Few new dog owners stop to consider why they should get a male or female dog before bringing home their new pet. Instead of weighing the pros and cons of each gender, they make an emotional decision based on often misguided information. Young men often adopt or purchase a tough looking male dog because they feel it helps them to take on the same tough traits. Women are often attracted to small female dogs because it makes more sense for a ‘purse dog’ to be a girl. What about making the decision to get a male or female dog based on factual information and consider the benefits and problems with each gender?
Female Dogs: The Pros
- Generally speaking, female dogs are easier to train then male dogs and are more likely to listen to all members of the household, not just the person they consider to be the head of the house!
- Most dog experts feel that female dogs are more affectionate then their counterparts. Again, this is not always the case as many male dogs love having belly rubs and sleeping next to their owners.
- Female dogs tend to be more docile and less aggressive towards strangers or with other dogs. Depending on the circumstances, this can be a major consideration for people living in highly urban areas, have children and their friends around the house, prefer a dog that is everyone’s ‘best friend’, or looking at a specific breed of dog that may already have a genetic predisposition towards aggression.
- Female dogs are more likely to become friends with other animals or small children in the house.
- Female dogs are easier to housetrain and can hold their bladders for longer.
- Like humans, the female within a breed will usually be smaller then the male.
- Female dogs do not tend to ‘mark’ their territory and void their bladders entirely in one stop.
Female Dogs: The Cons
- Female dogs can be more nervous and high-strung then male dogs.
- The cost of spaying a female dog is greater then that of a neutering a male dog.
- Female dog urine ‘burns’ or kills grass, leaving lawn with a patchwork of yellow rings throughout your yard.
Male Dogs: The Pros
- Male dogs tend to be more protective of their ‘stuff’ and their family. This can be both a pro and a con depending on the circumstances. For many of us, one of the reasons why we want a big dog is for protection but often the impression left by a German Shepherd or a Doberman Pinscher is enough to waylay a bad guy whereas the protective temperament that can go along with a male of some breeds could be more then you want to live with on a daily basis.
- The male of a breed tends to be larger, more robust, and with a higher level of endurance then the female, making them more attractive as working dogs and canine athletes.
- Male dogs tend to have greater energy and enjoy ‘horseplay’ more then females.
- Neutering a male dog is far less expensive then spaying a female dog.
Male Dogs: The Cons
- Early training is required to help stop the guarding of food and objects.
- Male dogs lift their leg to urinate, marking their territory. This can mean damage to bushes, shrubbery, flowers, and buildings.
- Male dogs are harder to housetrain and are more prone to ‘accidents’.
- Males are larger and require more calories meaning they eat more food.
The Two Dog Family
Although there are many cases of two dogs of the same gender being the best of friends, this is not often the case. Usually there are extenuating circumstances like the dogs are littermates, raised together since puppyhood, or one dog is entirely submissive to the more dominant dog.
If you already have a dog, always considering adopting or purchasing the opposite gender if you want to add another to your family. Most trainers will agree that the preferred combination would be a male and a female.
Always Spay or Neuter your Pets
Spaying and neutering not only helps keep from contributing to the pet overpopulation crisis, it also helps to nullify many of the pros and cons of either gender. For both genders, their attention is better focused on their owners, not on their innate desire to reproduce and a neutered male dog is less likely to be aggressive and territorial as well as easier to train. Both spaying and neutering can be done as early as eight weeks old without side effects and the old wives’ tale that it is better for a bitch to allow her to have a heat cycle or litter is just that – an old wives’ tale. Getting either genders ‘fixed’ under six months old almost guarantees your pet will not suffer from mammary, prostate, or testicular cancer respectively.
Should you get a Male or a Female Dog?
Before purchasing or adopting a dog, take some time to consider what traits fit best with your lifestyle and why you want a dog. Are you a hunter? A male dog will be a better choice, as the higher level of endurance will be a benefit. Want a dog that will care for your children and tolerate their misbehavior? A female dog is more likely to accept the tail pulling and ear poking better then a male. In fact, they may even help to gently teach your children what is acceptable and what is not. Remember, your decision is an important one and will last the lifetime of your new four-legged family member. Make sure it’s a good one!