Male Vs Female Labrador (Which Should You Choose?)

Of all dogs to adopt, the Labrador Retriever is one of the most popular. They’re gorgeous and adorable with their big puppy eyes, fluffy coat, and floppy ears.  Labs have good temperaments and are easy to train.  But, which is the gender of Lab is better, male or female?

There are some items of note to distinguish between the genders.  But, unlike other dogs, it’s something of a misconception to determine adoption based on gender.  This is because males present an incredible likeness to that of females, so the differences are minimal.

Even still, it’s equally important to understand these intricacies before deciding to get one for your home and family.  Knowing the dog’s temperament, affection, cost, size, and common health conditions will help contribute to making a sound decision.

What Are the Size Differences between Males and Female Labradors?

There are some variations between male and female Labradors in terms of their size, including overall weight and height.  On average, a Lab can stand from about 21½ to 24½ inches with a weight ranging from 55 to 80 lbs.  Of course, some Labradors can be bigger than the average.


Male Labrador Retrievers start at 22½ inches tall but can get to as high as 24½ inches or more. It’s rare for them to weigh more than 80 pounds, but not unheard of.  They tend to be very bulky, muscular, and strong with a good, solid frame.

When they get aroused or excited, their size can present problems without proper training and socialization.


Females tend to be only slightly smaller, ranging between 21½ to 23½ inches with a weight between 55 and 70 pounds.  Even though female Labs are more demure, they can be quite the handful when excited enough, even at max size.


Even though females can be smaller, it isn’t very significant in the scheme of things.  With the differences in height being around an inch and a weight variation of 10 pounds, it’s not too much of a stretch.

When either gender gets energized or excited, they can be difficult to walk and bring to heel, where the dog ends up walking the owner rather than the other way around.  So, regardless of a Lab’s sex, training will be essential.

What Are the Temperament Differences between Males and Female Labradors?

Labrador Retrievers are so popular worldwide because they are famous for their friendliness and kindness with big, loving hearts.  The differences in temperament are comparable to the difference between attitudes in male and female humans.

But, both sexes are very lively, energetic and need plenty of exercise to be happy.  If they don’t use up their enormous reserves of energy, it can manifest into undesirable behaviors like digging up the yard, chewing on shoes, and tearing up other prized, precious items.


Male Labrador Retrievers maintain their attitude and character throughout their lives.  More often than not, they’re very happy dogs who are all too willing to give love.  They are constant with their moods and attitudes with behaviors that are easier to understand and interpret.


Female Labs have been very intelligent and astute from a young age.  But, hormonal changes when in heat can change her mood, character, and demeanor.  These changes can make her finicky with her temperament, and she may not always be easy to understand and gauge.


Out of both sexes, females tend to be more docile, even with hormonal changes.  But, males are more consistent with their behavior and demeanor.  However, these nuances of temperament aren’t often very dramatic.

Is There a Price Difference between Males and Female Labradors?

Male and female Labradors cost the same.  On average, the price is $800, ranging between $400 and $1500.  Expect to pay almost $3000 for its first year and then about $2,000 per year for the span of its life.  For the entire existence of a Lab, estimate spending a total amount of around $22,000.

But, this doesn’t include visits to the vet, training, toys, health emergencies, insurance, grooming, dog walking, or boarding.  When you factor all that in, you’re looking at somewhere in the ballpark of $70,000 to $200,000 for the whole of a Lab’s life.

Are There Training Differences in Males and Female Labradors?

The variations in the temperament of Labrador Retrievers also extend to how they train.  There are categorical differences between the two that include ease of trainability and speed of learning.


Because male Labs are more goofy and playful, they are a bit testy to train.  Combined with their demands of attention, training is slow to start.  Males can also be a little rough with smaller children when they’re pups.

Not that they’re dangerous, but they don’t realize their strength against what a child can handle.  This is why socialization and training are very important right from the start. But, once they come to terms with their role in the family, they’ll protect everyone, including children, extremely well.


Quicker to housebreak and train, female Labradors are easier in this regard.  Once trained, they stick by their owners and are very gentle with children.  In fact, they can undergo training specific to nanny dogs.  This means they’ll look out for children as if they were their own.


A Labrador’s trainability in accordance with their gender is very sparse.  Regardless of the sex, both will train and socialize with great ease.  Any boisterousness issues or mood shifts quell quickly with time, patience, and training.  But, unlike most other breeds, Labs will learn fast.

Want To Train Your Labrador With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your Labrador properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Labrador completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

Are There Any Health Differences?

These are very healthy dogs on the whole.  But, they can experience certain genetic conditions that you must monitor as the dog grows and ages.  The following is a list of health conditions to which both sexes can incur:

  • Bloat
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Exercise-induced collapse
  • Eye conditions, like progressive retinal atrophy
  • Heart disorders
  • Hereditary muscle weakness (myopathy)
  • Hip dysplasia


Out of all the conditions in the list above, male Labradors tend to suffer from Bloat more frequently.  This is because of how wide their chest is.  It can be a very serious and severe condition resulting in a tragic and unexpected death.  Ensuring the dog has a healthy, well-balanced diet free of unhealthy human food will help mitigate the risk.


Of both genders, female Labs tend to have more health issues.  They easily suffer from urinary tract problems, so it’s important to monitor when they relieve themselves.  There should be a healthy and continuous stream of urine when they go.

Plus, when they reach an age for breeding, they go into heat.  This is why you should spay females for the sake of their health if you don’t intend to use them to reproduce.  If their heat cycles are going to be a part of their lives, then regular visits to the vet will be imperative.

Females need regular checkups while and after being pregnant.  What’s more, they sometimes experience problems while giving birth and require the assistance of a vet.  Then, when they reach an older age, they go through a change of life where they stop going into heat.  For some females, this can come with its own set of health concerns including muscle, bone, and joint issues.


