10 Dog Breeds Similar to the Golden Retriever

Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are one of the most popular dogs. The source of their popularity is no mystery. After all, Golden Retrievers are loyal, intelligent, and eager to please, all of which are desirable characteristics wrapped up in a single adorable package. If people are more interested in Golden Retriever-like dogs for whatever reason, they should know they have plenty of options.


1. Beagle

Beagles have excellent noses even by dog standards. That makes sense because they started as scent hounds specializing in hares and rabbits. Nowadays, Beagles are more popular as pets. However, some remain hunting dogs, while others have found new roles as detection dogs. The AKC says Beagles are particularly well-suited for the latter because they are small, unintimidating dogs, which is beneficial when working around people scared of dogs.

Of course, Beagles have other upsides that make them well-suited for working as detection dogs. They are intelligent but easy to train. Furthermore, Beagles are good-natured, even-tempered creatures that are neither aggressive nor timid. Meanwhile, these dogs are also well-suited for being pets because they get along well with children, cats, and dogs. Exceptions exist, but exceptions are exceptions.

Please note that Beagles are pack animals. That means they are prone to suffering from separation anxiety when they are on their own for too long. Similarly, Beagles need regular exercise, though they aren’t as bad as one of the dog breeds that need to exhaust themselves before resting. Physical movement is also necessary for preventing inactivity-induced weight gain in these dogs.

Chesapeake Bay Retriever

2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers look like other retrievers. For example, they have webbed feet. Similarly, they have water-resistant coats. Amusingly, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers even have wavy hair, which makes them similar to Golden Retrievers but not Labrador Retrievers. With that said, these dogs are supposed to come in either brown, sedge, or deadgrass. Interested individuals can use that to distinguish them from their counterparts, though this is far from being a perfect method because there is still some color overlap between these retrievers.

Moving on, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers came into existence in Maryland. They descend from a pair of St. John’s Water Dogs rescued from a foundering ship. Over time, dog breeders in Maryland and the surrounding region developed Chesapeake Bay Retrievers into working dogs of remarkable ability. The same characteristics that made them capable assistants to fishers and hunters enabled them to transition smoothly to being companions. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers excel in this role for much the same reasons as Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers.

Cocker Spaniel

3. Cocker Spaniel

People use Cocker Spaniel to refer to two dog breeds. One is the American Cocker Spaniel. The other is the English Cocker Spaniel. Annoyingly, Americans mean American Cocker Spaniels when they say Cocker Spaniels, while the British and the rest of the world mean English Cocker Spaniels when they say Cocker Spaniels. As a result, people need to know the context to avoid mistaking one of these two dog breeds for the other.

Chances are good interested individuals can guess the two dog breeds are close relatives. Specifically, English Cocker Spaniels descend from a dog named Obo, while American Cocker Spaniels descend from Obo’s son Obo II. Over time, the two dog breeds have diverged, not least because people used one to hunt Eurasian woodcocks and the other to hunt American woodcocks. Thanks to that, American Cocker Spaniels and English Cocker Spaniels have notable differences. For instance, the latter tend to have a narrower head plus a narrower chest.

Regardless, Cocker Spaniels have earned a fine reputation for being lively yet easy-going animals. They are also much smaller than Golden Retrievers. As a result, Cocker Spaniels are a good alternative for people concerned about their dogs being too big for their homes.

Flat Coat Retriever

4. Flat-Coated Retriever

Flat-Coated Retrievers came into existence in England. However, they might be related to Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. That is because Flat-Coated Retrievers might be descendants of St. John Water Dogs. If true, that would make them distant cousins to Chesapeake Bay Retrievers. Besides this, these dogs are also descendants of Newfoundland dogs, Collies, and Setters.

Appearance-wise, Flat-Coated Retrievers look like Golden Retrievers, which makes sense because the two are also related. Still, it is easy to distinguish them from their more popular counterparts in most cases. After all, the most common colors for Flat-Coated Retrievers are black, liver, and yellow. The last is seen in a negative light. Showsight says yellow Flat-Coated Retrievers are not allowed to compete in conformation, which reveals much about official attitudes while saying little. In any case, Flat-Coated Retrievers are also known for having a distinctive head shape, though that isn’t enough to prevent many people from misidentifying them as Golden Retrievers anyway.

Personality-wise, Flat-Coated Retrievers are confident, outgoing dogs. Their energy means interested individuals need to provide them with plenty of physical movement and mental stimulation. Otherwise, Flat-Coated Retrievers will entertain themselves on their own, which tends to mean bad things for their surroundings.


5. Goldendoodle

Sometimes, people want a dog with the best characteristics from not one but two dog breeds. As a result, they seek out designer dogs, which are just mixed-breed dogs descended from those two dog breeds. Generally speaking, designer dogs are first-generation mixed-breed dogs. The lack of universal standards means interested individuals can find multi-generation mixed-breed dogs. That is useful if they are looking for a designer dog closer to one side of its ancestry than the other.

Naturally, dog breeders use popular dog breeds for creating designer dogs more than their unpopular counterparts. Due to that, there are dozens and dozens of Golden Retriever-descended designer dogs. One of the best-known is the Goldendoodle, which makes sense because dog breeders created it using the popular Golden Retriever and the popular Poodle.

