Male Vs Female Golden Retriever: What’s The Difference?

Are you tired of feeling lonely without a pet to keep you company?

Do you want to adopt a new puppy and you’ve decided to get a Golden Retriever?

But, you can’t make up your mind between picking a male vs female Golden Retriever? Do you think you’ll make a mistake and regret your decision later on?

Do you not know enough facts about the advantages and disadvantages between these two genders?

Is there even a clear and simple answer to the question: which pet is better, male or female?

We will try to answer these and similar questions for you down below in our article. Stick with us and you will find out a lot of interesting facts about both genders of this wonderful dog breed.

The Golden Retriever Breed

two Golden Retrievers sitting in sand on beachtwo Golden Retrievers sitting in sand on beach

First of all, let’s go over a few essential pieces of information related to this specific dog breed regardless of gender.

The Golden Retriever has, for decades, been one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, but especially in the United States, and today, they are still trending as the most popular choice for dog owners everywhere.

Whether we’re talking about a male or a female puppy, Golden Retrievers are considered by many to be the perfect family dogs.

The AKC (American Kennel Club) acknowledged them as an official dog breed back in 1925. They belong to the sporting group of dogs, and excel at various different tasks and responsibilities.

In general, Goldies are known to be highly intelligent, playful, cuddly, obedient, adaptable, and safe dogs to keep as family pets.

They were originally intended for waterfowl hunting, which is why it’s in their blood to love swimming.

Golden Retrievers need constant activity and mental stimulation since they are hyperactive and always seek attention, but the amount of love and affection you get in return is worth the effort.

They are suitable for all positive training methods, which direct and channel their energy productively. Because of their high intelligence, Goldies are very easy to potty train in early puppyhood, and as they get a bit older, right around eight weeks of age, they are ready to start obedience training.

The Golden Retriever is considered to be one of the best dog breeds for both active individuals and families that love lots of outdoor activities.

But, even if you’re a bit of the laid-back type of person, your Goldie won’t mind cuddling up with you to watch a movie as long as you take it for its daily walk in the park.

So, what are the most important differences between male vs female Golden Retrievers?

The main differences between the two genders can be roughly divided into two categories: eight physical categories and three mental categories.

Male Vs Female Golden Retriever – Physical Differences

Golden Retrievers sitting on snowGolden Retrievers sitting on snow

1. Coat Type.

The first key physical difference between a male and a female Golden Retriever, while not so obviously distinguishable if you’re not a dog coat type expert, is the length and thickness of their coats.

Male dogs typically have a thinner, longer coat, as well as wider ruffs.

In female dogs, you can see a slightly thicker coat, but also a slightly shorter one.

If you are interested to find out if there are any other colors besides the golden one, read our article about Golden Retriever’s coat colors!

2. Size.

If you ask any experienced Golden Retriever breeder what the most obvious and objective difference between male dogs and female dogs is, they will usually emphasize a particularly important difference in size.

Female Golden Retrievers can grow up to 22.5 inches in height, while their male counterparts will usually grow up to a maximum of 25 inches.

This doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes come across a female that’s larger than a male Golden Retriever, but just like in most species of mammals, males usually tend to grow larger.

3. Weight.

In terms of how much they weigh in adulthood, female Golden Retrievers have less body weight than their male counterparts.

Bodyweight in adult Golden Retrievers can vary from 55 to 65 pounds in females, and 65 to 75 pounds in males.

Of course, these are the average weight proportions if you compare your pup to Golden Retriever weight charts.

Sometimes, weight can vary for various reasons in both female and male dogs, and it will usually depend on the lifestyle of an individual dog.

4. Head Shape.

happy Golden Retrievers lying in shadehappy Golden Retrievers lying in shade

One interesting physical difference between the two Golden Retriever genders is the structure and shape of the head itself.

Females have a narrower and more elongated head, which gives them a more elegant appearance while males have a more muscular, broader head with a robust shape.

When you get really good at spotting this key attribute in both genders, you’ll easily be able to tell from a distance if a Goldie is male or female with just a quick look at the shape of its head.

5. Life Expectancy.

Another interesting thing to note is that the longevity between male dogs and female dogs of this breed is also slightly different.

A male Golden Retriever can live up to 10 years by the time he’s considered an old male, and will typically surpass the lifespan of females by a few years on average, amounting to a maximum average lifespan of 12 years.

