What Are the Different Types of Retriever Breeds and Which Is Best for Me?

Updated on February 14, 2020
PawsitivelySafe profile image

Shelter worker, animal rescuer & advocate, Jan has become a well-regarded source of insights & know-how on pet care & behavior nationwide.

Breaking Down the Retriever Dog Breeds
Breaking Down the Retriever Dog Breeds

When someone says "retriever," most people will immediately think of either a Golden Retriever or a Labrador Retriever, but very few will think of one of the other four retriever breeds, and many don't know that there are a total of six dogs in this breed class.

While they all love to "retrieve" and seem to enjoy the water and swimming, they still have different personalities, temperaments, and health issues that make them each unique. Let's take a look at each breed of retriever and what makes them special.

Author's Golden Retrieve - Amber
Author's Golden Retrieve - Amber

Golden Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Lovable
Long Daily Walks
Prone to Cancer
Okay in Apartment with Exercise
Intelligent
Retrieving Tasks
Hip Dysplasia
Medium to Large Yard
Devoted
Mental Activities
Heart Problems
Moderately Active Indoors
Friendly
Skin Allergies
Energetic
Easily Overweight

Golden Retrievers

While all retrievers make pretty good family pets, the Golden Retriever is probably known as the best well-rounded companion for all family members—children, adults, other pets. They are super friendly, gentle, loving, and good-natured, and while they may bark when someone approaches you, you won't get much more use from them as a family protector as goldens naturally want to befriend everyone.

Golden Retrievers are very intelligent and well-mannered and this helps makes them a very trainable dog breed. They are very patient, loving, and gentle around children which is a top reason why they are so popular on the family pet list. They have lots of energy and are fairly self-assured and eager to please, making them great dogs for obedience training competitions and other sport-related trials.

While their high energy works great on the field, it can lead to a destructive or high-strung dog if they are not exercised mentally and physically on a regular basis. Some of the things that goldens tend to enjoy most are retrieving (obviously), agility courses, obedience trials, performing tricks for their family, hunting, and swimming. Goldens are also good at tracking, drug detection, and as therapy animals.

Dogs 101: Golden Retrievers

Source

Curly Coated Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Intelligent
High Energy
Epilepsy
Large Yard
Loyal
Loves the water/swimming
Prone to hip dysplasia
Part of Family (not alone)
Confident
Retrieving Tasks
Eye Problems
Not for Apartments
Trainable
Long Walks
Active Outdoor Oriented Owner
Can be Willful
Don't forget mental tasks
Excellent with Children
Affectionate

Curly Coated Retrievers

One of the oldest of the retriever breeds, the Curly Coated Retriever is distinguished from the others by its small, tight, water-resistant curls. And believe it or not, this kinky, curly coat is actually pretty easy to care for with just occasional baths. As a matter of fact, they don't recommend that you brush this breed as you will most likely make their coat frizzy. (If you do you can simply wet their coat and let it dry naturally.)

The Curly Coat is an agile and strong breed who was developed as a multi-purpose hunting retriever. This breed will work for you as long as you have work to be done. They can retrieve their game in even the thickest of cover and in the iciest of waters.

Curly Coats are not only courageous and perseverant, but also energetic and quite intelligent and have tremendous innate field skills. Curly Coats make great companions as long as they have an owner that gives them daily exercise and is consistent with their training. Without those two things, this breed will easily become bored and most likely destructive. They are probably the most independent of the retriever breeds and this causes them to come off as somewhat aloof, but as with most retrievers, they are actually very willing to please.

Curly Coated Retrievers

Source

Flat-Coated Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Friendly
Daily Walk
Cancer
Average Size Yard
Loves to Play
Hunt
Hip Dysplasia
Inactive Indoors
Intelligent
Swim
Epilepsy
Not for Apartments
Loyal
Makes Excellent Jogging Partner
Diabetes
Needs to be with Family
Gets Along with other Pets
Excellent with Children

Flat-Coated Retrievers

This retriever is another excellent family dog. With its reliable temperament and friendly nature, they get along great with all family members including children. They are a high-spirited, sweet breed with a puppy-like view on things and they seem to love everyone they meet. You'd be hard-pressed to find this pup in low spirits.

