Male vs Female Golden Retriever [Why I Chose Female]

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[Updated January 2020]

Golden Retrievers are wonderful dogs!  But do male goldens differ from female goldens?  In this article male vs female Golden Retriever, you will find out how the two sexes differ, plus the reasons why I chose a female.

Just over 4 years ago my husband and I decided to get a puppy. We had recently moved into our new house and wanted to add a dog to our family of just the two of us.

I have always loved Golden Retrievers, and we decided that was the breed for us. After researching, we were able to find a reputable breeder that was going to have puppies available in a couple of months. That was a great time frame for us, and our next decision had to be gender. Do we get a male or a female Golden Retriever?

Several factors went into our decision, and we chose a female Golden Retriever, and never looked back!

Some of the reasons for our decision are explained below.

Females Tend To Be Calmer

White Golden retriever puppy laying on a fleece blanket looking at you.

This was going to be our first dog, so we wanted to go with a female because we had heard from other dog owners that females tend to be calmer and less hyper than males.

In general, both male and female Golden Retrievers have a calm and friendly temperament and are not considered to be a hyperactive breed.

Female dogs generally mature mentally faster than males do.  A 1-year-old female acts like a 1 1/2 – 2-year-old male. Males have a longer puppy stage.

While Goldens reach their full height at the age of 1, and their mature weight at the age of 2, their mental maturity is not reached until the age of 3.

Golden Retrievers are slow to mature compared to other breeds, and they display that playful silly personality of a puppy sometimes into their senior years.

As far as females being calmer than males, who really knows? It is like saying that all women are calmer than men. This is simply not true.

I can tell you this, my female puppy was not calm. She was so hyper and full of energy and playfulness that she was hard to keep up with, and definitely a handful.

I remember a time when she was so wild my husband had to lock himself in the bedroom just to get away from her until she calmed down. (She waited outside of the door for him). He is the one that has always “roughhoused” with her from the start, and I guess the one time he just couldn’t take it LOL.

Another instance is when she would do laps inside the house and run up and down the stairs and then take a running leap onto the couch. Or when we had fresh sod laid down in our backyard, and she grabbed a piece of it and ran into the house with it.

The joys of puppyhood! I would say she calmed down quite a bit at the age of 1, she was spayed at around 6 months and that helped.

Now we have a beautiful, sweet loving and calm dog, that is not to say that she wasn’t that from the beginning, but boy was she a handful.

So if there is any truth behind females being calmer, I would hate to see what a male would be like.

Females Are More Independent

White Golden Retriever looking up, with coloured lights in the background.

As a first dog, we wanted one that was independent, and not always clinging to us.

Some say that male dogs are more affectionate and needy, often described as goofy and big teddy bears, while females are also affectionate but more on their own terms. They will want to be petted, but then display their independence and walk away when they’ve had enough.

A lot of dog owners have stated that male Goldens are in love with you, and female Goldens want you to love them. I do not have experience with a male Golden, but because I have a female Golden I can totally agree with this statement.

My female is very affectionate but wants all the affection drawn on her. She will sit by your feet and will look up at you and expect to be petted. We have nicknamed her “Diva” because she is very much a Diva.

She expects us to bring her water while she is resting on the couch, and we have to raise the water bowl up to her so she can drink. Is this for real? you might ask, yes it is. We love her so much and she is so spoiled, I think she has trained us well. You might even say that she owns us.

As far as females being more independent than males, that is just a generalization. Although my female wants to be petted on her terms, she does have a need to be with us at all times.

Females Are Smaller

In general females of the same litter and breed will be smaller than males. Males grow to be taller and heavier than females.

According to the American Kennel Club the standard size of a male Golden Retriever is 65-75lbs (29-34kg) in weight and 22-24in (56-61cm) in height.

The standard size of a female Golden Retriever is 55-65lbs (25-29kg) in weight and 20-22in (51-56cm) in height.

The above sizing is just a generalization, and it can vary depending on the size of the parents. Some females can be larger than some males of a different litter, it all depends on genetics.

My female is tall and slim, and she weighs 77lbs (35kg).

Females Don’t Hump Your Leg

This is really what I thought! I was a total newbie. I thought only male dogs hump your leg, boy was I wrong.

I guess this is one of the biggest misconceptions about dog behaviour, that females don’t try to hump people, other dogs or things. Both males and females hump, even after they are neutered or spayed.

While leg humping is embarrassing and awkward for dog owners, especially when your dog does it in front of people, it is completely normal and common.

Some reasons that dogs hump or mount are sexual urges, displaying dominance, playfulness, easing stress, releasing energy, or compulsive behaviour.

My female dog as a puppy would hump her stuffed toys and my leg. She has been spayed, and still on occasion humps my leg, usually after playing. I see it as a way of her releasing her excess energy after she is excited.

