Do you need to choose between a male vs female Labradoodle? This detailed guide to doodle sex differences examines all the evidence for choosing one over the other, and answers the tricky conundrum ‘are male or female Labradoodles better?’
Male Vs Female Labradoodle
Lots of people have an opinion on whether a female Labradoodle puppy or one of her brothers will grow up to be the better pet. Some dog owners are resolute about only over choosing one sex or the other, in every dog they ever own. How do they know? How do they decide to do that?
Quite often, it’s simply a product of experience. Our brains love to find patterns and make associations, sometimes without us even realising it. If someone has a few personal encounters with male dogs they like, and maybe one or two encounters with females which they didn’t warm to, it’s very easy to generalize that information. So the same person will say ‘based on what I’ve learned so far, I’d prefer a male Labradoodle puppy’. But, most people won’t meet enough dogs in their life that all the male Labradoodles they’ve met accurately represent all male Labradoodles. So it’s not an ideal method for choosing between a boy vs girl Labradoodle puppy.
And of course, there are more things that go into making up a dog than just their sex. The temperament of both parents, how well they are socialized as a puppy, and whether their physical and emotional needs are routinely met will all influence Labradoodle temperament. So compared to these things, exactly how important is sex? Let’s see what evidence there is for a difference between male and female puppies.
Labradoodle Male vs Female Size
First generation (f1) standard Labradoodles from a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle are usually sexually dimorphic. That is, the males and females look different. Specifically, males are more likely to be bigger. Male f1 Labradoodles usually weigh 60 to 80 pounds, whilst females weigh 40 to 70 pounds.
However, this size difference tends to get lost in miniature Labradoodles and multigen Labradoodles where more complicated genetic inheritance is at play. So a male mini Labradoodle isn’t often appreciably bigger than his sisters. It is also somewhat lost in Australian Labradoodle male vs female size. Australian Labradoodles are a breeding project to turn Labradoodles into a new pedigree dog in their own right. Their breed standard doesn’t refer to any size differences between the sexes.
Girl vs Boy Labradoodle Fun Fact!
Some studies have indicated that dogs may have a dominant paw for tasks like steadying a chew toy, just like humans have a dominant hand for writing. The studies also suggested that males are more likely to favor their left paw than females. However, the methods in these studies haven’t been replicated enough to say for sure whether this truly a built-in consequence of their sex, or just a fluke result.
Labradoodle temperament male vs female
Given how closely we share our lives with them, a surprisingly small number of studies have attempted to measure how much dogs’ sex influences their personality and temperament. The results from one study to the next tend to be inconsistent, and more research is needed to find out what patterns really exist, and which were coincidence.
In general, results from behavior studies indicate that males score more highly for
- Dominance (over other dogs, not people!)
And females score more highly for sociability but also fearfulness. However, neuter status frequently complicates sex differences in temperament too. For example, the absence of sex hormones caused by neutering has been linked to decreased boldness, and more excitable and anxious behaviors in both sexes. In one study, non-neutered male Labrador Retrievers showed more owner-directed aggression, and non-spayed females were reported as being more trainable. Since 1st generation Labradoodles are half Labrador, it’s possible, but not guaranteed, that they’ll display the same pattern.
One study in Hungary found that the factors which most affect a dog’s temperament are:
- How much off-leash activity they get
- Previous trauma
- Age of the dog when it first arrived in the household
- Obedience training
- Time spent in playing, training and interacting with their owner
So, sex makes the list, but it’s just one of many variables, most of which are within our power to control. Next let’s look at a aspect of temperament which is at the forefront of many puppy buyers minds: trainability. Does sex have a role to play in that?
Male Vs Female Labradoodle – Which Is More Trainable?
Can choosing one sex over the other set you on an easier path to a well-behaved dog? The answer to this is that it’s pretty unlikely, but we don’t actually know for sure. One study of training aptitude found significant differences in trainability between dogs from different breeds. And within breeds that have distinct field work and show bred lines, they found that field lines were significantly more trainable than show lines. But in general, there were no differences between the sexes.
However, there were a couple of breed specific exceptions to that rule. Male Dachshunds and West Highland White Terriers appeared to be more trainable than females. Since no sex difference in trainability was found in Labs or Poodles, it seems unlikely that one should appear in first generation Labradoodles. However, it’s still possible that one could appear in Australian Labradoodles, as they make their journey towards being established as a new pedigree in their own right. Only time will tell!
