19 Differences Between Male VS Female Golden Retrievers & How to Choose

The males and females in every species are different. Sometimes the differences are simple and not so pronounced, and other times they almost make you think they’re two different species.

As for our furry friends, the discussion of male vs female golden retrievers have been around since goldens have been, and it’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer.

To answer the dilemma of the Male VS Female Golden retrievers shortly; Male Golden Retrievers are larger in size, taller, and have thicker hair. They are more affectionate than females and get attached to their owners more. Female Goldens are more independent, easier to train, and mature faster.

There are differences in their appearance, behavior, temperament, health issues, and so on, all of which can make the decision a bit tough to make for some.

However, once you really understand the differences, you can make the decision that’s best for you quite easily. I’ll explain all of the differences and what you can expect from each in the simplest way I can, so let’s keep on reading.

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19 Differences in Male vs female Golden Retrievers

There are many differences between the males and females, but you should know just now that you are going to be fine with either, as the characteristics of the breed itself of gentleness, friendliness, and overall charm remain the same for both.

With that being said, here are the differences.

Physical Differences

white female golden retriever to illustrate the differences in male  vs female golden retrievers

1. Females Mature Mentally Faster

Dog breeders have noticed that female golden retrievers will act and behave more like a 1.5-2 year old male goldens, which means that female goldens mature faster than their male counterparts and that males have a longer “puppyhood” stage mentally.

This also makes it easier to socialize and train females earlier than males, and usually, a 12-week old female is as trained and socialized as a 14-week old male.

2. Males Mature Physically faster

While Females mature mentally faster than their males counterparts, the opposite happens on the physical level.

You will find that males develop more quickly than females, and the easiest way to notice that is during potty training, where you will it easier to potty train, crate train, and spot train male puppies than it is to train their female counterparts.

That’s because the males will have developed more to enable them to hold it for longer with less effort.

3. Females are Shorter

In General, dog females are smaller in size than their male counterparts, and this stays true for golden retrievers.

Average height for female Goldens: 22.5 – 22 inches

Average height for male goldens: 23 – 24 inches

4. Males Weigh More

Not only are males taller than females, they also weigh more. On average, male goldens weigh about 10 pounds heavier than their female counterparts.

Average weight for female Goldens: 55-65 pounds

Average weight for male Goldens: 65-75 pounds

5. Males have thicker, longer coats

Male golden retrievers have thicker coats that are also longer than those of their females. Males also have a far greater mane with their coats around the neck area significantly longer than the female counterparts. It’s one of the most distinguished characteristics of males that make it easy to identify the sex of an adult golden retriever.

It’s actually quite similar to the situation with lions, where the males have the glorious mane lions are known for, while females don’t have it.

The difference in the mane is clear between the male (right) and the female (left)

6. Males have broader heads and noses

The noses and heads of the males are broader than those of the females. Females have narrower heads and noses, in addition to their short fur.

Other than these small differences, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a male and female golden just by looking at them. In fact, most people won’t be able to tell the difference between males and females just by looking at them unless they have a trained eye for this sort of thing (they’re breeders, trainers, or have worked with dogs for a long time).

At the end of the day, these differences in looks really mean nothing, both male and female goldens look absolutely gorgeous and adorable.

7. Males have more muscles

Male goldens have a slight more muscular structure than their female counterparts, but in my experience, both males and females are just as strong.

It’s worth noting here that goldens are really strong with a bite force of 190 psi. For reference, the bite force of humans ranges between 100 and 150, so goldens have a formidable bite. However, they are not as strong as other dangerous dogs like the Husky and American Bulldog.

Goldens are ranked as having the 30th strongest bite in dogs when comparing dog breeds.

8. Both have the same life expectancy

Both male and female golden retrievers have the same lifespan expectancy of 10 to 12 years.

There are things you can do to help your golden retriever live longer, and I have collected 20 actually useful tips to help your golden retriever live longer here, so make sure to check them out.

Some Golden Retrievers can reach even 20 years, but these are rare cases and while we don’t have yet a foolproof method to make sure our dog reaches these amazing ages, we can still do our best and hope for the best.

That’s about it for the physical differences, now let’s get to the behavioral and temperamental differences.

Temperament and Behavior

9. Females Are calmer overall

Because females tend to mature mentally faster than males, they tend to be calmer than their male counterparts that are the same age.

Goldens are slow to mature (but not as slow as we’d like) and they can take up to 18 months to grow up and become adults.

Golden puppies are quite active, and some people would even claim they are hyperactive. They have a lot of energy to spare, and this energy must go somewhere. They do eventually calm down, as for when and how you can help them get there quickly you can check out my article on when do goldens calm down and 3 ways to help them chill.

10. Males are more high maintenance than females

Overall, males tend to be more high maintenance than females. They need a bit more work to train them and socialize them, they have slightly more energy, and they do attach to their owners more (more on that later).

However, female golden retrievers are not low maintenance in comparison to other dogs, they may need a little less effort in comparison with male goldens, but they are still very much high maintenance dogs by every account.

