Chapter 2
How To Know What Gender Dog Is Best For You

Behavior and Personality Differences Between Genders

Male and female dogs tend to display different personality and behavior based on their gender.

Male Personality Tendencies. As a general rule, male dogs are more likely to seek out affection than female dogs and males are less independent. A male dog may be more likely to seek physical closeness with their owner. They may follow their owner around the house more or seek to be physically closer more often, especially when their owner is resting

Male dogs tend to maintain a puppy-like playfulness and exuberance longer than a female of the same breed. Because males are also larger than females, this can result in males of large breeds being more of a challenge to control. This is especially true if the dog has not been properly trained. This trait can also make exercise more important for males so they can burn off their excess energy.

Finally, male dogs are often more food motivated than female dogs. This, combined with a tendency to have a less stubborn and controlling personality, frequently makes male dogs more willing training partners.

Female Personality Tendencies. Female dogs are likely to be more independent, territorial, and stubborn or reserved. Owners of female dogs may need to focus additional training on asserting dominance over their dog, especially the dominance-seeking breeds. Although both genders can display these characteristics, most experts agree that female dogs tend to be more independent, less affectionate, and more territorial than male dogs.

Female dogs, especially females that have not been spayed, display mood swings based on their hormonal cycles. In some females, this increased independence may result in less outward affection, or seeking affection but then walking away when she has had enough. This tendency can be viewed as either an advantage or a disadvantage. On one hand, the dog may be seen as not being loving enough. On the other hand, she may be viewed as not underfoot as often. It all depends on your perspective and priorities

Additionally, female dogs may display a change in personality, behavior, and mood when they go into heat. Female dogs may howl, bark, demand attention and attempt to escape while in heat. This usually happens when they first go into heat at around one year of age. For some females, these changes reverse themselves once the dog is no longer in heat. But in other dogs, their first heat results in a change in their behavior and personality for the rest of their life. Spaying a female dog before they go into their first heat can avoid this possibility.

Territorial Marking. One final consideration in choosing a dog's gender is a trait people usually associate with males. This is the tendency to mark their territory by lifting their leg and urinating. However, some females, especially females in heat, sometimes do this as well.

Urine marking typically involves depositing a small amount of urine on upright surfaces, such as table legs, walls, or other furniture. Dogs may urine mark due to changes in the scents in your home, the addition of a new pet for example, to assert dominance, or to mark their territory. While both genders urine mark, males are significantly more likely to engage in this behavior than females. Unneutered males have the highest tendency to urine mark.

Neutering your male dog early reduces the chances of urine marking. You can also train your dog not to mark, but this requires a significant investment of time and will probably not be 100% effective