Male V.s Female – Who to choose?

24 Jan

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Once you have chosen the breed of dog that you want to bring into your life, the next thing you will probably consider is whether to get a male, or a female. This decision might be very easy for some people, others might take more consideration. I think, the decision of whether to get a male or a female dog mostly comes down to personal preference, and that is absolutely fine. Perhaps, you grew up with male dogs, and decide that you want to stick with males. Maybe you have heard a particular theory about female dogs, and you decide that is the dog for you.

Many people would say that when it comes to males and females, they are not that different. I would have been one of those people a while back. Before I got my puppy, I had planned that I would get a male dog, simply because I had grown up with them, and because they tended to be a little more “purse friendly”. However, I ended up with a female, which in turn has led me to realise that there are in fact some differences, and then do some research and come back to you guys to let you know what I have discovered. J

Size:

This is the most obvious difference. In most breeds, the male is slightly larger. The size by appearance i.e. height might be very similar between sexes, but males will usually weight more. For example a male Labrador usually weighs between 27-34 kg (60-75 pounds) and females between (25 – 32kg  (55-75pounds).

Temperament:

When it comes to temperament, there do seem to be some difference between male and female, and this is something I have noticed first hand. Males tend to be more obviously demanding of attention. You might notice that when they want to be petted or fussed, they make it very clear by nudging you with their head, something I remember my black lab Clay doing. Females can be a little sneakier about how they go about doing it. Rather than full on nudging you with their head, a female is more likely to rest her head in your lap, brush up against your sides, or lay on their back exposing their belly for a tummy rub. This makes being a pack leader a little more difficult, because before you even realise you are doing it, you are bending down rubbing her belly, just like she demanded!

There seem to be some very contrasting opinions about how much attention the dog wants from you. Some people suggest that females are happier to spend time on their own and are more independent, others say that it is the males. It has been suggested that Labradors for example want your attention and want to please you, no matter what their gender, but females expect you to please them as well! My own personal opinion of this is that I have found there to be little difference between the different sexes. When I spoke to a trainer recently, he suggested that females make better companion dogs, because they want to be with you all of the time. Whilst Maya does want attention all of the time and is very demanding, so were my male dogs.

When it comes to being territorial, females tend to show stronger signs. It has been suggested that if you have two dogs, you should ideally have one of each gender, as females in particular are unlikely to get on as well due to their territorial instincts.

Males are often said to be more consistent than females when it comes down to their general mood. However this is something that spaying can help with. A female might get a little moody and mope around the house, either avoiding you or else wanting lots of cuddles when she is in season. By getting her spayed, you avoid her coming into season, and her mood will be much more consistent.

If you have children, you might want to consider how well a male or female might be with them. Some people argue that female dogs are more naturally protective and nurturing and that males will often see children as more of a playmate. I’m not sure I personally follow this one. I think the main thing is to ensure that the dog is properly introduced to any children and that children are guiding in how to act around the dog, especially one they do not know well.

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Training:

Female dogs are said to have more focus, be less easily distracted and as such are easier to train. They mature at faster rates and seem to pick up training as puppies more quickly that their brothers. Males, just like the famous John Groan’s Marley, have a tendency to remain puppies forever.  That being said, male dogs quite obviously dominate in the competitive world and from my own observations, seem to be used more commonly as working animals. It is possible that males show slightly higher levels of appearing to be eager to please their humans, and therefore could be easier to train. I think this one probably depends more on the individual dog, its energy partly is breed, and the abilities of its trainer, and also exactly what you are training (tricks, house training, general good manners) rather than whether it is male or female.

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Cost:

If you are looking around at different breeders and getting an idea at the price you will be paying for your chosen pooch, you might notice that you are often expected to pay slightly more for a female than a male. If I am completely honest, I am not one hundred per cent certain of why this is, but I suspect it is due to the breeding potential more than the temperament and trainability differences.

When I initially decided on getting a male dog, it was largely due to the price it costs to get them neutered as it costs more to spay a female than it does to castrate a male. This is due to spaying being a more complicated procedure and the longer recovery time. However, ultimately I decided that whatever breed I got they would be neutered, and I didn’t mind the extra cost of having a female.

Health:

Whilst the health of a dog depends on a number of factors and will vary more between breeds rather than the gender, there are some aspects that should be considered.

Female dogs that have not been spayed will come into heat (or season) usually twice a year. This lasts for approximately 21 days and you will have to be prepared to clean up some mess (which will vary) and other dogs being highly attracted to her. It is recommended that your dog should not leave the house during this time to avoid any unwanted pregnancies as well as for the safety aspect for yourself, your dog and other dogs who escape to find her. However, this can be a little insane, particularly for a young dog who has a lot of energy. My 9 month old lab, has been in season for about 19 days now. How I dealt with the walking issue was to give her two walks, keeping on the lead (very important) and only walking her before dark and times of day when there were less people around and in places where people don’t tend to go. This was for the first week. The second week, she wasn’t allowed out at first. However she has so much energy and although she was quitter we felt she still needed to get out. So, we kept her on the lead, and continued with the routine. I won’t be continuing with our normal routine and letting her off the lead until a few days after the 21 day period, just to be on the safe side.

Something that should be considered with unsprayed females is the potential to have psuedopregnancies. This is when the female shows all the symptoms and behaviours expected of being pregnant, but she isn’t. The little Westie next door has had this problem twice now, and the vet advised her owners to get her spayed as it really is the only way to completely avoid it.

Females can be more prone to getting urinary infections. This is due to them needed to couch down all the time to pee, exposing themselves to bacteria.

Any other health problems are pretty much the same regarding males and females, it is more the breed you have to take into consideration.

Conclusion:

During my research, I found that there is apparently an old saying which goes “if you want a good dog, get a male. If you want a great dog, get a female and cross your fingers”. Whilst this goes to suggest that there are personality and behavioural differences between males and females, I think it can probably be said that the theory of one dog being good, others having the potential to be great based on their gender, is a little bit “wrong”.

So, in conclusion, I think it really does all come down to personal preference. There don’t appear to be any clear cutting evidence that one gender makes a better companion, or a better working animal than another. There are some generalised differenced that you might see between males and females and so you might consider, but at the end of the day, it really comes down to what suits you best.

Boy or girl, Chihuahua or Great Dane as soon as you bring that puppy into your life, it is yours to look after, guide and love, do that, and you will get lots of love back in return!

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*Only the final picture is my own*
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