Male vs. Female Golden Retriever: 10 Differences To Help You Choose

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Trying to decide if you should get a male or female Golden Retriever?

If you’ve decided on a Golden, then you’ve already won — you can’t go wrong because (although we’re a little biased) Golden Retrievers are the best dogs in the world.

But there are some slight differences between the two genders that you might want to consider before bringing them home.

Here are some general trends when it comes to male vs. female Golden Retrievers:

Male Golden Retrievers are bigger, mature slower, and are goofier, more playful, and more affectionate. Female Golden Retrievers are smaller, more independent, smarter, and more protective.

There are several other common differences between the two, which you’ll learn in this article.

Plus, at the end, you’ll find out the best way to get the right dog for you.

Male vs. Female Golden Retrievers

male vs female golden retriever

When considering male vs. female Golden Retrievers, remember this: each dog is an individual.

Yes, there are several differences between the two that appear often, but these are not hard and fast rules.

You might get a dog that is completely opposite of the differences described here!

That being said, here are ten differences we’ll discuss between these two genders:

  1. Size
  2. Maturity
  3. Personality
  4. Marking
  5. Barking
  6. Humping
  7. Spaying/Neutering
  8. Intelligence
  9. Protection
  10. Bonding & Affection

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Size

This is the least subjective difference in this list.

Here’s how big male Golden Retrievers usually are:

Height: 22-24 inches

Weight: 65-75 pounds

And here’s how big female Golden Retrievers usually are:

Height: 20-22 inches

Weight: 55-65 pounds

As you can see, male Goldens are usually bigger than females.

That doesn’t mean females can’t be bigger than males, but they’re much more likely to be smaller.

As far as where each dog falls in this range, that will depend heavily on the parents (at least for height).

Weight will not only depend on the dog and their parents, but also how much you feed and exercise them.

Since Golden Retrievers are prone to obesity, as well as heart and joint issues, you’ll want to keep them at a healthy weight so that they can live long, happy, healthy lives.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Maturity

Female Golden Retrievers, like human females, mature faster than males.

This can make it easier to potty train young females over males when they’re young.

Since they mature slower, male Goldens will act like puppies for longer than female Goldens.

This can be fun because they’re playful and goofy during this stage, but tough because they have so much energy and can be mischievous.

Typically, puppyhood lasts until they’re about 2-4 years old, with females being on the shorter end of that spectrum and males being on the longer end.

My Golden, Oliver, just turned three years old and he still acts like a wild, goofy puppy.

Which leads us to the next point…

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Personalities

This is probably the most subjective trait on this list.

Here’s what many people have found regarding their Golden Retriever’s personalities:

Male Golden Retrievers are goofier and more playful than female Golden Retrievers. Females are more independent, dominant over other dogs, stubborn, and protective. Females are also often more caring and in tune with your emotions than males.

In addition to genetics affecting their personalities, another thing that can affect their personalities is their past.

We fostered a 9-year-old female Golden for a month and she was certainly more dominant and protective than our boy, but she was not independent at all.

She was an absolute Velcro dog that needed our attention 24/7.

Unfortunately, I think that’s because she was neglected in the home she was in before us.

When she finally got some love and attention, she couldn’t get enough of it.

male vs female golden retriever personality

As you can see, Oliver wasn’t thrilled to not be the center of attention anymore…

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Marking

Male Golden Retrievers mark more than female Golden Retrievers.

If you’re going for a walk, expect to stop, sniff, and pee, many more times with a male than a female.

However, once your male Golden gets neutered, this will slow down a lot (more on this later).

They’ll start squatting more, instead of lifting their leg, and will pee much fewer times.

Many people don’t want to get a male Golden because they’re scared they’ll mark everything in the house, but if you potty train them correctly, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Click here to download the potty training cheat sheet to make potty training much easier!

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Barking

The great news is that Golden Retrievers are moderate barkers.

They were originally bred to hunt birds back in the 1800s, so if they barked, they would scare the birds off.

Because of this, they don’t bark that much.

However, there are a few things you should know when it comes to Goldens and barking.

Males have louder, deeper barks than females because of their bigger size.

In fact, Charlie, a male Golden Retriever from Australia, owns the world record for loudest bark.

But on the other hand, females often bark more than males.

This is due to them usually being more protective (more on this later).

If you do get a Golden and find that they’re barking too much for your liking, you can read this article about how to train your Golden Retriever to bark less.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Humping

Yes, we all know that males hump.

But did you know that female Goldens hump, too?

Both males and females hump because of sexual urges, displaying dominance, playing, and other reasons.

Neutering or spaying will help decrease it, but expect to deal with humping no matter which gender you get.

