Male vs. Female Golden Retrievers: 6 Key Differences

If you’ve decided to get a new Golden Retriever puppy, you’re likely debating the next big decision—whether to get a male or female golden retriever? 

Choosing between a male vs female golden retriever can be difficult, so we’re here to shed some light on which is right for you.

What Are the Differences Between Male and Female Golden Retrievers? 

Here’s What to Know About Male vs. Female Golden Retrievers:

  1. Average Height, Weight and General Appearance
  2. Personality Traits and Demeanor
  3. Energy Level
  4. Health Concerns
  5. Intelligence & Training
  6. Family Compatibility
  7. 10 Key Considerations for First-Time Owners of Golden Retrievers
  8. Frequently Asked Questions

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #1: Average Height, Weight and General Appearance

Male vs. female golden retriever puppies. 5 golden retriever puppies in a basket.

The most distinct difference between male and female Golden Retrievers is in their appearance. As with most breeds, the males tend to be larger than the females. A fully grown male Golden Retriever can weigh anywhere between 65 and 75 pounds, while a fully grown female will top out at around 55 to 65 pounds.

As expected, the two differ in height, as well. Adult male Goldens usually stand between 23 and 24 inches tall at the shoulders. In contrast, adult females stand at around 21 and 22 inches tall at the shoulders. 

Aside from height and weight, there are other visible differences between male and female Golden Retrievers. Male Goldens tend to have thicker hair, with a prominent tuft of long hair accumulated in the neck and chest region that most people consider to be a “mane.” 

Females have thinner hair that may appear to be more feathered around the body. Both male and female Goldens need regular brushing and grooming, but males may require more, due to their thicker coats.

Male Golden Retrievers also tend to have broader heads and snouts, while females have a more narrow head and a skinnier snout. In general, females are more slender, while males tend to have a stockier appearance.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #2:  Personality Traits and Demeanor

Male and female Golden Retrievers share many of the same personality traits, like friendliness and gentle nature. Some owners report that males and females tend to have different personality traits. However, many of these reports are anecdotal, rather than proven.

Some owners believe that their male Goldens tend to be far more attached to members of the family, while female Goldens are more independent. A male Golden might be more likely to stay glued at your hip, eager to please you and earn your affection. While female Goldens do get attached and want to please you, they might not be as clingy as their male counterparts. 

This is not to say that female Goldens are not affectionate. They just might express their affection differently than male Goldens. Females still desire their owner’s company and want to be near to them, but they might like to maintain a level of independence at the same time. 

Some owners also report that male Goldens also tend to have more stubborn behavior than females. 

However, in our experience, the distinctions in personality traits tend to come down to an individual puppy’s personality, rather than a difference in gender.

male vs. female golden retrievers. Golden retriever laying on the ground with it's tongue out.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #3: Energy Level

While all Golden Retrievers have a fun, playful nature, some are far more energetic than others. That is true for both male and female Goldens. 

Some owners believe that male Goldens remain in their “puppy stage” much longer than females, although, again, this is more anecdotal than proven. 

Whether they are male or female, if your Golden Retrievers has a higher energy level, they may require more regular physical activity and exertion to prevent destructive behaviors or mood issues. That can be throwing a ball in the backyard or going for a daily walk around the neighborhood. 

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #4: Health Concerns

When you’re getting a new dog, it is essential to consider any potential health issues they may have at some point in their life. In the case of male vs. female Golden Retrievers, there is a distinct difference in possible health concerns.

All Golden Retrievers are prone to certain medical and physical conditions, including elbow dysplasia, retinal cataracts, bloat, epilepsy, aortic stenosis, Von Willebrand disease, and various types of cancer. An estimated 60% of all Golden Retrievers will have some kind of cancer in their lifetime.

While all Goldens are susceptible to these conditions, female Goldens come with their unique health concerns in addition to those experienced by the breed. 

For example, unspayed female Goldens have an increased risk of conditions like hip dysplasia. Improvements in screening and careful breeding have been lowering the rates of this condition in recent years. Females are also more likely to develop ocular myasthenia and adrenocortical insufficiency.

Overall, male and female Goldens have the same life expectancy, reaching anywhere between 10 and 12 years. In some cases, both male and female Golden Retrievers can even live between 14 and 15 years.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #5:  Intelligence and Training

It is no secret that Golden Retrievers are one of the most intelligent dog breeds out there. In fact, the American Kennel Club ranks Golden Retrievers among the Top 10 smartest dog breeds!

While all Goldens are highly intelligent, some puppy owners report that their female Goldens seem to pick up concepts slightly quicker than males, making them more adept at associating prompts and actions. This may lead to the assumption that females are easier to train. 

