Last Updated on April 22, 2023
The Labrador Retriever is the one dog breed that is very popular worldwide. But there are quite a few other dog breeds that resemble the Lab.
These include purebred dogs like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Newfoundland, Weimaraner, Bloodhound, Great Pyrenees, Curly Coated Retriever, Flat Coated Retriever, Golden Retriever, and Standard Poodle.
Various crosses also take on the appearance of the Lab because purebred Labs are used in their breeding. These include the Bassador, Corgidor, Sheprador, Huskador, Labradoodle, and Sprigador.
So what similarities and differences do these dogs share with the ever-popular Lab, and which one would be suitable for your home? We’ll examine all this and more in the article below.
Dog Breeds That Look Like Labradors
There are a number of smaller dogs that look like Labs, like the Bassador, Corgidor, Labradoodle, and Springador. They are all the result of another purebred dog being crossbred with Labradors which results in a smaller dog.
A Beagle is a small sized muscular, compact dog, standing about 13 to 15 inches (33 to 38 cm) tall and weighing 20 to 30 pounds (9 to 13.6 kg). They look somewhat like Labs but come in various colors and markings.
Similar to Labrador dogs, they also have broad heads and ears that point downwards with dark eyes. Beagles are also very active dogs that are friendly with children and are a great family favorite.
Watch an adorable video of a Beagle and a Labrador Retriever playing together here:
2. Springer Spaniel
The Springer Spaniel is a dog that is a bit smaller than a Labrador, but they are very similar due to their overall personalities.
They are intelligent, cheerful dogs that are fun to be with, and they also love being with their human family. Like the Labrador, they love to retrieve as this is what they were bred to do, so they will enjoy a good game of fetch.
3. American Water Spaniel
The American Water Spaniel is an American-bred dog from the 19th century.
Males and females stand between 38 and 46 inches (96.5 and 116.8 cm) tall, while males weigh about 30 to 62 pounds (14 to 28 kg) and females are slightly lighter at 24 to 40 pounds (11 to 18 kg).
These dogs come in liver, chocolate, and brown colors. Like Labs, they are friendly, intelligent, energetic, obedient, and protective.
Unlike Labs, American Water Spaniels don’t shed much, although their oily water-resistant coats regularly need to be brushed.
4. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
The Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is also called a Toller. They are specially bred for hunting. This medium-sized gundog is very intelligent, alert, and energetic, so Lab-like in many ways.
They are very affectionate and love to cuddle, and are exceptionally good with children, being so patient and gentle.
Their high-pitched bark can be penetrating and sounds like a scream when they get excited. These dogs have thick, water-repellent double coats.
They only shed during the fall and spring. They come in copper, golden red, dark red to bright red, and pale yellow, and then they have white markings.
5. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is a dog that is very similar to a Lab. Their coat colors are usually brown, tan, and gray. These smart, affectionate dogs are known for their lovely smile.
Chesapeake Bay Retrievers are sporting and hunting dogs that are very playful. They also love water and can even work in very cold, rough water.
6. Curly-Coated Retriever
The Curly-Coated Retriever is a dog that has many similarities to Labs. They are one of the oldest Retriever breeds that originated in England.
These dogs were favorites amongst gamekeepers and were used on the great estates in England for retrieving. Their curly coats shed periodically and can be a bit challenging to manage at times.
They are independent, adorable, intelligent, and easily trained. Unlike other Retrievers, they are not as friendly with strangers.
They are very loyal and protective but can be charming, calm, and gentle with their human families if properly trained.
7. Flat-Coated Retriever
The Flat-Coated Retriever has a sensitive nature. They are intelligent, optimistic, outgoing, and not aggressive. These eager-to-please dogs are also easy to train, like Labs.
Flat-Coated retrievers don’t bark a lot but are excellent for bird hunting. They could chase, hunt, play, and swim all day long.
They behave very similarly to the Labs, but there are differences in their coats, and they also have more fur around the ears.
Coat colors are black and liver, and they possess a thick double coat. Shedding occurs during spring and fall.
8. Golden Retriever
Golden Retrievers are so much like Labradors in looks and in their personalities. They are well-balanced and sturdy. Their bodies are strong and muscular.
Their colors range from dark golden to cream, and they are often confused with the Yellow Labrador.
Goldies shed a lot, and sometimes they do smell a bit, so managing their coats will be more work than that of Labradors.
During spring, they shed their winter coats, then during fall, they shed their summer coats, preparing them for their thicker winter coats.
These dogs are also great family dogs. They are well adaptable, with a happy and playful, affectionate, adorable, and loving nature.
9. Standard Poodle
Standard Poodles don’t look like Labradors at first glance, but their personalities and temperaments are so similar. They are very enthusiastic and adventurous and like to play, swim and hunt, for they are also good retrievers.
In addition, Standard Poodles are good with children and their human families. Being so loving, they love to cuddle and could even experience anxiety if they are left alone for too long. They also tend to bond with one member of the family.
Grooming has to be done regularly to prevent matting, so these dogs need to be taken to the salon regularly to be groomed.
Coat colors are black, white, apricot, cream, sable, blue, grey, silver, brown, and red, with white as the most popular and also most common.
