Labradors are the most beloved dogs in America (and have been since 1991), and for good reasons; the breed is sociable, loyal, fun, and always up for being active! However, just because they make wonderful pets for a lot of people, it doesn’t mean they’re perfect for everybody.
If you’re someone who was interested in adopting a Labrador into your family, only to find out it wasn’t quite the right fit, you might want to look into finding a breed similar to Labs that could work out better for you. There are several out there, so one is sure to be the perfect addition to your home!
Browse through this list of 19 dog breeds that are similar to Labradors to get started on your journey to a new furry friend. You’ll learn a bit about each breed, so you can figure out where to begin your search and have a new addition to the family in no time!
The 19 Dog Breeds Similar to Labradors
This cute pup is a cross between a Labrador and a Basset Hound, giving it traits of each breed. The breed loves being around people, so you’ll have a companion full-time with this one. These dogs are also incredibly energetic and big fans of eating (so keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t become overweight!). Plus, the Bassador looks a bit like a Labrador, just on the shorter side, so if size was the issue you had with Labs, this could be a great fit.
|Sociable, energetic, loving
2. Bernese Mountain Dog
If you want a dog that’s a hard worker but has a similar temperament to the Labrador, you may want to give the Bernese Mountain Dog a go, as these pups are incredibly sweet, fairly laid back, and love affection. Though they work hard, they aren’t always up for being super active, so they might not be best for people who are always on the go. And despite their size, these dogs are very gentle with children! Plus, this breed thrives in colder climates, so if you live somewhere where it’s chilly more often than not, the Bernese will do well.
|Gentle, laidback, hard-working
While the Bloodhound may not resemble a Labrador in looks, they are surprisingly similar when it comes to personality, specifically in that they are both gentle breeds. And though one might not think a dog bred for hunting would make a good family pet, they do! They are loving, good with children (though they should be monitored with smaller children), and very sweet-tempered. One thing to note, though, is they are very drooly dogs, so be prepared for that!
|Sweet, gentle, friendly
4. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
This dog breed is one tough pup when it comes to hunting and retrieving but is extremely loving and protective when it comes to people. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is also careful with kids, highly confident, and independent. And because they were bred as hunting dogs, you’ll find them to have just as much energy as a Labrador, so be prepared for plenty of playtime!
|Independent, confident, protective
These adorable pups are a mix of—you guessed it—the Welsh Corgi and the Labrador. That means they get traits from both parents— for example, the intelligence of the Lab and protectiveness of the Corgi. As far as size goes, though it can vary, the breed tends to be mostly of medium size. Their love for their people also comes from the Labrador side, making them good with families; however, they’d do better in homes than apartments due to their energetic nature.
|Energetic, protective, intelligent
6. Curly-Coated Retriever
Yes, it’s another Retriever (are you seeing a trend yet?)! The Curly-coated Retriever is a bit bigger than the Labrador and has a coat that requires more time and care, but in personality, the breeds are quite similar. The breed is insanely smart, gentle, affectionate, and poised and is always ready to go when you are. They also love playing in the water, so if you have a pool or lakes around your home, you might find yourself spending plenty of time there in the warmer months.
|Poised, gentle, ever ready to go
7. Flat-Coated Retriever
The Flat-coated Retriever is similar to the Labrador in both personality and looks (though their coats and ears will differ somewhat from the Lab). These pups are slow to mature, making them mischievous well into their young adult years. They adore playing (and may wear you out!) but are devoted to their families and extremely loving. And because the breed is eager to please their owners, they are easy to train.
|Eager to please, mischievous, playful
8. Golden Retriever
It probably isn’t a surprise to find the Golden Retriever on this list, as the breed is known for being friendly, loyal, playful, and intelligent, just like their Labrador counterparts. In fact, the most significant difference between the two breeds is likely found in the Golden Retriever’s coat, as it is just a tad bit more difficult to deal with than a Labrador’s. However, if it’s an easy-going, family-friendly breed you’re looking for, the Golden Retriever makes an excellent choice!
|Smart, friendly, loyal
9. Great Pyrenees
If you don’t mind a dog on the more massive side, you’ll find that the Great Pyrenees has a temperament very similar to that of a Labrador. Known as gentle giants, these guardian dogs are calm and mellow but can immediately spring into action if a threat is detected. However, these dogs are a bit of an undertaking as they need a fenced backyard, don’t do well in heat, and have a tendency to drool.
|Calm, gentle, protective
Maybe the Labrador ended up not being the right dog for you, but the Huskador—a cross between a Labrador and a Husky—might just be the ideal one. This mixed breed is one of the smartest around, making them highly trainable. They also have the Labrador traits of being loyal and playful, making them excellent dogs for families. Plus, these dogs are extremely adaptable, so they’re ready for anything! The downside is that you may find them to be a bit on the pricier side.
