Male vs. Female Golden Retriever: Which Is Better?

Male and female Golden Retrievers running together happily

When the decision to buy a Golden Retriever is made, many questions usually follow. Most potential owners dive into a comprehensive research to determine how to select the right dog. And that always comes with the question of whether to pick a male or female Golden.

Most people want to know the differences between females and males, which they believe will help them make the right choice.

So, which should you get, a male or female Golden Retriever? Unlike popular belief, female Golden Retrievers are usually more independent and stubborn as they are affectionate and intelligent. Males are also intelligent, extremely affectionate, very playful, and loyal. But some of their traits will become less visible when the male is neutered, and the female is spayed.

This article is projected towards addressing the little but present differences between the male and the female Golden Retrievers. The findings are meant to help guide you in your quest to bring the right dog home. Without further ado, let’s dive into the article proper.

Male Golden Retrievers


Overview


Height: 22 – 24 inches (56 – 61 cm)

Weight: 65 – 75 lbs (29.5 – 34 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,500 – $2,500

Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Build: Have a broader head, bulkier, thicker coat, and more muscular.


Temperament


  • Friendly, intelligent, and devoted.
  • Easily get distracted and harder to train.
  • More playful and energetic throughout life.
  • Slightly more food motivated.
  • More aggressive.
  • Likes being babied.
  • More attention seeking.
  • Easier to socialize with people.
  • Reaches mental maturity slower.
  • Reaches physical maturity quicker.
  • Tends to protect a territory or whole family.
  • Clumsy around kids.
  • More maintenance required.
  • Very clingy.
  • Harder to train him to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • More likely to bond with all family members.
  • Less suspicious of strangers.
  • Tends to be a bit messier.
  • Gets along well with female dogs.
  • More stubborn.
  • Less likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • Loves to please his owner.

Female Golden Retrievers


Overview


Height: 20 – 22 inches (51 – 56 cm)

Weight: 55 – 70 lbs (25 – 32 kg)

Puppy Price: $1,500 – $2,500

Lifespan: 10 – 12 Years

Build: Have a narrower head, less bulky, thinner coat, and less muscular.


Temperament


  • Friendly, intelligent, and devoted.
  • More focused and easier to train.
  • Tends to be less playful all the time.
  • Slightly less food motivated (except when pregnant).
  • Less aggressive.
  • More independent.
  • Less attention seeking.
  • A bit harder to socialize with people.
  • Reaches mental maturity quicker.
  • Reaches physical maturity slower.
  • Tends to protect an individual (her owner).
  • More cautious around kids.
  • Less maintenance required.
  • Respects your time alone.
  • Tends to bond with one person in the family.
  • Easier to train her to walk off leash and stay close to you.
  • More suspicious of strangers.
  • Tends to be cleaner.
  • Gets along well with male dogs.
  • Less stubborn.
  • More likely to get along with other dogs or animals.
  • Slightly less desire to please her owner.

Physical Differences

Males

Unlike some dog breeds, there a few noticeable differences between the male and female Golden Retrievers if put side by side. Apart from the apparent difference in their genitalia, male Goldens are physically bigger than females.

They are taller than females with about two to four inches. There is also a difference in weight as males are about ten to twenty pounds heavier. Aside from the height and weight, males also have a broader head and have more muscle mass. They as well have a thicker coat than the females.

Females

Female Golden Retrievers have less of everything the male has. They are two to four inches shorter and ten to twenty pounds lighter. They are also more elegant with a head that is not as broad as that of the males.

Their coats are thinner and not as male’s thick coat. Females are less bulky and have a lesser muscle mass.

Temperamental Differences

Males

Male Golden Retrievers are incredibly loveable, playful, and sweet. They are a lot of people’s go-to for dogs packed with affection. Males experience mental maturity slower than the average female.

They do not outgrow their puppy stage as fast as the females do, which makes them more or less lovable to people (depending on preference). A one and half-year-old male dog would typically act like a one-year-old female dog.

