Everything To Know About Male Golden Retrievers

Updated September 3, 2023

When choosing between a female and male golden retriever, consider the size, temperament, health, and suitability for kids.

All golden retrievers are gorgeous, friendly, even-tempered, energetic dogs, regardless of sex and other factors.

Still, there are a few crucial distinctions in female vs. male golden retriever behavior that can affect how well the dog will fit your family.

Male golden retrievers are typically larger, stronger, more energetic, and less mature. But this difference is merely anecdotal. Remember that each dog is unique.

Instead of focusing on the dog’s sex, focus on its personality. Interact with the puppy to determine whether it will make a good companion for you and your family.


Golden retriever appearance merely depends on the type than sex. Male golden retrievers range from 22 to 24 inches in height and weigh 65 to 75 pounds. The overall build is athletic and proportionate.

British golden retrievers are shorter and stockier, whereas Canadian goldens are taller and leaner.

The coat color ranges from cream to darkest gold; red or mahogany color is acceptable in field stock but not recognized by the show standard.

Mature male golden retrievers typically have feathers on the chest, known as a mane, unlike female golden retrievers. Feathering is also present on the back of the legs, belly, tail, and ears.

The coat can be straight or wavy, always with a dense undercoat that protects the dog from water and cold. All golden retrievers have elongated snouts, drop ears, black noses, and dark rounded eyes with an intelligent expression.

Male golden retrievers tend to have broader skulks and snouts than female dogs, but this also depends on the lineage and type.


Male golden retriever temperament depends on the puppy’s lineage, socialization, and peculiarities. Most golden retrievers are friendly, outgoing, curious dogs that are always up to play and have a happy-go-lucky attitude to life.

Male golden retrievers tend to mature slower than females and retain puppy goofiness at adult age. They may not control their excitement as well as females, but all golden retrievers are predictable and even-tempered dogs.

Because of their high energy levels and friendliness, male goldens often jump on people and pull on the leash. These dogs are also very affectionate and love to cuddle with their owners.

Like all golden retrievers, male goldens are intelligent and obedient dogs. They are eager to please and easy to train, but they can become mischievous if not getting enough mental stimulation.

Male golden retrievers are loyal and protective of their owners, but they don’t typically begin a confrontation for no reason. They get along with other dogs, cats, and smaller pets and make perfect companions for kids.

Because of their intelligence and social nature, male golden retrievers are excellent service and therapy dogs. However, they make poor guard dogs.


Stanley Coren, a canine researcher who studied the working dog intelligence of 138 breeds, ranked golden retrievers fourth.

These dogs aren’t simply smart – they are brilliant and deserve their position in the top-five most intelligent dogs.

Golden retrievers quickly memorize commands – while an average dog needs about 25 repetitions, golden retrievers only need five.

They are also highly obedient, complying with orders 95% of the time, whereas an average dog has only a 50% obedience rate.

Golden retrievers have excellent problem-solving skills and work ethics. Although they always obey the owner, they can act independently when necessary.

They also are highly empathetic and capable of understanding human emotions by the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.

However, training a male golden retriever might be more challenging than a female because they mature slower and have a shorter attention span. Note this is only a tendency – each dog is unique and can differ from the standard.

Trainability also largely depends on genes and socialization. Well-socialized puppies who aren’t afraid of other dogs, people, and unfamiliar environments are more likely to behave properly.


Male golden retriever lifespan ranges from 10 to 12 years, but some dogs live longer because of healthier lineage and proper care. Sufficient exercise and a healthy diet can significantly prolong a golden retriever’s lifespan.

Golden retrievers are susceptible to hip and elbow dysplasia. The condition is widespread among large and medium dogs and causes severe pain when walking because of joint dislocation.

Hip and elbow dysplasia is usually caused by excessive exercise in puppyhood.

Another common golden retriever health problem is progressive retinal atrophy causing partial or complete blindness. One cannot predict or prevent the disease.

