The Golden Retriever is one of the most loved dog breeds in the country for many reasons. Things like their beautiful coat, gentle/loving demeanor, intelligence level, and obedient behavior rank them at the top of the list of best family dog breeds. You’re probably already familiar with how loved the Golden Retriever breed is, but did you know there are different variations of the breed?

Different Types of Golden Retrievers

There are three different types of Golden Retrievers: American Golden Retrievers, English Golden Retrievers (a.k.a. British Golden Retrievers), and Canadian Golden Retrievers. 

While these aren’t different dog breeds, there are some differences between these types of Golden Retrievers. 

One thing that tends to set these types of Golden Retrievers apart is their breeding techniques. At Rejoice Retrievers, we breed English Golden Retrievers using the highest standards regarding their health, well-being, and temperament. Learn more about our program HERE!

In this article, you’ll learn specifically about the differences between two of these types of golden retrievers – American Golden Retrievers and English Golden Retrievers. 

English vs American Golden Retrievers

When it comes to the Golden Retriever breed in general, they possess all of the most important characteristics you would search for in a canine companion. So what distinguishes the English Golden Retriever from the American Golden Retriever? Let’s look at some of their key differences: 


Probably the most obvious difference between these two types of Golden Retrievers is their coat color. While both the American Golden Retriever and English Golden Retriever have beautiful coats, there are a few differences you’re sure to notice. 

American Golden Retriever – Their coat is usually more “golden” in color and comes in various shades. These coats tend to be thicker and longer than that of the English Golden Retriever. 

English Golden Retriever – Their coat is usually more “cream” colored. Compared to the American Golden Retriever, the English Golden Retriever’s coat is generally thinner and shorter. You’ll also likely see that their coats are wavier than the American Golden Retriever’s. 


When it comes to the size of these two types of Golden Retrievers, there isn’t much of a difference. 

American Golden Retriever – The average size for the American Golden Retriever male is between 65-75 pounds. Females tend to be slightly smaller around 60-70 pounds. 

English Golden Retriever – The weight of English Golden Retrievers tends to be the same as American Golden Retrievers, though their height tends to be slightly shorter (very slightly, like maybe only an inch shorter). 

All Golden Retrievers love to eat, so it’s important to ensure that you help them maintain a healthy weight by not allowing them to overeat. 


There are some key differences between these two types of Golden Retrievers when it comes to their facial features and other body characteristics. Here are some of those differences: 

American Golden Retriever – The head of the American Golden Retriever tends to be broader and more arched than that of the English Golden Retriever. Their eyes tend to be more slanted than straight. As for their ears, they tend to be set behind and above their eye level. The tail is usually level with the back, with a somewhat upward curve. 

English Golden Retriever – The English Golden Retriever’s head is usually larger than the head of the American Golden Retriever. The muzzle of the English Golden Retriever is usually wider than that of the American Golden Retriever. Their eyes tend to be more straight than slanted. Their ears tend to be set at eye level. The tail is usually level with the back and rests in a straight position. 


Having a healthy dog is what all dog owners seek, so you’re probably wondering about the differences in health between American Golden Retrievers and English Golden Retrievers. In general, English Golden Retrievers tend to be healthier overall, which could sway you towards wanting an English over an American. Here’s what you can expect:

American Golden Retriever – Sadly, American Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop cancer than English Golden Retrievers. 

English Golden Retriever – An English Golden Retriever has only about a 38% chance of developing cancer, as opposed to a 60% chance for an American Golden Retriever. 

Both breeds are prone to developing certain health conditions such as cataracts and other eye diseases, elbow or hip dysplasia, obesity (so remember not to overfeed them), ear infections, mast cell tumors, heart disease, hyperthyroidism, or skin diseases. 


When looking for the best family dog breeds, you’re likely going to want to get a dog with a longer life expectancy so you can enjoy more years with your beloved companion, right? This is another factor that will likely impact which type of Golden Retriever you’d want as your pet. Here’s why: 

American Golden Retriever – American Golden Retrievers tend to have a slightly shorter life expectancy than English Golden Retrievers. The average lifespan of an American Golden Retriever is 10 or 11 years. 

English Golden Retriever – If your goal is to spend more years with your Golden Retriever, then you’ll want to lean towards getting an English Golden Retriever, rather than an American. The average lifespan of an English Golden Retriever is 12 years, slightly edging out the American Golden Retriever. 


What would you say is the most important factor in choosing your perfect family dog? Most people say that temperament is the most important factor to consider when looking for your family pet. Here’s what you can expect with your Golden Retriever’s temperament:

American Golden Retriever – One distinguishing difference between the temperament of both types of Golden Retrievers is that the American is usually more energetic and hyper.

English Golden Retriever -English Golden Retrievers are usually more calm and less energetic than American Golden Retrievers. 

Both types of Golden Retrievers rank in the top 5 dog breeds in terms of their intelligence, obedience, and trainability. Both are also eager to learn new things. When it comes to considering either of these for your family pet, both are excellent choices as they are great around children and other animals!

Both types of Golden Retrievers love playing in the water (as they were originally bred to be water retrievers for hunting). Their coats are even water-resistant!


Since English Golden Retrievers are usually calmer than American Golden Retrievers, this plays into the trainability of each type of retriever. 

American Golden Retriever – Though not always true, the American Golden Retriever on average is more difficult to train than the English Golden Retriever since they are more hyperactive. 

English Golden Retriever – This type of retriever is generally easier to train, simply for the fact that they tend to be less hyperactive than the American Golden Retriever. 


Q: Are both types of Golden Retrievers recognized by the AKC (American Kennel Club)?


Q: Are both types of Golden Retrievers recognized by the BKC (British Kennel Club)?


Q: Do Golden Retrievers make good service dogs?

A: YES! Golden Retrievers are very often used as service dogs and guide dogs. 

At Rejoice Retrievers, our Golden Retrievers are raised with an advanced service dog curriculum as puppies, setting them up as excellent service dogs from the start!


When it comes to these different types of Golden Retrievers, some differences are more noticeable than others. 

With English vs American Golden Retrievers, you’ll see that English retrievers rise above American retrievers in a few areas. However, both American Golden Retrievers and English Golden Retrievers have the characteristics you would most often seek in a family dog.

Are you ready to add a Golden Retriever to your family? Fill out our puppy application now! When you choose a puppy from Rejoice Retrievers, you’re not just getting a pet, you’re gaining a companion for life!


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