Poodle Vs Golden Retriever: Which Breed Is Right For You?


Both the golden retriever and the poodle are intelligent, loyal breeds that make great dogs for families of all shapes and sizes. Both make wonderful pets in their own right, but there are some significant differences between the two breeds of dogs.

Poodles are great for owners with smaller homes, first-time dog owners, and those concerned with allergies and shedding. Golden retrievers are a good choice for those looking for an addition to a large or small family, are willing to accept abundant shedding, and are prepared to offer frequent playtime.

While no one trait makes a dog objectively better than the other, they both have a lot of shining qualities. In this article, we will look at the positives and negatives of each breed. Discovering what makes each dog breed special will help you decide which dog is the better pick for you and your family.

Poodle vs. Golden Retriever Attributes at a Glance

This chart provides a quick glance comparison between the poodle and Golden Retriever breeds:

PoodleGolden Retriever
Kid FriendlyYesYes
GroomingMedium – High maintenanceHigh maintenance
HypoallergenicYesno
Train-abilityEasyModerate to Easy
TemperamentAffectionate, Alert, Energetic, Intelligent, Instinctual, Loving, Loyal, Playful, TrainableSweet, Peaceful, willing to please, Cheerful, Friendly, Intelligent, Loving, cheerful, Social, affectionate, Playful
Coat ColorsBlack Sable, Silver, White, Black and White, Brown, Apricot, Red, Cream, GreyLight Gold, Dark Gold, Cream, Gold
SheddingLowMedium-High
Life Span12 – 19 Years10-12 Years
Energy LevelMedium-HighMedium=High
Breed Avg. Height/WeightToy Poodle– 10 inches tall and weighs 6 to 9 pounds
Miniature Poodle– 11 to 15 inches tall and weighs 15 to 17 pounds
Standard Poodle– 15 to 22 inches tall and weighs 45 to 70 pounds
21 to 24 Inches and 55 to 80 Pounds

Golden Retrievers: Positives and Negatives of Ownership

Golden Retrievers are an AKC-recognized breed, and in 2019, they were recognized as the third most popular breed in the United States. They are a medium-sized dog with a muscular frame and are instantly recognizable for their luxurious, golden coat. 

Advantages of Owning a Golden Retriever

Golden Retrievers are popular the world over as a result of their loyal and loving dispositions. Undoubtedly, the merits of these noble and obedient dogs will endear them to your heart.

The positives of owning a golden retriever include:

1. Great Attitudes

When you picture a Golden Retriever, the chances are that you imagine a happy-go-lucky dog that wants to be friends with everyone in the world. That’s because this is how most golden retrievers are. These dogs are naturally calm, friendly, and have an overwhelmingly good nature. You would be hard-pressed to find a nicer dog.

2. Smart and Trainable

Are golden retrievers smarter than poodles? Not quite, but they are pretty darn close. Combine that with their great attitude, and you have a dog that is quick to learn and makes an excellent companion animal or service dog. They are always happy to serve.

3. Family Matters

To a golden retriever, few things are as important as family. They are one of the best breeds for large families with lots of adults, kids, and animals. It’s almost as if they were bred to be everyone’s best friend from the start. If you have a big family, a golden retriever might be the dog for you.

4. Golden Retrievers Play Well With Others

And not just humans. Golden retrievers make excellent animal companions across nearly all species. Their natural gregariousness makes them curious and ready to show affection to everyone and everything they meet. They are animal extroverts; the more, the merrier.

5. A Playful Attitude

Golden retrievers are famous for their puppy-like attitude because it lasts throughout their entire life. These dogs just don’t know how to turn off their inner puppy. Most senior golden Retrievers will still retain their love for play, silly behavior, and that famous perpetual grin. 

6. Good Manners

Golden retrievers are not big barkers and are a relatively quiet breed. Why bark and growl when you can be everyone’s friend?

7. Good Guard Dogs

While they might not be the greatest guard dogs in the canine kingdom, golden retrievers do make better guardians than poodles. Golden retrievers are bigger, stronger, and more protective over their family than the poodle breed. Though, you still can’t entirely count on the world’s most friendly dog to be that strict of a sentinel.

Downsides to Owning a Golden Retriever

While golden retrievers are wonderful family dogs, there are a few health and grooming issues all potential owners should be aware of.

The negatives of owning a golden retriever include:

1. Susceptible to Becoming Overweight

Golden retrievers are highly motivated by food, and their muscular bodies and high energy lifestyles make them constantly ready to chow down. This means they are prone to overeating and obesity.

