Male vs Female Golden Retrievers

If you’re wondering what the differences are between male and female Golden Retrievers, you’ve come to the right place. 

There are dozens of differences (as well as a bunch of similarities) that are covered in this post – such as how male Golden Retrievers are typically bigger in weight and size, and how they have the same life span regardless of if they’re male or female.

However, it’s worth noting that these are general differences and similarities – so there will be Golden Retrievers that are exceptions to this rule.

Differences Between Male and Female Golden Retrievers

There are plenty of differences between male and female Golden Retrievers – some of them are obvious like the fact that only females can carry and give birth to puppies and that they have heat cycles (that males don’t have).

But some differences may surprise you – from their maturity, to the process of neutering them, and their territorial behavior.

Read on to find out about all the differences between male and female Golden Retrievers!

Size Differences Between Male and Female Golden Retrievers

Male Golden Retrievers are typically bigger and heavier than females. Males will usually grow faster and reach their full size before females do.

On average, you’ll find that a fully grown adult Golden Retriever will be:

  • Male: 65 to 75 pounds and 22 to 24 inches tall.
  • Female: 55 to 65 pounds and 20 to 22 inches tall.

Appearance Differences in Male and Female Golden Retrievers

There are some key physical differences in what a Golden Retriever looks like depending on if they’re male or female. 

Male Golden Retrievers usually have thicker fur, especially around their neck and chest which is sometimes referred to as a mane. Males also look stockier with broader heads and snouts.

Female Golden Retrievers have thinner, more feathered fur and appear more slender. They also tend to have thinner snouts and smaller heads.  

Maturity Differences in Male and Female Golden Retrievers

Female Golden Retrievers mature faster than their male counterparts.

This means that a male Golden Retriever will act like a puppy for longer – so they’ll be full of energy and harder to train until they catch up with the females’ mental maturity. 

Golden Retrievers are classed as puppies until they’re between two and four years old. Females tend to be on the younger side of this range, while males are on the older side. There are always exceptions to this rule too that are affected by the Golden’s personality.

Marking Territory Differences Between Male and Female Golden Retrievers

Dogs mark their territory in a variety of ways, and this is seen more in dogs before they’ve been neutered. Typically, male dogs mark their territory more than a female would.

You’ll see this in the form of males stopping and sniffing a spot before urinating on it to mark it with their scent. This is usually when they come across unfamiliar smells like another animal’s scent or new furniture at home.

Females do mark territory too, but not as much. And this behavior settles in both after they’ve been neutered and their hormone levels come down. 

Spaying or Neutering Your Golden Retriever

If you decide to get your Golden Retriever spayed or neutered (the procedure that prevents them from having puppies) then you’ll have a different experience depending on if you have a male or female Golden. 

Spaying a Golden Retriever involves removing her reproductive organs (ovaries and uterus). This is usually more expensive as it’s a longer and more invasive procedure. 

Whereas getting your male Golden Retriever neutered is getting his testicles removed. 

The recovery times are similar – five to seven days of rest afterward. It prevents females from going into heat and can calm aggressive behavior and their need to mark (although this might not go away completely).

Bonding and Affection Differences in Golden Retrievers

Both male and female Golden Retrievers are fiercely loving and loyal pets.

A lot of people think that males are more dependent and loving, and they need the approval of their owners more. Some also say that male Golden Retrievers are more cuddly – but this really does depend on their personality.

On the other hand, female Golden Retrievers still require the same amount of attention and love from you – but they’ll likely be a little bit more independent. 

Protective Instincts in Golden Retrievers

Female Golden Retrievers (particularly mothers) are more protective over their families and home. You’ll see this when a stranger comes into their home or when they’re nursing puppies and act aggressively if anyone goes near.

This is an in-built trait that you’ll see in almost every female dog. You can expect it to heighten when she’s pregnant and a new mum, but it should settle down once their puppies grow older.

Barking in Male and Female Golden Retrievers

All dogs bark, sometimes it’ll be because they see their reflection, while others only bark if commanded to – it varies between individuals and on how they’ve been trained.

A male Golden Retriever’s bark will typically be louder and have a deeper sound as they’re bigger creatures. If you have a male and female Golden you should notice a difference between the two barks.

However, female Golden Retrievers are said to bark more often, which is because of their protective nature. A female will be wary of strangers and they’ll bark to warn away the danger.