And this takes us to the next difference…

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Spaying/Neutering

Every Golden Retriever puppy owner will ask this question: Should I spay/neuter my dog?

You’ll need to talk to your vet to answer this question, but in a study we did recently we found that 78% of Golden Retriever owners spay or neuter their dogs.

Spaying or neutering your dog is a complicated question.

Your decision will depend on your dog, your lifestyle, their gender, and even your culture (I know that sounds weird, but this article will explain why).

Again, talk to your vet to decide when the time is right for your pup.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Intelligence

male vs female golden retriever intelligence

According to Dr. Stanley Coren’s Book, The Inelligence of Dogs, Golden Retrievers are the fourth smartest dog breed.

The top three include Border Collies, Poodles, and German Shepherds.

And for reference, Labradors are the seventh smartest dog breed.

Many Golden Retriever owners who’ve had both males and females often report that females are smarter.

This could be because they mature faster or are less mischievous, or maybe they actually tend to be smarter.

But just like all of the traits in this list, it really depends on the individual dog.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Protection

Although males are bigger than females and have a louder bark, females are usually more protective of their homes and their families.

They’re normally warier of strangers than males and are more likely to bark at someone or something they don’t know.

Male vs. Female Golden Retriever Bonding & Affection

Here’s a quote people often say about Golden Retrievers:

“Girls will love you, but boys will fall in love with you.”

Many Golden owners report that males are cuddlier and more affectionate than females.

As you can see in the picture of Oliver, my foster Nala, and me above, that’s not always the case, but it is mentioned often.

Another theory that I have in this realm (and it’s just a theory) is that boys are mama’s boys and girls are daddy’s girls.

Oliver is certainly a mama’s boy and I’ve heard many people say their boys love their moms more and girls love their dads more.

Had I known this before, maybe I would’ve tried to get a girl instead…

Is your Golden a mama’s boy or daddy’s girl? Let me know in the comments!

How To Get The Best Golden Retriever For You

After reading this, you might have a good idea of which gender you want…

But remember this: these are trends, not rules.

A Golden’s personality and characteristics are all about the specific dog and their parents.

So how do you get the best dog for you?

Talk to the breeder.

They know the puppies and the parents best and can tell you what to expect.

male vs female golden retriever puppy

First, decide what traits you want in a dog, then talk to some breeders and see if they breed dogs that fit what you’re looking for.

For example, if you want a dog to do agility, dock diving, or even hunting with, then you probably want an athletic, energetic field Golden Retriever, not a stocky show Golden Retriever.

On the other hand, if you want a calm companion or even a therapy dog, then you probably don’t want that energetic field Golden.

After you find a breeder that breeds the type of dog you want, then they can help you decide on a boy or girl based on what you’re looking for and what their puppies are like.

You can read this article for more information about how to find a good Golden Retriever breeder.

And here’s one final note on male vs. female Golden Retrievers: sometimes you might not have a choice!

Goldens are so popular right now and the waitlists are very long, so you might have to just accept what you can get.

If you’re in this situation, don’t worry, both boy and girl Golden Retrievers are amazing and you’ll just be happy to finally bring one home.

Plus, sometimes your dog picks you!

Oliver picked my wife by crawling into her lap and the decision was made then and there.

Have any questions about male vs. female Golden Retrievers?

Let me know in the comments below!

If you’re unsure if a Golden is right for you, then take the Golden Retriever quiz here.

If you’re getting a puppy, then grab the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook here.

And if you liked this article, then read about English vs. American Golden Retrievers next.

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7 thoughts on “Male vs. Female Golden Retriever: 10 Differences To Help You Choose”

  1. I know that this may seem petty, but it has driven me crazy for years – maybe you can help correct it. It is beyond wrong to say that a dog is “fixed”, There is absolutely nothing wrong with any dog with its body integrity at birth! They are perfect as they come into this world. The fact that we humans choose to alter, neuter, spay, or any other term for what is essentially sterilizing them (which I completely agree with) and for whatever the reason might be, they are NOT broken! I think the use of the term “fixed” gives non-dog owners, in particular, the notion that an intact dog is somehow not acceptable. Whatever the reason is for neutering a dog is (and again I’m in favor of some of the reasons, though not just to try and eliminate or reduce a natural behavior such as aggression, barking, humping, or jumping, etc. – all of which require proper training instead) it should NEVER be referred to as “fixing” a dog! I’ve had more than a dozen dogs in my life and while all have been neutered, not one was broken and needed to be fixed!

    It’s a pet peeve (pun intended) of my and thank you for the opportunity to hopefully change another human being’s choice of words.


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