Male vs Female Dogs: Does Your Dog’s Sex Matter?

Have you ever wondered what is better in regard to male vs female dogs?

If you plan on getting a dog, there are several aspects to consider, as it is a big responsibility. You want to be sure you’ve made the right choice, and your dog’s sex might be one of those aspects.

It may not be a crucial criterion, but there are still some differences that might turn out to be important to you.

Are Differences Between Male and Female Dogs Even That Big?

Yes and no, depending on what traits you’re focusing on. As with many other species, the category of sex has a particular impact. 

The male vs female dog contrast doesn’t involve anything too dramatic, but here are some potentially relevant factors if you are interested.

  • Physical characteristics
  • Behavior and temperament
  • Training
  • Health issues 
  • Sexual maturity
  • Sterilization
  • Response to male and female owners
  • Breed-related differences
  • Personal preference

Boy Dog and Girl Dog Physical Characteristics  

The most apparent differences between male and female dogs have to do with anatomy. This starts as early as when a puppy is in the womb due to testosterone surge exposure — or the lack thereof. Naturally, this exposure results in a male puppy.

The exposure results in different reproductive organs. With this in mind, you might wonder if female dogs menstruate — the answer is yes, but not in the same way women do. However, it is true that you’ll need to manage the matter.

Size is another physical feature reflecting the female vs male dogs opposition. In general, male dogs are bigger, both in terms of mass and height. 

What does that mean for you? Well, basic dog care for male dogs could be somewhat more demanding.

However, this also has to do with a dog’s breed, so you should consider both features if the pet’s size is a relevant factor to you.

Male vs Female Dog Behavior and Temperament

Although a dog’s nature also depends on its breed, some research suggests there are personality differences between male and female dogs

For instance, in 2016, Hart & Hart found that aggression towards family members and other dogs is more common in males.

This might be particularly relevant if your family includes younger members. Introducing dogs to babies, for example, can be easier and safer if the pet in question has a gentler nature.

Roaming tendencies between male vs female puppies are worth mentioning, as well. 

Male dogs are usually known to roam more, typically driven by sexual exploration. A study by Dürr et al. from 2017 shows that non-castrated males have the largest home range size, but this can happen with female dogs, too. 

A characteristic that is related to both aggression and roaming is biting tendencies. 

Since male dogs are more prone to both, they also bite more frequently compared to female dogs. Nonetheless, no matter whether you have a boy dog or girl dog, they can feel the urge to bite if provoked.

Another feature that is slightly more typical of male dogs is separation anxiety, according to Storengen et al. (2014). Interestingly, the results of this study indicate that the tendency to exhibit separation anxiety is higher if there are more women in the house.

All in all, male dog vs female dog temperament differences are relatively minimal.

Male Puppies vs Female Puppies: Training

Hsu and Serpell (2003) define trainability as a dog’s willingness to attend to its owner and obey simple commands. Every pet is unique when it comes to learning abilities. Still, it is generally believed that females are easier to train. 

The reason for differences between male vs female dogs in terms of training could stem from the fact that males usually are larger and more independent. In contrast, females are perceived as calmer and more attached to their owners. 

However, it seems that male dogs win show competitions more often, so this belief should be taken with a grain of salt.

There is no definitive conclusion when it comes to female vs male dog training, so it might be better to consider the breed and environment. 

In any case, what everyone agrees on is that training should start as early as possible. This contributes to a stronger bond between a dog and its owner. This can also be achieved through grooming your pet and playing with them.

Health Issues of Male Dogs vs Female Dogs 

Some of the biggest boy vs girl dog differences in terms of health issues come from having different reproductive organs. 

According to Jessica May, a veterinarian at FirstVet, males can develop testicular cancer, while females can get mammary tumors or uterus infections.

As for allergic diseases, it appears that a dog’s sex does not play a role. Favrot et al. inspected one of the most common such diseases, canine atopic dermatitis. Still, there were no female dog vs male dog discoveries.

