21 Dogs That Are Similar to Labradors – A Visual Guide

Are you head over paws for Labradors? Great news! We’ve rounded up a bunch of dog breeds that resemble our beloved Labs. Get ready to meet a pack of remarkable pooches who share some of the qualities we adore in Labs.

Labrador Retrievers have been winning hearts worldwide with their playful, loyal nature and ridiculously cute antics. But sometimes, you might crave a Lab-ish companion with a twist. That’s where these Lab look-alikes come in!

In this blog post, we’ll introduce you to a range of breeds that closely resemble Labs. From medium to large-sized water-loving buddies to adorable smaller wonders that can wiggle their way into your heart, we’ve got you covered. And let’s not forget those fluffy cuties with low-shedding coats!

Whether you’re seeking an adventure buddy or a snuggle partner, each breed we’ll discuss is as unique as a paw print, with their own quirks and charms.

Similar Breeds to Labradors

Group 1: Closest overall

This group are the closest to the labrador in terms of both looks, size and temperament. I’ve selected these as the closest alternatives! So these would all classify as a “Big dog”, but they’re all phenomenal family members.

golden retriever as operant conditioning
A golden retriever; similar because they’re genuinely the closest overall!
similar to labradors - the chesapeake bay retriever
The chesapeake bay retriever
the flatcoat retriever
the flatcoat retriever is another water retriever, and whilst they tend to be more drive-y they’re definitely similar.
  1. Golden Retriever 
    Ah, golden retrievers and labradors, two peas in a fur-filled pod! These lovable breeds share a whole lot in common. For starters, they both have hearts as pure as gold and personalities as bright as the sun – I mean, there’s a reason they both rank as some of the most popular dog breed.
    Both golden retrievers and labradors are famous for their friendly and sociable nature—tail wags and doggy kisses are their specialities! Plus, they’re super smart and eager to please, making them paw-fect for all sorts of training adventures. And let’s not forget about their boundless energy and love for outdoor activities! Whether it’s fetching a ball or diving into a lake, these two canines are always up for an adventure. So, if you’re smitten by labradors, chances are you’ll also fall head over paws for golden retrievers. They’re like long-lost relatives, both bringing joy and wagging tails wherever they go!
  2. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
    These amazing dogs share more than just a love for splashing in the waves. They’re also both super smart, loyal, and friendly, with waggy tails that can make any heart melt. Whether you’re seeking a furry companion for outdoor adventures or a cuddle buddy for movie nights, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Labradors have got you covered. So, if you’re smitten with Labradors, get ready to meet their Chesapeake Bay Retriever cousins, who are just as loving and eager to please. These amazing breeds will swim their way right into your heart!
  3. Flat Coated Retriever
    Just like their Labrador pals, Flat-Coated Retriever is bursting with smarts, charisma, and a wagging tail that could power a windmill. Their friendly nature and love for family adventures will have you smiling from ear to ear. Oh, did I mention their silky, shiny coats that practically scream “pet me”? Whether it’s fetching a stick or cuddling on the couch, both these breeds know how to bring joy and love into our lives. So, if you adore Labs, get ready to fall head over paws for Flat-Coat Retrievers, because they’re like long-lost cousins who can’t wait to lick your face and wag their joyful tails in your presence.
  4. Bernese Mountain Dog
    These beautiful pups share more than just an adorable face. Both breeds are known for their gentle nature, loyalty, and love for their human pack. Whether you want a cuddle buddy for a Netflix marathon or a furry companion for outdoor adventures, Bernese Mountain Dogs have got you covered. Plus, they’re both great with kids, making them paw-some family dogs. So, if you’re a fan of Labs, get ready to be smitten by the affectionate giant that is the Bernese Mountain Dog.
  5. Newfoundland
    These gentle giants share more than just their love for water adventures. Both breeds are known for their kind hearts, unwavering loyalty, and an innate ability to steal your heart with a single sloppy kiss. Whether you’re seeking a furry friend to cozy up with or a four-legged lifeguard at the beach, Newfoundlands and Labradors have got you covered. So, if you’re smitten with Labradors, prepare to fall head over paws for the fluffy, huggable Newfoundlands. It’s like a double dose of canine charm! Remember, when it comes to love and loyalty, these breeds are making waves in all the right ways.
the bernese mountain dog
the bernese mountain dog is one of those dogs with a truly beautiful temperaments
the newfoundland is another of those gentle giants
the newfoundland is another of those gentle giants