On the other hand, females naturally have a higher chance of getting cancer earlier in life, so they mostly have a shorter lifespan. A female Golden Retriever can be considered an old female at around eight years, but will usually live to be around 10 years of age.

However, these are just average statistics and shouldn’t be misconstrued as hard facts.

The oldest recorded Golden Retriever in the world, named Augie, lived to see his 20th birthday!

6. Sexual Maturity.

Another key physical difference between female and male Golden Retrievers is when they reach their respective sexual maturity stages.

Female Golden Retrievers will typically go into heat cycles between six and eight months of age. From that point on, they have an oestrus cycle occurring regularly every six months.

A female Golden Retriever’s menstrual cycle will typically last from seven days to two weeks.

Ovulation begins in the middle of this cycle, which is considered to be the best time to match male and female counterparts to produce a new puppy.

This is obviously not true for male Golden Retrievers since they are the opposite gender. They will begin roaming, mounting, and marking their territory during this time. This leads us right to the next key difference between the two genders.

7. Barking, Marking, And Humping.

Golden Retriever barking outsideGolden Retriever barking outside

This is where the line between the physical and mental aspects of a dog’s behavior is a little blurred.

It’s tough to say for sure if the instincts of Golden Retrievers to bark, hump, and mark their territory are determined by physical or mental characteristics.


As far as Golden Retrievers are concerned, they don’t really have the tendency to bark a lot, which is due to their ancestral bloodlines. Golden Retrievers were primarily bred for one purpose: to hunt.

Since hunting wild game requires stealth above all else, it would be counterproductive for them to bark and give away their position.

However, because female Golden Retrievers tend to be more protective of their loved ones, they will typically bark more frequently than males.

That said, when they do bark, male Golden Retrievers usually have deeper and louder barks than their female counterparts because of the difference in their size. Naturally, a larger dog equals a more powerful bark.


Marking is a fancy term used to describe the behavior of dogs peeing on things (that are preferably outside of the house), usually trees, lamp posts, fire hydrants, etc.

Typically, most dogs mark their territory in several spots throughout their vicinity, usually leaving only small amounts of urine. This is mostly true for male dogs.

They do this as a kind of communication with other dogs to let them know the boundaries of their territory and exchange information about themselves through the unique pheromones that their urine contains. It’s a kind of canine pee-mail if you will.

That said, like most male dog breeds, male Golden Retrievers usually exhibit the act of marking a lot more than their female counterparts.

While walking your male Goldie, you can expect to wait for him to finish covering his territory much more often than females, which typically mark only once per walk.


We’ve all been there before, whether with our own dogs or with someone else’s.

Don’t you hate it when you’re just minding your own business and the next thing you know, a dog is mounting your leg or arm? Or, maybe you once had guests over, and your pup was the one that started mounting an innocent friend out of the blue.

This can be an embarrassing situation for lots of people, but it’s not considered bad or weird behavior in the world of dogs.

Like all dog breeds, Golden Retrievers, both male and female, have the tendency to hump or mount people, dogs, and other pets.

Dogs exhibit this strange behavior for all sorts of different reasons like out of stress, or if they’re acting out, not simply out of sexual arousal.

Sometimes, it’s just a way for a dog to let out some steam and burn its pent-up energy.

Other times, it could be because they are bored and they want your attention.

But, it can also often be interpreted as an attempt of showing dominance.

If your puppy won’t stop humping you or other people, there are ways to teach it not to.

First, try pushing your dog off or turning away from it while not giving it the attention it seeks. If that doesn’t work, you can always raise your voice a little and give it a stern warning, followed by a short time-out in a different room.

After that, give your dog a treat for being obedient. Golden Retrievers are highly intelligent and react well to positive dog training methods.

The chances of a dog’s humping behavior being sexual in nature are greater in younger pups that haven’t yet been “fixed”.

“Fixing” doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with the dog, but it refers to the removal of a dog’s reproductive organs, and this leads us to the next key difference between male vs female Golden Retrievers.

8. Neutering/Spaying.

Golden Retriever at vetGolden Retriever at vet

There will come a point in time when you’ll need to decide if you’re going to breed your dog or not.

