The male vs. female question is a great one. We really have put a lot of thought and time into thinking through that answer. We are unique breeders in that we train ALL of our pups, which gives us a lot more experience than most breeders. Typically breeders let their puppies go home before they really show their personalities. Not only do we keep our pups longer, but we spend hundreds of hours with each individual pup. We have trained over 500 English Golden Retrievers in the past decade, so we really have a strong “case study” for this. We are experts in English Golden Retrievers and no other breed right now. The following information may not apply to all other breeds or even to American Golden Retrievers, but for English Golden Retrievers we are very confident in the contents of this blog.
The first myth that we want to debunk is that there are major personality differences between males and females. Some say that males are more loving or that females are more laid back. That’s just not true. We have never noticed a trend in which a gender shows themselves to be more of a certain personality trait. We have looked carefully. We have trained so many hundreds of the English Goldens LOOKING for subtle personality differences and have come to the conclusion that there is no definite personality difference between the genders. We have had extremely loving females and some females that were more independent. We have had very calm females and males and very outgoing females and males. We have noticed a couple other differences, though, that you will want to take into consideration and which we will discuss in detail below.
The second myth is that male Goldens have a lot of issues with “marking” or “humping.” This is almost never the case, especially if you are not breeding. If you plan on neutering your boy and have no females in heat with another male nearby, then you will not have to worry about a male Golden marking in your house or even too much in your yard. In fact, the vast majority of our male Goldens will squat to urinate their entire lives. They also are not prone to “humping” legs like some other breeds may be.
There are a few differences, though, between the genders which we definitely want to point out.
The first difference is mental maturity. Females do mature mentally faster than males. A 1 year old female acts like a 1.5-2 year old male. Males have a longer “puppy stage,” which a lot of people love and a lot of people don’t. It’s a matter of preference. Males do mature physically faster than females, especially when it comes to potty training. Because of this, most females are easier to obedience train than males. They normally have their commands down sooner than male English Goldens. A 12 week old female is typically obedience trained as well as a 14 week old boy.
The second difference is physical maturity. Males do physically mature faster than females, mainly in the area of bladder control. Part of our Puppy Training Institute is potty training and crate training. We spend over half of our training time working on these 2 crucial areas. One thing we have found out is that males can hold their bladders for longer than females. They are quicker to potty train, spot train and crate train as a result. Females definitely do better in obedience training but in potty training and crate training the boys typically do better simply because they can hold their restroom longer.
The third difference is size. The males are typically 10-20 lbs heavier than a female. An average female is 60-65 lbs and an average male is 75-80 lbs. A small female can be as small as 45 lbs, and the largest females are rarely larger than 70 lbs (not overweight). A small male will be around 60 lbs, and larger males can reach 85 lbs. Males also typically have a blockier head, thicker coat and especially thicker “mane.” Most show dogs are males because they look a little better and shed their coat about ½ as much as a breeding female. Breeding females blow their coats after a heat and so 1/2 of the year they do not look good. If you spay your female then she should shed as much as a male dog. Also, just because a male dog has a thicker coat does not mean that they shed more. They shed about the same amount, as long as the girl is spayed. If she’s not spayed, then she will shed almost twice as much as a male after her heat cycle.