Did you know that many dog enthusiasts reserve the word dog for male dogs, while bitch is used for female dogs? Many years ago, when I was working in a kennel, the kennel manager instructed me to "Exercise all the dogs in the east wing, one at a time for 10 minutes each." Several hours later, as I was finishing up my walk with a little sweetheart named Millie, the kennel manager spied what I was doing and shouted, "I told you to exercise the DOGS!!! Millie is a BITCH!!"
And of course, I was young, so instead of asking him why females weren't deemed worthy of exercise, I gulped and promised him I wouldn't repeat such a horrible faux pas. And I learned my lesson – when speaking with certain fanatical "dog people", a dog is a dog, and a bitch is a bitch.
I, on the other hand, am happy to stick with males and females, or even boys and girls!
Speaking very generally about male dogs...
Male dogs tend to be more stable in mood than female dogs – less prone to emotional swings. Now before you start telling me that your own male dog is the moodiest dog on earth, remember that I said generally speaking!
Male dogs are often bolder and more aggressive than females, although in some breeds it is the female who is "sharper" and more aggressive while the males might be described as "goofy" or "klutzy" or "big softies."
Male dogs have genitals that are easy to see, which makes some owners feel self-conscious. When you roll them over to rub their belly, there's "something in the way." Male dogs may become aroused and/or lick their private parts, and again, some owners find this embarrassing, especially when Grandma happens to be visiting.
A male dog is either unneutered (sometimes called intact) or neutered (sometimes called castrated or de-sexed). Neutering means surgically removing the testicles from the scrotum so the dog can't breed.
Speaking very generally about female dogs...
Female dogs are more prone to mood swings. They can be sweet and loving when they're happy – but a bit on the grumpy side if something isn't to their liking. Because they're opinionated, female dogs can be manipulative when they're trying to convince you that they really, really don't want to do something. Now, I'm a proud member of the fairer sex myself, but I must admit that female dogs are experts at The Dirty Look and The Sulk. Okay, guys....I don't even want to hear it, 'k? :-)
Female dogs are often less pushy and "in your face" than male dogs are. Yes, females are affectionate, definitely, but often it's on their own terms. They may request lots of petting, then assert their independence by walking away when they've had enough.
A female is either unneutered (also called intact) or neutered (also called spayed). Spaying means surgically removing the uterus and ovaries so the female can't have heat periods or become pregnant.
There are MANY more differences between male dogs and female dogs (and between neutered dogs and UNneutered dogs) that you should know about before you choose one or the other.
My book on choosing the right dog, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams includes a detailed comparison of male and female dogs, the many ways in which neutered and unneutered dogs are different, and how you should choose which gender is best for you.
Plus, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams . . .
- Helps you sort out what kind of dog to get – the pros and cons of purebred dogs, crossbred dogs, and mixed breed dogs.
- Helps you choose the right breed based on 17 key characteristics
- Compares male and female dogs
- Compares young puppies, older puppies, adolescent dogs, adult dogs
- Compares animal shelters, rescue groups, performance breeders, show breeders, pet breeders, pet shops, and owners giving their dogs away
- Explains what makes a source good, and what makes a source risky, so you'll quickly be able to tell good sources from bad ones.
- Tells you the exact questions you should ask each potential source, what answers you should expect, and which answers are "red flags" that mean you should stay away