Neutering and spaying a dog will usually decrease the humping. Also, trying to distract your dog when he/she tries to hump will help, as well as training methods to correct the behaviour.

Final Thoughts On Male vs Female Golden Retriever

There are many reasons why people prefer female dogs over male dogs or vice versa, but as far as owning a Golden Retriever, I believe you can’t go wrong with either sex.

There may be slight differences in temperament between a male and female, but both sexes are known to be friendly, gentle, loving and intelligent.

When looking for any dog or puppy, male vs female should not be your only criteria, nor should it be the most important one. You need to consider personality, temperament, and health.

If you are going through a breeder you will want to find out how to choose the right puppy from a litter.

While the reasons above were some reasons I chose a female, none of them matter to me now. I am so in love with my female Golden, all of her quirks and perks, and I have never looked back.

What About You?

Do you own a male or a female Golden Retriever?  What were some of your reasons for choosing either sex?

Perhaps you own both a male and female Golden Retriever and have noticed some differences?

Please share your thoughts and comments below.  I would love to hear from you.

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I am the proud owner of a Golden Retriever named Ellie. She keeps me busy, and when she is resting, you can find me working on my blog. She is always close by though. I live in Peterborough, ON Canada with my husband, and we both enjoy the never a dull moment life with our Ellie.

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18 thoughts on “Male vs Female Golden Retriever [Why I Chose Female]”

  1. We have an Ellie too! She helped us heal our 💔when we lost our first golden cross border collie Indee last year from heart cancer. Ellie is 1 now and puppyhood was a shock for us after 11 years 🤣. She is a gorgeous girl and very affectionate.

    • Hi Lynette & Garry,
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Ellie is such a great name! Sorry to hear of the loss of your dog Indee. Losing a dog is such a painful loss to go through, and you never really get over it, but I’m happy that your golden Ellie has brightened your days, and kept you busy and entertained. I can certainly imagine how puppyhood came as a shock to you, as dog owners we somehow forget how much work that stage is after having gone through it and gotten used to the more calm and well-mannered adult dog.
      I wish you all the best with your sweet Ellie!

      Take care,

  2. We have just picked out a female golden retriever. My husband sort of wanted a male, but I leaned towards a female. We will get to pick her up in two weeks? Funny thing is, her name Ellie Mae! Our previous dog was a Newfy/golden retriever. She was such a sweet dog! She died just before she turned twelve. We are looking forward to having this little girl! I’m a little nervous about if we can train her. It’s been a while. We would also like her to have a litter of puppies. What are your thoughts on this?

    • Hi Debbie,

      Congratulations on getting a female Golden Retriever puppy! I must say I love the name, but I may be a little biased Lol! Ellie Mae was the name I wanted for our female Golden, but my husband didn’t like it and we ended up with just Ellie. How exciting that you will be able to bring your new puppy home in 2 weeks, there is no need to be nervous, I am sure you will do just fine with all of the training.

      Great choice on choosing a female, although either sex is just wonderful! I am sure your little Ellie Mae will become a Daddy’s girl in no time, I think females gravitate towards their male owners more. This is certainly the case with our Ellie. The way she looks at my husband with dreamy eyes and follows him everywhere like he is all that! (I may be a little jealous lol.)

      I am curious as to why you would want her to have a litter of puppies if it is for health reasons or if you are planning on breeding her more often. Many people are under the misconception that having a litter of puppies will benefit their female dog health-wise, but this simply isn’t true. There are many health risks associated with a female dog giving birth. Your female could die trying to give birth, or the puppies could die, also your female could get a serious infection, and other complications could occur. Not to mention that the puppies will need to find forever homes, and you will be contributing to the over pet population. I am by no means trying to tell you what to do, but I am just offering my thoughts. I think it takes a bit of research to determine what is best for your female. I recently wrote an article on when to spay a Golden Retriever, and there are many pros and cons to spaying, as well as when spaying is performed. There are also other options to a traditional spay, and I also discuss if spaying is the right thing. You might find it interesting.

      Either way, whatever you decide with Ellie Mae, I wish you all the best! I know you will have so many wonderful moments together, and trust me, it will never be boring!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and to share your thoughts.


  3. My roommate’s golden had puppies. 10 long weeks later we gave 7 of the 8 puppies to amazing families. My puppy PICKED ME. She is wilder than sin, with more energy than I think she even knows what to do with. She does things on “her time” and won’t come when I call when she knows she is being naughty. She is very independent AND YET still needs to know she is close to either my roommate or me. She isn’t exactly the “lick your face, jump in your lap” type that I was somewhat expecting, but little by little I started to realize my little girl shows her affection in other ways if it be pawing me gently then rolling over on her back or wanting to be held while she power naps after we play, but the most heartwarming… she sleeps right next to me in her crate and before bedtime she will take the shirt or sock I have worn that day and bring it into her crate with her and use it as a pillow.
    So yah half the day she spends acting like a “diva”, but the other half she’s a big ole softie and I wouldn’t want her to be any other way…

    • Hi Taylor,
      I loved reading your comment because it sounds all too familiar! Especially when you mentioned she does things on “her time”, that is so true in my case!! My Ellie is not a lick your face or cuddle in your lap type either, but instead wants to be petted constantly. How sweet that your girl takes your shirt or sock and uses it as a pillow. I just love hearing how females act as compared to male Golden Retrievers, and it sounds like your female is just like mine, a Diva but a softie at the same time.

