Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How To Choose Between Male and Female Dogs

By Mary Stasiewicz

In some ways, choosing between male and female dogs is a matter of personal preference. However, there are some characteristics which are common in bitches and other characteristics which are common in male dogs. It is important to evaluate these characteristics and determine which sex would fit in best with your home situation. Additionally, choosing between male and female dogs is important if you already have another bitch or male dog and are choosing an additional dog. This article will list a few characteristics of bitches, a few characteristics of male dogs, and how to choose between male and female dogs when considering a second or third dog.

The following characteristics often apply to bitches:

1.Independent - Bitches tend to want to be in control of the entire situation. They may come to their owner when they are seeking affection but will often move away when they have had enough.
2.Stubborn - In many packs, a bitch is typically the Alpha. Female dogs crave more control of situations and are quick to respond to perceived challenges with fierceness.
3.Territorial - Female dogs mark in the same way male dogs do. A spayed female may continue to mark for her entire lifetime regardless of when she is spayed while most males will cease marking behaviors shortly after they are neutered and the testosterone levels subside.
4.Reserved - Bitches are generally less affectionate and friendly than male dogs. This characteristic is noticeable in puppies and becomes more pronounced with age.

Changes in Mood or Behavior - It is also important to note that if you do not spay your bitch, she will come into heat at approximately one year of age and approximately every six months thereafter. During this time, there will be some bleeding as well as a change in mood or behavior.

The following characteristics often apply to male dogs:

1.Affectionate - Male dogs are typically more affectionate than bitches. They tend to crave attention from their owners more than bitches and as a result, display more affectionate behaviors.
2.Exuberant - A male dog is also more likely to be fun-loving and outgoing throughout his lifetime than a bitch. While a bitch tends to become more reserved as she ages, a male dog maintains a more puppy-like exuberance throughout his lifetime.
Great for kids with energy.
3.Food-Motivated - Males are often very motivated by food. This food motivation can make training extremely easy as treats can be used to lure and reward a dog to display desired behaviors.
4.Attentive - While bitches tend to be more independent, males tend to be more focused on their human companions. They want to always be close to the human and are very eager to please.
5.Aggressive Behaviors - It is also important to note that intact males may display aggressive behaviors toward other males or exhibit marking behaviors. Additionally, intact males should be kept away from females in heat unless a breeding is planned.
Dog owners who are adding an additional dog to their home should carefully consider the ramifications of adding a dog of either sex. This is important because the makeup of the existing pack may be more accepting to either a male or a female dog.

(We recommend that all males be fixed between 5-6 months of age to eliminate #5)

The following are general tips for selecting the gender of a second dog:

If you already have a male or a female, a dog of the opposite sex is generally the best choice. Dogs of the same sex are more likely to fight than dogs of the opposite sex.
If you already have a male dog, he is likely to be more accepting of a female and you are likely to have fewer dominance issues if you add a female to the pack. However, if you opt to add another male to the pack, they can peacefully co-exist and may even become friends. It is important to closely monitor their interactions early on to ensure aggressive behaviors do not become common.
If you already have a female dog, she is likely to be more accepting of a male. Most males tend to be submissive. If he does not challenge your resident female, she is not likely to have a reason to fight with him. Adding a female dog to the pack, however, may result in complications. The worst combination of dogs is two bitches because they are more likely to fight than a male and a female or two males. However, many dog owners have two or more bitches that live together without problems. As long as there is an established Alpha and the other bitches know their place in the pack, there will not be dominance struggles often, although they may still occur.
Selecting a male or female dog is largely a matter of personal preference. The above characteristics are generalizations, and it is certainly possible to purchase or adopt a female puppy who displays male characteristics or a male puppy who displays the typical female characteristics. Additionally, bitches that are spayed and dogs that are neutered often do not have the gender-specific problems associated with their sex such as coming into heat or marking.

*******Notes From Parents*********
"Let me give my two cents on this topic. Males have always gotten a bad rap because of owners who were not responsible and had them fixed. I have owned both through my lifetime before I started breeding. My Pepper that I grew up with was a male who in those days before we knew better, didn't fix. He would sometimes raise his leg in the house but he pretty well knew better. My sassy that I had later in life was a female that was fixed and she began raising her leg on furniture in late age. Why? Don't know. I will tell that my females really can be moody,hard headed and stubborn. Cooper our breeder is the most lovable fun loving guy and is always ready to play. Our new little Armani is the love of my life. He only wants to please is so content to sit and be rocked. My females would never hear of that. Megan started using Holly for training and has now began using Armani. Holly never cared to perform but he loves to be the center of attention.
So like it says above, it is a personal preference and either one will make a wonderful pet but each have their own good and bad." Donna
"I was reading your blog about male vs female pups. I was only about females thought I would NEVER have a male. Worried about the hiking of the leg and humping stuff...........all those horror stories you hear and see with male dogs. Well last summer I got a male black and white, I wanted the phantom look and he did look like that until recently..............now he looks alot like Malorie, dark salt and pepper..............ANYWAY he is such a blessing! He is so laid back and you would NEVER know he was a boy unless you looked. As a matter of fact my husband teases that I am making a sissy outta him! Anyone would be lucky to have one of your males for an addition to their household!
Again I was SO anti-male until I got Mason. We got him fixed as soon as we could and he has NO male tendencies, and you are so right Malorie does for sure have the more pushy moody personality:) Gotta love those girls!
Your new young man is very handsome! Maybe in the future I would love to have one of his babies.
Sorry for the rambling email!
Take care and best wishes with the new additions:)"
"I thought I would weigh in on the males vs. females as I have always been a pro male advocate even when they weren't popular.
I've always owned male dogs though I have over the years owned a sporadic female or two. I do not tend to get along with the females and have dominance issues with them that I don't have with my boys. We have 2 males at the house now and I don't have any leg lifting or dominance issues with them. Both my boys are very food motivated which helps quite a bit with training. Turk's very laid back and LOVES to play!" Kim

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