Should I Get a Male or Female Dog?

By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. September 26, 2016
Should I Get a Male or Female Dog?

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If you're thinking of getting a dog, there are many considerations you will need to make and to some the gender of their pooch is an important one. If you look elsewhere online you will see that there is an awful lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest that the behaviors of each sex in dog breeds can vary wildly, leading many to make generalizations about females and males. Just as stereotyping human beings according to gender is an often futile and unhelpful endeavor, dogs are much the same. There are definitely considerations to be made, but they have more to do with physiology than with behavior. The latter is more dependent on its environment and how a pet is treated by its owner.

So, push preconceptions out of your mind and keep reading to find out what you need to think about when you ask yourself Should I Get a Male or Female Dog?

You may also be interested in: Male Vs. Female Cats - Which Should I Adopt?

Reasons for Getting a Male Dog

As with many animal species, males are usually bigger and stockier than females. For that reason, a male will be perfect for you if you like large dogs. However, this is a moot point when it comes to certain breeds as Shih Tzu's will always be small and Great Danes will always be big, no matter what is their sex.

Male dogs often mark their territory constantly when they go out for a walk and they will likely do it when arriving home for the first time. Dog walks, for this reason, might include more stops and sniffing around.

Whilst many people claim that males usually exhibit more territorial and dominant behaviour than females, there is no scientific basis for this. If we teach proper socialization, a dog can maintain excellent relationships with other male dogs and bitches. Training, therefore, has a direct influence over the animal's character.

It is always advisable to sterilize/neuter male dogs, since they will otherwize try to mount all other dogs that they find out in public in an attempt to impregnate females. This leads to one of the most tragic aspects of canine care when we find cases of puppies being abandoned.

Should I Get a Male or Female Dog? - Reasons for Getting a Male Dog

Reasons for Adopting a Female Dog

Although it's not always the case, some believe that females are usually more loving and warm than males. It is possible that their maternal instincts will make them better companions for small children if their natural empathy will help them understand how to better treat and play with them.

As with males, it is strongly advisable to get females spayed to avoid them abandoning the home, becoming pregnant and common behavioural problems arising from hormonal changes including psychological pregnancies (pseudopregnancy). If you don't get it spayed, you should know that the dog will be in heat twice a year. This period can be particularly uncomfortable for the dog and show signs of erratic behavior as its natural determination to get pregnant is quashed.

Should I Get a Male or Female Dog? - Reasons for Adopting a Female Dog

How to Choose the Right Dog

Besides their weight, body size and the sexual factors which affect them, there is not much difference between getting a male or female dog. Both genders can develop sociable, shy or suspicious characters - it all depends on how you bring it up. You shouldn't let yourself be blindly guided by the breed of the dog, as this is not a reliable indicator of its personality. Taking into consideration these below factors provide better criteria for choosing the type of dog which will work well for you:

- Getting a puppy

If you decide to get a puppy you should be prepared to teach it everything it needs to know. To do this, make sure you take a look at our House Training a Puppy guide. Other factors to consider concern socialization, learning commands and basic dog behaviors during the learning phase.

Nor should you forget that it will be very important to go to the vet to start your vaccination schedule.

Nevertheless, getting a puppy is a wonderful experience. If you train it and treat it well, in the future you will have a well-behaved and well-trained dog who loves you dearly. Of course, you should remember that a dog can develop a certain type of personality regardless of its training - both nature and nurture can provide unpredictable results.

- Getting an adult dog

Adult dogs are perfect for active families that want to start doing activities and exercize with their pet right away. They have a stable character and a defined personality, which makes getting them a safer bet. They also usually know to do their business in the appropriate place.

There are abandoned adult dogs all over the world (both pedigree and crossbreeds) who are waiting for the right family to come along. You can be one of them.

- Getting an old dog

This is undoubtedly the most caring option of all. Elderly dogs are usually sweet, quiet and stable. They are perfect if you have a sedentary family and want to enjoy a grateful and loving friend. Sadly, elderly dogs are those which are adopted less. At you can read our reasons why you should adopt an older dog and consider if you also want to be one of the people who get to care for them.

Should I Get a Male or Female Dog? - How to Choose the Right Dog

If you do place importance on or have a particular preference for breeds, why not check out this article on What is a Pedigree Dog? before deciding on one or another.

If you want to read similar articles to Should I Get a Male or Female Dog?, we recommend you visit our Comparisons category.

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