In the guide below, we compare the German Shepherd vs the Golden Retriever dog breeds.
We outline what the main differences between them might be, and provide other important information on each breed.
(NOTE: the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified vet or animal expert for an expert opinion in regards to your pet/s)
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: Differences, & Breed Comparison
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Origin/History
They were bred from different Shepherd breed dogs in Germany at the time (reportedly a sheep type dog, and also a service type dog), with the intention of having ideal working dog traits and working ability.
GSDs as a breed belong to the ‘herding dog’ category.
Today, GSD’s are used in a range of working fields, compete as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.
The first Golden Retrievers were bred in Scotland in the 1800’s – several reports indicate that it was sometime between 1850 and 1870
They were bred from the crossing of Flat-coated Retrievers with Tweed Water Spaniels
They were bred to be a hunting dog and retriever dog – capable of retrieving hunting game like birds from the land and also the water
They might be considered sporting dogs, and also companion dogs.
Today, Golden Retrievers are widely used as pets and family dogs, along with being bird dogs, service dogs, companion dogs, and working in a range of other fields
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Size
Males might average 24-26 inches in height (60-65 cms), and 66-88 lbs in weight (30-40 kg)
Females might average 22-24 inches in height (55-60 cms), and 49-71 lbs in weight (22-32 kg)
Golden Retrievers might be classified as a medium to large sized dog breed
Males might average 22-24 inches in height (56-61 cms), and females might average 20-22 inches in height (51-56cms)
They might average between 55-75 lbs in weight (25-34 kgs)
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Lifespan
Although, some reports indicate some GSDs may even live up to 15 years of age
A Golden Retriever might have an average lifespan of anywhere between 10-12 years, with some living longer
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Popularity
Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds based on dog registration data.
The 2021 list shows:
– German Shepherds as the 4th most popular dog breed
– Golden Retrievers as the 3rd most popular dog breed
Of course though, this is only one rankings list, from one organisation, in one country.
Other lists in other locations may look different.
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Appearance, Features, & Colors
German Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– Black and tan, or sometimes black and red coat color and saddle pattern (although other colors exist too)
– Erect ears/ears that stand up
– An angulated back and dropped hips (although body shape differs between the individual lines of GSDs)
– Generally medium length hair/plush coat, with a double coat (although, short and long haired GSDs exist too)
Having said that though, different German Shepherds have different physical features and appearances.
Golden Retrievers might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– The main coat colors are light golden, dark golden, and cream
– Naturally floppy ears
– A well proportioned body, with a narrower head than some other breeds that have squarer heads
– A long, fine, straight or wavy, double coat
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Temperament
Ultimately, a dog’s personality or temperament might be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics and breeding being key factors
So, this is why the temperament and personality of individual dogs don’t always match the general temperament descriptions found online
However, a generalized description of the temperament of each dog breed, according to either parts of the standard for each breed, or, what they were originally bred to be, might be:
Intelligent, obedient and easier to train, loyal, confident, protective, and may be slightly aloof (without being aggressive)
May have the general temperament of a working breed dog or herding dog
Friendly, playful, loving, tolerant, and even/stable temperament
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Intelligence
Intelligence testing for dogs can test for different things, and can also have limitations.
So, intelligence rankings for different breeds might be viewed as a guide only, and not definitive
One online ranking indicated that German Shepherds rank as the 3rd most intelligent dog breed
The same ranking report indicated that Golden Retrievers rank as the 4th most intelligent dog breed
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Bite Force
The bite force of different dog breeds might be a generalized measurement only, and not definitive or comprehensive.
However, when referencing one ‘strongest dog bite force’ list, where bite force is expressed in psi (pounds of force per square inch), the bite force of each of these two breeds might be:
– German Shepherds might have a bite force of 238 psi
– The Golden Retriever might have a bite force of 190 psi
German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – Cost/Price
The cost to buy a specific breed of dog depends on the country it’s bought from, along with a wide range of other factors.
Some general information on buying each breed though might include:
Buying From Breeders
According to different online information at the time of publishing this guide, the general cost to buy each of these breeds from breeders in the US might be:
– German Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800 mark
– Golden Retriever
Anywhere from $500 up to $5000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $1000 mark
Buying from a breeder may not be the only option to own each of these dog breeds.
Adopting or rescuing may be other options too.
The cost to adopt or rescue a dog can be significantly cheaper than buying from a breeder in some instances, although there’s usually still a basic cost to adopt/rescue a dog.
Buying a dog that is being re-homed might another option to buy a dog.
The cost for rehomed dogs can vary.
More Information On German Shepherds
It’s worth noting that some of the information in the guide above about German Shepherds comes from our ‘German Shepherd Breed Information Guide‘, which also has additional information about the German Shepherd breed.
TheDailyShep.com are not veterinarians, or animal professionals/experts. Information provided is for informational purposes only – it is not a substitute for professional or qualified advice.
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