If there were a homecoming court in the dog kingdom, golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers would definitely be contenders for king and queen. Golden retrievers are known for being extra-friendly and trustworthy. Labs, the most popular breed in the United States, are notably kind and outgoing. When these two breeds are mixed, the result is a sweet-natured goldador, a large dog devoted to his people.
The goldador (sometimes called the golden Lab) is an athletic dog and will do best in a family that loves to go for long walks and toss around Frisbees. While Labs and golden retrievers are very popular breeds, the goldador dog is still somewhat of a rare mixed breed. And while he's a hybrid, Simon says, the goldador's appearance and temperament is relatively predictable, as both parent breeds are similar.
Golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers are both large dogs with athletic, powerful builds and kind, friendly eyes—traits that are predictably passed along to this hybrid breed. Size-wise, full-grown goldadors weigh between 60–80 pounds and are about 22–24 inches tall, like their parents.
Because goldadors are mixed breed dogs, the surprise comes with their coat colors and textures, which can vary even among goldador puppies from the same litter. Often, these dogs have golden or yellow coats inherited from the golden retriever side of the family. But you could also see a black goldador, a brown or chocolate goldador, or even a reddish goldador. These dogs tend to wear wavy double coats, with a short-to-long topcoat and dense undercoat. The goldador's grooming needs are fairly straightforward: They should be brushed every few days, but more frequently during the spring and fall when they're shedding more.
As with all mixed breeds, goldadors may inherit some signature traits from either parent. Golden retrievers, for instance, have dense, water-resistant coats and a feathery tail. Labradors have a soft and short weather-resistant coat, with thick tails that taper at the tip and are known as "otter tails" that act as rudders when they're swimming.
Goldadors get the best of both worlds when it comes to temperament. Golden retrievers are reliable and trustworthy, according to the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA). Labs are kind, outgoing, and eager-to-please, according to The Labrador Retriever Club (LRC). Plus, both golden retrievers and Labs are considered among the most friendly breeds, which means goldadors earn an A+ for affability.
"Goldadors tend to showcase the easygoing and affectionate attitude of the retriever and generally welcome everyone into their home," says Annette Louviere, DVM, veterinary technical support manager at Wisdom Panel. "These pups also tend to get along well with other dogs and, with some training, they can also do well with other household pets."
Goldadors are no couch potatoes and need to be kept active to keep their mind and body healthy and busy.
The goldador's parents are both known for being highly intelligent, eager-to-please, and appreciative of having tasks to perform. Because of this, the goldador is highly trainable—he just might fetch the newspaper for you each morning!
Goldador fans appreciate just how social they are, and these outgoing dogs love to make friends with people and animals alike, Simon says. Because of this, they can fit well into homes that have cats or other dogs, but socializing your goldador puppy with other animals early on will ensure peace among your pets.
This is a breed that is extremely loyal. Goldadors see themselves as a member of the family and should be treated as such. They don't like to be left home alone for long periods of time without their humans; goldador adults will gladly be your adventure buddies, splashing around at the local lake (these dogs love the water!) and accompanying you on hikes.
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Something to keep in mind: It's important to not over-exercise goldador puppies. Their bones are still growing until they're around 18–20 months old, so high-intensity exercise, like long jogs, can hurt their developing bodies and should be avoided, says Corinne Wigfall, DVM, BVS, BVM, consulting veterinarian with SpiritDog Training.
The goldador dog has a coat that's easy to care for, but their fur sheds a great deal. Owners should brush them every few days, with daily brushing during the heavier shedding seasons, Simon says.
"Because of their energy and high intelligence, goldadors also do well as working dogs—their resume ranging in jobs from hunting companion to bomb sniffers to service guide dogs," Louviere says.
The goldador is a generally healthy breed with a lifespan of 10–12 years. However, potential pet owners should be aware of some of the health conditions the dogs are susceptible to. This includes hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia as well as potential eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy and cataracts.
Goldadors are also more prone to cancers than other dogs, Simon says, and this includes bone cancers (osteosarcoma), cancer of the spleen (haemangiosarcoma), and mast cell tumors. However, the Institute of Canine Biology says mixed breed dogs are typically less likely than their purebred parents to inherit genetic disorders.
If you're looking to buy a goldador puppy from a breeder, do some important research. The goldador is a relatively new "designer" hybrid breed, and since these dogs are in high demand, some goldador breeders may not be operating with the dogs' health as a top priority.
To make sure you're working with an ethical goldador breeder and that you're bringing home a healthy dog, be aware of these common puppy mill red flags:
- A breeder offers to ship a puppy.
- A kennel produces multiple breeds of dogs.
- It's difficult to find contact information on a breeder's website.
- The breeder will not let you meet the puppy's parents or siblings.
While goldadors are an emerging mixed breed and becoming more popular, both golden retrievers and Labrador retrievers date back to the 1800s and have lengthy resumes as working dogs.
Golden retrievers were originally bred in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1800s by Dudley Majoribanks, who would later be known as Lord Tweedmouth, according to the GRCA. These Scottish gun dogs took their hunting and field work seriously, and today they make for great guide dogs and search-and-rescue team members. The breed arrived in the U.S. in the early 1900s, and the American Kennel Club recognized goldens in 1932.
Labrador retrievers can be traced back to Newfoundland, off the northeastern coast of Canada. Descendants of the now-extinct St. John's water dog, Labradors worked in frigid temperatures, keeping fisherman company and retrieving ducks, according to the LRC. At the end of the work day, the dogs would come home and spend the night with the fishermen's families. They became recognized by the AKC in 1917.
- The goldador's parents are mighty popular. Labrador retrievers became the AKC's most popular breed in the U.S. in 1991 and have been top dog ever since. Golden retrievers are currently ranked as the fourth most popular breed.
- Both parent breeds are movie (and television) stars. The 2008 movie Marley & Me is about a Lab. Golden retrievers have starred in Full House, Air Bud, and Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey.
- Pip, a short animated film by Southeastern Guide Dogs, stars a goldador named Pip who goes to guide school to learn how to help people with vision loss and veterans with disabilities. The tug-at-your-heartstrings YouTube video has racked up more than 359 million views since it debuted in 2018.