Male vs. Female Labrador Retrievers: 10 Differences To Help You Pick!

It’s not a surprise that many people love Labrador Retrievers. But, is there a difference between male and female Labrador retrievers? These gentle, friendly, and even-tempered dogs make amazing house pets. However, before you pick out the one to bring home, there’s an important matter to learn. What are the differences between male and female Labradors? Should I get a male or female golden retriever? Let’s find out.

Male vs. Female Labrador Retrievers 1 Male vs. Female Labrador Retrievers: 10 Differences To Help You Pick!

What are the differences between male and female Labs?

Male and female Labrador Retrievers are lovely but differ in physical appearance. They’re also different in personality, how to train them, health concerns, aggression, dominance, and many more ways. So, knowing the difference will help you pick the best gender for you.

Still, Labrador Retrievers are among the gentlest large dog breeds you can have in your home. They’re lively and have big personalities. Once you have them at home, you can enjoy spending time together, walking and playing with the whole family.

Differences are crucial to making informed decisions as a potential pet parent. The details below display the differences between male and female Labrador Retrievers.

Differences Between Male and Female Labrador Retrievers

Physical Appearance

There are physical differences worth noting between male and female Labrador Retrievers. For instance, when you observe their sizes, males are slightly bigger than females. As per the American Kennel Association, Male Labrador Retrievers achieve a height between 22.5 to 24.5 inches.

Females, on the other hand, stand a bit shorter. They achieve a growing height between 21.5 to 23.5 inches. 

While this is the expected breeding standard for Labrador Retrievers, it’s not set in stone. Some females can be taller than males.

In terms of weight, there’s also a noticeable difference between male and female Labrador Retrievers. Males weigh between 65 to 80 lbs. as per set breeding standards. Females weigh between 55 to 70 lbs.

Puppies vary in terms of weight as they grow. But, males and females can weigh the same at some point. Typically, many people go for female Labradors since they’re seen as small, light, and low maintenance.


While physical appearance is one difference, another is personality. It’s important to consider personality differences between male and female Labrador Retrievers. This can impact your decision while seeking to become a pet parent.

Personality looks into attachment styles and affection. While both male and female Labrador Retrievers are affectionate and attach to people, they do it differently.

Still, it’s worth noting that the breed is among the most affectionate and displays love for their owners.

From the beginning, you start to notice a difference in male and female puppies as they grow. They both attach and show affection with time, but females do so at a lesser capacity. The male Labrador Retrievers want the constant pats and snuggles, not the female.

Male Labrador Retrievers tend to swoon and want to be around their owner. Females do so and then wander off to do other things. But, this doesn’t mean that females don’t respond to love and affection. They do and enjoy the attention as well.

You’ll notice a difference between males and females since males are easier to show affection. They come and lie on your feet, waiting for pats and rubs. This is their attachment style. On the other hand, females take more time to exhibit such behavior towards a pet parent.

However, the difference in personality isn’t so pronounced. It’s subtle since females may require you to go to them to show love and affection. Plus, males get even more affectionate when there are treats around.

Male vs. Female Labrador Retrievers 1 1 Male vs. Female Labrador Retrievers: 10 Differences To Help You Pick!

Training Differences

Labs require extensive training from the moment they’re little pups. Teaching is essential because they learn how to behave and live in harmony with people. Poor training can end up causing problems for pet parents, so it’s better not to skip it.

When training male and female Labrador Retrievers, you’ll notice they are an intelligent breed. This makes the business of teaching them simpler. Other breeds might require more time and effort to get the results you want.

Intelligence and ease of training are among the top reasons Labrador Retrievers are hunting and guarding dogs. But, it’s always better to start training your Lab at a young age to transform them into well-behaved pets.

Male Labrador Retrievers pose more of a challenge during training than females. This is mostly due to their bubbly and larger-than-life personality. They might require more focus since males get distracted easily.

During mating season, you might have your work cut out for you. Males will want to go after female Labrador Retrievers rather than focus on training. As for females, they hold the golden ticket when it comes to training.

It’s easier to train a female Labrador Retriever since they achieve maturity faster. Another benefit is you have a better chance of house training a female Labrador. They follow commands better and are more in-tune with your voice.

Health Concerns

Health backgrounds and potential concerns are essential for every pet parent to note. Such information makes it possible to know the best care to give your dog. Labrador Retrievers have specific health issues worth noting.

Both males and females require regular exercise since these are energetic dogs. You might have to deal with hip issues if the dog is inactive. They have a large build and can gain more weight which causes problems for their body structure.

Still, some issues affect them separately. Older males develop hernias and tumors as they advance in age. Also, they may end up developing testicular and prostate cancer. This happens mostly if you don’t neuter them while young.

On the other hand, females are more likely to get UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections). This is because of how female dogs urinate. Females will crouch down, which leads to exposure to bacteria as they urinate.

Always be on the lookout for blood in your dog’s urine. That’s a significant indicator of a UTI and requires an immediate vet visit.