Group 2: Hunting Dogs

​If it’s the high energy of the labrador you love, then any of these will make an excellent choice, they will have so much energy to give to you and your active family!

the standard poodle
the standard poodle is one of the OG water retrievers, if you’re looking for smart, dedicated and drivey? This one might be you.
the nova scotia duck tolling retriever
the nova scotia duck tolling retriever is one of the big water retrievers that comes in a more petite, orange fluffy package!
The curly coated retriever
The curly coated retriever is one of those unusual breeds, but still, massively similar to your labrador!
  1. Standard Poodle
    I love how often people seem to forget that poodles are hunting dogs. These breeds may seem quite different at first glance, but they share more than meets the eye. Both Poodles and Labradors are super smart, poodles being one of the most intelligent dogs, making them quick learners and a joy to train. Plus, they both have a zest for life and boundless energy. Whether they’re chasing a ball or snuggling up on the couch, these breeds know how to make every moment memorable. So, whether you adore the elegant and curly-coated Poodles or the happy-go-lucky Labradors, remember that both breeds bring laughter, love, and endless tail wags to our lives.
  2. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling retriever
    These breeds share more than just a passion for retrieving game. They’re both eager to please their human pack and have an energetic personality that keeps life exciting. Whether you’re looking for a loyal companion for daily running sessions or a furry friend for a weekend of adventure, both breeds have got you covered. Plus, they’re both great with kids, making them ideal family pets, and who doesn’t love a ginger coat with white markings?
  3. Curly Coated Retriever
    First things first, both of these breeds are top-notch retrieving machines. Whether it’s a game of fetch at the beach or helping you fetch that remote you dropped behind the couch for the tenth time (whoops!), they’ve got it covered. Plus, their coats are truly a thing of beauty. Curly-coated retrievers, with their unique curly locks, and Labradors, with their smooth and shiny fur, are sure to turn heads wherever they go. Speaking of heads, both breeds are known for their intelligence and trainability. Having a curly-coated retriever or a Labrador by your side means you’ve got a clever companion who can learn tricks, commands, and how to give paw for treats like nobody’s business! And, finally, let’s not forget the love and loyalty these breeds bring to the table (or should I say, the couch?).
  4. Weimeraner
    These breeds have more in common than you might think! First off, both Weimaraners and Labradors are full of energy and ready for any adventure you throw their way. They’re like the canine versions of adrenaline junkies, always up for a game of fetch or a long hike in the great outdoors. Plus, they’re both known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They’ll shower you with love and kisses, making you feel like the luckiest human in the world. And let’s not forget their incredible loyalty! Weimaraners and Labradors will stand by your side through thick and thin, making them the ultimate companions. Whether you’re looking for a running buddy or a snuggle partner, both breeds have got you covered.
  5. German Shorthaired Pointer
    both German Shorthaired Pointers and Labradors are bundles of energy. They’re always ready for action, whether it’s chasing balls, going for a swim, or joining you on your morning jog. These pups are like the Energizer bunnies of the dog world! Plus, they’re both highly intelligent and quick learners. So, whether you’re teaching them a new trick or honing their hunting skills, these breeds are up for the challenge. And let’s not forget their friendly and affectionate nature! They’re just as happy curled up on the couch with you as they are fetching tennis balls at the park. Oh, the cuddles and slobbery kisses you’ll get! Lastly, both breeds are fiercely loyal and make fantastic companions. Whether you’re venturing into the great outdoors or simply enjoying some quality downtime, German Shorthaired Pointers and Labradors have got your back.
the grey ghost or the weimeraner
the grey ghost or the weimeraner – they’re known to be velcro dogs, and phenomenal hunting dogs!
the german shorthaired pointer
the german shorthaired pointer are wonderful hunting dogs, so if you want more of a slick coat alternative? These dogs are definitely very close!

