The differences between a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever lay mostly in the coat, the tail, the purposes for which the dogs were bred and their origins. The Golden Retriever is also a tiny bit taller and heavier than the Labrador Retriever.
Both dogs are now considered gundogs, which help humans retrieve game. The Golden Retriever was bred to retrieve birds that had been shot, while the task of the Labrador was to help fishermen pull in their nets.
The Labrador Retriever always has a short coat, while the Golden Retriever can have a coat that's short, flat or wavy. There can be luxurious feathering on the Golden Retriever tail and the forelegs. The Labrador Retriever has a medium length tail with no feathering. Its base is thick and tapers to the end. The Labrador also has a more powerful neck than the Golden. The muscles in the Labrador's neck and long shoulders helped with its original job.
The Golden Retriever originated in Great Britain in the 1800s, while the Labrador Retriever originated in Canada in the 1800s. The Labrador arrived a bit earlier, and the Golden Retriever was created by breeding the Labrador with other setters and spaniels.