Male Dogs versus Female Dogs: Which One Makes a Better Pet?

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2016


Should you get a male dog or a female dog?

Did you know that many people "in the dog world" (such as dog show enthusiasts) use the word dog for male dogs, and bitch for female dogs?

Many years ago when I was just a teenager, a kennel manager instructed me to "Exercise the dogs for 10 minutes each." Well, there were about eighteen dogs there, so this chore took a few hours. Toward the end I happened to walk past him with a little sweetheart named Millie. Imagine my confusion when he shouted, "I told you to exercise the DOGS!!! Millie is a BITCH!!"

So.... should you get a boy dog or a girl dog?

symbol for male dogsSpeaking very generally about male dogs...

Male dogs tend to be more stable than female dogs, and often bolder.

Now remember.... I said generally! In some breeds it's the female who is "sharper" and more aggressive while the males might be described as goofy loverboys or big softies.

X symbolMale 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. Again, some owners find this embarrassing, especially when Grandma happens to be visiting.

A male dog is either unneutered (also called intact) or neutered (also called castrated or de-sexed). Neutering means surgically removing the testicles so the dog can't sire puppies.

symbol for female dogsSpeaking 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 sulky side when they really, really don't want to do something.

Now mind you, I'm a proud member of the fairer sex myself. But I must admit that female dogs are experts at giving you A Dirty Look when something isn't to their liking.

Female dogs are often less physical than male dogs, less "in your face" than male dogs. Females are affectionate, certainly, but often on their own terms. They may request petting, but 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.

book cover There are many more differences between male dogs and female dogs (and especially 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 – purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed
  • 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
  • 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

Learn more about Dog Quest