German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever – A Detailed Comparison Of Both!

Ever thought about owning a rather large, intelligent and dependable dog that was good with children and easy to train?

Ever wondered the difference between a German Shepherd and a Golden Retriever and which one would be better suited for your lifestyle?

As a major dog-lover with a keen interest in the 2 breeds, I’ll provide you with a comparison insight into these lovable dogs, which may help you in choosing which one will be right for you.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Size: Which is Bigger?

Both dogs are large in size with German Shepherds weighing up to 40kg and reaching a height of up to 65cm.

Golden Retrievers can weigh up to a maximum of 34kg and measure up to 61cm in height on average.

If you’re after a particularly large and heavy dog, the German Shepherd will be the best fit in this case, although both will require a lot of room, so make sure you have it!

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: How do They Behave?

A large brown and black dogGerman Shepherds are a bundle of energy and will need frequent exercise. This goes hand-in-hand with them being exceptionally easy to train.

These highly intelligent creatures need plenty of space to roam around in and can tolerate being alone for relatively short periods.

In the right hands, these canines are incredibly loyal to their families, trustworthy and dependant and are reasonably good with children.

However, they do need an expert firm yet gentle hand so that they recognise their owner as being the ‘alpha.’ German Shepherds are not ideal for first-time dog owners, in this case.

Golden Retrievers, in a similar way, are high maintenance with tons of energy and are easy to train.

Totally reliable and intelligent, this breed is brilliant around children and are highly sociable – getting along with other dogs and pets, also.

Since Retrievers tend to be affectionate and kind, they are considered to be one of the top choice of breeds all over the world, rarely showing any aggression towards other animals or people.

As such, these guys make a wonderful choice for first-time dog owners because of their easy-going nature and ease of training.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: What’s Their Life Expectancy?

Both breeds can live up to around 12/13 years so both are a great choice for younger children to grow up with.

That being said, German Shepherds are notorious for suffering from hereditary conditions such as elbow and hip dysplasia, as well as haemophilia in the males.

In contrast, Retrievers are generally healthy and robust but can also inherit genetic conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, as well as a number of eye issues.

Tests are available for both breed of dog if you have any intention of breeding them.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: What do They Look Like?

Golden retriever dogSo, let’s look at how we can determine between a German Shepherd and a Golden Retriever:

Retrievers are considered to hold a kind and intelligent expression. Anyone who has owned one, will certainly recognise this.

They have deep, wide muzzles and black noses with dark brown eyes set far apart.

Their well-sprung rib cages are covered in a water-resistant double coat that is either cream, gold or golden.

This breed moves with an enormous amount of strength and power, covering a lot of ground with every stride.

German Shepherd’s come mid to large in size and are generally longer in their bodies rather than being tall.

Muscular with excellent weather-resistant coats, German Shepherds are well-proportioned with wedge-shaped nuzzles and domed foreheads.

Their ears are fairly large and set high and erect on their heads. Their long, muscular necks are usually carried at an angle but are stretched higher when they are excited.

Their hindquarters are powerful and muscular and the pads on their feet are well-cushioned.

German Shepherds can have 2 types of coat: either long or short. Their outer coats are usually straight and dense, but their undercoats are much thicker.

Coats come in a variety of different colours including, black, black and gold, black and red, gold, grey, silver, and sable as well as a combination of these colours, as examples.

Like Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds cover a lot of ground when they run with a long reach of their front feet maintaining the shape of their backlines.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: How Much Grooming do They Require?

German Shepherd dogThe long, luxurious coats of Retrievers understandably require a lot of attention and grooming as these guys shed copious amounts.

Brushing every day is essential, therefore, as this reduces the amount of shedding.

Keep their nails trim and watch out for the hair that grows in between their toes and pads of their paws otherwise too much of it can cause the hair to ball up which will be uncomfortable for them.

Ensure that their ears are kept dry to avoid any infections.

Golden Retrievers are drawn to water like a moth to the flame, so be warned: your Retriever will be in his element when rolling around in muddy puddles or dunking himself in the lake.

They LOVE wet weather, so be ready for regular bathing, but be sure to use dog-specific shampoo to avoid drying out their skin.

In much the same way, German Shepherds shed heavily due to their thick, double coats. Daily grooming is just as important for these guys.

Try to go easy on bathtime to help maintain the dog’s natural pH balance and have the appropriate grooming kit to hand.

You’ll need: flea comb, dematting comb, double bristle brush, nail clippers, round-ended scissors and a toothbrush with appropriate dog toothpaste.

If you would like to keep grooming costs down and want to learn how to groom your dog yourself we have created a great article here!

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: What do They Eat?

German Shepherds will be a little more expensive than other breeds for a number of reasons, but in particular, where food is concerned.

As a high-energy dog, they will need a large amount of quality, nutritious food that is high in protein.

While the adults won’t be fussy eaters, they do need a rich and fatty diet to eliminate the risk of pancreatic issues later on in life.

That being said, it’s best not to give them too many fatty foods when they’re in the later stages of their life.

Golden retrieverSimilarly, Golden Retrievers are not fussy eaters which can actually result in this breed being prone to obesity as they like their food a bit too much.

Make sure that these guys get plenty of fresh air, clean water and lots and lots of exercise!

Breeders will be able to inform you of the diet that they’ve put your Retriever on, so that you can maintain this at home.

A sudden change in their diet can lead to stomach upsets. Older breeds will need a good quality and varied diet containing essential nutrients and low-calorie treats.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever: Are They Good With Children?

As the nurturing type, Golden Retrievers are sociable creatures and will quickly familiarise themselves with all sorts of people and animals if they are allowed to socialise from pups.

They are extremely tolerant of children, especially young children, which makes these guys a wonderful addition to the family home.

Of course, this does not mean that dogs and children shouldn’t be unsupervised.

Always take care when newly introducing your dog into the home to ensure that younger children do not get over-excited and frighten the pup.

With barely an aggressive trait, Retrievers are wonderful around other pets and dogs and will usually remain calm and well-behaved in most situations.

Likewise, German Shepherds are generally calm and tolerant of other people, particularly if they are well-bred.

However, excitable puppies will eventually grow into very large dogs so care should be taken to prevent them from knocking over a toddler in the home during playtime.

Again, take extra care when first introducing your German Shepherd to children and other pets, and never leave them along together.

Final Thoughts: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever

A proud DogSo, there you have it. Each dog in a nutshell.

As a first-time dog-owner, I would strongly advise getting a Golden Retriever which will allow you to get used to the efforts required for training, grooming, socialising and everyday care.

German Shepherds have boundless energy and need a firm hand in order to teach them ‘who’s boss.’

An experienced dog-owner will much enjoy the delights and endless loyalty of a German Shepherd, whilst a first-timer and their families will experience a great deal of love and affection from a Retriever.

Since both dogs are long-haired and double-coated, it’s worth noting that there will undoubtedly be a huge amount of shedding involved which requires time and energy in maintaining.

This may be a particular concern for asthma-sufferers so do make sure to take necessary measures if you are planning on taking home one of these breeds.

Both highly intelligent dogs that need an enormous amount of exercise and plenty of space, these breeds can be fairly expensive to feed and maintain.

However, with the right amount of training and a good family to take care of it, the rewards will be great, if you choose the right kind of dog for you and your home – not to mention your bank balance!

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