It’s not exactly a battle of the sexes, but there are definitely differences between male and female dogs. People who have male and female dogs often have definite opinions about which gender makes the better pet. If you’re trying to decide, “Should I get a male or female dog?” then here’s what you should know to help you make your decision.
The statements offered here are generalities based on lots of breeds. There are always exceptions. Individual male or female dogs can be quite different from others of their gender.
Pros and Cons of Male Dogs
Many male dogs are very eager to please their owners. Males have a reputation for being love bugs. They often seek affection and want to be petted. Even if you have a breed that is not known for being especially affectionate, a male of that breed will probably be more affectionate than a female.
If you want to train your dog (and training is usually a good idea), then the fact that your male dog wants to please you is very helpful. Dogs who want to please their owners will try hard to learn during training.
Male dogs are usually straightforward when they want something or when they do something. It is usually easy to figure out what motivates a male dog.
Male dogs can be territorial and they may mark, sometimes marking in the house. There are ways to discourage this habit. Neutering your dog also usually stops this behavior.
If you do decide to neuter your male dog, it is a simpler and less expensive operation than spaying a female dog. Your male dog will recover from the surgery more quickly as well. There are both pros and cons concerning health related to neutering and spaying pets so you should talk to your veterinarian and your dog’s breeder before making this decision.
Some male dogs will fight occasionally. Fights can be caused by jealousy, fighting over territory or resources such as food, toys, female dogs, you, or position in the household. However, fights between male housemates, while often noisy and upsetting, are less likely to be serious than fights between female dogs.
Male dogs make wonderful pets. They are usually devoted to their owners, want to please, and love affection.
Pros and Cons of Female Dogs
Female dogs are frequently more independent than male dogs. They may also be affectionate and loving, but it is usually on their own terms. Your female dog may make you earn her affection or do something for her before she shows her love.
Developmentally, female puppies progress faster than male puppies from the start. They usually walk first, bark first, climb out of the nest first, and so on. They are the first to explore their whelping area. Many people feel that female dogs have the edge in intelligence throughout life over male dogs.
Female dogs are often very smart. They can be easy to train if you find what motivates them. You often need to figure out your female dog first, and then the two of you can be best friends.
Female dogs are not as straightforward as male dogs. If something is off-limits, they are often able to figure out a way to get it. Instead of asking you for what she wants or taking “no” for an answer, a female dog is probably more likely to find a way to get what she wants herself. They are good at problem-solving.
Female dogs can also be territorial but they are less likely to mark their territory (although female dogs can pee to mark territory).
If you decide to spay your female dog, the operation is relatively expensive, depending on where you have it done. It is not an easy or simple operation and it does take time for your female dog to recover from it. There are pros and cons to neutering and spaying dogs so you should talk to your vet and your dog’s breeder before making this decision about the health issues involved with spaying and neutering.
If you do not spay your female dog then she will come in season once or twice a year. During this time she will be able to get pregnant so you will need to take appropriate precautions to keep her away from any male dogs unless you plan to breed her. If you plan to breed your female dog then you should make sure that she is a good quality dog by objective standards (breed standard, show ring success, hunting, best frisbee dog ever, or some other standard that validates your opinion of your dog). You should make sure that she is healthy both physically and genetically. There are important health and genetic tests for dogs that you should consider before deciding to breed. You don’t want to pass along any health problems to your puppies. You should choose a stud dog who is as good or better physically and genetically than your girl and who has passed his own tests. Before breeding your female dog you should have a plan in place for the puppies.
Female dogs also fight occasionally, especially if you have more than one female dog in the house. According to many people who own multiple dogs, fights between female dogs are much worse than fights between male dogs. Fights between male dogs are mostly posturing. They don’t really want to fight most of the time. Female dogs are less likely to fight but when they do, they are deadly serious about it. Most female dogs will get along well, but if you have two girls who do not like each other, you may have to re-home one of them for their own safety.
Like male dogs, female dogs also make wonderful pets. They are smart and easy to train, as long as they are motivated. They can have a will of their own, but they are a lot of fun.
A male dog is often a good choice for a first-time dog owner. In many ways they are not as complicated as female dogs and they are more willing to show affection and please you. Female dogs often make you work for their affection and they tend to be more complicated dogs. They can outsmart many owners, which is not good for the owner or the dog.
Ultimately, the decision of whether to get a male or female dog is often simply a personal preference. Some people feel a closer bond with a male dog or a female dog. By all means, get the dog that you feel more comfortable with. The individual dog is more important that generalizations about gender. You can make any relationship work.
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.