|Super smart, loyal, adaptable
The simplest way to get a dog similar to the Labrador really is to get one that’s a cross between the Labrador and another breed! That’s why the Labradoodle—a Poodle and Labrador hybrid—is one of the several on our list. If an intelligent, affectionate dog with an easy to take care of coat sounds up your alley, this is the dog for you. With this breed, how the dog looks can go either way; they may look more like a Poodle or more like a Lab, but the sweet, playful personality stays the same. And the Labradoodle comes in three sizes: mini, medium, and standard. This breed is becoming more popular every day, and it’s easy to see why.
|Affectionate, sweet, smart
If you found the Labrador to be just a touch too small of a dog for you, then the Newfoundland might become your new best friend because these pups are large (males can weigh up to 176 pounds!). But the breed has a similar face to that of a Labrador, as well as a gentle personality that resembles the Labs. These dogs aren’t wildly active due to their size, so there’s less walking and exercise to be done. You’ll find them incredibly affectionate, though, as well as quite chill. However, do be forewarned that the breed’s larger size means they have shorter lifespans of only 8–10 years.
|Chill, gentle, affectionate
13. Old English Sheepdog
These floofballs are not only extremely cute but friendly, active, and fairly laid back. The Old English Sheepdog is also quite adaptable and wonderful with kids. You’ll find them to be a bit less active than Labradors (though they still enjoy playtime!), as well as excellent watchdogs. This breed is incredibly loyal and affectionate with their families, too.
|Protective, adaptable, friendly
14. Saint Bernard
You’ll find the Saint Bernard isn’t used as much as a working dog these days, but the breed has kept the loving and composed nature that helped them do any job assigned to them. And this composed, loving temperament is where they resemble the Labrador (because they certainly aren’t similar in size!). Along with those traits, the Saint Bernard can be shy and gentle but also stubborn at times. All of these things (though perhaps less so the stubbornness) make them an excellent addition to the family. One thing to note, though, is this breed is sensitive to the heat and won’t do well living outdoors in hotter climates; they are also known to be droolers.
|Docile, shy, stubborn
And another of the Labrador mixes on our list (this time with a German Shepherd) is the Sheprador (or Labrashepherd)! As with other hybrid breeds, the Sheprador will contain a mix of traits from its parent breeds. This one, in particular, is known for being protective, loyal, friendly, and very smart. It’s also a breed that is intolerant to heat and loves to chew on things, so invest in those chew toys immediately!
|Protective, intelligent, social
The Springador, or a mixed breed created from the Springer Spaniel and Labrador, tends to have the face of a Lab but the ears of a Spaniel. The breed is also a bit smaller than your average Labrador. Personality-wise, though, the Springador can inherit a Lab’s energetic, playful nature and a Springer Spaniel’s desire to be put to work. They are wonderful with kids and other dogs and make for excellent home guardians. And the Springador’s friendly nature makes it a blast to be around. The breed can be more prone to separation anxiety than other breeds, though, so if you’re out of the home often, this breed may not work for you.
|Friendly, protective, active
17. Springer Spaniel
If a hybrid isn’t your thing, you might want to take a look at just the Springer Spaniel. They may not look like Labradors, but the overall personality is very similar. Like the Lab, this breed is happy-go-lucky, fun-loving, and smart. They love to run and play (and retrieve), so look forward to plenty of time playing together. And they’re a bit smaller than the Labrador, so if size is an issue, the Springer Spaniel could be a better fit with your family and home.
|Loves to play, happy, smart
18. Standard Poodle
Want a dog comparable to the Labrador in not only personality but intelligence? Then the Poodle is for you! Both Labs and Poodles scored in the top tier when it came to working intelligence among dog breeds, meaning both are easy to train. Other than the intelligence similarities, the Poodle is also fond of fun, sweet, and affectionate like a Labrador (though the Poodle is more of a comic!). These dogs also enjoy swimming immensely, so if you have a pool, you might not be able to keep it out. And though the Poodle and the Labrador aren’t similar when it comes to looks, the Poodle has a coat that makes it easy to try out new styles.
|Incredibly smart, affectionate, funny
The Weimaraner might not be a breed that’s top of mind when it comes to dog breeds that resemble Labradors, but they can definitely resemble them look-wise (though there is a height difference). They are less similar when it comes to personality, however, as the Weimaraner is more of an alert, intelligent dog that’s quick on its feet rather than loving and playful. So, if you’d like a dog that looks like a Labrador, this breed could work, but not so much if you’re looking for similar temperaments. The breed can make a good family dog if you put in the training and spend quality time with them, though.
|Fast, alert, intelligent
If you desperately wanted a Labrador but were unable to get one for some reason, the knowledge that there are several other dog breeds out there that resemble the Lab in personality or looks should cheer you up. Many are hybrids bred from Labradors and other dog breeds, and many are (surprisingly) Retrievers. No matter what it was you adored about Labradors, though, rest assured you can find a dog that is similar to add to your family!
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Featured Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock