Especially if you’re looking for your first dog, you may never have considered male vs female dogs pros & cons. I never had until I started my search for a small dog. In fact, all my life, with the exception of 1 dog, we’d had female dogs, so I came in with a pretty biased point of view.
When you talk to people about what they prefer, you’ll get many different opinions.
Some dog owners claim that males are typically more aggressive and destructive, particularly in small spaces. Female dogs are said to be easier to train and more affectionate.
Depending on the dog breed, these stereotypes may be true or not. In fact, I’ve found my male Cockapoo/Bichon to be one of the least aggressive, friendliest dogs I’ve ever known.
So, let’s talk about what some of the pros and cons are having a male vs female dog.
Table of Contents
Male vs Female Dogs Pros & Cons – Heat vs. Marking
When considering the pros & cons of males dogs vs female dogs, there are a couple of notable physical differences between the two.
In addition to the obvious differences, two things you may not have thought too much about are whether you want to deal with a female in heat or a male potentially marking his territory (which could include items in your home!).
Female Dogs Should Be Spayed To Prevent Unwanted Puppies
Choosing a female dog means either taking the initiative to spay, or dealing with the issue of the dog being in heat. Failure to take action for doggie birth control means that you’re potentially trying to find homes for cute litters of puppies.
And, not spaying your fur baby could mean multiple litters. Female dogs don’t go through menopause, so unlike the human female, dogs can have puppies practically all their lives.
This isn’t ideal – both for your pet itself, as well as for the dog population in general. Remember Bob Barker on the The Price is Right always telling us to spay or neuter or animals?
According the ASPCA, 6.5 million pets are taken to shelters every single year. If you choose to get a female dog, and she isn’t a purebred that you expect to breed, plan on the expense of spaying her to do your part in keeping our homeless pet population down.
The average cost of spaying a dog will differ according to your region of the country. Be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars.
Male Dogs May Mark Territory With or Without Neutering
Many male dogs insist on marking their territory, whether it’s around your home or in the yard. They do this by urinating on their “spot” so they can find it again. You can try to train a dog not to mark his territory, but you’re asking him to go against his instincts.
One study suggests that neutering will often help to decrease marking, but may only eliminate the behavior about 40% of the time.
Regardless of whether you have an issue with marking, neutering your dog is an expense you should factor in as a dog owner. The best way to prevent unwanted litters is to spay or neuter your pet.
Neutering a male dog is usually less expensive than spaying a female – but, a cost to be considered nonetheless.
Already Own a Dog? Female vs Male Dogs When Introducing a New Dog
If you have another male dog in the house, and choose to bring home another male, prepare yourself. You may be in for a battle for who rules the roost.
This is especially true if both tend to be dominant and want to be the alpha dog.
Even a smaller male dog will challenge or irritate a larger male – just to prove who was in the house first.
Dogs of opposite genders tend to get along better than dogs of the same gender. While female dogs are not as vicious toward each other as male dogs, some females don’t want to share their space with another dog.
Temperaments of a Male vs. Female Dog
Ask the average person shopping for a dog and you’ll find many are looking for a female dog. Many people believe the notion that female dogs are less aggressive and easier to train.
However, they forget that female dogs can be highly temperamental.
Breeders tend to favor male dogs as an easier pet to manage. In my own experience, I’ve found my small, male dog to be one of the easiest pets I’ve ever had. Our dog is laid back, friendly and very affectionate.
The take away from this is that gender isn’t the only predictor (or even a good predictor) of how a dog will behave.
Breeds that are known to be calm and tolerant tend to be that way whether you have a male or female. Other breeds that are feisty, nippy and difficult to handle are that way for males and females.
Should I Get a Male or Female Dog?
Since there’s no scientific evidence that predicts the characteristics of males as compared with females, the decision about dog gender is essentially subjective. Chances are many different factors will influence your decision. You’ll likely consider your past experience with your own dogs, as well as the pets of other people you know.
Now you’re armed with a little more information about having a male dog vs female dog as a pet. Truth be told, making the choice will be largely based on your gut feelings. And, that’s perfectly ok! For you, that will be the right choice.