Group 3: Smaller, with Temperament

The similar temperament here is kind of what I’ve gone for. All of these dogs are a medium/small size, because sometimes whilst we love our labrador, we just need them to be slightly smaller.

stabyhouns are a great alternative to the labrador
stabyhouns are a great alternative to the labrador, they’re energetic hunting dogs, slightly fluffier, but no less fun.
Vizslas are an alternative to labradors also
Vizslas are an alternative to labradors also, whilst they’re “Stickier” dogs, they’re super fun and bouncy.
the staffordshire bull terrier
the staffordshire bull terrier has that same goofy, bouncy personality as the beloved labrador! Just different drivers
  1. Stabyhoun
    I love these dogs, every one I’ve Interacted with has been really cute and whilst they’re not the most popular dogs, they’re very much being under-recognised for their nature in my opinion. The Stabyhoun are really worth considering if you’re looking for a furry friend who’s both energetic and affectionate. First off, both Stabyhouns and Labradors are super outgoing and love being around people. They’re always wagging their tails and meeting new friends. Plus, they’re great with kids, making them ideal family pets! They might have different coats, but both breeds are easy to maintain and always look shiny and healthy. And let’s not forget their wonderful personalities! Both Stabyhouns and Labradors are easy to train and eager to please. They’re also fiercely loyal and make excellent watchdogs.
  2. Vizsla
    If the affectionate dog trait of a purebred lab is what you’re really wanting? The Vizsla is what’s known as a “velcro dog” for a reason, and might be a good fit. Like labs, Vizslas are highly active and love to play. They’re always up for a game of fetch or a run in the park, making them ideal for active families. Plus, they’re both loving and affectionate, always eager to snuggle up on your lap or give you a slobbery kiss. And let’s not forget their intelligence! Vizslas and Labradors are quick learners and thrive on training and attention. They’re both great at following commands and learning new tricks. Finally, both breeds are incredibly loyal and devoted to their human companions.
  3. Staffordshire Bull Terrirer they’re both incredibly loyal and fiercely protective of their families. Need a four-legged bodyguard? These breeds have got your back (and your front, and your sides)! And let’s not forget about their zest for life! Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Labradors are the life of the party, always up for an adventure or a game of fetch. They’re like perpetual motion machines, and their endless energy can keep up with even the most active households. So, if you’re looking for a loving, loyal, and high-energy furry companion, consider adding a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Group 4: Low Allergy Breeds

If you’re an allergy sufferer (I feel you!), you might love the idea of a Lab, but want something low allergy. I get that, so here are a few of those for you to take a little look at!

Note; Some people may call these dogs “hypoallergenic” but I do want to remind you that no dog is hypoallergenic, they always will carry allergens (yes, even the trendy hybrid breeds) – but all make excellent family dogs just like the Labrador!