Males are eager to please and would do just about anything for their owners. A study has shown that male Goldens possess a trait whereby they worship the leader of their pack, which in this case, is their owner.

As a result of this, they would do just about anything their owner instructs, and they would be more in tune with their owner’s feelings. It helps a lot that they are very intelligent and can learn very quickly.

Males tend to be more affectionate, and as we’ve mentioned, attentive. They would stay at their owner’s heel all day if need be and would to cuddle all day. It is safe to say that they are never tired of receiving affection and love.

Receiving praise and treats makes the male want to do more. He can work himself till the point of breaking if he is not stopped. Hence, there must be a regulation of the chores given to him.

Male Golden Retrievers are very trusting and would play and welcome strangers and would only exhibit aggression if there is a direct threat to his owner. This makes them a lousy choice for guard dogs.

Due to the alpha exaltation, males tend to form a very tight bond with their owners. They are very active and full of energy, so much so that they can play all day.

Females

Female Golden Retrievers do share a lot of similarities with males. Overall, Golden Retrievers are tender, affectionate, kind, sweet, and loyal. The females do not lack in these areas as they share these same traits with the males. However, the scale is tipped just a little bit.

Females are not as affectionate and are fairly more independent and territorial than males. Females have a higher tendency to display alpha behaviors, such as marking and even humping.

They determine the pecking order and pack hierarchy and do not hesitate to exercise their dominance when competition arises. As a result of this, females can be slightly aggressive when anything threatens the order they have put in place.

They are also very affectionate but will not be seen wanting to cuddle all day. They value their independence and would want some time for themselves every once in a while.

You’ll also find that they determine when they want to be rubbed or petted. And once they have had enough cuddle time, they’ll simply walk away.

Female Goldens are devoted to their owners and really loving. But theirs is not to be compared to that of their male counterparts. According to the study done by the Zoologist, R. Ann Johnson, female Goldens genuinely love their owners, but males are “in” love with them. This simply shows the extent of how both genders feel towards their owner.

Trainability

Males

Males live to please their owners. They would do just about anything and carry out just about any order if it would earn them quality praise and tasty treats. Their playful nature, activeness, and desire to put their owner’s needs before theirs make them really easy to train. But that’s not all that is, they are also very intelligent and can quickly pick up on commands.

Obedience training for males is slightly easier than it is for females. However, they are very hyperactive and can lose focus very quickly. This means you’d have to come up with some activity to keep them focused.

Many people believe that females are easier to train because they can be focused and are the least capable of running off. The fact is, males are not stubborn; they will do as you say without a hassle. But their low attention span only means you’ll spend a bit more time training them as you would a female.

Females

Female Golden Retrievers’ nature makes training them a bit harder than training the males. Females can be stubborn, independent, and has a lesser desire to please. A female Goldie has everything a male does, but she just comes packed a bit more personality. As a result, they are slightly harder to train.

This is, however, an average rating of both gender’s capacity to retain knowledge. Females mature faster than males mentally, and in that respect, they can get obedience trained faster. This means that a 14-week old female can be as trained as a 16-week old male. But bear in mind that a faster training does not mean it was easy.

Also, males mature physically faster than females, which makes it a bit harder to get females potty trained, crate trained, and spot trained. But note that the difference between male and female trainability is not big at all.

Health Differences

Males

No study has shown whether or not male Golden Retrievers live longer than females. So far, they both have equal life expectancy depending on a lot of factors, such as genetics and hereditary.

Some believe that males tend to live shorter because they are slightly larger and, hence, prone to coming down with certain diseases. But there is no scientific proof to support that theory.

However, what studies have confirmed is that about 60% of Golden Retrievers will die from cancer. And that study confirms that male Golden Retrievers are more likely to develop cancer and die by it. So far, this seems to be the only notable difference in the health problems surrounding Golden Retrievers.

Females

Some individuals who have owned both male and female Golden Retrievers have reported that females lived longer than males. They believe that having a slightly smaller frame and body mass reduces females’ chances of becoming sick with certain diseases. This has been their observation, hence their reality.