Eager to play and especially to retrieve, these dogs are very active, but with plenty of exercise and stimulation, they can be fairly quiet indoors, saving up their energy for outdoor play. With their high energy and being very trainable, the Flat-Coated Retriever can bore easily so variety is definitely the key with this breed. You want to keep their training times short, varied and fun to keep them engaged. They are smart and loyal and very sociable and should be given lots of chances to mingle.

Author's Labs - Sugar & Pepper
Author's Labs - Sugar & Pepper

Labrador Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Affectionate
Long Brisk Walk
Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
Okay in Apartment with Exercise
Loyal
Love to have a job to do
Mast Cell Tumors
Moderately Active Indoors
Patient
Energetic
Eye Disorders
Average Size Yard
Highly Intelligent
Gain Weight Easily
Good Natured
Eager to Please

Labrador Retrievers

Labrador Retrievers have been in one of the top three stops on the popularity charts for years, but did you know there are two types of Labrador Retrievers? There is the English and American versions of the breed. The English breed tends to be heavier and blockier than its American counterparts. The American breed was bred to be taller and lankier. Labs have the short, hard, water-resistant coats, one of the easiest to care for out of the retriever breeds.

The English breed tends to be more laid back and calm than the American breed and they also tend to mature quicker than the American breed as well. There are both show lines and field lines of Labrador Retrievers with the show lines being more easier going and the field lines being very energetic.

Labs are known for their intelligence, eagerness to please, and love of work and play. Most Labs will chase a ball all day, love the water and children, and are very easy to train. There are some Labs that may be a bit reserved with strangers, but this can be overcome in most cases by early and frequent socialization.

Labs can quickly become destructive if they are not exercised often, both physically and mentally. Their high energy needs regular outlets and Labs are game for just about anything. Adult Labs are generally very strong, so train them well as pups so you are not dealing with a pulling dog or one that bolts from doors.

Most labs will make good watchdogs, but very few are worth anything as a guard dog. They can be great at obedience trials, agility courses, and other sports and are happy to try whatever you through at them.

Source

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Devoted
High Energy
Thyroid Issues
Okay in Apartment with Exercise
Intelligent
Long Daily Walk
Autoimmune Issues
Does well in cold climate
Clever
Likes to Retrieve
Progressive Retinal Atrophy
Good with Children
Playful
Good with other Pets

Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers

Some might mistake a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever as a small golden upon first glance, but the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever originates from Canada and the Golden Retriever originates in the Scottish Highlands; once you take a closer look you will see noticeable differences.

This breed is a very devoted breed that is intelligent and easy to train. They are sensible dogs, good with children, and make excellent companions. As with all the other retriever breeds, this breed needs plenty of exercise to curtail their energetic needs. Duck Tolling Retrievers can be reserved with strangers which is another big difference between them and their Golden Retriever counterparts. This is definitely a water dog, through and through, and is happiest once "in the hunt."

If you think that labs like to retrieve, you should try out a Toller's love of this "game" and basically any other retrieving game. Tolling (luring) is a natural trait, and these dogs sure do get excited about their job. Let the kids throw the ball for these dogs and all will be happy.

Tollers make excellent family pets and get along well with other pets as well as humans. They are very patient with the kids and have the energy to keep up with them as well. As far as family protection, they will most likely bark if they sense danger, but that is about all you will get from them.

Source

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

Temperment
Exercise
Health Issues
Types of Living
Intelligent
Vigorous Activity
Eye Problems
Not for Apartments
Obedient
Swimming
Hip Dysplasia
Inactive Indoors
Brave
Daily Walk/Jog
Average Sized Yard
Affectionate
Retrieving Tasks
Prefer Cooler Climates
Can be slow to learn
Enjoy Sleeping Outside
Can be Dominant & Willful

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers

This retriever is a powerful, strong, and muscular dog. They are also intelligent, like all the retriever breeds, as well as willing to please making them quite trainable. Like the others in the retriever line, Chesapeakes are loving, affectionate and friendly. They are also good with kids and make good family pets. Although they usually do well with cats already in the house, they may chase other cats. They do seem to be the most dominant of the retrievers so they should definitely be socialized well and have owners that take the lead. Without this leadership role, the Chesapeake can become a bit aggressive, willful, or territorial. They are not really recommended for any owner that is inexperienced.

They are also water dogs and have a similar passion for swimming and retrieving as the other retriever breeds. Chesapeakes tend to be slow to mature, but as with most breeds, with the right owner, they can be a joy to own.

Which is your favorite retriever?

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)