodles tend to shed less and produce less dander than average dogs, making them gentler on those with allergies. Individual dog’s coat type can vary so meet the parents if possible.

Which mix makes a better service dog? 

Labradoodles may have a slight edge for service work like guiding due to their greater focus and unshakable work ethic when trained for a task. But Goldendoodles also succeed as therapy dogs with their affectionate nature. 

Is one mix healthier than the other?

There is little evidence that Labradoodles or Goldendoodles differ significantly in overall health. Buying from health-tested parents is important for either breed. Genetic diversity reduces the odds of inherited conditions.

Are Labradoodles or Goldendoodles better with kids?

Both hybrids tend to do wonderfully with children – gentle, playful, and patient. Goldendoodles may have more boisterous energy, which very small children would need supervision managing. But both make great family companions.

How do I choose the right doodle puppy for me? 

More than breed, look for a puppy with the right energy level, independence, and temperament tendencies to fit your lifestyle. Give more weight to each pup’s individual personality rather than the label of labradoodle or goldendoodle in your selection.

Let me know if you have any other questions! I’m happy to chat more about how to decide between these two popular doodle mixes.

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