Golden retrievers are prone to epilepsy, separation anxiety, and allergies. Because they have drop ears and love swimming, golden retrievers are predisposed to ear infections. Owners can prevent ear problems with regular cleaning.

Golden retrievers are prone to obesity, so sufficient physical activity is vital for these dogs at any age. The most common cause of death in golden retrievers is cancer – the issue is particularly widespread among American goldens.

Fortunately, male golden retrievers are less likely to develop mammary tumors than females, although they too sometimes suffer from the condition.

Exercise Needs

Golden retrievers have a hunting heritage and playful nature, so they have high energy levels and need at least an hour of walking daily. Field golden retrievers need about two hours of activity daily.

Male golden retrievers tend to be more energetic than females and appreciate outdoor activities like playing fetch, hunting, swimming, and hiking. However, it also depends on the dog’s peculiarities.

Some male golden retrievers might be unusually calm, and females extremely active. So, the difference in energy levels is more anecdotal than factual.

Either way, golden retrievers need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation even at a senior age. How much exercise an old golden retriever need depends on its health condition.

Puppies need about five minutes of walking per month of age. So, a five-month-old puppy needs about 25 minutes of activity and a six-month-old – 30 minutes.

Are Male Golden Retrievers Good With Kids?

All golden retrievers are excellent family dogs because they are even-tempered, intelligent, rarely aggressive, and very affectionate. They make wonderful playmates for older kids who can handle the dog’s exuberance.

Golden retrievers are gentle and patient giants who will never intentionally hurt a baby. Still, supervision is always necessary when a large dog interacts with a child because a golden retriever might unintentionally knock the child over.

Golden retrievers also aren’t barky and won’t make a child cry. However, female golden retrievers are believed to be better for younger children because they are more mature, calm, and caring.

Female golden retrievers have strong maternal instincts and are often protective of their little wonders. Male golden retrievers, too, are friendly and loyal, but they might be too exuberant and sometimes play rough.

Remember that a dog’s attitude towards children also depends on its socialization, personality, and past experiences. An under-socialized golden retriever never exposed to kids before might be anxious about the noise.

Ideally, you should bring the child along when choosing a puppy to ensure it’s a good fit for your family. You should also interact when the puppy’s parents.

The good news is that golden retrievers are unlikely to be aggressive because of jealousy, although they are very affectionate and form strong bonds with their owners.

Are Male Golden Retrievers Aggressive?

Golden retrievers in general are rarely aggressive. They are very even-tempered, friendly dogs. However, male golden retrievers might be aggressive towards other male dogs – this type of aggression is called inter-sex aggression.

Usually, inter-sex aggression occurs in intact mature males because of competition for a female or territory. Aggression is more common in under-socialized dogs that never interacted with other animals in puppyhood.

Some golden retrievers may behave aggressively because of a history of abuse or neglect. Mental disorders are another cause of aggression in male golden retrievers.

Fortunately, behavior problems in golden retrievers are rare and can usually be combatted with behavioral therapy and socialization. Male golden retrievers aren’t any less or more likely to be aggressive than females.

Should You Neuter a Male Golden?

Fixing dogs has many pros and cons, so you might wonder whether you should neuter a male golden retriever. Most risks of neutering a golden retriever are associated with early fixing rather than the procedure in general.

Early neutering can cause a golden retriever to grow larger than it should because of late growth plate closure, resulting in joint problems and pain when walking.

Studies show that the incidence of joint disorders in male golden retrievers neutered before six months of age jumps from 3% to 23%, and in males neutered from six months to one year old to 11%.

Cancer risk in male golden retrievers also increases after neutering, albeit not as drastically – from 10% to 13%. Female golden retrievers are much more likely to develop cancer after spaying.

On the flip side, neutering a male golden retriever can help combat inter-sex aggression and make the dog calmer.

Whether to neuter your dog is your decision, but it helps control the population. Most importantly, don’t neuter the dog until it’s mature.

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