The Weimaraner is a big dog bred for hunting large animals. They are steady, aloof, alert, very fast, smart, and sometimes quite stubborn. They are definitely not as loving and affectionate as the Labrador.
They shed very little, especially if they are short-haired, and they can either have long or short hair. They come in blue and grey and all shades in between.
They love outdoor activities and attention and don’t like to be left alone, and can get very clingy. With an active family, they make good family pets.
Weimaraner are loyal and make excellent guards and watchdogs. They bark a lot and have powerful jaws – so be aware!
Although Bloodhounds don’t resemble Labradors in appearance, they are so gentle, patient, and tolerant that they are excellent alternatives to Labs.
Bloodhounds are known for their incredible smell sense. Although they are bred to hunt and track big animals, they make the most loving family pets.
They are not really good protectors or guard dogs, but they are very well used in law enforcement and search-and-rescue operations. That said, they don’t train easily for they can be stubborn and independent.
These dogs have short-haired coats of black and tan, liver and tan or red.
The Newfoundland is a large working dog and can be black, grey, or white. They have a life span of about 8 to 10 years. Their height is 24 to 28 inches (62 to 71 cm), while they weigh about 121 to 176 pounds (55 to 80 kg).
When well trained, they are excellent family dogs, for these gentle giants are very sweet and one of the most intelligent dogs.
With all these Lab-like traits, they are also excellent with children, and although they are so enormous, they still love cuddling and hate to be left alone for too long, for then they can become destructive and depressed.
Their owners should take them for grooming because of their size, for they are high-maintenance dogs with thick coats.
A Boerboel is so similar to a Labrador in a variety of ways. Even their appearance is so alike with their smooth short hair, broad heads, and triangle-shaped ears pointing downwards.
Boerboels stand about 22 to 27 inches (55.9 to 68.6 cm) and can weigh between 150 and 200 pounds (68 and 90.7kg). They have a life span of 10 to 12 years.
Coat colors vary from black to mahogany, brown, red, brindle, fawn, and cream. They are very intelligent, loyal, obedient, confident, territorial, and dominant.
Boerboels are very loving with family members and gentle and patient with children, just like Labs. Though, unlike Labs, they will protect their people and territory fiercely.
Like Labs, they train very easily but are not so high in energy and are much calmer than the excited Labrador.
Broholmers are dogs that look like large Labs. Because of their size, they seem very intimidating and aggressive, but actually, Broholmers are very calm and friendly.
They make excellent family dogs that are gentle with children of all ages. They are not at all aggressive but watchful towards strangers.
These dogs stand about 27.5 to 29.5 inches (68.8 to 75cm) tall and weigh 90 to 150 pounds (40.8 to 68kg).
They are heavy shedders and their coat colors are black, red, golden, or yellow, and they may have white markings or a black mask. Like Labs, they possess wide skulls and drop ears.
Tosas are large purebred dogs initially bred in Japan for fighting. Contrary to that, today, they make good, calm, and quiet watchdogs.
Tosas measure about 21.5 to 23.5 inches (54.6 to 59-7cm) tall and weigh about 100 to 200 pounds (45.4 to 90.7 kg).
They are suspicious and can be aggressive, so they should be trained well to be calm, quiet, and obedient. They are recommended for families with bigger children.
Being low-maintenance, they are light shedders and easy to groom. Their standard colors are black, red, brindle, and fawn, and they often come with white markings.
Like Labs, their eyes are dark, and their ears are triangle shaped and pointing down.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can you identify a Lab just by looking?
Labrador Retrievers are medium to large dogs. Well-balanced and sturdy, they stand about 21.5 to 24.5inches (54.6 to 62.2 cm) high and weigh around 55 to 80 pounds (25 to 36.3kg). They have broad heads with drop ears.
Their large, expressive eyes and thick, relatively short double coats, as well as their otter tails, are very distinguishing.
They are muscular and athletic and come in one of three colors that being golden, chocolate brown, or black.
Are there different types of this breed?
Yes, there are two different types of Labradors. We typically distinguish between the American and English-bred lab.
English Labradors are typically used for show, and American Labradors are kept as pets or used for hunting. American Labradors are typically easier to train than English Labradors and are slightly lighter and smaller.
Read more: English Lab vs American Lab
Which Dog That Looks Like a Lab is Your Favorite?
The best dog will be different for every prospective owner.
The right breed for you all depends on your preference, space, accommodation, finances, family activities, availability of the breed, vet and grooming facilities, and the makeup of your family and family needs.
Each of the above dogs has its own unique features that resemble Labs, which make them so special, but purebred Labrador Retrievers are still the most popular choice for many families around the world.
Do you have any of the dogs mentioned in the article above? We would love to learn all about your dog and why you chose that particular breed in the comments below.
Janine is an experienced content writer and travel journalist based in Cape, Town, South Africa.
Raised by a bundle of botanists, researchers, and biologists, she is passionate about things related to the animal kingdom, including, our furry friends. However, as a terrible allergy sufferer, she is limited in her pet selection and so has grown up surrounded by curly-haired Poodles.