You can learn more about why golden retrievers are high maintenance and how to handle them here.

11. Males are attached to their owners

All Goldens are affectionate, loving, loyal dogs who are very attached to their owners. Their unconditional love and loyalty is one of the reasons why goldens are always so friendly.

However, when it comes attachment, males tend to be more attached to their owners.

There is a common saying that males love you while females want you to love them. This is true to some extent.

Female goldens expect to be petted and expect all of the attention to be paid to them, while males are happy to pay attention to you and are satisfied with less attention. Sometimes male goldens will be happy just being there with you.

It should be said, however, that both male and female goldens are very loving and affectionate, and both quite needy when it comes to attachment, and they are very prone to separation anxiety if not trained well.

Even if trained well, though, they still need to spend time with their owners on a daily basis. If you’re the kind of busy person that doesn’t have an hour to two to spend with your dog, you should be looking at other dogs.

12. Females are more independent

Female goldens also tend to be more independent from their owners (but only slightly so).

They tend to still want the affection and attention of their humans, but they are content with less time with their owners than a male would be okay with.

13. Males show more affection

Male Golden Retrievers will show more affection than their female counterparts for their owners. According to zoologists like Dr. R.Ann Johnson in his book (Amazon link) – the golden retriever handbook – this can be explained from an evolutionary point of view.

According to him, this is a survival trait where the members of the pack that show the most affection and loyalty to the leader of the pack have better survival chances because the leader will favor them in return.

Indeed, while female golden retrievers will still affection to their humans, and a lot of it when compared to other breeds, males can easily go overboard with the kissing, hugging, and other ways to show affection.

This also makes males more eager to please and more empathetic to their owner’s feelings and moods.

14. Males are more territorial

Goldens are not as territorial as other dogs, but male golden retrievers are still territorial to some extent. They are just subtly more territorial than their female counterparts.

While goldens can be territorial, they do not have a strong enough territorial instinct to make them good guard dogs. You should learn more about this and whether your golden retriever will attack an intruder here.

It should be noted that this lack of aggression and their weak territorial instincts are reasons that also make them such great family dogs since they make them friendlier and trusting in people.

15. Males Can Be More Stubborn

Male goldens can also be a bit more stubborn than their female golden retrievers, and that’s for many reasons such as the fact that they mature later, they are more attached to their owners, and they have more energy – which means what they want to to do is not always what you want to do.

This is the other side of being a smart dog; smart dogs can be stubborn.

16. Females are easier to train

Because they mature a bit later than females and they tend to be a bit more stubborn, males tend to be a bit harder to train.

This doesn’t improve as they grow old, and the hardest to train them is during their teen phase when their hormones will wreak havoc on their moods and behavior.

17. Males will lose interest more quickly

One of the reasons that also make males harder to train is that it’s easier for males to lose interest in training or an activity over time.

Why do males lose interest and focus more quickly? we don’t really know, but it’s definitely noticeable. Females will not lose interest as easily in the training or activity.

18. Females will cause less problems to mate

Females will go into heat and will attract males, but while problems could happen due to their mood and behavioral changes, it’s much worse for males .

Male dogs – and goldens are no exception – will do anything possible to find a mate. They will try everything they can to escape and find a mate; they will jump fences, unlock doors, and roam away for days until they do.

Males will also be more destructive, so you can expect them to pee everywhere and chew everything if they can’t find a mate or a way to escape. I didn’t even mention the humping. The humping is so bad that they will literally hump anything, no matter if it’s moving or not!

This is why it’s important to neuter and spay your dogs while they’re young.

19. Males and females are prone to some health problems

There are some health problems that both male and female goldens are prone to. The most common health problem in golden retrievers is hip dysplasia, but they are also prone to cancer and other serious health problems.

Male and females are indeed prone to different health problems that mainly infect their genitalia, but you could reduce their risk quite significantly by neutering/spaying them at the right age.

How to Choose? It doesn’t matter!

How to choose between a male vs female golden retrievers? It doesn’t matter. This is the honest answer you should know and the one I honestly believe in the most.

Some people like to choose females to choose the dogs of the litter, but is this really worth it? I don’t think so.

Both male and female golden retrievers are wonderful dogs, and as long as your dog is healthy and you put in the work of training, socializing, and caring for them, you will be more than happy with your golden.

Living with a Retriever: Recommendations and Sources

Related Questions

What’s better male or female golden retriever?

They are both equally great. There are not enough changes between the males and females to make one sex better than the other. Both male and female goldens will be loving, loyal, gentle, and affectionate.

What gender dog makes a better pet?

No gender makes a dog better than the other, what makes a dog better is their training and socialization, which are up to the owner not to their sex. The difference between the sexes in dogs and cats is almost negligible and insignificant when compared to other species.


Golden Retriever Breed Standard – AKC

The Complete Golden Retriever Handbook – An Essential Guide (Amazon link)


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind Retrievershub.com. With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting Retrievershub.com and being part of our vibrant community.

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