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I am thinking about buying either a Chocolate Lab or Golden retriever from the family of a friend. Probably going to be a Chocolate as they seem to be best physically suited for what I want. They have been breeding pure bread dogs of those kinds and a few others for quite a while. Their dogs are AKC registered and have excellent pedigrees. Their dogs are also somewhat popular around the country as being excellent field animals. I want one that will be physically fit for hunting and running, as I intend to do both, so I know that especially the Labs are well suited for those types of activities. I also want an intelligent and affectionate dog that I can play with pretty often. My dilema is this: Boy or girl?

I am confident that I can house train the dog so my concern isn't with marking. I have heard good and bad things about female vs male in general but not much specifically with regards to either of these breeds. I want a dog that will be intelligent, fiercely loyal to me and not be prone to running/wandering away, which I have heard are more typical traits of females. Though I have heard that they are more prone to mood swings, are generally less affectionate, can often be cold and seemingly uncaring, less playful, it's all about them and if you don't do what they want then they are grumpy and won't do what you want, can be openly defiant and can be harder to train because of stubbornness or B****Yness(I have heard that this is because they often just don't care even though they are trained) and in later years, if spayed, can have issues with "leakage."

In addition to the desired traits listed above, I also want a dog that will be athletic, easy to train(I have heard this is true of males due to a desire to please and be rewarded with food), will generally be more obedient to me after the training process(again I have heard this is more males because of the same thing about training) will be affectionate and playful. But, as stated above I have also heard that their loyalties can be tested and be lured away much easier as they tend to be more sociable with other people and animals(especially female dogs, if you catch my meaning). And while I have heard they are easier to train with food, I have also heard that it usually takes them a bit longer to "get it" than female dogs. I have also heard of them being more prone to excitement peeing and not be as good with traveling.

I have heard a theory that men generally have better luck with female dogs and there mood swings and vice versa where women have better luck with male dogs and that this is caused but the difference in gender between dog and owner. I am a 26 year old man so would I have better luck with a female dog than a woman would with a female dog?

I know that there are no stereotypes. I know that training and socialization with other people/dogs also have a part in all this, but are any of these generalizations true among the Lab breeds or the Golden retrievers?

I have had male 2 dogs in the past but they both tended to follow the general male stereo types as far as being very affectionate with anyone and everyone willing to give them attention, and prone to wandering(especially the German Shepard Rottweiler mix I had) and one(pure black cocker spaniel) being so attached/motivated by food that he would growl if certain people tried to take it from him. The shepard was also ALWAYS afraid of thunder and lightning(which I know is common) but even just light rain and water from the hose.

Any comments would be much appreciated.
 

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My first concern would be the number of dogs these people are breeding. While it's somewhat 'normal' for some breeders to work with 2 breeds, the 'few others' makes me question if they are a responsible breeder or a puppy mill/byb. By excellent pedigrees, do you mean the parents of the puppies have titles, or if you look at a five generation pedigree great great grandpa on mom's side got a title?

What you should look for first is health testing. For goldens, that's hips, elbows, eyes and heart, PRA would be a good one to inquire about since it's in some lines, and PU, early cancer and so on. Labs would be hips and eyes for sure but not sure what else should be tested for with BOTH parents.

Labs are more of the working type dog, goldens tend to be more goofy, but with training both can be great and what you're looking for, other than the loyalty thing. My golden is loyal to me till she sees someone else tossing the ball, then she could really care less if I was there or not. But she's not going to eat anyone that comes into the house or yard either. I find the boys I've had to be more loyal in that aspect but any dog will run off if not trained, they're dogs. You can go back and forth with the sex really with pros and cons. I prefer boys because they are a bit more loyal usually, but it's pretty even either way. If you're not set on one or the other, the breeder should be able to find the right pup for you.

In either case you can go on k9data.com and look up the dog's pedigrees, health testing and longevity and so on, if they're a reasonably good breeder, their dogs will be on there....
 

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Forget so much of what you have heard cause I'm not even looking for a dog but if I was and took what you said to be the possible problems that could occur would run as fast as I could from any dog.

