[skip to main content]

The Golden Labrador Retriever Cross

General Information about the Golden Labrador Retriever

Our first litter of Golden Labrador Retriever cross breed puppies was born in March 2011. Having had several requests for 'Goldador' puppies, we begun to research the breed.  47% of Guide Dogs are from a Labrador Retriever crossed with a Golden Retriever. Puppies are bred from health tested parents just as pure bred Golden Retriever and Labrador Retrievers to ensure that puppies have the best possible chance of being free from hereditary diseases such as hip and elbow dysplacia. The main reason for using this cross is because they really suit the purpose in terms of overall temperament, size and walking speed which are important considerations for a guide dog. These dogs also make excellent wheelchair assistants and hypo-alert dogs and are ideal for agility work as well as being highly trainable and making wonderful family pets.

Goldadors or Golden Labrador Retrievers have been bred successfully for over a decade. Unlike the Labradoodle or Goldendoodle this mating seems to have consistently excellent results.

Labrador Retriever Traits
Labradors are part of the retriever family with a specific set of desirable traits for a service dog. The phrase "just happy to be here" sums up a Labrador Retriever's personality. A very athletic dog full of energy and enthusiasm, a Lab is an agreeable and stable dog that is friendly with everyone. Many Labs tend to have a bit of stubbornness and independence, which is manageable with standard obedience training.

Golden Retriever Traits
The other most desired retriever, by far, for crossbreeding with Labs are Golden retrievers. Goldens are remarkably friendly dogs--even more so than Labs--with a cheerful disposition, forgiving nature and playful spirit. Bred originally to fetch fallen fowl during hunting, this breed of dog will happily play fetch for hours. Hunting dogs have the distinct need to be with their humans as much as possible, which makes it great for someone who wants a constant companion whether watching television on the couch or hiking a local trail.

Golden Labrador
The Golden Labrador is a hybrid or crossbred dog from the Labrador Retriever and Golden Retriever. Crossbreeding tends to moderate specific traits distinct to one breed and enhance traits shared by both breeds. The Golden Lab is a friendly, energetic dog that is eager to please and loves retrieving. Generally, the Golden's sometimes over-friendly tendencies are moderated, but the retrieving instinct, common to both Labs and Goldens, is very strong. The high energy and demanding athleticism of the Lab is moderated with the Goldens' need to be with its human at all times. This creates a calmer dog more willing to accept both long days of commuting and activity at work or school, as well as a lot of time indoors sitting and lying down while its handler goes about his/her business.

Service dogs are required to perform many tasks, sometimes fairly complicated in nature. Retrieving items, bracing a fallen handler, guiding someone along a busy sidewalk are all common tasks people with disabilities may require of their service dog. The Golden Lab is sturdy and athletic, strong enough to pull up to around 100 pounds and comfortably brace themselves to help a fallen person lift himself. Their controlled friendliness and eager to please disposition makes training them to be well behaved in public straightforward. The retrieving instincts from both Labradors and Goldens are distilled into a strong need to retrieve in Golden Labs, which aids in training them to open doors, retrieve medications or phones and an array of other retrieving tasks with greater ease than with other breeds or hybrids. This is vital for someone who is blind or wheelchair-bound since the dog must retrieve everything from socks out of a drawer to money from a purse to assist them.

Purebred dogs have a reputation for health problems due to the matching up of defective genes. Crossbred dogs, such as the Golden Lab. have a smaller chance of inheriting deformities and genetic problems. A greater variety of genes in the DNA allows a better chance at a stronger immune system as well, sometimes referred to as "hybrid vigor." All of this is vital for a service dog because a human is depending on it for maintaining an active life. If the dog is strong and healthy, the human handler can more reliably depend upon its service for a longer duration without worry for the dog's well-being.

Read more: Why Are Labs & Retrievers Cross Bred for Service Dogs?

An Example of a Golden Labrador Retriever used in Assistance Work
Like most children, Rebecca Farrar adores her family's dog - but the six-year-old diabetic has a particularly special reason. Her young pet Shirley is one of the country's only 'hypo-alert' hounds who SMELLS when Rebecca's blood sugar reaches dangerously low levels. The youngster says her life is 'saved' by the Labrador-Golden Retriever cross four times a week as she provides early warning of potential diabetic attacks.

Hypo Alert Golden Labrador Retriever

Hypo-alert dogs can smell when their diabetic owner's blood sugar levels are dangerously low. The three-year-old dog can detect a change in scent when Rebecca's blood sugar levels drop dangerously low or high and licks her owner's hand to alert her. Shirley will even drag a sugar-level testing kit to the youngster's side to prevent her from slipping into a coma and sleeps faithfully by her side every night. She is one of only eight registered 'hypo-alert' dogs in Britain which have the unique ability to sniff out a hypoglycaemic attack. The attacks can cause sufferers to fall into a coma or even die if their symptoms are not dealt with promptly.

Rebecca, from Harpole, Northamptonshire, was diagnosed with type one diabetes two years ago and is unable to feel any change in her sugar levels. Every day she must inject herself four times with insulin and carry out up to seven sugar-level tests to avoid herself collapsing. Before the arrival of Shirley, the schoolgirl had to constantly check her sugar levels and was taken to hospital up to four times a week. But now thanks to the devoted dog, Rebecca and her family, mum Claire, 39, and twin-brother Joseph, have been spared the fear of her potentially being killed by the disease.

Rebecca, who is a keen swimmer, said she was 'so happy' to have Shirley in her life. She said: 'Shirley is so special to me, we are the best of friends. I can't imagine living without her now. She has saved my life so many times.' Claire had to give up her job as a shop assistant to look after Rebecca when her diabetes struck and said Shirley takes a 'weight off' her mind. She said: 'Rebecca's condition is seriously life threatening, before we had Shirley I was terrified of sleeping in case she fell into a coma without anyone knowing. 'Shirley is absolutely brilliant with Rebecca and really looks after her - they are like soul-mates and are so close. 'It's incredible that a dog can do so much and we are so grateful to have her. She has completely changed our lives.'

Claire saw an advertisement for Cancer and Bio Detection Dogs and applied for Rebecca to be put onto a waiting list for a hypo-dog. After a 12 month wait Shirley arrived eight weeks ago and has been inseparable with Rebecca ever since. As a registered 'hypo alert dog', Shirley now has the same rights as a guide dog.

Read more: Diabetic girl has life saved 4 times a week by dog which knows when she needs insulin