How to Pick Your Preference: Male or Female Dog?
2 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Adopting a New Puppy
For most people, the choice of whether to choose a male dog or a female dog comes down to personal preference. You should consider some differences, however, because even spaying and neutering doesn’t make males and females the same.
If you do not plan to spay or neuter your pet the differences are more distinct. Unspayed females are generally moodier than unneutered males. Although males tend to be more constant in temperament, they can be annoying in their constant pursuit of such male-dog activities as sex, leg-lifting, and territory protection. (Some would say constancy isn’t a positive trait in these cases, and argue that some unneutered males aren’t just constant, but constantly annoying.)
Unspayed females usually come into season, or heat, for a couple weeks twice a year, during which time you need to deal with a varying amount of mess and the constant attention of canine suitors. Unneutered males may be less than attentive to your commands when the smell of females in heat beckons. They can also be more likely to challenge your leadership — or anyone else’s — at any time.
Studies show that young, unneutered males are the most likely to be involved in attacks on children. Spaying or neutering generally evens things out a bit. It makes females more emotionally constant and males less likely to fight or roam.
In some breeds, males are considerably larger than females — as much as 20 or 30 pounds and two or three inches.
Other differences aren’t so easily defined. In the more dominant breeds, such as the Rottweiler, a female may be sweeter and more anxious to please. In the more shy and standoffish breeds, such as the Shetland Sheepdog, a male may be more outgoing and friendly. In some breeds, such a Golden Retriever, you might not notice much difference at all, especially in altered pets.
When deciding on a type of dog, concentrate on the breed or breed type rather than the gender, since the toughest male of an easy-going breed is probably a bigger cupcake than the mildest female of a breed with dominant tendencies. Talking to reputable breeders gives you a clear picture how the sexes differ, not only in the breed as a whole, but also in particular breeding lines.