All the bad things and good things can happen in all breeds. In life there are choices to make, go look at some pups and when one smacks you in the heart grab and train.
 

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Retrievers are excitable, not especially "loyal" (as in, they love everybody), prone to wandering if left loose unsupervised (why would your dog be loose unsupervised?), and generally goofy. Why have you chosen a retriever if a lot of those traits are what you don't want?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bordermom....
Well for one I can tell you for certain they are not a puppy mill. They treat their dogs extremely well and by "few others" I mean they do other variations of the lab breed(i.e. yellow, black, chocolate and their goldens) so really only one other. The father of the chocolates has 13 of the 14 ancestors listed on his pedigree OFA certified. The mother and father both are in excellent health and the puppies are all taken to a vet and wormed every two weeks until sold, but kept a minimum of 6 weeks before selling.
 

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I agree with Wvasko, if you are friends with them and have access, spend some time with the pups and see which one jumps out at you. There are many threads on here about boy vs. girl, but it's going to depend on the individual dog. I wouldn't over-generalize. seems like you are leaning towards a male chocolate lab, so why not just go with that unless someone else catches your eye! good luck picking your new friend!
 

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I personally would go with the lab as they are easily trained. So are golden but they are more goofy as someone else has already mentioned. As for the gender, in general, females are more independent but this is not always the rule. I find some male dogs too clingy. My brother had a female chocolate lab who was well trained, not too goofy and was loyal. Any golden that I have met have been unruly and really goofy. I have met many. JMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I could imagine a dog being loose unsupervised in many different circumstances, none of them intentional but they still happen....... A baseball comes through the back sliding class door of my first floor apartment when I'm not home for example..... Loose dog. I have chosen the lab in general because I like the breed. I have encountered quite a few and I know that I enjoy them, but I don't have enough interaction with them to know all the specific little things about the breed. I know that the retriever breed and specifically Labradors fit in with my life style of hunting both upland game bird and water fowl, running, exploring, etc.

As far as answering your question about why I have chosen them if they've got all those qualities that I don't want, if you'll go back to my original post, you'll see that I never attributed any of those traits specifically to the retriever breeds, those are the differences that I have heard about as far as Male VS Female in regards to dogs in general. My question is based on the fact that many of those negative traits seem to be descriptions of dogs within a particular class/size.(i.e. smaller dogs by nature have more attitude than bigger dogs). You stated that retrievers in general tend to love everyone, are wanderers and generally "goofy", so those are traits that you are attributing to the breed in general, but is there a difference between the males and females of the same breed? Labs being the breed and what are the differences if any?

Again as I said above, I know there are no stereotypes and training plays a big role but I also know that certain breeds have certain characteristics that make them react differently to different things. So in other words.... DO RETRIEVERS(or even more specifically LABRADORS) have any specific character traits that would make a female any more(or less) goofy than a male? Or a male any more(or less) loyal than a female? Or is the same true for them(retrievers/labs), that seems to be the consensus on the over all(meaning applies to all dogs in general) "male vs female" thread(s) on this site? That consensus being that males are usually(not always, but usually) described as I described them above and females are usually(.......) also described as above.

I ask this because again I have heard for instance that, IN GENERAL, female dogs(not specifying breed) are more loyal (and that is a quality that I like) but also tend to be prone to mood swings..... If I take her out in a field and I down my first pheasant or duck of the day, I don't want her to decide that she doesn't want to go get it. Or in the middle of a run, decide that she doesn't want to keep going. Or the same situations with a male, I don't want him deciding that he wants to just wander off while on a hunt or sees a good looking female and decide he wants to quit and try to go "get some". I know that I want a retriever no matter what and based on timing/availability with this breeder, I am fairly certain that a chocolate is what I will go with. Again, I know that training means a lot, but again I have also heard that, IN GENERAL, even though well trained, females(not specifying breed) can be openly defiant, because they just simply don't want to do what ever is being asked of them, where as a male is usually very eager to please and will do almost anything. Is that true of labs as well? As a breed, retrievers(especially labs) have a long history of being excellent for hunting. So, are male retrievers(labs specifically) any better or more suited for hunting than females?
 