Portuguese water dog
Portuguese water dog is one of the low allergy dogs, an alternative to the very popular doodles!
american water spaniels
american water spaniels are a great alternative to the labrador!
  1. Portuguese Water Dog Portuguese Water Dogs and Labradors are highly active, making them perfect for outdoorsy families who love to play and explore. Whether it’s swimming, running, or kayaking, these breeds are always up for an adventure. Plus, they’re both incredibly loyal and make excellent watchdogs. They’re great at sensing when something’s off and are never too far from their humans’ side. Their happy-go-lucky dispositions make them a perfect fit for families with kids or those who want a companion who’s always by their side. Lastly, both breeds are easy to train and eager to please. They pick up tricks and commands quickly, making them ideal for first-time dog owners.
  2. American Water Spaniel American Water Spaniels and Labradors are water-loving champs. They could spend all day splashing around and retrieving things from the water. If you’re ever in need of a furry lifeguard, these breeds have got you covered! And speaking of retrieving, both breeds excel at fetching and carrying things in their mouths. Just imagine the endless fun of playing fetch with a Labrador or an American Water Spaniel. It’s like having your very own tennis ball-loving athlete at home! Plus, they’re both super friendly and great with people of all ages. From kids to grandparents, these breeds know how to charm everyone they meet.
  3. Irish Water Spaniel If you’re a fan of big, furry, energetic dogs, then these pups are sure to steal your heart! First off, both Irish Water Spaniels and Labradors are excellent swimmers and love to play in the water for hours on end. They’re like having your very own furry lifeguard on site! Plus, they’re both highly intelligent and easy to train, making them ideal for first-time dog owners. They love to play games and fetch and will impress you with their incredible athleticism. And let’s not forget their loyalty! Irish Water Spaniels and Labradors are fiercely devoted to their human families and will protect them with all their heart.
  4. Lagoto Romagnolo
    Lagotto Romagnolos and Labradors are highly intelligent and trainable. These pups are like canine Einsteins, always eager to learn new tricks and show off their smarts. Plus, they have an incredible work ethic, making them perfect for various tasks. Whether it’s hunting, search and rescue, or even sniffing out truffles (yes, truffles!), these breeds are up for the challenge! And speaking of noses, both Lagotto Romagnolos and Labradors have a keen sense of smell that can rival a gourmet chef’s. They’re like walking, wagging scent detectors, always on the trail of something interesting. Lastly, both breeds are absolute bundles of joy and love showering their humans with affection.
the lagoto romagnolo
the lagoto romagnolo is another low-allergy breed that can make a wonderful alternative to the labrador
the irish water spaniel
this curly wonder is an irish water spaniel, they’re drivey, but they’re really fun

Group 5: Cross breeds

These are some of the more popular mixed breed that come out very labrador-like, partially because they are partly labrador! They can be harder to find a responsible breeder for, but it can be done (no matter what the internet Karens tell you!)

the labradoodle
the labradoodle is a great alternative if you’re looking for a low allergy alternative.
the goldendoodle
the goldendoodle is another crossbreed (that gets a bad rap) but they can be wonderful, fun dogs!
  1. Labradoodle (Labrador x poodle)
    Both Labradors and Labradoodles have a friendly, playful personality that makes them the perfect family dog. They’re always up for an adventure or a snuggle session on the sofa. Plus, both breeds are highly intelligent and easy to train, making them ideal for first-time dog owners. In fact, Labradoodles often inherit the Labrador’s keenness to learn, making them an energetic, intelligent, and affectionate crossbreed. And let’s not forget their love for the outdoors! Labradoodles and Labradors are like little energizer bunnies, always ready to play, run and explore.
  2. Goldendoodle (Golden retriever x poodle)
    both breeds are super friendly and sweet – they’ll make friends with anyone, anywhere! Whether it’s a wagging tail or a gentle paw, their love knows no bounds. Plus, they’re both intelligent and eager to please, making training a breeze. Who wouldn’t want a well-behaved and brainy pooch, am I right? And let’s not forget their love for playtime! From fetching balls to splashing in the water, Goldendoodles and Labradors are like two peas in a playful pod.
  3. Sheprador (German Shepherd x Labrador)
    Both breeds are full of love, intelligence, and loyalty, perfect for dog owners who want a canine pal that’s always up for a good time. First off, both Shepradors and Labradors have a super friendly and affectionate nature – they’ll play with anyone, anywhere! They also share a clever wit, making them quick learners and excellent training partners. Who doesn’t want a furry Einstein who can get the job done? And when it comes to exercise and outdoor adventures, these breeds are a match made in doggy heaven! Shepradors, a mix of German Shepherds and Labradors, inherit the Labrador’s playfulness and energy, as well as the German Shepherd’s loyal, protective nature, making them perfect for active families, and they usually make a slightly better guard dog too than their labrador parent breeds.
  4. Springador (Springer spaniel x labrador)
    These paw-some pups are a mix of English Springer Spaniels and Labradors, resulting in the best of both worlds. First and foremost, they share the Lab’s friendly and outgoing personality. You won’t find a friendlier wagging tail or a more affectionate snuggle buddy! Plus, like Labradors, Springadors are known for their intelligence and trainability. They’re quick on the uptake and love showing off their clever tricks. And let’s not forget their love for adventure and the great outdoors! These pups are always up for a romp in the park or a swimming session in the lake.
the sheprador - german shepherd x labrador
the sheprador (aka a german shepherd cross labrador) these big ol’ goofballs are usually really well natured and loving
springador springer spaniel cross labrador
Springador (aka springer spaniel cross labrador) is a highly energetic, maybe slightly more intense, but still very fun to be with.