We know for sure that females are less likely to die from cancer than males, which gives them a little upper hand. But both genders are equally prone to every other disease that plague the Golden Retriever breed.

Some of those health issues are hip dysplasia, sebaceous adenitis, seborrhea, lipoma, chest conditions, Von Willebrand disease, luxating patella, low thyroid, and cataracts, etc.

To truly ensure your dog’s chances, you should always get your dog tested (male or female).

With Children

Males

Sometimes, males are a little bit more playful, carefree, and goofy than females. This means that sometimes, they can be more clumsy. At adulthood, males can weigh as much as 75 pounds, and having that much weight prancing around toddlers can be a small issue. They love to play so much that accidental injuries can occur.

Your Golden can knock your kid down (playfully, I must add), which could lead to an injury. So, while they are extremely fun-loving, they can go overboard sometimes. This is why your supervision is very much needed with males when you have babies in the house.

They love kids so much that they can be around them all day. They are very patient and can tolerate all the excesses of a toddler without getting defensive or aggressive. This is one reason why Goldens are so great. They are the ultimate entertainment your kids need.

Females

Females can be more reserved and more observant than males. While they love playing and goofing around, they also love to take a step back and enjoy their own company. This makes them slightly less likely to cause any sort of accidental injuries.

They will love to participate in the fun and games and wear your kid out with so much fun but are less likely to do so all day long. And this does not mean they grow tired of children or lose their patience; it only means females are more independent and require their space.

With Other Dogs

Males

Naturally, Golden Retrievers are mellow dogs that can exist with any other creature peacefully. They are one of the best family dogs in the whole world and can cohabitate with other dogs.

Their friendliness is like a well-known trademark. This means that overall, your male Golden will be very welcoming of other dogs and will, in fact, not hesitate to run off to play with them.

In the park, male Goldens are the life of the party. At home, however, you need to be careful over the breed of dog you introduce to them. While they can be very friendly and welcoming, they can get defensive if new dogs mistreat them.

They will display characteristic behaviors like growling, barking, and even fighting (which is on the extreme). And if they feel like their alpha is under threat, they will not hesitate to become a shield.

Unlike some females, they are less protective of their territory, so they don’t mind sharing their space. However, a lot of your male friendliness rides on your discretion to socialize him earlier. A male Golden that has been kept away from other dogs most of its life will be extremely aggressive and unwelcoming to other dogs.

Females

Females are no less welcoming than males, but they tend to exercise their dominance from time to time. They are very easy going with other dogs and will not hesitate to play with them at all. They are also very friendly and welcoming to other dogs. However, females tend to be more territorial.

Outside the house, they will play with just about any dog with reckless abandon. But in their territory, some ground rules must be followed, and some boundaries must remain uncrossed. This does not mean that females are prone to aggressive behaviors, but they will try to mark their territory to show who rules the roost.

If you already have a female Golden in the house and want to bring in another dog, you must make sure you bring in a breed that is not hostile. Another gentle breed, like the Golden Retriever, will mean eternal peace in your household.

With Cats

Golden Retrievers, by default, are the friendliest dogs ever. This means they are nice to other dogs, other pets, and even to strangers sometimes. This makes them the perfect dogs to bring home to your cat or vice versa.

As long as your Golden has received obedience training and has been properly socialized, they will be great with cats. The first encounter might not go very smoothly, but given a short time, both pets will become the best of friends.

Neither male nor female Golden Retrievers are hostile or frightening, so they are less likely to intimidate cats. Both are not given to excessive barking, which will make cats feel a bit more secure around them. If you are looking for the perfect dog breed to mix up with a cat, the Golden Retriever is your best bet.

Which Is Better for The Family?

Both male and female Golden Retrievers are amazing family dogs; hence there is no right or wrong answer to this question. Both genders thrive in a family environment.

They both can love, be loyal, be attentive, patient, kind, and affectionate. They both adore their pack (family members), and love being a part of it. So, the question is really, “which is better for you.”