Designer dogs aren’t consistent in the same way that purebred dogs are. Still, Golden Retrievers and Poodles share a lot of personality traits. That means Goldendoodles tend to be intelligent, obedient, and good-natured dogs that enjoy human company. Put together, these characteristics make them great family dogs.

Irish Setter

6. Irish Setter

Like retrievers, setters are also gun dogs. In their case, they point out the position of prey by entering into a kind of crouch called a “set,” meaning they are similar but not the same as pointers. Regardless, setters tend to have many of the same upsides as retrievers. Irish Setters stand as proof of that.

For those curious, Irish Setters are good at taking instructions because of their intelligence and their obedience. Furthermore, they are affectionate towards humans, so much so that this characteristic is included in their breed standards. Unfortunately, Irish Setters don’t necessarily get along well with either small children or small animals. They might be too boisterous for the former. As for small animals, they are hunting dogs with hunting instincts, meaning they might go after those small animals. Still, socialization can work wonders.

Other than this, people should be fine so long as they meet the Irish Setter’s needs. Energetic dogs need exercise. Similarly, intelligent dogs need stimulation. Irish Setters are energetic and intelligent, meaning they need both of these things. Without one or both of these things, well, bored dogs are also destructive dogs. On top of these, interested individuals should know Irish Setters are highly sociable animals. They don’t handle being alone very well. Separation anxiety is a common consequence.


7. Kuvasz

The Kuvasz looks a bit like the Golden Retriever. However, that is rather misleading because it is nowhere near as friendly as the latter. That isn’t a bad case. The two dog breeds do different things even if some of their modern responsibilities overlap.

Historical nomads were often pastoralists because that enabled them to bring much of their food production with them. As such, chances are good the Hungarians had both livestock and livestock guardians when they settled in the Pannonian Basin. The Kuvasz descends from these dogs, though its roots might reach even further back because of preexisting dogs in the region breeding with Hungarian dogs.

In any case, Dogtime says the Kuvasz is a challenging dog. First, it is intelligent but independent because its job as a livestock guardian required the ability to make decisions without human oversight. As a result, interested individuals need to know how to take charge. Without that, their Kuvasz won’t listen to them. Second, it takes its role as a livestock guardian very seriously. That is problematic because the Kuvasz won’t necessarily interpret events the same way humans do. For instance, there is a real risk that it will interpret children roughhousing as an attack, meaning its owner should always be present in such situations to prevent any potential complications. Third, the Kuvasz is an active dog that doesn’t react well when forced to stay cooped up indoors. Bored dogs are often destructive dogs. A bored Kuvasz can be even more problematic than most dogs in this regard because it is so formidable.

Labrador Retriever

8. Labrador Retriever

Labrador Retrievers trace their roots to Newfoundland in the 1830s. By that point, the British had already broken Labrador off of Lower Canada before transferring it to Newfoundland, so it was included in the latter. Unsurprisingly, the ancestors of Labrador Retrievers were water dogs. Yes, there is more to Newfoundland than fishing. Even so, there can be no doubt the place focused on fishing before the collapse of its once-rich fisheries in the late 20th century. Still, chances are good interested individuals can tell Labrador Retrievers are gundogs, which isn’t the kind of thing associated with fishers. That change happened when ships introduced the ancestors of Labrador Retrievers to the United Kingdom where the British nobility started breeding them with British hunting dogs.

The result is one of the most versatile and popular dog breeds on the planet. For instance, The Labrador Retriever has been the most popular dog breed in the United States for more than three decades, which is a record-breaking run. These dogs are smart enough and obedient enough to make good gundogs. Those same characteristics also make them well-suited for other roles such as pets, guide dogs, and therapy dogs.

Miniature Golden Retriever

9. Miniature Golden Retriever

Miniature Golden Retrievers aren’t an official dog breed. Instead, they tend to be Golden Retriever-like dogs that are smaller than actual Golden Retrievers. The most common way to produce them is by breeding Golden Retrievers with smaller dog breeds such as Miniature Poodles. As a result, these dogs tend to be similar to their namesakes.

Interested individuals should still be careful when seeking out a Miniature Golden Retriever. They need to know exactly what they are getting because the lack of universal standards means the name Miniature Golden Retriever is more a marketing term than anything else. Moreover, they need to check whether they can trust the dog breed or not. Fortunately, The Spruce Pets and other sources can provide them with questions to ask and other methods to gauge their chosen candidates, thus making the task that much more manageable.

Nova Scotia Duck Tollin Retriever

10. Nova Scotia Duck Tollin Retriever

The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is yet another retriever from what is now Eastern Canada. For context, Nova Scotia sits southwest of Newfoundland, which in turn, sits southeast of Labrador. Despite this, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever stands out by being the smallest of the retrievers, though it is sometimes confused for a Miniature Golden Retriever. Other than that, it is notable because of its role in the hunt.

In short, the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is supposed to draw the curiosity of waterfowl through its shenanigans while its master waits nearby. When the prey animals approach, the hunter calls the dog back, scares the waterfowl into flying up, and then takes a shot. If successful, the dog then retrieves the prey animal, thus explaining its name as a tolling retriever.

These dogs are similar to Golden Retrievers in many respects. That said, they are more cautious around strangers. Even so, exposing these dogs to new stimuli is critical. Partly, that is because they crave mental stimulation as much as they crave physical movement. However, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers also need socialization to prevent them from going after cats and other smaller animals.

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