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Again, I know that training means a lot, but again I have also heard that, IN GENERAL, even though well trained, females(not specifying breed) can be openly defiant, because they just simply don't want to do what ever is being asked of them, where as a male is usually very eager to please and will do almost anything. Is that true of labs as well? As a breed, retrievers(especially labs) have a long history of being excellent for hunting. So, are male retrievers(labs specifically) any better or more suited for hunting than females?
Again some are, some aren't. Get some statistics from AKC on gender FCs.

It's the dog and what you do with it, no more, no less. No matter what you heard my personal opinion is that there are no absolutes in this stuff.

8 GSP-FCs finished and 6 were female. so in my experience females were very good for me but those were the dogs that clients sent me. The next trainer might have had the exact opposite results. I'm just wondering where you are hearing all this stuff. 50 yrs training, 90 breeds trained and I would not praise one gender over the other for intelligence and working ability.

It's what you do with what you get that counts. Good luck and I'm gone.
 

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Bordermom....
Well for one I can tell you for certain they are not a puppy mill. They treat their dogs extremely well and by "few others" I mean they do other variations of the lab breed(i.e. yellow, black, chocolate and their goldens) so really only one other. The father of the chocolates has 13 of the 14 ancestors listed on his pedigree OFA certified. The mother and father both are in excellent health and the puppies are all taken to a vet and wormed every two weeks until sold, but kept a minimum of 6 weeks before selling.
Regardless of male vs female which I consider mainly to be an issue only in breeds known for same-sex aggression or when the household already includes a dog which may prefer one sex over the other, the keeping the dogs "minimum" of 6 weeks is a far bigger red flag or predictor of problems IMO. Labs are mouthy to begin with and if you take a Lab pup that hasn't had enough time with its litter, you're just asking for a nightmare of training problems regarding bite inhibition.
 

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With adequate socialization and training, males and females have no significant differences. And, you can increase the obedience training, so that the dogs are less extroverted with people and other dogs. Ditto for running loose under voice command.

1. Goldens - More hair, more brushing, a little more sensitive, very easy to train. Puppies aren't that bad.
2. Labs- Shorter hair, shiny coat, very forgiving, comparatively indestructible, very easy to train. Puppies are challenging .. but worth the effort.

Over-generalization - Labs tend to be very solid dogs; Goldens tend to be a little more gentle... relatively. Both are athletes!
 

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Why is that a red flag for you? I have talked to many people that have bought animals from these people before and found that none of them have had any problems with biting either other dogs or people. Many of those owners continue to go back for dogs as well. And according to my research, 6 weeks minimum before letting the animal go to it's new owner is not a an unreasonably short amount of time.
 

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Why is that a red flag for you? I have talked to many people that have bought animals from these people before and found that none of them have had any problems with biting either other dogs or people. Many of those owners continue to go back for dogs as well. And according to my research, 6 weeks minimum before letting the animal go to it's new owner is not a an unreasonably short amount of time.

Because 6-10 weeks is the primary time for learning bite inhibition and social manners from mom and litter mates. Pups separated from the litter before 8 weeks are more prone to behavioral issues due to missing these lessons.
 

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I wouldn't take a 6 week puppy home, personally. I came close to getting a purebred lab a couple years ago, and the (very reputable) breeder I picked (English labs though, and they were really breeding for conformation rather than for field work) waited 8-9 weeks. They have their puppy picking party at 6 weeks, but the pups didn't go home until 8-9 weeks.

To answer your question...I think it's just generalizations. The breeder I picked had a strong opinion on the subject, saying that females are more independent and males are more dependent. Maybe that's true, but I've never met a lab that really seemed "independent" the way some other breeds can be. I ended up getting a rescue retriever mutt and she is certainly not independent. Biscuit says "play with me, all day! love me, all day!"