Life With A Girl Labradoodle
There are other practical considerations in choosing a male vs female Labradoodle puppy. Here are some experiences which are specific to female Labradoodles.
Are you drawn to the idea of a female Labradoodle because you’d like to one day breed a litter of puppies yourself? It’s easy to be seduced by the idea of a basket of cuddly puppies. But breeding is time consuming, expensive, and often sometimes fraught with worry. Contrary to the widespread myth, it’s not necessary for females’ wellbeing to have a litter either. Over on our Labrador Site, Pippa Mattinson has written a candid article about the trials and tribulations of breeding, which apply equally to breeding Labradoodles. Take a look before you buy a girl puppy purely on the basis of being able to breed from her later.
If you opt to keep your female Labradoodle unspayed, you’ll need to prepare for her going into season every 6 months or so. The hormonal changes which accompany her season might make her mood and behavior seem out of sorts for a while. Whilst some female dogs are efficient at keeping themselves clean during their season, you might also need to limit her access to furniture. And you’ll need to make sure she doesn’t have any access to intact male dogs, to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
Female specific health problems
There are also some health problems which occur only in female dogs, because of their specifically female anatomy. These include:
- Phantom pregnancies
- Ovarian cysts
- Ovarian cancer
- Mammary cancer
- Pyometra (infection of the uterus after coming into season)
Life With A Boy Labradoodle
Choosing a male Labradoodle puppy is not without its practical considerations either. Male Labradoodles can experience male-specific health problems, such as:
- Undescended testicles after puberty
- Inflammation of the penis and the sheath around it
- Persistent erections
- Paraphimosis, where penis can’t be retracted back into its sheath following an erection
- Prostate problems, including cancer
You’ll also need to do your bit to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Unneutered male dogs can smell a female in heat from extraordinary distances of over a mile, and will go to great lengths to get to them. You’ll need to make sure your dog is secure in your yard and under close control on walks.
Is There A Difference Between Girl And Boy Puppies?
We’ve seen that Labradoodle temperament and behavior is only partly determined by their sex, and that lots of other factors also shape their personality. Unfortunately (or excitingly, depending on your perspective) their puppy behavior isn’t an accurate predictor of what a dog’s grown up personality will be like either. A placid female Labradoodle puppy can grow up to have energy for days. Whilst a boisterous male Labradoodle puppy might mellow an awful lot. So any trends you spot in a litter’s temperament (such as the boys being quieter for example) is probably a coincidence, and may also change over time. Things like how carefully you socialize them from a young age, and the behaviors you reward with positive reinforcement, will have a big influence on how their personality evolves as they mature.
Male vs Female Labradoodle – Summary
Lots of us have practical or sentimental reasons for preferring male or female dogs, and some of us have no preference at all! Both sexes may experience sex-specific health problems in their time. Importantly, there are a whole host of things which go into determining any individual dog’s personality. And while some studies have attempted to generalize differences between the two, none of them can truly be relied upon.
You might like to take some of the practical considerations of owning a male or female dog into account when you pick your Labradoodle puppy. Or if you’re buying from an experienced breeder, you might like to let them try and match you with a puppy who’s temperament they predict will turn into a good match for you. But don’t underestimate how much opportunity you will also have to shape their personality as they grow up.
What do you think?
Are male or female Labradoodles better? If you already have a Labradoodle, is it a boy or a girl? Or have you been lucky enough to share your life with both? Please share your experiences in the comments box down below.
Before your go
Don’t miss these articles about Labradoodle puppies!
- How to Raise a Labradoodle Puppy
- Ages and Stages in Labradoodle Puppy Training
- How Much Exercise Does A Labradoodle Puppy Need?
- How to Potty Train a Labradoodle Puppy
- Crate Training Your Labradoodle Puppy
Poyser et al. Dog paw preference shows lability and sex differences. Behavioural Processes. 2006.
Robinson et al. Puppy Temperament Assessments Predict Breed and American Kennel Club Group but Not Adult Temperament. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science. 2016.
Serpell & Hsu. Effects of breed, sex, and neuter status on trainability in dogs. Anthrozoos. 2005.
Wallis et al. Cross-Sectional Age Differences in Canine Personality Traits; Influence of Breed, Sex, Previous Trauma, and Dog Obedience Tasks. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 2020.
Wilson & Sundgren. The use of a behaviour test for the selection of dogs for service and breeding. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 1997.