What do you get when you crossbreed two of the most famous breeds in the US?
A Golden Retriever Lab Mix, more affectionately known as the Goldador. And undoubtedly, this is one of the friendliest, loving, and intelligent breeds you’ll ever come across!
Not only do they make excellent family dogs, but they’re also very gifted guide and assistance dogs. Provided they get a loving master, this pooch is destined to become your most loyal companion.
So where do this breed comes from? What’s their speciality? Are they really suited for you?
Keep reading to find out!
Overview of Golden Retrievers Labs
Labrador Retrievers are well-known for their physical strength and vigor, while Golden Retrievers have long been one of the friendliest breeds in the US. Combine these two, and you get what’s probably the perfect combination of devotion and athleticism in a hybrid dog.
Initially, the thought to cross these two breeds occurred to create a guide dog that was not only as intelligent and energetic as a Labrador Retriever, but also equally affectionate and loving as a Golden Lab.
Ever since the experiment turned out to be successful, the Golden Retrievers Lab Mix, or more affectionately knows as the Goldador, has become the primary choice for organizations and departments that train bomb-detecting and therapy dogs.
They’re also considered as some of the healthiest mixed breeds in the US, showing a predisposition to the same negligible diseases as a Labrador. Provided their health is taken care of, these dogs will stay by your side for a long time.
But where did Goldadors come from? And who was the first to breed them?
History & Origination of Goldadors
Although there are no accurate reports that indicate as to when the first Goldadors were created, some insight does suggest that this breed came about around 15 to 20 years ago as a designers breed.
But considering that both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers have been around for quite some time, there’s a high probability that Goldadors have existed before.
Although both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers share the somewhat the same lineage, the personality and temperament of both these breeds differ vastly. To understand why both of these breeds were mixed in the first place, let’s take a look at their history:
Where do Labradors Retrievers come from?
Labrador Retrievers are the more senior of the two parents of the Goldadors. According to research, the first Labrador Retrievers were bred during the early 1800s!
The story of how the breed came about describes that when Europeans were colonizing North America, they began crossbreeding their Newfoundland dogs with the local St. Johns hunting dogs to help them with their fishing duties.
Since then, these newly crossbred Labrador Retrievers were brought back to England, where the breed was further refined before being exported to the US during the early 1900s.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized Labrador Retrievers in 1917. Since then, the breed has quickly taken over American households as a family favorite. Labradors have also held the title for the most popular dog breed in the US for the past 26 years, according to the AKC.
Where do Golden Retrievers come from?
Although the history of Golden Retrievers might not be as historic as Labradors, research still suggests that the breed first came into being during the late 1800s.
According to studies, the Golden Retriever was bred and refined for quite some time by a single breeder, Lord Tweedmouth. It wasn’t until the early 1900s that the breed started making an appearance at show rings in England and quickly found it’s way to the US.
The breed was first officially recognized by the AKC in 1925 as a part of the sporting group, and quickly became a proficient service and guide dog. However, the breed first came into the spotlight when President Ford got a Golden Retriever named Liberty.
Since then, the popularity of the breed rose, and it quickly became a family favorite. Golden Retrievers currently stand at #3 in AKC’s list of most popular breeds in the US.
History of the Golden Retriever Lab Mix
Considering the long history of both breeds, it’s easy to assume that the Golden Retriever Lab Mix breed isn’t a very recent discovery.
However, the breed has become quite popular for the past 15 to 20 years amongst other designer breeds.
And now, not only have guide dog training organizations started breeding Goldadors more rapidly, but breeders have also begun creating more Goldadors due to increasing demand in recent years.
Personality & Temperament of Goldadors
A Golden Retriever Lab can inherit multiple personality traits, but the following are almost always the most evident:
- Highly Energetic
- Affectionate and Loving
- Loyal and Obedient
- Intelligent and Trainable
1. Highly Energetic
Since both breeds have been bred as training and retrieving dogs, they naturally possess high energy levels. They love activities and games that involve running and fetching, especially when they’re alongside their master.
