There are numerous points to consider when choosing between a male vs. female golden retriever.
Although male and female golden retrievers share many traits, they also have important distinctions that affect their compatibility with the prospective owner.
Of course, many differences between male and female golden retrievers are subjective, such as personality, intelligence, trainability, and maturity.
However, some traits are inherent to a specific gender regardless of the dog’s personality, like the size, marking, and humping, and prospective owners must take them into account.
Remember that a lot depends on a specific dog’s temperament, genetics, and training, so any golden can make a perfect companion if the owner invests the effort.
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Size is the most apparent difference between male and female golden retrievers and the least subjective one. Male golden retriever height usually ranges from 22 to 25 inches and weight from 65 to 75 pounds.
On the other hand, female golden retrievers are smaller – about 20-22 inches tall and usually weigh under 65 pounds. Of course, there could be deviations from the average, and some females can be larger than males.
The dog’s size and weight depend on genetics, diet, and amount of exercise. Goldens are prone to obesity, particularly spayed or neutered goldens, so they could weigh more if they aren’t getting enough exercise or get too much food.
The difference in size between male and female golden retrievers isn’t as drastic, but it may play a role if the golden is a service dog. Taking a female golden on a plane may be easier. Smaller dogs are also safer for children.
Male golden retrievers also tend to have thicker hair which requires more frequent brushing and a broader chest.
Girls mature faster than boys – that’s common knowledge. One may argue this statement, but we can observe the same tendency in dogs. Female golden retrievers typically mature faster than male golden retrievers.
Maturity doesn’t make much difference with adult or senior dogs but affects the trainability of puppies. Potty training a female golden retriever puppy is generally easier than a male one because they are more conscious.
Male golden retrievers tend to act like puppies longer than female goldens, jumping around and chewing things. Some people find such goofy behavior fun, but it may cause mischief in the house if a dog isn’t getting enough exercise.
The difference in maturity leads us to the next difference – personality. Personality is the most subjective trait because every dog is unique. However, certain personality traits are more common in males than females, and vice versa.
Male golden retrievers are usually more active, playful, and goofy. They remain puppies at heart even at five years old.
In contrast, female golden retrievers are more serious, calm, and stubborn. They are unlikely to cause mischief for no reason.
Male goldens tend to be more affectionate and often suffer from separation anxiety. Female golden retrievers are typically more independent. They are also more protective and caring, perhaps led by parental instinct.
Female goldens are usually more dominant over other animals, so a male golden retriever may be a better choice for families with other pets.
Note that these personality traits are generalized. A golden retriever’s personality largely depends on its genetics, past, and training. For example, if a female dog is separated from its mother too early, she is unlikely to be independent.
Barking is a problem with many dogs. Excessive barking may lower the owner’s sleep quality, distract small children, and is simply annoying. Furthermore, barking can cause aggression in other pets.
The good news is that golden retrievers don’t bark much. If they do, that’s usually for a valid reason. Golden retrievers were bred to retrieve waterfowl, and barking could scare the birds off.
In other words, keeping the mouth shut is written in the golden retriever genetic code. However, male golden retrievers usually bark louder than females. In fact, a male golden retriever holds the world record for the loudest bark.
On the other hand, females bark more frequently because they are more protective and weren’t used for hunting as often as males.
Remember that it’s a generalization, and some male goldens can bark frequently while some female goldens may never bark.
All dogs mark their territory, but male golden retrievers do it more often than females. Whenever a male golden retriever goes for a walk, it will likely stop to sniff and pee several times, while a female golden may not do that at all.
However, marking is less common in neutered golden retriever males. Neutered goldens still are curious to sniff everything, but they don’t pee as much.
Many people want a female golden retriever rather than a male because they think a male would pee in the house. However, with proper training, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Many new golden retriever owners wonder whether they should spay or neuter their dogs. The answer depends on the owner’s lifestyle, whether they want to breed the dog, its health state, and gender.
No one likes to deal with a female dog in heat, so spaying her seems like a foolproof solution if the owner doesn’t plan to breed her.
However, researchers report that spaying increases the odds of cancer in female golden retrievers by nearly 10%.
The problem is unique to golden retrievers because usually, spaying a dog decreases its odds of developing cancer. The problem is also relevant to male goldens, but the risk increase isn’t as drastic, only about 3%.
Intact golden retriever males tend to be more aggressive due to higher testosterone because they view other animals as rivals. Intact golden retriever males also mark and hump more than neutered males.
As for the age, both female and male goldens should be spayed or neutered before they are one year old. However, many vets recommend not spaying female golden retrievers unless necessary.
Researchers commonly rank golden retrievers as one of the most intelligent dog breeds.
However, there’s a subtle difference in male vs. female golden retriever intelligence levels. Researchers and golden retriever owners report that females tend to be brighter than males.
Perhaps, one of the reasons for this difference is the maturity and independence of female golden retrievers. But a dog’s intelligence also depends on training, genetics, and other factors, so the difference is yet again generalized.
That is not to say that male golden retrievers are dumb. Any golden can learn complex tasks and effectively communicate their feelings and needs to the owner.
Overall, measuring a dog’s intelligence is tricky. Researchers base their studies on the number of repetitions a dog needs to learn a command and how often it obeys the command, but there’s so much more that comprises real intelligence.
Since female golden retrievers tend to be more intelligent and mature, they also learn commands faster. Furthermore, females are more independent, which makes them excellent service dogs.
On the other hand, excessive protectiveness is something to keep in mind for an owner considering a female golden service dog.
In practice, though, these differences are very subtle, and golden retrievers are some of the best-trainable dogs regardless of gender.
Male goldens tend to be more energetic than females due to a higher testosterone level. Furthermore, males take longer to grow up than females, and puppies are more playful.
The choice between golden retriever male vs. female, in this case, is purely subjective and depends on the prospective owner’s lifestyle. The owner should be willing and able to provide their dog with a sufficient amount of exercise.
An energetic male dog may be perfect for people who love to spend time outdoors and parents of young children who can play with the dog all day.
However, a calmer female golden may be a better choice for people with a more laid-back lifestyle.
A male golden retriever that doesn’t get sufficient exercise may chew furniture, dig in the garden, or run around the house, causing a mess. Goldens are also prone to obesity, so activity is vital for their health.
This is not to say that female goldens are lazy and don’t need exercise, though. All golden retrievers are active and need at least an hour of exercise per day.
Golden retrievers are known to be susceptible to some health conditions, but specific issues affect one of the genders more often than the other.
Unspayed female golden retrievers are more prone to hip dysplasia, ocular myasthenia, and adrenocortical insufficiency.
Although spaying a female golden retriever decreases the risk of these conditions, it increases the risk of cancer.
However, this doesn’t mean that male golden retrievers are 100% healthy. Both genders are prone to bloating, epilepsy, retinal cataracts, and aortic stenosis.
There’s no difference between male vs. female golden retriever life expectancy as long as the owner takes proper care of their pet and provides it with enough exercise.
In some cases, golden retrievers can even live for 14-15 years.
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