Two of the most popular dog breeds for adoption are the German Shepherd and Golden Retriever. Is it even possible to choose between the two? Learning about each breed’s temperament, training needs, dietary needs, and general health is a fantastic place to start.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever

The two breeds of dogs that are most popular pets in America are German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers.

Even though the Golden Retriever is the ideal family pet, the American Kennel Club reported that German Shepherds were more well-liked in 2020. The German Shepherd has ranked at #2 or #3 since at least 2013, trailing the Golden slightly.

Why are these dogs so appealing? Their personalities and appearances differ. Additionally, their histories are unique. Both of them are exceptional qualities that add value to any home.

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These canines are devoted, playful, and excellent with kids. We’ll go into more detail about their traits in this article, so you may choose the breed of dog that’s right for you or learn more about the various breeds.

Comparing The Two Breeds

Golden Retriever German Shepherd Dog
Height 21 – 24 inches Height 22 – 26 inches
Weight 55 – 75 pounds Weight 50 – 90 pounds
Temperament Loyal, intelligent, and friendly Temperament Smart, brave, and confident
Energy Smile Energy High
Lifespan 10 – 12 years Lifespan 12 – 14 years
Price $1200 & above Price $1200 & above


German Shepherd History

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german shepherd – image by Sofia guaico from Unsplash

Some of the most recognizable police and military canines are German Shepherds.

The Germans created this dog to herd sheep. You should know that this breed was not born to become police dogs right away. German Shepherds are a relatively young breed despite resembling wolves in terms of body structure and ears.

Golden Retriever History

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golden retriever – image by Justin Aikin from Unsplash

One of the most well-liked breeds of family dogs is the golden retriever.

The Golden Retriever is a sporting breed of dog developed in the 19th century in Scotland and England. Gamekeepers created the breed so they could use them in the waterfowl hunt.

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Their goal was to make the “ideal gun dog,” one that was delicate enough to collect the game in its mouth without causing any harm to it. The breed is probably a cross between Irish setters, Newfoundlands, and the now-extinct Tweed water spaniels.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Appearance

You can identify each breed by its distinctive appearance.

Large to medium-sized dogs are German Shepherds. A male German Shepherd typically weighs between 66 and 88 pounds.

Male shepherds’ height at the withers—where the neck and shoulder blades meet—ranges from 24 to 26 inches, and women can be a little bit smaller. These dogs have medium-sized eyes and long, square muzzles. They face ahead and hold their huge, pointed ears high.

They have long necks and long, bushy tails. Although it can be long, their double-layered coat is typically medium length.

The medium-sized Golden Retriever breed is a strong dog. American Golden Retrievers are lankier, while British Golden Retrievers are more muscular. The ideal weight range for a male Golden Retriever is 65 to 75 pounds.

Additionally, they are more likely than other dogs to gain weight. That might be a result of the fact that these dogs are experts at begging. These dogs enjoy eating.

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German Shepherds typically have tan or reddish-brown fur with black markings on the muzzle, back, and tail.

They may all be sable, white, or black, though silver, blue, or liver-colored variations are rare. There are numerous hues of golden retrievers, including light cream, golden, dark gold, and red gold.

The coat of a Golden Retriever is either medium or long. These dogs have a wavy, somewhat shedding, water-resistant topcoat—the chest, tail, and hindquarters’ feathered fur.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Temperament

They both have outgoing and devoted personalities.

German Shepherds are excellent family and guard dogs. They can be incredibly protective and devoted, but they may take time to warm up to new people.

Additionally, correctly socializing them is crucial to prevent them from developing an excessive sense of protectiveness. They will become more well-rounded and realize that new people aren’t always threats in this way.

Golden retrievers are renowned for being outgoing and self-assured. With their tails wagging and eager to play, they will bound up to everyone. They are, therefore, not the best guard dogs.

However, they have a reputation for barking. Both breeds will frequently alert you to visitors at the door. They serve as excellent watchdogs. This more friendly dog will probably be the best choice if you often have visitors and new people.