In comparing male Labradors with females, in general, the females are going to have more health issues.  Most of this revolves around her ability to go into heat, get pregnant, give birth, and go through doggie menopause.

Are Males Or Females More Affectionate?

Male and female Labradors are very affectionate, energetic, and always ready to give love.  Of course, it’s going to mostly depend on an individual dog’s personality and character.  But there are a few differences to observe.


Male Labradors give love freely and are always looking for affection with constant reassurance.  They love pleasing their owners and will do everything to make their human family happy.  But, they can also be very friendly with strangers and might fall a bit short when it comes to guardianship.


Female Labs are more conservative about their affection.  They’re not always looking to please their owners and they treat their love as something you have to earn.

However, there’s a value in her doing this.  It means she’s cognizant of the concept and capable of intricate discrimination.  This is an invaluable trait when it comes to guard duties.  Ergo, when a female Lab deems you good enough for her love, she will give it with undying loyalty and without condition.


Although there are distinct differences of affection between males and females, make no mistake, they are loving, friendly, and easygoing.  These are basic behavior patterns observed from the dogs on average, individuals will be unique.

Are Males or Females More Independent/Dependent?

As with any species of animal on earth, there’s a propensity for one gender to be more dependent than the other.  With Labrador Retrievers, the females tend to be more independent and the males more dependent.


Male Labradors require constant care and attention, suffering from separation anxiety easier than females.  Their boisterous and zealous natures require reliable interaction with their human owners.  But, they will run away and find a willing female in heat when in the mood for romance.


Because of changes in mood combined with a tendency to be more demanding about affection, female Labradors are more independent.  You can trust them when left to their own devices, will act on instinct quicker when trained for guardianship, and have a heightened ability toward logical reasoning.

But, if they go untrained and improperly socialized, this inclination toward independence can get downright defiant.  It can become quite a problem if left unchecked for too long.


Even though there are distinct differences between the affections of a male versus a female Labrador, they are very minute.  Some dogs will show these typical characteristics and others will defy stereotypes.

Who Are Better for Families?

Both sexes are great companions and bond with every member of the household.  When trained and socialized, they understand their purpose as part of the family unit.  But, if a family is new to dog ownership, there are a few things to consider between males and females.


Ever the playful, happy-go-lucky goofball, male Labs relish in being part of a family.  With so many hands to rub their belly and scratch their ears, the more members the better!  But, because of their larger size and heavier weight, their boisterous energy can become destructive.


Females are also very playful and love being part of the family.  When raised from a pup, they can make wonderful nanny dogs for children.  Their protective nature combined with the right training can make for an excellent second set of eyes.  This is invaluable for those with large families or young families with many small children.


In all honesty, there’s hardly a difference between male and female labs when it comes to deciding which is best for families.  Both of them have slightly different traits that are desirable depending on your purposes and how the family operates together.

But don’t let the classifications of gender dissuade your decision.  You can train male Labs to become nannies and females can be just as goofy.

Who Are Better With Other Pets?

Another desirable trait with Labradors is their ease of cohabitation with other pets and their desire to play with other neighborhood dogs.  However, they do love to chase small moving objects and may unintentionally scare the crap out of small critters, like squirrels and chipmunks.


Even though males are easy-going and constant, they can be very territorial and will mark their turf with urine.  When faced with another male dog, of any breed, they can get a little aggressive.

This can get out of control without proper training.  If not socialized right, they will project dominant behavior over other pets in the household.


Not that the desire to be territorial is defunct in female Labs, but they don’t seem to concern themselves with it as much.  They often get along with a plethora of other animals and don’t often seem to get excited when they see others of their own sex.

However, you want to be careful of exposing a female to a male when she’s in heat.  You want to take the utmost care in avoiding unwanted pregnancies.


Because of a female Lab’s more reserved nature, they tend to be more aloof around other pets than males.  Female Labradors are not nearly as quick as males to mark their territory, although they will do it. But, if they’re in heat, they will seek out males and therefore, require chaperoning.

Who Is A Male Best Suited For?

In general, males are beefier and bulkier, which means their muscles and features lend themselves to beauty.  If the dog fulfills desirable competition requirements, people who like to do the dog show circuit may want a male.  But, understand, finding one is rare.

Male Labradors are best for first-time dog owner families who have a house and yard.  Their constant need for attention and reassurance means that someone should always be around to interact with it.  Because males tend to be larger with a goofy, zealous nature, they need plenty of room to move.

Who Is A Female Best Suited For?

Females are better for unattached individuals and guardianship duties but they are also great as part of a family.  As long as they get plenty of walks and exercise every day, they can handle living in a place as small as an apartment.  Their inclination toward independence means you can leave them to their own devices and they won’t get too excited.

But, they are also good to have if you intend on breeding or have no problem dedicating yourself to the dog’s every need.  Their delicate features and demure physique fares well in dog show competitions too.


Labradors are great for almost anyone and will make fast companions who are fantastic family dogs.  As you can see, there are differences between the two sexes but they are so slight, the decision really comes down to your intention with the dog.  This will coincide with your own temperament, lifestyle, and activity levels.

If you have a specific purpose for the Lab, like for security detail, to act as a nanny, or to be a show dog, then you will want to go with a female.  But, if you just want a family dog for your quiet home in the suburbs, then a male will be suitable.

But these traits don’t relegate the distinct sexes to a strict, defined box because both can span a range of jobs, purposes, and family sizes.  When it comes down to it, it’s really more about the dog and its individual personality more than its gender.  But, you do have to keep gender in mind when wanting to add a Labrador Retriever to the household.

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