Both males and females are great with children and great with other pets. They are energetic and love to play. They even make great therapeutic dogs. Let’s look at some of the advantages of having either gender in a family environment.

Advantages of Male Golden Retrievers in a Family Environment:

  • Able to play with children all day without wanting to hit the pause button.
  • They are very energetic and great for active families.
  • Able to help with healing as their attentiveness to the owner’s emotions makes them the best kind of therapy.
  • Will get along with other pets in the house.
  • Very social and welcoming of strangers and other animals.
  • Affectionate and extremely loyal.

Advantages of Female Golden Retrievers in a Family Environment:

  • A bit more cautious with children.
  • Have a lot of energy and fit in perfectly with active families.
  • Can help with therapy.
  • Will get along with pets in the house.

After researching on Golden Retrievers and deciding you want one, any gender will work fine for you. The differences in their temperaments are not glaring at all, and they both share all the great qualities equally.

Whether you are a lone wolf or have a family, any sex you choose will make an amazing pet. Goldens have the potential to be sweet, loving, caring, affectionate, welcoming, loyal, playful, and all the other qualities. You just have to direct tour energy towards having them socialized.

No matter what anyone says about either male or female Golden Retrievers, if you fail to have them exposed to society, they can be the opposite of what you wished them to be.

Which Is a Better Guard Dog?

This is yet another difficult question to tackle. We first have to ask ourselves whether Golden Retrievers are actually good guard dogs.

Goldens are not the number one choice for guard dogs as they are extremely sweet and friendly. So much so that it won’t be shocking to find them wagging their tails and playing with strangers. However, they possess instinctual traits that will allow them to become formidable guard dogs if they are properly trained.

You can’t really compare Golden Retrievers with dogs like Dobermans and Rottweilers in terms of guarding. But they can make pretty good guardians if given the right training.

Here are some qualities which make Goldens eligible to become guard dogs:

  • Medium-sized dogs.
  • Very loyal to their owners.
  • Protective by instinct.
  • Very obedient and intelligent.
  • Have a very high energy level.

While they are not naturally guard dogs, they can be made into one with a bit of work. They can become the perfect blend of cuddle buddies and protectors. Both males and females can excel at being protectors; you just have to be willing to put in the work to make them one.

Admittedly, it will not be an easy task for you, and the reasons are glaring. Goldens, by default, are very friendly. They love everyone and do not even bark much. They like to be friends with just about anyone, and getting them to become anything less or more than friends will take a whole lot.

Another point to note is that they love food. So, you could be training your Golden on guard duties and be invaded by an intruder who has beef jerky in his hand. Be certain your Golden will take a break from barking and will want some of that jerky.

The great news is that you can always try to train your Golden Retriever as a watchdog if you find it impossible to make him a guard dog. This will prove to be easier as some of the characteristics of a watchdog are consistent with some of Golden’s traits.

The most important task you just have to teach him/her is how to bark at the right people (and, of course, the other basic commands).

My Final Thoughts

In my opinion, I don’t think anyone can go wrong with either male or female Goldens. In comparison, both are loving, caring, affectionate, intelligent, and loyal. They both love being around you, playing and cheering you up.

Yes, they both have their health problems, but you’ll have the opportunity to love and have them as your family for as much as 12 years. If you are looking for a companion who will stick by your side through thick and thin, Goldens are the breed for you.

But do not let statistics fool you. Each gender comes packed with personality and can show traits that are different from what you’ve read in this article. So, before you pick a puppy, first spend some time with it and see how well you click.

I believe that any sex can be “right” for you as they are very intelligent and can be trained to be a certain way. As long as you intend to give them the best training and get them properly socialized, a male or a female will be perfect for you.

All I have done in this article is to inform you of the subtle but present differences between male and female Golden. However, these dissimilarities are minimal, and many wouldn’t even be noticed.

Overall, what truly comes to play is the temperament of each individual dog, the environment they were raised, their past experiences, and the kind of training you, the owner has given it to behave the way you want it to.

John Carter

My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially dogs. I've got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.

Recent Posts