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience. Enjoy the many moments and memories that you will have with your “Diva”.
      Take care,

      • Thanks for taking the time to reply Jenny, being a first time mom, I have googled more things than I want to admit, your article was the first out of hundreds I read that actually brought peace of mind.! Pawzzy Osbourne and I have much to learn and lots of memories to make. Thank you again.

        • Hi Taylor,
          First of all, I love the name “Pawzzy Osbourne”, so cute. Second, thank you so much for your kind words about my article. I am glad that it has given you peace of mind. Being a First Time Dog Mom is certainly a learning experience, and Google quickly becomes your best friend. I hope you and your dog share many wonderful memories together. If you ever have any questions, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly help if I can and maybe offer some insight.

          All the best to you.

  4. We are hoping to add a Golden Retriever to our family soon and are having a hard time deciding on male or female. I love the fact that females are calmer and more independent. Thank you, Jenny, you make it much easier for us to know which one to go for.


    • Hi Jordan,

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.  I am glad that my article has helped you to decide between a male and female Golden Retriever.  You really can’t go wrong with either sex because they are such wonderful dogs, but if you decide on a female you’ll be really happy.

      I wish you all the best,


  5. Good article and it makes me wonder if there is a common denominator among male and female dogs of other breeds in terms of personality, or if males and females of different breeds act in a different manner. I’ve always been one to compare larger dogs versus smaller dogs rather than gender; believing larger breeds to be more calm than smaller ones, but at the same time each would have their advantages and disadvantages. 

    • Hi Todd,

      You certainly raise some good points.  There are definitely some advantages and disadvantages when comparing large breeds to small breed dogs.  For one, small breed dogs have a longer lifespan which is a plus, but larger dogs are calmer because they mature and age faster.  

      It is hard to say if there is a common denominator among males and females of different breeds, but I would say there are probably some differences in behaviour.  Simply because of the different sex hormones.

      Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.


  6. Female dogs are definitely calmer. The only reason why I have not considered getting a pet, a female one at least; is because then all the male dogs will come over. haha 

    Seriously. However, their calmness and caring nature as mothers are so much like humans. They are noble, loyal and caring but fierce combined with genuine.

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes, when you own a female dog the male dogs tend to show a bit of interest.  I am glad you agree that females are calmer than males, you obviously have experienced that.  I notice it quite often and I always jokingly say that I wouldn’t get a male dog because they are more hyper.  But when it comes down to it both male and female Golden Retrievers are really wonderful.  Some people just prefer one sex over the other.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and taking the time to comment.


    • Hi Saumya,
      Thank you for your comment. Golden Retrievers are so easy to love, they are the best! Hope you enjoy many adventures, and make wonderful memories with your golden puppy. Enjoy, they grow up so fast.

  7. Hi Jenny, we chose a male Golden Retriever because they generally are bigger dogs and that is what we prefer. We had a golden before we got Duck Hudson, but unfortunately the hardest part of loving any pet, they reach that age and pass on. Brooklyn was just 13 when we lost him, he started about 6 months before having small seizures, his last one was quite big and it robbed him of many of his faculties. We chose to lay with him for a couple days as per the vet’s recommendation to see if he would regain his faculties. Unfortunately, this did not happen so we made a very tough decision to put him down. That was the hardest thing, he was such a loving pet. Our house was so quiet for months, so we decided it was time to love another pet. We got Duck when he was 10 weeks old, he was so easy to train, but busy. My husband and I were older so we found that we would be tired from playing but Duck was anxious to continue. Thankful our grandchildren would visit and fill in the gaps where the old folg’s were beat. LOL The thing I find so remarkable is Duck is just about a carbon copy of Brooklyn, they both are incredibly faithful, loving and fun dogs. Is the picture at the top of each page Ellie, if so she is a beautiful girl.

    • Hi Mary, thank you for your comment. Ellie is the dog you see at the top of the page, she is our first dog. The bond we have with her is so strong, I cannot imagine losing her, it is definitely the worst part of being a dog owner, losing a loving member of the family. I am glad you found another Golden to love, they are high energy when they are young and can be a handful. Love the name Duck Hudson. Hope you have many wonderful moments and adventures with him.


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