If you don’t want to breed your pup, it’s best to consult a veterinarian about whether or not you should spay or neuter your dog. Spaying is a term used to describe removing the genitalia of a female dog, while neutering refers to the same in male dogs.

Spaying and neutering puppies before the six-month mark could potentially increase the risk of inherent joint problems such as hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and elbow dysplasia.

On the other hand, early pregnancy before the six-month mark can be dangerous for a female dog because its bones are not fully formed at that point.

This is why spaying and neutering are done after the dog reaches at least six months of age. The process of removing the dog’s reproductive organs helps protect against some severe debilitating health issues, and may reduce many of the behavioral issues related to the mating drive.

Fun fact: Don’t be too weirded out if you see nipples on a male Golden Retriever, or any other male dog for that matter. It doesn’t mean the nipples are able to secrete milk.

This is not an abnormal physical attribute of dog breeds, but rather a common thing with a lot of mammals, including humans.

The reason for this is because nipples develop in-utero before a puppy’s gender is assigned, then later, as they grow the nipples, they remain as mostly a useless part of a male dog’s physique.

Male Vs Female Golden Retriever – Psychological Differences

1. Mental Maturity.

Two Golden Retrievers sitting on grassTwo Golden Retrievers sitting on grass

An interesting fact to note is that girl Golden Retrievers have a higher level of mental maturity, which means their boy counterparts are more likely to remain longer in the puppy stage.

Male dogs will reach physical maturity at around two years old, but they will often be goofier and more playful all throughout their young-adult lives until they reach mental maturity at three years of age.

Female Golden Retrievers will usually be more obedient, and start to exhibit signs of mental maturity between two and three years of age.

It seems as though dogs and humans aren’t that different when it comes to which gender matures faster.

However, just because females mature slightly earlier than male Golden Retrievers doesn’t mean that every single female is smarter than a male, which leads us to the next key difference.

2. Intelligence.

golden Retriever looking upgolden Retriever looking up

Golden Retrievers, in general, are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world.

In fact, they rank as the 4th most intelligent dogs out of 79 different dog breeds (for comparison, their cousins, the Labrador Retrievers, rank as the world’s 7th smartest dogs).

If you ask a breeder who has experience in working with Golden Retrievers, or any Golden Retriever puppy parent who has owned both the male and the female, they will most likely tell you that females are generally smarter than males.

However, this is not a proven fact due to how difficult it really is to measure canine intelligence.

Sure, female Goldies might have higher working and obedience intelligence, but males exhibit a high level of instinctive and adaptive intelligence.

So, it really depends on the way you look at it, the individual dog, and for what purpose you need a Golden Retriever.

3. Personality.

Mini Golden Retriever looking upMini Golden Retriever looking up

When it comes to mental differences, the personality of an individual dog, whether it is a male or a female, depends on two main factors: nature vs nurture.

A Golden Retriever’s temperament and character is a result of a combination of its genetics and its environment.

Of course, every individual dog has its own unique quirks, likes, dislikes, and natural temperament, but some general personality traits can be assigned to male and female Golden Retrievers.

Even though males are usually bigger and tougher, female Golden Retrievers are known to be more protective towards their loved ones.

Females are more likely to bark at strangers, while males are more likely to show a friendly disposition and let strangers pet them more often.

Male Golden Retrievers are usually more clingy and loving toward their owners than females. This could very well be a result of their late-blooming and because they are known to look up to their pack leader (which is most likely You, his owner).

So, females show their love mostly through protection, while a male Golden Retriever’s love language is more of a suffocate-you-with-kisses type.

Which Gender is Better for You? A Male or a Female Golden Retriever?

Male and Female Golden Retriever looking upMale and Female Golden Retriever looking up

Photo from: @kylierory

Now that you know the main important differences between a male vs female Golden Retriever, you’re probably already leaning toward one gender; therefore, you should have an easier time choosing one or the other.

Male or female – no matter which one you decide to choose in the end – you probably won’t regret your decision. Golden Retrievers are wonderful in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders.

The main thing you need to consider when looking for your new puppy is to buy it from a reputable and trustworthy breeder with transparent breeding practices and good references.

That way, you will ensure that you get a healthy puppy, which is, after all, the most important thing.

If you’ve decided that you want to adopt a new Golden Retriever puppy, but you don’t know where to start your search for your new furry bestie, check out our article about the best Golden Retriever breeders in the U.S.

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