As far as field work goes ...it's what you do with the dog, not what kind of reproductive system they have. I don't think being gun shy, dog aggressive, storm-shy or what have you has anything whatsoever to do with gender. Pick the dog based on temperament.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Well, I guess that's not a problem for these peoples animals because I've not been able to find anything that would suggest what you all are talking about as far as biting and being properly socialized as puppies. My research also shows that time period to be closer to 6-8 weeks. And these people have been doing this for about 15 years. So, I'm not to worried about that. My main concerns are the things I've listed above, and not so much with biting and socializing. I personally think that the biting thing is something that can be handled through training, just as potty training can be. As far as socializing with other dogs, I do live in South Dakota, but I don't live in the middle of no where.... We do have cities, and there are plenty of other dogs around that my puppy will encounter on a regular basis.

**And they aren't even really concerns, I know that I won't regret getting the dog in any case, certainly not based on gender. I'm just looking for some input from people that have more experience with the specific breed so that I can have some kind of reference when it comes to the things listed in my original post so that I know what to expect, so that I know better how to approach it from the beginning rather than having to look for advice or explanations later, so that I can focus more of my attention on the dog when I actually have it, rather than spending my time doing this. I would seek these answers from the breeders themselves, but as you can see I tend to have plenty of questions on my mind and they have a family and another business to run. And I tend to want a more broad base of answers/opinions when I make a decision about pretty much anything.**
 

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With adequate socialization and training, males and females have no significant differences. And, you can increase the obedience training, so that the dogs are less extroverted with people and other dogs. Ditto for running loose under voice command.

1. Goldens - More hair, more brushing, a little more sensitive, very easy to train. Puppies aren't that bad.
2. Labs- Shorter hair, shiny coat, very forgiving, comparatively indestructible, very easy to train. Puppies are challenging .. but worth the effort.

Over-generalization - Labs tend to be very solid dogs; Goldens tend to be a little more gentle... relatively. Both are athletes!
Agreed!


Vasko: It's the dog and what you do with it said:
and agreed!


I've worked with and raised males and females of both breeds. I prefer labs, but male/female, depends on the individual personality, not so much the gender. Both can be quite goofy, intelligent, playful/not playful, emotional/stoic, wanderers/clingers. My current female lab prefers to stay with me, but she's not clingy, she is playful, easy to train and over-all a very sold dog. There are many Goldens who would fit that bill as well. Get to know the parents' personalities and over-all health, figure out what you want to do with your dog, work with a good trainer to get there and enjoy the journey.
 

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Echoing Carla - According to the out-of-date, but respected clinical research published by Scott and Fuller in the 1940s regarding developmental stages of puppies, 49 days (7 weeks) is the optimum point to begin more permanent socialization with people. They recommended adoption at that time. Today, with educated, experienced breeders who socialize the litter, 10 - 12 weeks is ideal, resulting in a calm, house-trained, intelligent companion. From my research, these dogs are more expensive in the beginning, but they turn out best, even when the owner is not knowledgeable about training.
(And, I'm jealous, b/c a friend of mine adopted a 12 week Lab pup, getting a "personality," that took me 6 mos of careful training to cultivate in my own pup.)

BTW, as Wvasko stated, with careful anticipation and training, you can guide the development of a dog. But he's been doing it for 50 years. My Lab-mix is well-trained, intelligent, and independent... which means he may not always be completely obedient :) ... Just as most people probably don't want to deal with a Lab puppy, I'm not sure how many people want to deal with an independent dog... at least Lab level (not Akita, Basenji, or terrier level !!! Compared to those dogs, I think owners would consider my dog to be velcro :)
 

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My research also shows that time period to be closer to 6-8 weeks. And these people have been doing this for about 15 years. So, I'm not to worried about that.
This definitely was old school stuff and I am old school, it was 7 weeks of age pups were sent home or pups I purchased for my personal stock. Not saying it was right or wrong just saying that's the way it was done. I never had any problems.

One thing that's cool, being in this stuff so long the different/new discoveries popping up every 5/10/15 years etc and then there is the beating up of older methods used that actually worked.

Course I also find it cool when the computers go down in a store and they don't know how to give you the correct change, sorry I was just wandering.

I, in no way am knocking new methods used cause whether it's technology or animal husbandry etc you got to stay on top of stuff.
 
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