Speaking of allergies, you may be surprised to learn that human allergy to dogs seems to only involve male dogs. Allergist Lakiea Wright told CNN that over 30% of people allergic to dogs are actually reacting to a specific protein produced in a dog’s prostate.

Finally, when it comes to male versus female dogs infertility issues, there are no studies focusing on sex differences. 

The only thing certain is that both male and female dogs can suffer from infertility for various reasons. Some of these reasons include, but are not limited to, improper timing of breeding, loss of sexual desire, to name a few.

Male Dog vs Female Dog Sexual Maturity

Much like previously mentioned points, sexual maturity depends on a dog’s breed. You’ve probably heard of the term “going into heat,” which denotes a female dog’s physical capability and willingness to mate. 

Since the sexual maturity of female dogs vs male dogs can vary, you should probably consult a vet to get a more specific answer. That being said, there are some general tendencies based on simple observations. 

Namely, male dogs usually become sexually mature from five months of age on average. They are sexually active throughout the year. Female dogs typically go into heat twice a year and can be fertile for up to two or three weeks.

Male vs Female Dogs: Sterilization

Dog owners often decide to sterilize their pets to prevent accidental breeding and some of the diseases mentioned above. The terms neutering and spaying are used to denote this procedure for male and female dogs, respectively.

Small-breed dogs are neutered at six months of age or spayed before the first heat at five to six months. Large-breed dogs should be neutered between nine and 15 months of age or spayed sometime between five to 15 months, depending on your vet’s advice.

Boy dog vs girl dog sterilization timing and is it important? Absolutely! Sterilizing a dog too late could lead to obesity and other issues, such as phobias, aggression, etc. 

Doing it too early, though, could cause excessive bone growth, which means increased height and joint issues.

Because spaying is more complicated than neutering, the female sterilization procedure is typically more expensive. It may also depend on your dog’s size and some external factors, such as the place where you’re doing it (bigger cities tend to be more expensive).

Sources on the Internet suggest different price ranges regarding female vs male dog sterilization. In general, spaying requires $65 to $600, while neutering prices go from $45 to $300.

Response to Male vs Female Owners

No one can claim for sure that a boy or girl puppy prefers male or female owners. This could largely depend on a dog’s early life experiences. For instance, if a puppy has an abusive male owner, it could develop a fear of all men (and the same goes for female owners).

Some dogs tend to look for leadership traits in their owner, so a larger figure and a deeper voice might make men more appealing.

However, women can be perceived as figures of authority, as well, so the owner’s gender has little to do with a male dog vs a female dog as a pet.

Throughout this text, it has been emphasized that dogs’ characteristics depend on their breed to the same extent as they do on their sex, if not more. 

So, let’s look at some of the most common breeds in the US and the most pronounced differences based on the male vs female dogs category.

Male vs Female Labradors

Labradors are known to have a loving and affectionate nature. This appears to be particularly true for males, while females are likely to be more independent. The latter are also typically smaller and easier to train, as usually is the case with female dogs.

Male vs Female German Shepherds

Male vs female German Shepherd dog differences are also not that numerous.

Males tend to be more aggressive and possessive, especially when it comes to food and toys. Females appear to be less possessive but can sometimes be too dependent on owners and even become jealous.

Male vs Female Golden Retrievers

Intelligent and affectionate, golden retrievers make great pets. In terms of physical traits, males are heavier and taller, with slightly longer fur. 

Personality differences are not very noticeable, but males might be more territorial and willful than females.

Male vs Female Bulldogs

Although they are typically sweet and friendly, bulldogs are also courageous and independent. Some people say males seem more aggressive, while females are more territorial. 

There is no difference between female and male dogs of this breed in terms of trainability.

Male vs Female Poodles

If you’re looking for a caring and loyal pet, poodles are the way to go. Males tend to be more loving and easier to train because they want to please their owners. 