Due to their high energy, these lab golden mixes are the perfect companion for jogging and running. They also make excellent companions for hunting and fishing trips, since their ancestors were explicitly bred for these purposes.
These dogs also love spending time in the swimming pool or the backyard, so the ideal home for them would be one that has both. But even if you live in an apartment, make sure they get the daily recommended 30-minutes of exercise, so they don’t become destructive.
2. Affectionate and Loving
It’s also no surprise that Labradors and Golden Retrievers are some of the most loving and affectionate dogs on the planet. You’ll occasionally find them sitting and cuddling in your lap, and can quickly develop separation anxiety, even with the slightest of time apart from their owner.
Due to their highly social nature, they love being around their family and meeting new people. This includes adults, children, dogs, cats, or almost any other pet or animal. These dogs love interacting with new people or animals and can adjust to other pets relatively quickly.
3. Loyal and Obedient
Initially, both of the Goldadors parents were bred to serve alongside their masters and obey their commands. And even with the long chain of ancestry, this is a trait that both breeds have preserved quite exceptionally.
Because this is such a potent trait in both parents, it’s evident that the Golden Retriever Lab Mix will also possess it. Whatever the task, the Goldador will strive to fulfill it to the best of their ability to please their master.
That’s another reason why they make such good watchdogs. But due to their friendly nature, they aren’t the best breed to serve as a guard dog.
4. Intelligent and Trainable
Another common trait that lab golden mixes inherit from both parents is intelligence. They’re keen learners and can quickly grab on to whatever they’re taught.
Combined with their obedient personality, Goldadors are one of the easiest dogs to train. This renders this breed as probably the perfect guidance and assistance dog out there!
Though a condition to smooth training is the sole use of positive reinforcement. Since these dogs are so obedient, they’ll put in their best effort to do anything that pleases their master. But punishment and scolding can shatter their confidence and trust and make training quite tricky in the future.
But with positive reinforcement, these dogs can quickly get the hang of new tricks and be litter trained relatively quickly.
Appearance of Golden Retrievers Labs
Golden Retriever Labs are similar in appearance to either parent and might even be hard to differentiate. This is because both Golden Retrievers and Labradors are identical in shape and size.
Here are few of the body measurements of lab golden mixes:
- Height: 22-25 inches (at withers/shoulders)
- Weight: 60-80 pounds
- Size: Large
- Body Type: Athletic
- Coat: Dense; Short or Medium Length
Body Type and Physique
A Goldador highly resembles both of its parents in terms of physique and body type. They have a well-proportioned body shape and muscular frame that has allowed its ancestors to chase after prey during hunting with the outstanding agility they’re known for.
Similarly, a Goldador possesses an identical square-shaped head, floppy ears, and a long tail as both Retriever parents.
Coat and Colors
All Golden Retriever Labs have a double coat that helps them maintain buoyancy. The undercoat is usually quite dense and soft, while the upper coat is longer and thicker and sometimes has a wavy texture.
Color-wise, these Goldadors can vary quite a bit. That’s because Labradors exist in a wide variety of colors, and if their genes are more dominant, the Goldador may also inherit the same color as their Labrador parent. But if the Golden Retriever parent’s genes are stronger, the Goldador is likely to take over a shade of Golden.
Here’s a list of the colors that can appear in Goldadors if the Labrador parent possesses the dominant genes:
Or if the Golden Retriever parent possesses the dominant genes:
- Light Golden
- Dark Golden
Health of Golden Retrievers Labs
Golden Retriever Labs are a particularly healthy breed in general, like most mixed breeds. They usually have a life expectancy of around 10-12 years.
Luckily, this breed is less prone to inheriting diseases from either parent. This is thanks to the low coefficient of inbreeding in Goldadors as both its parents share different lineages.
If both parents share similar ancestry, the probability of inbreeding can significantly increase. But since Goldadors are crossbred, they are safe from life-threatening health disorders that their parents have.
However, they’re not completely invulnerable. There are some diseases that both Labradors and Golden Retrievers have in common and can pass on to Goldadors if they receive the same copies of those genes.
Here are some diseases that Goldadors are particularly at risk of inheriting from either parent:
Hereditary diseases from Labradors
The Labrador breed itself is quite healthy overall, but they are predisposed to a few joint and bone disorders that you might need to look out for. Some labs are also prone to skin illnesses and allergies, but these are usually treatable.
Anyways, here are some health issues that are known to pass on from Labradors:
1. Joint Dysplasia
Probably the most concerning disorder that Labradors suffer from is joint dysplasia. It’s particularly common with Labradors and can be a painful condition that can also significantly reduce mobility.
There exist two types of joint dysplasia in labs; Hip dysplasia and Elbow dysplasia. Although they differ slightly, both are equally excruciating and can progress with time.
Hip Dysplasia occurs when the leg bone does not correctly fit into the hip joint. So when the dog moves, it creates friction, which causes pain and can wear down the joint with time impacting their mobility.
Elbow Dysplasia is caused by abnormal bone growth, which also affects elbow joints. Sooner or later, this causes the cartilage to break off, which leads to progressive arthritis and loss of movement and function.
How is it treated? Currently, the only treatment available for joint dysplasia is surgery. This can restore mobility and prevent further degeneration of the joints, but won’t fix the issue altogether.
2. Exercise-Induced Collapse
Exercise-Induced Collapse causes a sudden loss of muscular movement and limping after intense exercise. When this happens, the dog might completely lose control of their back legs or body for about 10 to 30 minutes.
After the time has passed, movement is restored automatically. But in some cases, this collapse can lead to sudden death in labradors as well.
This condition is particularly dangerous because it shows no signs or symptoms before it occurs. Because the disorder is unidentifiable until later, there’s no sure answer whether your lab has it or not.
Bloating is a particularly common problem with most dog breeds. But unlike others, it can become life-threatening for labradors.
In such cases, the stomach can expand up to almost three times its standard size. This ends up restrict blood flow and prevent food and gas from passing through. Such situations require immediate medical attention because they can lead to death if left untreated.
Symptoms of severe bloating in Labradors include a visibly swollen stomach, inability to lie down, panting, and pacing amongst others.
4. Progressive Retinal Atrophy
The most severe eye disorder that affects Labradors is Progressive Retinal Atrophy. That’s because it’s both degenerative and also non-curable.
Most labs are diagnosed with PRA after three years of age. The condition starts with blurred vision and leads to complete blindness after a year or two.
Currently, there is no cure for PRA. However, a responsible breeder will always test their puppies for the disorder and provide you with proper certification.
Like humans, dogs can also develop cataracts, and Labradors are particularly at risk. A cataract causes the lens in the eye to develop a cloudy appearance which impairs the dog’s vision.
Fortunately, cataracts can be removed by surgery, but vets only recommend it in severe situations of vision impairment. Labradors are also tested for predisposed cataracts, so you can ask your breeder if your puppy has been checked for it.
Hereditary diseases from Golden Retrievers
As Golden Retrievers are close relatives of the Labrador breed, they are also predisposed to the same health disorders as them. This includes:
- Joint Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
But apart from these, there are a few disorders that only Golden Retrievers are prone to developing. These are as following:
Cancer is the cause of death in almost 55-65% of Golden Retrievers, according to recent studies. Although the condition doesn’t seem to have any link with genes, it can appear in Golden Retrievers.
In dogs, symptoms of cancer include lumps on body, weight loss, lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty breathing, amongst others. Although treating cancer might require multiple surgeries and medications, it only barely increases a dog’s lifespan.
2. Heart and Respiratory Disorders
Most Golden Retrievers are also at risk of developing cardio and respiratory disorders, particularly a heart condition called Subvalvular aortic stenosis or SAS. This disorder causes the blood vessels that circulate blood to narrow and thin.
Any blockage in these vessels can disrupt blood flow or cause the heart to work faster, and might even lead to death. Symptoms of SAS usually include breathlessness, lethargy, and weakness.
What diseases can Goldadors inherit?
From what we’ve seen above, Golden Retriever Labs are at a higher risk of developing diseases that both parents suffer from. These primarily include:
- Joint Dysplasia
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy
However, there’s no guarantee that your Goldador might inherit a disease that only one parent suffers from. This is because the other parent could have a hidden gene that receives a copy and gets passed on to the puppy. These diseases include:
- Exercise-Induced Collapse
- Subvalvular Aortic Stenosis
Goldadors might also develop cancer or bloating later on in their life. Since the parents cannot be tested for these problems, there’s no assurance that your pup is safe. To prevent them, always keep an eye out for any symptoms that indicate either issue.
Feeding & Diet for Goldadors
Goldadors are large-sized dogs that need a well-rounded nutritious diet to cope with their high levels of energy.
Considering the average size and weight of a lab golden mix, they need roughly 3.5 to 4.5 cups of good quality dog food to maintain their weight. This quantity should be divided into at least two meals a day or more to prevent bloating or indigestion.
However, this is not an accurate estimate of a Goldadors required intake. Each pooch is a different size and weight, and their activity levels also vary quite a bit. All of these factors can alter their required daily intake by a good margin.
Therefore, it’s best to take your pup to the vet. A professional vet will check their body measurements, general health, their parent’s history and then decide how much they should eat daily to stay healthy and active.
If you’re looking to buy their food, make sure it consists of a healthy portion of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and vitamins and minerals. Keep a check on their fat, vitamins, and minerals intake, as a deficiency could increase their chances of developing health disorders they are already predisposed to.
Grooming & Care for Goldadors
Goldadors require the usual daily grooming as both their parents. This mostly includes brushing their coat and cleaning their ears, but isn’t limited to these two.
Brushing their coat
If the Goldador inherits the double-coat of their Golden Retriever parent, they can shed quite a bit of hair, especially during spring and fall seasons. On regular days, you should brush them 3-4 times a week. But during the shedding seasons, it’s recommended that you brush them daily to prevent your house from becoming a furry mess.
But if your Goldador is fortunate enough to develop a slightly shorter coat of their Labrador parent, you only need to brush them once or twice a week. But during shedding season, it’s still advised to brush them daily to keep shedding to a minimum.
Cleaning their ears
Unfortunately, Goldadors are likely to inherit the genes responsible for excessive ear wax production from their Labrador parent. If left unattended, this wax can cause nasty ear infections that might be difficult to treat.
To prevent this, it’s advised to clean the inside of their ears to remove excess wax with a slightly damp cloth once every week. You should also get your Goldador’s ears checked by your vet when you pay a visit to ensure that they’re free from infections.
Nails, Teeth, and Bathing
Clipping your dog’s nails goes a long way in preventing accidental scratching. It’s recommended that you clip your Goldadors nails once or twice a month to keep them from getting too big, or worse, growing back inside.
You should also clean their teeth with a canine toothbrush two to three times a week to prevent tartar buildup and mouth infections.
Occasional bathing is also an essential part of proper grooming. Whenever you notice that their coat has accumulated too much dirt and mud, bathe them. If they’ve taken a dip in a swimming pool or pond, make sure to give them a freshwater rinse afterward.
Should you buy or adopt a golden retriever lab mix?
Because they’re a relatively popular designer breed, you can find Goldadors in most rescue shelters. However, most of these will be adults or seniors. Animal shelters train these dogs beforehand, so if you’re not ready for training, it’s best to adopt them.
What are the best activities for lab mix with golden retrievers?
Fetch, swimming, hiking, and dock diving are some of the best activities for these dogs. Or basically, anything that involves intense physical activity is perfect for your Goldador.
Do Golden Retriever Labs make good family pets?
These dogs are perfect for families with kids and lots of daily activities. They’re extremely friendly and love spending time with children and other pets. They are also a breeze to train and can learn anything in an instant.
Are Lab Golden Mixes recognized by the AKC?
The AKC does not officially recognize Lab Golden Mixes. However, both its parents are official members of both the American Kennel Club.
How long can you leave golden retriever labs alone?
It’s advised not to leave Golden Retriever Labs alone for more than 4 hours a day as they can become destructive and develop separation anxiety. If you do plan to leave them alone for longer, make sure they have access to food and water and a companion to spend time with.