dogs that look like golden retriever

9 Dogs That Look Like Golden Retrievers and 5 That Act Similarly

Golden retrievers are beautiful dogs that are highly desired. Most of their appearance comes from their history as retrieving dogs. The build and fur allowed them to go through water, and focused muscles where they were most needed. There are plenty of other dogs out there that have a similar appearance.

So if for some reason, a golden retriever isn’t quite the right dog for you, don’t worry, this article is here to help you out with 9 dog breeds that look like golden retrievers. As you read, you may even find dogs that act like them too!

What Is a Golden Retriever?

What Is a Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are easily one of the top dog breeds in the United States. They have been in the top five for many years and usually alternate between third and fourth place. They originated in the late 1800s and were bred for the characteristics of a dog with a great nose, even-tempered, and loyal.

There was a legend that Golden Retrievers came from Russian sheepdogs, but that isn’t correct. They were actually started in Scotland. One man mixed a Tweed Water Spaniel with another dog, creating the Flat-coated retriever, and a setter. This man focused on the yellow-golden puppies and gave the others away. Eventually, he created the Golden Retriever.

They were recognized in 1911 by the Kennel Club in England and 1932 by the American Kennel Club.

As their name suggests, they were originally bred to be retrieving dogs. They have soft mouths that allow them to bring back animals to the hunters without causing damage. They are very loving, which makes them a poor watchdog, but a great family pet.

They also shed a lot, which means they need daily brushing to help get rid of some of the excess fur. Also in their name is their coloring. They are usually a golden color or shade of gold.

Why Are They Great Dog Breeds to Have?

Great Dog Breed

Golden retrievers are highly popular due to their personalities and ease of care, even for first-time dog owners. They are often considered eager-to-please, trustworthy, loyal, and outgoing. They are also very smart, and highly obedient making them easy to train for any task or just to give them an order.

They can learn a variety of things and their skilled noses make them good for service dogs, therapy dogs, drug-sniffing dogs, and more. Due to their easy-going nature and desire to make friends, they do struggle with being guard dogs or police dogs.

They don’t bark much and can adapt to any lifestyle as well, such as being an active outside dog or a lazy cuddling dog so long as they get a good walk or two a day.

How to Tell If a Dog Is a Golden Retriever or Not

how to tell

The most obvious thing that makes golden retrievers stand out is their coloring. They have beautiful and shaggy coats that are golden or close to golden in appearance. They are also fairly water-resistant with a thick undercoat and a slightly glossy appearance.

They are also medium in size, which makes them usually between 21 and 24 inches tall and somewhere between 55 and 75 pounds of healthy weight.

Another way to tell is through their ears. Their ears tend to be short and the tips shouldn’t fall lower than cheek length. However, they are big and floppy enough to cover the eyes of the dog folded that way.

The tail is another good way to tell. They often have a muscular base to the tail and the tip of their tail curls up and away from them. As they mature, they also get something known as feathering, which is long tufts of fur on the body. This feathering usually appears on the chest, legs, and tail in healthy and well-bred dogs.

9 Dog Breeds That Look Like Golden Retrievers

1. Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese Mountain Dog

Bernese mountain dogs don’t have the same coloring as golden retrievers and are a lot bigger than one, but they do have a similar body shape and appearance. In color though, they stand out. They have a long coat that most often comes in a mix of black, white, and rust. They also shed a lot, and have to be brushed daily.

Similar to goldens, they have soft and warm eyes. It can be hard to tell, but they also have a similar body structure under all of that thick fur.

Bernese Mountain Dogs were bred specifically to be calm. Though they are powerful, they don’t react negatively to changes or sudden new sounds and people. They love to learn new things and please their owners.

2. Leonberger


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Leonbergers are big shedders, shedding all year round and shedding excessively twice a year. Their fur is also waterproof and medium in length. They need to be brushed several times a week.

Additionally, they have big, kind eyes that are surrounded by a black or dark face, and get a brilliant mane of fur as they mature. They are large dogs, easily reaching over one hundred pounds.

3. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

This is the smallest of all retriever dogs. They look similar to the golden retriever but are smaller and have more of a red color with white patterns. They had a similar job to goldens, of getting birds out of the water.

They are a little smaller than goldens as well, ranging from 17 to 21 inches, and 37 to 44 pounds. They have webbed feet to better suit them in the water, and they are almond-shaped eyes that are always on alert.

4. Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retriever

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Flat-coated retrievers and golden retrievers have a lot in common as they are closely related. The main difference between them is that the flat-coated retriever is colored darkly compared to a golden. They share feathering, similar expressions, and have a similar history as hunting and retrieving dogs.