Intelligence in Male and Female Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are ranked as the fourth smartest breed of dog (ranked by the American Kennel Club). 

Both male and female Golden Retrievers are intelligent, and it seems to vary based on the individual dog’s personality and how they’ve been trained. 

Some people say that females are smarter, as they’re easier to train and quick to reach maturity. However, there’s no concrete proof to support this. Either way, this breed in general is known to be intelligent.

Training Male and Female Golden Retrievers 

Continuing from the fact that Golden Retrievers are in the top five intelligent breeds of dogs, their high intelligence makes them one of the easiest breeds to train.

Female Golden Retrievers are typically even easier to train. They’re more relaxed and mature faster which makes it easy for them to learn. But because females are also stubborn and more independent, you might not find that is the case.

This goes for toilet training, basic commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’, and more complex training like agility or following advanced instructions.

Energy Levels in Male and Female Golden Retrievers

In general, Golden Retrievers are full of energy. 

They need high-intensity exercise and mental stimulation to help them use all of their energy. Golden Retrievers aren’t a breed that are happy spending all day chilling out – they’re itching to run and play.

Males tend to be a little more energetic, and because it takes longer for them to mature, they act like energetic puppies for longer. You’ll usually find that females will calm down and be less energetic when they’re a couple of years old.

Health Issues in Golden Retrievers

Golden Retrievers are a breed that is unfortunately prone to diseases and illnesses.

Some of these problems are inherited from their parents, while some are totally random and unexpected. An example of this is that female Golden Retrievers (who haven’t been spayed) are thought to be more prone to hip dysplasia

They’re also prone to cancer, allergies, skin conditions, and more. Some of them will affect both male and female Goldens while some are exclusive to one.

How Golden Retrievers Act

Golden Retrievers are widely considered to be brilliant family pets

They’re a notoriously friendly breed and typically get along well with children, adults, other dogs, and other animals. As with anything, they’ll need to be introduced to each other with supervision at the start. 

Male Golden Retrievers Female Golden Retrievers
With ChildrenMales are usually more energetic and playful, but they’re also bigger so there’s a risk of accidentally hurting a smaller child by being too boisterous. Females are typically more reserved – they’re patient and happy to play. But they’re also more observant and reserved so less likely to cause an injury.
With Other DogsYour male Golden will happily play with any dog in the park. Just be aware that if you bring a new dog home your male might get territorial. Females will play and welcome other dogs but are more likely to assert their dominance. She might be territorial and aggressive to show she’s the boss.
With Other AnimalsA properly socialized and trained Golden Retriever should be able to peacefully coexist with other animals – regardless of if they’re male or female.A properly socialized and trained Golden Retriever should be able to peacefully coexist with other animals – regardless of if they’re male or female.

Similarities Between Male and Female Golden Retrievers

Now that we’ve covered the differences between male and female Golden Retrievers, it’s time to cover the similarities! 

There are several aspects of having a Golden Retriever that will be the same whether you have a male or female pet:

  • Life span: All Golden Retrievers have an average life span of 10-12 years. This can be different depending on individuals, but it isn’t affected by whether you have a male or female Golden.
  • Price: The average cost of a Golden Retriever is around £3000 in the UK. This can be affected by where you got your Golden from, their lineage, and more. But there isn’t usually a difference if your Golden is male or female.
  • Humping: Both male and female Golden Retrievers hump things – people’s legs, other dogs, and even furniture. It can be to assert dominance, out of boredom, or driven by hormones. 
  • Nipples: You might think that only female Golden Retrievers have nipples to produce milk for their puppies, but males can have nipples too. It’s totally normal, but a male wouldn’t secrete milk.
  • Care: Both male and female Golden Retrievers will need the same amount of exercise, training, feeding, socialization, and more. This goes for health treatments too – they’ll both need annual vaccinations, flea treatment, and health checkups.

Related Questions

Do Male or Female Golden Retrievers Make Better Guard Dogs?

The short answer is neither. Golden Retrievers aren’t usually aggressive dogs. However, they do have the loyalty, intelligence, and protective instinct to be trained as guard dogs – but it would run counter to the friendly nature of both a male or female Golden Retriever.

Do Male or Female Golden Retrievers Make Better Family Pets?

Both male and female Golden Retrievers will likely make fabulous additions to the family! They’re both great with children and other pets, and their personalities are similar- they’re affectionate, playful, social, and eternally loyal.

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