However, in reality, these differences may stem from training methods used by the owner and the puppy’s individual personality traits.

Goldens can often correctly respond to commands starting as young as 12 weeks old, whether they are male or female. 

Working with an experienced professional who can show you positive training methods can help make things like obedience training much easier, no matter whether you have a male Golden puppy or a female one.

Male vs. female golden retriever. Golden retriever with it's head in owners hands and a big smile.

Male vs Female Golden Retriever Key Difference #6: Family Compatibility

While Golden Retrievers make great family pets, there are a few things about the two genders that may make you choose one over the other for your household.

Since female Goldens are sometimes reported to have calmer dispositions, they may be a nice choice for families that include children or seniors.

Female Goldens are sometimes believed to be more careful and observant around small children, whereas male Goldens might be more carefree and playful.

Again, though, in most cases, you’ll find that the temperament of your specific dog will affect this dynamic more than the gender of your puppy.

Due to their larger size, a male Golden Retriever might be able to knock children or senior adults over if they get hyper.

Goldens of either gender are remarkably friendly, but this energetic spirit could cause injury to certain family members who cannot handle the size of a medium-to-large breed dog. 

Goldens are an ideal match for young couples who love a lot of activity. Whether it’s hiking, walking, or water sports, a male or female Golden Retriever can thrive in an environment with active individuals.

Should You Get a Male or Female Golden Retriever Puppy?

If you’re still debating whether you should get a male Golden Retriever puppy or a female Golden puppy, you may want to consult with breed experts before making a decision. Speaking with a reputable breeder about your family’s needs and unique lifestyle can help you figure out which dog will be the best choice for you, whether it ends up being a male or a female. 

Please keep in mind, in our experience, picking the puppy with the right personality for you is more important than the puppy’s gender.

Whether you choose a male or female Golden Retriever, rest assured they will bring years of love, loyalty, and fun to your family!

MORE>> The TRUE Price Of A Golden Retriever Puppy

10 Key Considerations for First-Time Owners of Golden Retrievers

  1. Time and Attention: Golden Retrievers are social and affectionate dogs, so be prepared to dedicate ample time and attention to meet their emotional needs.
  2. Exercise and Play: Regular exercise is essential to keep these energetic dogs healthy and happy, ensuring daily walks and playtime.
  3. Early Training and Socialization: Begin training early and expose your Golden Retriever to various people and situations for a well-behaved and confident adult dog.
  4. Grooming Care: Their thick double coat requires regular grooming, including brushing and occasional baths.
  5. Health Maintenance: Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and preventive care are vital for their overall well-being.
  6. Living Space: Ensure you have enough room in your home and yard to accommodate their medium to large size and active lifestyle.
  7. Family Compatibility: Golden Retrievers are generally good with children and other pets, but supervise interactions to ensure safety and harmony.
  8. Financial Preparedness: Owning a dog comes with expenses, so be financially ready for their care and well-being.
  9. Safety Precautions: Puppy-proof your living space to eliminate potential hazards and provide a safe environment.
  10. Lifelong Commitment: Be prepared for a long-term commitment as Golden Retrievers typically have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years or more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Male vs Female Golden Retrievers

Are female golden retrievers calmer than males?

Although golden retrievers are generally not hyperactive, females are sometimes believed to mature faster than males. This may help them to learn commands at a slightly younger age, although these differences tend to disappear as a dog gets a little older.

Are male dogs friendlier than females?

Male dogs are not necessarily more friendly, than female Golden Retrievers. In most cases, the differences will come from the individual personality of the puppy in question, rather than the gender.

What is the difference between male dogs and female dogs?

Aside from sexual differences, the variance between a male and female puppy won’t be that strong. It really comes down to the individual personality of a puppy more than its gender.

Can you have 2 male Golden Retrievers?

Yes! Goldens are actually happier when they have companions, and while two males may fight to figure out who is the alpha between them, you could just as easily experience this same dynamic between two female Golden Retrievers or mixed genders.

Do male or female dogs live longer?

It has been noted that gender does not typically play a role in determining the life span of a dog, although males tend to live slightly longer on average. Spaying and neutering a dog seems to have a greater impact on the lifespan of a Golden Retriever.

Is it better to get a male or female golden retriever?

The answer to this question will usually come down to your personal preferences. While some dog owners report that males or females tend to have certain characteristics, in most cases, these differences stem more from the personality of an individual puppy than from their gender.

MORE>> Learn about the different types of golden retrievers

Galen has been connecting quality Golden Retriever breeders with loving families since 2012 and is the founder of My Golden Retriever Puppies. He and his wife have four children and love spending time together, traveling (lived oversees for 4 years), enjoying the outdoors and connecting Golden families.