Females can be more stubborn and less into pleasing people, making it potentially more challenging to train them.

Male vs Female Beagles

Apart from the observations that they are both amiable and intelligent, there is not much info on the Internet regarding the difference between boy and girl dogs of this breed. 

Some folks say that male beagles are more lively, while others claim that females are more energetic.

Male vs Female Rottweilers

Good-natured and obedient, Rottweilers are excellent watchdogs and usually recommended to people who have already owned dogs. 

Males and females are equally intelligent, but female rottweilers seem to be more trainable because male ones are more playful.

Personal Preference

Having read all the information above, you probably have a general idea whether you’d prefer a male or female dog. At the end of the day, you’ll be the one taking care of your doggo, so if there is any gut feeling, you should definitely listen to it.

Another thing you can do is base this decision on previous experience. Have you ever had a dog? If you have had dogs of both sexes, which one did you get along with better? Did you notice any female dog vs male dog pros and cons?

Even if you’ve never owned a puppy, you have interacted with them for sure, so think about those experiences.

Male or Female Dog Pros and Cons

At this point, it is evident that the difference between male and female puppies is nothing life-changing. Still, it could be significant in some respects. 

Let’s reflect on everything we’ve learned so far and see the pros and cons of having a pet dog of each sex.

Male Puppy Pros and Cons

  • Males appear to be more protective and affectionate.
  • They are very energetic and love to play, which is particularly convenient if you have children.
  • Female vs male dogs sterilization costs differ, and neutering a male dog is much cheaper.


  • Compared to females, male dog behavior entails aggression toward family members and other dogs more often.
  • They are also more likely to roam when they sense a female in heat, resulting in injuries or accidental breeding.

Female Puppy Pros and Cons

  • Female dogs are easier to groom, as their body frame is typically smaller. 
  • When it comes to boy puppy vs girl puppy training, females seem to learn faster. 
  • Females are also great with children and people in general, likely due to their maternal instinct.


  • Female dogs menstruate a couple of times a year, which requires diapers or similar products (if you have an indoor dog). 
  • If kept outside, females must be enclosed since they could attract male dogs.

In sum, the question of male vs female dogs for pets is not very complicated. Both have many great traits and some potentially tricky ones.


How to differentiate male and female dogs?

The most obvious method is to check their genitals. However, it might be a bit trickier to determine the sex of newborn puppies, as it takes about eight weeks for those organs to be fully formed and visible.

Also, as previously explained, male dogs usually are taller and heavier. 

Do male or female dogs live longer?

The correlation between a puppy’s sex and their life expectancy hasn’t been explored too much. Recently, Hoffman et al. found that sterilization status actually has more impact on a dog’s lifespan. 

Additionally, male dogs live longer among intact dogs, but females live longer among sterilized dogs.

Are female dogs smarter than males?

Although some studies suggest that female dogs are more vigilant and focused, this matter also depends on a dog’s breed and age. Some researchers say it is likely that future studies will show equal intelligence levels.

I have a female dog. Should I get a male or female?

It has been noticed that same-sex dogs tend to exhibit competitive behavior. The situation seems less pronounced with female dogs.

Still, the general advice is to add a puppy of the opposite sex. That way, you also get to experience the best of both worlds.

Should I get a male or female dog?

The answer really depends on all the factors presented above. The best thing you can do is think carefully about them — or not think about them at all. 

Dogs do not seem to prefer male or female owners, but consulting with your family members is a must if you don’t live alone. 

Your goal is to make your pet’s life, no matter whether it’s a boy or girl puppy, as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.


Just like us humans, all dogs are unique. 

Be sure to consider all the pros and cons. The chances are that no matter which sex you opt for, you’ll have a great pet if you put enough time and love into this new relationship. 

Even though the opposition of male vs female dogs can affect certain aspects of their behavior and health, none of the differences are mind-blowing.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *