Important sex differences in cardiovascular disease outcomes exist, including conditions of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and cardiac ischemia. Studies of sex differences in the extent to which load-independent (primary) hypertrophy modulates the response to ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) damage have not been characterized. We have previously described a model of primary genetic cardiac hypertrophy, the hypertrophic heart rat (HHR). In this study the sex differences in HHR cardiac function and responses to I/R [compared to control normal heart rat (NHR)] were investigated ex vivo. The ventricular weight index was markedly increased in HHR female (7.82 ± 0.49 vs. 4.80 ± 0.10 mg/g; P < 0.05) and male (5.76 ± 0.22 vs. 4.62 ± 0.07 mg/g; P < 0.05) hearts. Female hearts of both strains exhibited a reduced basal contractility compared with strain-matched males [maximum first derivative of pressure (dP/d tmax): NHR, 4,036 ± 171 vs. 4,258 ± 152 mmHg/s; and HHR, 3,974 ± 160 vs. 4,540 ± 259 mmHg/s; P < 0.05]. HHR hearts were more susceptible to I/R (I = 25 min, and R = 30 min) injury than NHR hearts (decreased functional recovery, and increased lactate dehydrogenase efflux). Female NHR hearts exhibited a significantly greater recovery (dP/d tmax) post-I/R relative to male NHR (95.0 ± 12.2% vs. 60.5 ± 9.4%), a resistance to postischemic dysfunction not evident in female HHR (29.0 ± 5.6% vs. 25.9 ± 6.3%). Ventricular fibrillation was suppressed, and expression levels of Akt and ERK1/2 were selectively elevated in female NHR hearts. Thus the occurrence of load-independent primary cardiac hypertrophy undermines the intrinsic resistance of female hearts to I/R insult, with the observed abrogation of endogenous cardioprotective signaling pathways consistent with a potential mechanistic role in this loss of protection.