Male vs. Female Labrador Retriever: 5 Key Differences
Regardless of the comparison between the male vs. female Labrador, these retrievers are the quintessential family dogs, with enough working dog traits to keep them energetic, happy, and overall fun family companions.
Labrador retrievers stand in high regard as family dogs with good-natured personalities, making them the most popular breed in America. They’re also very common, so It’s easy to find Labradors in rescue shelters and in need of a good, loving home.
Comparing a Male and Female Labrador
|Male Labrador Retriever||Female Labrador Retriever|
|Size||22.5” to 24.5”||21″ to 23″|
|Physical Traits||Generally taller and a little boxier||Generally smaller, with more rounded features and a softer coat|
|Reproduction||Reach sexual maturity at 1 year||Reach sexual maturity between 7 months and 1 year|
|Health||Male Labradors are susceptible to testicular cancer and prostate issues||Female Labradors are prone to UTIs (Urinary Tract Infections) and reproductive cancers|
|Temperament||Fun-loving, family-friendly, with a touch of wanderlust and aggression for attention||Gentle, family-friendly, and sensitive with a tendency to get cranky and overly sensitive|
|Training||Easy to train but tend to get distracted||Easier to train, especially throughout the puppy stage, thanks to their sensitivity|
|Weight||65 to 80 lbs||55 to 70 lbs|
Key Differences Between a Male and Female Labrador Retriever
The key differences in a male vs. female Labrador scenario are more subtle than they are with other dogs. For instance, when dealing with size differences, depending on the breeder, females are sometimes the same size or slightly larger than males. For the most part, this isn’t the case, though the average height difference is very slight.
The biggest differences are more apparent with health and training. Both male and female Labradors are very easy to train, however, males are easier to distract. This is especially true if you’re in your backyard and a squirrel runs by. Since females are more sensitive to commands and responses, it’s easier to hold their attention.
Males are also susceptible to testicular cancer, while females are more prone to UTIs. It’s interesting to note that both male and female Labradors share a commonality in terms of cancer in the reproductive organs or system.
1. Male Vs Female Labrador Retrievers: Physical Traits
Male Labradors are a little stockier in appearance. The Labrador’s head-shape is well-known and instantly recognizable, though there is just the tiniest bit of difference between the two. The male is just a little more square in shape and maybe a little larger.
The female tends to have a slightly rounder head shape. This difference is so subtle It’s often hard to tell when the two are sitting next to each other. Females also tend to have softer fur. The male coat is soft as well, with a touch of coarseness. Both the male and the female are notorious shedders. If you own a Labrador retriever, or are thinking of getting one, prepare the vacuum cleaner.
As far as weight, the male Labrador, on average, weighs between 10 and 25 lbs heavier than its female counterpart.
2. Male Vs Female Labrador Retrievers: Reproduction
Female Labradors reach sexual maturity faster than their male counterparts. For the most part. Some females may take as long as a year, which is the typical timeframe for a male. However, females can reach sexual maturity as quickly as 7 months.
There’s a 5-month disparity with females. However, for males, the disparity is almost always non-existent or so narrow that it makes no difference. One year from birth, males reach sexual maturity, with very little deviation.
AKC and CKC guidelines for breeding Labrador retrievers are straightforward and call for responsible breeding, rather than so-called backyard breeding, an issue that remains a persistent problem for most purebred dogs.
On average, a female Labrador has their first heat around the 9-month mark. However, it may take as long as an entire year in rare cases. If you have both a male and a female Labrador, it’s better to neuter the male first and spay the female second. Only neuter the male after 6 to 7 months have passed. This will avoid throwing off hormonal balances throughout the growing process.
You should wait a year, maybe two to spay your female but no sooner than their first heat. Let the female go through the first one, then talk to your vet about spaying.
3. Male Vs Female Labrador Retrievers: Lifespan
Fortunately, there is no major difference between the two in terms of age. Both females and males tend to live between 10 and 12 years. Of course, outside factors will affect their longevity, such as diet, exercise, and trips to the vet.
Chocolate labs tend to have a shorter lifespan, thanks to the breeding that introduced their darker fur. Somewhere along the line, a recessive gene joined the party, causing immune system issues in chocolate labs and not their golden or paler cousins. In general, this reduces their lifespan by a year or two.
4. Male Vs Female Labrador Retrievers: Training
Both female and male Labradors are very easy to train. While there are negatives to training a male lab, such as their tendency to get distracted throughout, they stand well above many other breeds in this regard. Females, being more sensitive to your commands, won’t be as easily coerced into dropping her attention.
Females are especially easy to train when they are still puppies, where males want to play with you and everything else that moves at any given moment. Female labs are known for being easier to house train much earlier than their male counterparts. As working dogs, Labrador retrievers have more than enough energy for frequent training sessions in a day.
However, given the male’s tendency to lose interest, keep their training sessions shorter than the female’s.
5. Male Vs Female Labrador Retrievers: Temperament
It’s much harder to distinguish between these two where temperament is concerned. There are subtle differences, but they are just that—subtle. The male is definitely easier to distract, but their overall demeanor of friendly openness and excitability is a match with female labs.
Males will show more aggressive attitudes if you have other male dogs in the house, and it boils down to one toy. However, they are far from brutally aggressive, and it mostly boils down to a whole lot of wind and noise.
Females are noticeably more sensitive when engaging with them for play. When we use the word “sensitive” to describe the female, it’s more a term of reactive capability, rather than an emotion. The female responds faster and will often be the first one to sit or roll over on command. Both male and female labs have huge personality, and an overly aggressive or dominant attitude is not among them.
When you think about it, male vs. female Labrador retrievers is not much of a comparison. they are strikingly similar in their moods, attitudes, looks, and habits, with reproductive maturity and a tendency towards distraction being two of the more obvious differences.
The good news is, no matter which you choose (or even if you get one male and one female), you’ll end up with a happy, fiercely loyal, family-friendly dog that will bring plenty of joy and good memories to your home.