Dogs can be aggressive, and even in Labrador Retrievers, you can notice such behavior. Most people love this breed because it’s friendly and calm in the presence of kids and other pets. But, as rare as it is, you can notice aggression at one time or another.

Males are more aggressive than female Labradors. This happens when they feel territorial and don’t want to share things like toys. Also, when you have several males in the house, aggressive behavior can happen when in heat.


Dominance isn’t an issue you might have to deal with when you have a Labrador Retriever. Often, they have more of a big personality that’s easy to mistake as dominant behavior. It’s not uncommon for Labradors to push past you, which means they need better training.

However, bullying isn’t an issue many pet parents have to deal with when they get a male or female Labrador. Still, never assume you won’t have to deal with dominance when you have any dog, even a Labrador, at home.

This occurs, especially when many dogs live together in one home. Issues about dominance can arise among the pack. A dominant male tends to behave differently and holds their tail higher than the rest. It’s feeling confident as it wags back and forth while communicating with the rest.

Females tend to rely on their intelligence to show dominance. They begin to push boundaries and challenge others by nudging and even moving toys around.


Little difference exists when it comes to the lifespan expectancy of Labrador Retrievers. Both males and females live for 10 to 12 years. This can increase depending on the lifestyle of the individual Labrador Retriever.

Some get excellent health care, food, and exercise from owners and may live a little longer. Regular vet visits, exercise, and proper care can add another 6 to 12 months to their lives. But, it’s worth noting that some, like the Chocolate Labrador, have a shorter lifespan than the rest.

The brown coat isn’t responsible for the shorter lifespan. Chocolate Labradors, both male and female, have recessive genes that cause problems in their immune system. As a result, they’re more susceptible to sickness and have a lesser lifespan.

Learn More: How long labs live and what they usually die from (sad but true)


Labrador wearing cone

Not all pet owners want their Labrador Retrievers to breed. For this reason, they have them spayed or neutered. It’s important to decide if you want to keep them intact or spay/neuter them early. That way, you can make proper arrangements in advance for either procedure.

Neutering applies to male Labrador Retrievers, while spaying is to females. Doing so will block the production of sex hormones and prevent any reproduction. If you want to have puppies, you leave both or the ones you have intact.

There are differences worth noting between an intact and neutered male Labrador Retriever. Neutering involves removing your dog’s testicles so that they don’t mate. It’s castration which is irreversible once complete.

Once castration happens, your male Labrador will have no testicles. Another issue to note is puppies neutered at an early age tend to be smaller and look more feminine. One that’s intact will appear bigger even though both are males.

As for female Labrador Retrievers, spaying requires major surgery. The vet will remove the reproductive organs during this process, and recovery might last 2 to 3 weeks before your dog feels more like themselves.

There’s a less invasive option when it comes to spaying. Speak to your vet about laparoscopic spaying. This is a procedure that involves making small incisions to remove the ovaries. It’s just as effective as abdominal surgery, but it has a smaller recovery duration and is less invasive.

But, you’ll notice spayed Labrador Retrievers appear smaller than those intact.

Plus, spaying your female while they’re older causes them to grow a coarse coat. Still, you can opt to neuter them if you have a male and female and prefer for them not to breed.

Read More: When To Spay | When To Neuter

Hormonal Differences

Human beings take about 12 to 13 years to hit puberty. They start to develop sexually and experience a surge in sexual hormones at this stage. As for dogs, they only have to wait about 6 months or so to reach a sexually active age.

It’s possible to start breeding your Labrador Retriever after about 7 months. But, it’s better to wait until the dog is a bit more mature. Still, if breeding isn’t on the agenda, this is the right age to get them spayed or neutered.

Hormonal maturity happens in male and female Labrador Retrievers. However, there are differences. When you want to neuter your male Labrador Retriever, avoid doing so before they’re 6 months old. Early neutering can cause hormonal and physical development issues for dogs under 2 years.

Males Labrador Retrievers that are intact tend to remain sexually charged all year. It’s important to note the signs of being in heat in your dog. They may start humping furniture and marking territory with urine all around the house.

If you have a female Labrador, it’s also better to wait until they’re 24 months old to spay them. But, not that females start to experience heat at 7 months.

So, this can be a challenge when you have an intact male in your home.

While males remain sexually charged all year, females experience 2 heat cycles every 12 months. Females start to get needy and moody, so watch out for such signs. Also, males can breed for many years while females stop conceiving at 7 years.


Grooming is essential for both male and female Labrador Retrievers. Proper grooming causes the dogs to have a healthy and shiny coat. But, females tend to exhibit issues when pregnant and nursing.

A lack of calcium causes female Labrador’s coats to shed more than their male counterparts. It’s therefore important to give them a calcium-rich diet during this stage. 

Otherwise, proper grooming for males and females involves brushing, washing, brushing teeth, and clipping nails.

Read More: Best Shampoo For Labrador Retrievers

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