Choosing the Right Breed

When you’re looking at finding the right breed for you, it’s really important to truly consider the dog you’re looking at, and just because you like the look of the breed doesn’t make them a fitting choice for you, your lifestyle, your family, or similar. Ask yourself; are you ready for prey drive? Are you ready to train? Are you ready to brush some of these breeds every day?

We have to remember that each of these breeds has unique energy levels, drivers, size, grooming, temperament and training needs!

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Dogs arent’ one size fits all

While it’s easy to get caught up in the visual appeal of a dog (I mean, who can resist those adorable puppy eyes and wiggly tails?), it’s crucial to remember that there’s more to a furry friend than just their outer appearance. Yes, that’s right; I’m talking about those breed qualities and traits that make each pupper unique.

When choosing a dog, it’s essential to consider their breed’s characteristics and compatibility with your lifestyle.

Do you want a canine companion who’s energetic and loves outdoor adventures?

Or maybe you prefer a gentle and calm cuddle buddy for cozy nights at home?

Think about what makes a breed tick and what aligns with your own preferences.

Sure, an eye-catching coat or a cute face can be delightful, but let’s not overlook the importance of temperament, trainability, and health. So, my friends, let’s be mindful and value the “insides” more than the outside.

I can tell you, as a professional dog trainer, one of the biggest issues I see is that the guardian and their dog just see the world differently – a great example of this is how I work with my dog indie, vs how difficult it was for me to get into the mindset of my coonhounds. The hounds would never have been my choice (I married into them), and there’s a reason for that, they are totally different in their learning and motivation and just don’t match well with what I personally want from a dog.

And that conflict is really problematic. So do, please, invest in learning what these dogs are actually like to live with and train!

Choose Wisely!

We’ve explored the wonderful world of similarities between Labradors and some of their canine companions. From adventurous Flat-Coat Retrievers to gentle giants like Bernese Mountain Dogs and Newfoundlands, these breeds share more than just a wagging tail and a heart full of love.

Whether you’re drawn to the intelligence, loyalty, or playful nature of Labradors, there’s a furry friend waiting to steal your heart. So, whether you’re considering adding a new member to your pack or simply fascinated by the magic of these breeds, remember that the bond we share with our dogs knows no bounds.

Just remember, whilst all these other breeds are awesome, sometimes the original? Is the best choice for you…

Author, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Positive Puppy Expert, dog trainer and is the founder of Rebarkable. She is passionate about helping puppy parents get things right, right from the start. To help create a puppy capable of being a confident and adaptable family member and keep puppies out of shelters.

Ali has won multiple awards for her dog training, and has had her blog (this blog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ best pet blog!

Thanks to depositphotos.com for the images!


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