When it comes to bringing home a new pet, most dog owners are confronted with the following question: should I get a “boy” or a “girl”?
Rather than carefully weighing up the pros and cons of each, most folks end up making a decision based on recommendations, past experiences, or even based on their “gut instinct”.
Young men, for instance, often like to pick up a tough-looking male because he probably reminds them of their own manly traits. While women are said to be more likely to buy small female dogs because perhaps, they feel a ‘purse dog’ makes for a cute companion.
Sounds like gender stereotyping?
Gender stereotyping1 might just be what we’re doing to our furry companions. That being said, some stereotypes prove to be not so far off after all.
Either way, deciding what gender to own ought to be based on the pros and cons of each, which we will discuss in this article.
There seems to be no winner when it comes to male vs female lifespan2.
Please note: All male and female dogs need to be trained, regardless of age or breed. Most of these issues below can be addressed with proper training. Always prioritize temperament, health, and other substantive factors when choosing any dog.
Buying a Male – Pros
The main pros that come with males include no heat cycle, less expensive to neuter, and potentially easier to train and more loyal.
Male puppies can be slightly less expensive compared to their female counterparts. This can be a major advantage because it means you’ll be saving a little bit of cash to cater to some of the other needs of your beloved pet.
No Heat Cycles
Males do not go through heat cycles. It’s a pro because it reduces one source of hormonal issues as well as drastic behavior changes or physical symptoms such as a phantom pregnancy.
However, it can be difficult to anticipate when your pet might want to mate.
More Affectionate and Passive
It is widely believed that male dogs are more affectionate and passive.
It goes without saying that male dogs are often more protective of their owners and make good watchdogs.
Easier to Train
Many breeds of male dogs are said to be easier to train because they are more receptive to commands.
However, if you train your dog right, both males and females should be trainable.
Better Working Dogs
Males tend to be larger, stronger, and more robust. They also have higher endurance levels, making them ideal as police dogs, rescue dogs and so on.
Male dogs typically have more energy and are more likely to look for ‘excuses’ to goof off or engage in horseplay.
Less Expensive to Neuter
This is a common reason why so many dog lovers tend to go with males because they tend to be less expensive to have neutered than females to have spayed.
Buying a Male – Cons
The cons of buying a male include potentially increased aggression or issues such as marking, but nothing that couldn’t be managed with training.
Can Be Overly Aggressive
Many male breeds can be over-the-top aggressive, especially if they are sexually frustrated. In fact, a ‘sexually aware’ male will go to any length to track down his in-heat mate. If they don’t, then they may irritate you with too much barking or chewing away pillows, soft carpets, sofas, etc.
Males may exhibit behavioral problems, particularly during their younger years. They can be difficult to train as a result and might also show a generally rebellious attitude.
Unneutered Males Can Be Problematic
Unneutered males are more likely to wander about or sniff around when they’re not supervised by their owners and are more likely to get into fights.
Urine Can Damage Certain Things
Since male dogs love marking their territory frequently, your landscape may suffer as well as awkward eye contact with bystanders as your dog tries to pee on car tires.
Nothing that training can’t fix in most cases though.
More Nutritional Demands
Males are larger which means they require more calories than females. So you’re looking at higher food expenses.
Male Rottweilers, for example, are 15-25% heavier on average than their female counterpart.
|Less Expensive||Can Be Overly Aggressive|
|No Heat Cycles||Behavioral Problems|
|More Affectionate and Passive||Unneutered Males Can Be Problematic|
|Better Watchdogs||Urine Can Damage Certain Things|
|Easier to Train||More Nutritional Demands|
|Better Working Dogs|
|Less Expensive to Neuter|
Buying a Female – Pros
The pros of female dogs include the common assumption that female dogs are sweeter, more relaxed, and friendlier towards strangers.
Female dogs are perfect if you want to breed cute little pups which should only be done with proper breeding program, commitment to the puppies, as well as thorough health testing.
Relaxed and Chilled Out
This is a major incentive for buying a female dog – it’s presumed they’re more relaxed and will chill out easily most of the time.
Less Aggression-Related Issues
Generally speaking, female dogs do not display too much aggression like their male counterparts, and this means fewer behavioral problems to deal with. They also exhibit less territorial spraying habits.
Potentially Easier to Train
Even though it is said that male dogs are more playful, energetic and receptive, and hence easier to train – the same can be said for certain breeds of females – this is especially true for younger females because they mature a lot faster than males.
Very ‘Human’ and ‘Animal’ Friendly
Given their nature, female dogs are far more likely to make friends with people around the house and even visitors, as well as other pets you already have.
Easier to Housetrain
Females are surprisingly easy to housetrain and even have the ability to hold their bladders for significantly longer periods.
Less Aggressive and More Docile Towards Complete Strangers
Females are often more docile towards strangers and other dogs that they are introduced to. Depending on individual circumstances, this can be a major advantage for those living in urban areas, where there are lots of children and neighbors roaming about freely.
Buying a Female – Cons
Cons of females include higher neutering expenses, responsibility to avoid randomly breeding offspring, as well as managing a female dog in her heat.
More Expensive to Neuter
The cost of neutering or spaying a female dog is a lot more expensive than a male one.
More Expensive to Buy
Female dogs are more expensive to buy from the get-go in many cases, as money can be made from females should you choose to have puppies.
Urine Burns ‘Stuff’
Much like male urine, female urine marks also burn grass and shrubbery, leaving you with yellow rings throughout the yard to deal with.
Can Easily Get Nervous
Females have a tendency to easily get nervous and high-strung compared to males.
Long Heat Cycle
At the very least, a female’s heat cycle will last for 10 days – these cycles occur 1-3 times a year, depending on the breed.
Problems arise when owners find themselves dealing with cleanliness. And then there’s the moodiness that females will display due to being sexually frustrated.
Not to mention the physical changes your female might experience.
|Potential Breeding||More Expensive to Neuter|
|Relaxed and Chilled Out||More Expensive to Buy|
|Less Aggression-Related Issues||Urine Burns ‘Stuff’|
|Potentially Easier to Train||Can Easily Get Nervous|
|Very ‘Human’ and ‘Animal’ Friendly||Long Heat Cycle|
|Easier to Housetrain|
|Less Aggressive Towards Strangers|
- Scandurra A, Alterisio A, Di Cosmo A, D’Aniello B. Behavioral and Perceptual Differences between Sexes in Dogs: An Overview. Animals (Basel). 2018 Aug 23;8(9):151. doi: 10.3390/ani8090151. PMID: 30142932; PMCID: PMC6162565.
- Hoffman JM, O’Neill DG, Creevy KE, Austad SN. Do Female Dogs Age Differently Than Male Dogs? J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018 Jan 16;73(2):150-156. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx061. PMID: 28472238; PMCID: PMC5861885.