2. Prone to Health Problems

Responsible breeders will do their best to minimize the risk of health problems, but they can’t catch them all. Golden retrievers are prone to hip dysplasia, among other health problems common to their genetic lineage.

3. A Coat That Sheds

This is where golden retrievers lose to poodles. Goldens shed a lot, and they have two seasonal sheds that can make a major mess. If you are comparing these two breeds because of allergies, take note.

4. Considerable Exercise Needs

These buff dogs have high energy, and golden retrievers need daily exercise to stay healthy and happy. At least an hour of activity every day is necessary. This also makes them not so great for small apartment living. They like to roam and play and if they don’t have access, they can suffer.

Poodles: Positives and Negatives of Ownership

Poodles have been around for a long time. Poodles are an AKC recognized breed and commonly respected as one of the smartest breeds of all time, coming in second after the Border Collie. Wondering why a poodle might be the right choice?

The Benefits of owning a Poodle

Poodles are loyal, gentle, and very easy to train. There is a lot to love about these elegant dogs!

The positives of poodle ownership include:

1. Supreme Intelligence

Poodles excel at being smart. Their excellent pedigree has provided them with the ability to adapt to nearly any situation and they can learn almost any type of training quickly. And they love to learn. Bonding with your poodle overtraining is just as rewarding to them as it is to you.

2. Hypoallergenic Coat

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, poodles are about as close as they come. Their single layer of hair, not fur, lacks an undercoat. Their curly hair catches most hair fall, this means lease hair mess in your home and less dander spreading throughout the house. Goodbye, sneezing!

3. Lots of Variety

While golden retrievers typically come in one shape and size, poodles have a lot of variety. Poodles come in three sizes; toy, miniature, and standard, which gives you a wide variety and dimensions with the same great personality. Not only that, but there are different color combinations and endless ways to manage those curly coats. If you are looking for a dog that can really meld with your personality, a poodle may be prime.

4. Masters of Nonverbal Communication

Poodles are an emotionally powerful breed. They are capable of reading body language, emotion, and stress in their owners and reacting accordingly, giving cuddles and affection as needed. If you want a companion animal that overflows with love for its owner, a poodle is your dog.

5. Poodles do well in small spaces

While poodles still have demanding physical and mental stimulation requirements, poodles tend to do better in smaller homes than a golden retriever would. They certainly love space, but if they have their human and enough entertainment, they are content.

Downsides of Owning a Poodle

While poodles are suitable for many families and situations, not all people are willing, or able, to deal with the behavioral and mental needs of these sensitive dogs.

The Negatives of owning a poodle include:

1. Sensitivity

While most poodles are calm, quiet, and inquisitive creatures, sometimes they can be high strung. Some poodles can be quite nervous in new situations and around loud or sudden stimuli. This seems to be a trait that can run in lines through the breed, and good breeders should be able to steer you clear of this.

2. Frequent Barking

Poodles are a relatively quiet breed, but compared to a golden retriever, they are more likely to be barkers. 

3. High Maintenance

A poodle’s low shedding coat comes with a price. They need regular grooming and baths to make sure their coat doesn’t matt. And, their hair never stops growing, so regular trips to the groomers are a necessity. But, most owners consider this a small price to pay for having a home devoid of shed hair.

4. The Need for Regular Mental Stimulation

Much like golden retrievers, poodles need a lot of stimulation to live healthy, long lives. However, it may require a bit more than simple play. Because they are so smart, you may need to regularly change up the routine to keep them excited and keep their brilliant minds working. Things like obstacle courses, trick training, puzzles, and exploring can take up a lot of your time, though they can be massively rewarding for both of you.

Which Dog Should I Get – A Poodle or Golden Retriever?

Both breeds are among the most popular breeds and for a good reason. They are wonderful, intelligent, loving animals. If you’re forced to choose just one, you might consider:

  • Poodles are great for smaller homes, first-time dog owners, and those that are concerned about allergies and shedding. 
  • Golden Retrievers are a good choice for those looking for an addition to a large or small family, don’t mind some serious shedding, and are prepared to play.

Then again, why not choose both. They will definitely get along.

Brent Hartman

I'm Brent Hartman. I've been a dog lover my entire life and have owned many animals over the years. When my black lab Angus passed away, I was looking for another friend to share my life with. As a result of my research, I've come to love poodles and wanted to share some of what I've learned with you. Whether you're looking to adopt a poodle, or already own one, I created Poodle report to be the ultimate guide to help you find the answers you need.

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