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Both are similarly committed and loyal to their families, and both would go out of their way to help them. Both types are suitable if you want a dog that will stick to you like glue. They both probably have separation anxiety.

Therefore, they will value a family who can spend most of the day with them. Neither of these dogs is a suitable fit for a family where one or both members are often away from home working.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Exercise

Every day, both should exercise for at least one hour.

The German Shepherd and Golden Retriever both require a lot of exercise and need active families supporting their essential exercise requirements.

They should go for at least two 30-minute walks a day. If you have the time, both breeds would be content and could exercise for a lot longer than this. They both will become bored and destructive if they don’t get this activity.

Golden retrievers enjoy playing fetch and throwing the frisbee, which may even be more motivating for them than dog food.

It is crucial to remember this if you want to train them by giving them rewards they enjoy. Although they’ll never turn down a treat, the German Shepherd is probably more motivated by their owner’s praise.

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Purchasing dog toys is a terrific option when you cannot always amuse them. A robust, long-lasting toy that can endure the German Shepherd’s powerful jaw is required. And the Golden Retriever is far more likely to prefer a crunchy, squeaky toy to meet his gun dog demands because of his gentle mouthing.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Training

These two breeds are very trainable and have the desire to please their masters.

Regarding intelligence, the Golden Retriever is right behind the German Shepherd. What attributes make a dog bright? It combines instinct, flexibility, and submission.

Both breeds of dogs desire to please their owners, but the German Shepherd is probably generally easier to train.

They pick up commands rapidly, so you don’t need to repeat them frequently. The Golden Retriever is less concentrated than the German Shepherd as an adult and is readily distracted as a puppy.

German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Health Issues

There are various potential genetic health issues with both breeds.

Purebred dogs are more susceptible to health issues than mixed-breed dogs. This is because they receive genetic illnesses from their family tree.

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Based on their outward look, standardizing dogs and line-breeding can worsen existing health issues. With enough exercise, frequent checkups, and affection, German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers can have healthy lives.

The lifespan of the German Shepherd is a little bit longer than that of the Golden Retriever. Large dogs, including German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers, are predisposed to joint problems.

Hip dysplasia or loose hip joints are likely to occur in either breed, and these canines may get arthritis as a result of the disorder. This condition occurs more frequently in German Shepherds, particularly those with sloping backs.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Nutrition

You should use natural dog food suitable for your dog’s age.

Due to their similar sizes and energy levels, the Golden Retriever and German Shepherd eat identical food. Each day, they’ll consume about three cups of kibble.

Each dog is unique. It’s crucial to determine how much food your dog requires based on the feeding recommendations on the container. Both of them require kibble made for large breed dogs.


Both breeds are more than moderate shedders.

Both German Shepherds and Golden Retrievers shed and have thick, double-layered coats. Therefore, avoid these dog breeds if you don’t like dog furs in your home.

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However, the Golden may shed more and need more brushing and bathing using the mainly designed shampoo. They have a thick and fluffy undercoat that sheds a lot in the spring and fall, and regular brushing of the dog will assist in reducing shedding.

Popular Dog Breeds: German Shepherd vs Golden Retriever Puppy Price

You should budget at least $1200 For a purebred German Shepherd or Golden Retriever.

A German Shepherd and Golden Retriever puppy costs roughly $1,200 from a good breeder. Puppies from well-known breeders, wealthy regions, or lineages that have won awards are frequently more expensive.

Low puppy pricing is a marketing ploy used by puppy factories. However, it’s crucial to collaborate with a trustworthy breeder. If you don’t, you can end up with a sick or poorly socialized puppy.


The strengths of two of the most well-liked dog breeds in America are comparable. They are pleasant, playful, intelligent, and adaptable. Golden retrievers and German Shepherds typically get along well with kids and other animals.

A German Shepherd has possibly more stamina and agility than a Golden Retriever if you’re searching for a working dog.

Golden retrievers frequently have a broad range of persons they trust. They are perfect for large families or therapeutic settings that often include meetings with strangers.

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