Their eyes are usually either brown or hazel and they have feathering of the fur, though only on the legs and tail.

5. Great Pyrenees

Great Pyrenees

The Great Pyrenees is a large, white dog. They are very fluffy and have waterproof coats. Though a majority of them are white, they also can occasionally have gray, brown, or tan.

Though they are fluffy and have thick coats, their fur does tend to be resistant to dirt and tangles. They do shed quite a lot though, especially in spring. This is due to their thick undercoat, which is soft. Their top coat is often longer and more coarse, and may have a bit of a wave to it.

They have dark brown eyes that are soft and gentle. Underneath all of their fur, they are muscular and built similarly to a golden. They also share a facial structure to a golden or a lab and may look very similar if you just take in their face and head.

6. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

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Like golden retrievers, the Chesapeake Bay retriever has a waterproof coat. They tend to be browner in coloring, but have a similar body shape and fur style. They are the shorthaired version of a retriever, with less shedding and grooming.

They are usually similar in size to a golden retriever, and range from 21 to 26 inches and 55 to 80 pounds. Instead of fluffy and silky fur, theirs are wiry and wavy. Their colors come in a range of dark browns to tan, without any golden coloration. They also usually shed about on average and don’t need a lot of extra grooming.

These retrievers are still hard-working dogs and usually require a job and more exercise to stay relatively calm. However, they do have an even temperament and don’t react even when they have a lot of energy. They are also a little more reserved than goldens with strangers.

7. English Springer Spaniel

English Springer Spaniel

While on the surface they don’t look super similar, many people compare the English springer spaniel to the golden retriever. This is mostly due to their eyes. The English springer spaniel has similar trusting eyes full of expression.

These dogs come in a range of different colors, including black, blue roan, and tricolor. Their fur is often medium in length and can be a little wavy. They also have feathering on their ears, legs, and chest.

They have soft and sweet faces with big, soulful eyes. The English springer spaniel also enjoys playing and spending time with people. They are very social and like to meet new people and hang out with children and adults alike.

8. Curly-Coated Retriever

Curly-Coated Retriever

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Like other retrievers, the curly-coated retriever has a build designed for hunting and retrieving. It is one of the oldest retriever breeds and is an amazing gundog and swimmer. They are usually darker in color, like black and liver, than the golden retriever and have a coat made from tight curls to help keep out the water.

They are about the same height and weight as golden retrievers as well, ranging from 23 to 27 inches and 50 to 90 pounds.

9. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retriever

The labrador retriever is considered the most popular dog breed in the United States and has kept that stance for many years. They have a double coat that is water-repellent and sheds quite a lot, just like the golden retriever. They also have a tail that is often described as similar to that of an otter, with it being thick and muscular, as well as coming down straight from the topline.

They have a similar history as hunting and retrieving dogs, so their movements and body shape are similar. They weigh anywhere between 55 and 80 pounds and can measure 21.5 to 24.5 inches tall on average. They are very social like golden retrievers as well, which means they don’t often do well as guard dogs.

Their eyes are the most similar to a golden, sharing the big expressive eyes that are also brown in color. Their fur is often yellowish, as that is the most popular color, but they can come in shades of brown or black as well.

5 Dog Breeds That Have Similar Personalities to Golden Retrievers

While a lot of the dogs above both act and look like golden retrievers, there are some breeds that look nothing like goldens, but still have a similar personality.

1. Bloodhound


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Bloodhounds are hard workers and have great noses that allow them to find anyone and anything. However, they are very calm in behavior so they make excellent family pets and are stable and calm around children.

2. Newfoundland


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Another rescue dog, the Newfoundland is gentle and stable, meant to help calm people during rescues, which makes them able to handle most situations inside a household. They are a little bigger than a golden, but are just as sweet-tempered, if not more so, and are patient with all members of their family.

3. Saint Bernard

Saint Bernard

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Saint Bernards are large dogs that are powerful and hardworking. However, they can stay calm under pressure and hectic situations. They aren’t often used as rescue dogs anymore but still have calm temperaments.

4. Beagle


Beagles are smaller versions of goldens when it comes to temperament. They are easily distracted and sometimes lazy, but they can handle changes in the environment and noises without reacting. They do still have a lot of hunting qualities though, and will often run off and get lost while chasing potential prey.

5. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

These spaniels are small and enjoy being lap dogs. They are affectionate and loving, but because of their size, they can’t always be around children that would handle them roughly. Even so, they are usually very relaxed and calm.

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