Male or Female Puppy: Which is Better?

PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: April 13, 2011
Male or Female Puppy: Which is Better?

So you have decided you want a dog, but what to get, male or female? The answer to this question may differ depending on the person that is being asked. Some people actually believe that one sex is better than the other sex.

The battle of the sexes is not limited to humans after all. Some believe that the male dog is more affectionate and easier to train, while the female dog is more aggressive and protective of its owners and puppies. Well, the truth is that when it comes to dogs and puppies there is no superior sex. The qualities cited above are just the anecdotal observations of many dog owners. There is no study that has proved any general truism that a dog will behave a certain way because it is male or female.

Behavioral Differences

The behavior of a dog will depend on how it is raised and trained as a puppy. Some dogs are more affectionate or aggressive than others because of the environment in which they were raised. The decision of whether to get a male or a female puppy is entirely dependent on the preference of the owner-to-be.

Now, the behavior of a dog may depend on its training, but the sex of a dog can dictate its ability to learn from that training. It is a fact that a female dog is smaller in size and tends to reach maturity faster than the male dog. Its early maturity gives it an advantage when it comes to training. This does not mean that the female dog is more intelligent than the male dog. It only means that the female dog will be easier to train than a male dog of the same age because it is more mature.

The female dog comes into estrus two times a year. Also known as the “heat” cycle, this season will last about two weeks or as long as three weeks. During this period, the female dog produces a bloody vaginal secretion that acts as a lure for male dogs.

If you do not want your female dog to breed during her heat cycle then you must keep her locked inside or isolated from any male dogs. It is also best to keep her locked in an area where the floors are not carpeted to so that her bloody discharge will not stain the carpets.

If you have no plans to breed your female dog then consider having her spayed. Keep in mind that spayed dogs are ineligible for entry into dog shows, so if you have no plans of competing with your dog then it is best to have her spayed while she is still young. Many experts agree that the best time to have a female dog spayed is when she is about six to nine months old.

Spaying has been shown to lower the risk of ovarian or uterine diseases in most female dogs. It is also believed that spaying has positive effects on the behavior of a female dog. It has been observed by many that female dogs have a better temperament after they have been spayed, often displaying much less aggression and becoming mellower. Needless to say, spaying also prevents accidental or unwanted pregnancies, so it is important to make sure you take care of it as early as possible if you do not want to breed your dog.

The non-neutered male dog, on the other hand, tends to be more dominant and high-spirited. He has an innate urge to dominate other dogs that are smaller, and will sometimes try to dominate his owner as well. A weak owner can easily be dominated by a large male dog. Male dogs are also more independent than female dogs, so it is very important to start obedience training as soon as he is ready to be trained.

As with female dogs, if you do not intend to breed your male dog, it is best to neuter it while it is young to improve its behavior and make training easier. A neutered dog is generally less aggressive, calmer and less likely to roam.

Want to learn more about spaying and neutering for dogs? Here's everything you need to know.

See Also:

Image: Jamie Beverly / via Flickr

Help us make PetMD better

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Connect with a Vet

Subscribe to PetMD's Newsletter

Get practical pet health tips, articles, and insights from our veterinary community delivered weekly to your inbox.