German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever

Compare the German Shepherd to the Golden Retriever. Use the tool below to compare temperament, size, personality, maintenance requirements, and everything else between German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

Quick Summary

Below are a few quick comparisons between the two breeds.
  • Owner Experience - Both the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever are good choices for new or inexperienced owners.
  • Children - Both breeds are child friendly, but the Golden Retriever is the most friendly between the breeds.
  • Grooming - The Golden Retriever requires moderate grooming, but the German Shepherd has high grooming needs.
  • Barking - Both breeds will bark frequently, but the German Shepherd has the highest tendency to bark between the two.
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German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever
German Shepherd Dog Breed
Golden Retriever
Breed NameGerman ShepherdGolden Retriever
General Details
Breed TypePurebredPurebred
Is Hypo­allergenicNoNo
Lifespan10-14 yrs.10-12 yrs.
Height22-26 in.21-24 in.
Weight75-95 lb55-80 lb
IntelligenceHighHigh
History
Origin CountryGermanyUK (Scotland)
Origin Year1899 AD1865 AD
Temperament
Overall FriendlinessGoodVery Good
Family FriendlyVery GoodVery Good
Kid FriendlyGoodVery Good
Pet FriendlyVery GoodVery Good
Stranger FriendlyBelow AverageVery Good
Personality
  • Affectionate
  • Loving
  • Does Not Like Being Alone
  • Willing To Please
  • Affectionate
  • Loving
  • Willing To Please
Living Environment
ApartmentYesYes
IndoorYesYes
Small YardYesYes
Medium YardYesYes
Large YardYesYes
Temperature Tolerance ¹40°F to 85°F30°F to 80°F
Barks/HowlsVery OftenOften
Exercise Needs
Energy LevelHighHigh
Exercise RequiredHighMedium-High
Top Running Speed30 mph25 mph
StrengthHighHigh
Grooming Needs
Coat Main­tenanceMedium-HighMedium-High
SheddingHighMedium-High
DanderHighMedium
Drool AmountMediumNone

¹This is estimated min/max temperature range for a healthy adult dog. Dogs that live indoors, puppies, seniors, unwell dogs, and/or dogs with improperly groomed coats may overheat sooner and get cold more quickly.
Instincts & Behavior Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdGolden Retriever
Breed Mentality
Dominant/AlphaNoNo
Family/PackYesYes
IndependentNoNo
Breed Focus
Distracted EasilyNoNo
AverageNoNo
Focused & PatientYesYes
Breed Instincts
AggressionAverageBelow Average
Burrow/DiggingBelow AverageBelow Average
ChasingBelow AverageHigh
Follow CommandsHighHigh
FightingBelow AverageBelow Average
GuardingHighBelow Average
HerdingHighBelow Average
HuntingHighHigh
ProtectionHighBelow Average
Remove VerminBelow AverageBelow Average
SleddingBelow AverageBelow Average
WatchHighBelow Average
Health Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdGolden Retriever
Lifespan
Lifespan10-14 yrs.10-12 yrs.
Common Health Issues
AllergiesYesYes
BlindnessYesNo
BloatYesYes
CancerYesNo
CataractsYesYes
Cherry EyeYesNo
Chronic DiarrheaYesNo
Cruciate Ligament RuptureYesNo
Cushing's SyndromeYesNo
Degenerative MyelopathyYesNo
Demodectic MangeYesNo
DiabetesYesNo
Digestive ProblemsYesNo
Elbow DysplasiaYesYes
EpilepsyYesYes
Exocrine Pancreatic InsufficiencyYesNo
Heart DiseaseYesNo
HemangiosarcomaNoYes
Hemophilia AYesNo
Hemophilia BYesNo
Hip DysplasiaYesYes
Hypertrophic OsteodystrophyYesNo
HypothyroidismNoYes
Lens LuxationYesNo
LupusYesNo
MegaesophagusYesNo
Myasthenia GravisYesNo
Nail Bed DiseaseYesNo
OsteochondrosisYesNo
Osteochondrosis DissecansNoYes
OsteosarcomaNoYes
PannusYesNo
PanosteitisYesNo
ParalysisYesNo
Perianal FistulaYesNo
Progressive Retinal AtrophyYesYes
Retinal DysplasiaYesNo
SeborrheaYesNo
Subvalvular Aortic StenosisNoYes
VitiligoYesNo
Von Willebrand's DiseaseYesYes
Wobbler's SyndromeYesNo
Appearance Comparison
Breed NameGerman ShepherdGolden Retriever
Coat
FurYesYes
Coat Type
Double CoatYesYes
Coat Texture
StraightYesNo
WavyNoYes
Coat Length(s)
ShortYesNo
MediumYesYes
Coat Color(s)
Bi-colorYesNo
BlackYesNo
Black & TanYesNo
Black & CreamYesNo
Black & RedYesNo
Black & SilverYesNo
BlueYesNo
GrayYesNo
LiverYesNo
SableYesNo
WhiteYesNo
Dark GoldenNoYes
GoldNoYes
Light GoldenNoYes