Home
Studies & Research
Print|Email|Text Size: ||
What are the Differences Between Male and Female Dogs?
Do male and female dogs learn differently?
Don't forget to post a comment at the end of the article.

“If you want a good dog, get a male. If you want a great dog, get a female and cross your fingers.” That old saying has been passed down through generations in a variety of fields from retriever training to sheepdog handling. But is it true? Are there significant sex-related differences in the training and performance of the domestic dog? When the editor of Bark asked me that question, I had an answer right away: “I don’t know.” Trying to find a legitimate answer began a fascinating quest, which continues to this day.

The first obvious source for an answer is the annals of research. Ah, but it’s only recently that the dog has migrated from persona-non-grata status in science to an animal of interest. Research on domestic dog behavior is blossoming, but most of it is about cognition and problem solving. That’s great stuff, but it won’t necessarily answer our question. I opened up my file labeled “Very Cool Dog Research” and looked at the studies within to see if any of the researchers had considered the sex of the dog as a factor. Nope.

Then I went back to the classic Genetics and the Social Behavior of the Dog by Scott and Fuller, first published in 1965. They found sex differences in weight gain (males, not surprisingly, growing larger in early adolescence), but concentrated primarily on breed differences, rarely looking at sex as a factor in any of their experiments. They did ask if sex had an influence on what they called “emotional reactivity.” Based on their scoring system, females averaged 5.0 and males 4.9—in other words, no difference at all. (See Scott and Fuller for an explanation of their scoring and statistics.)

At the same time, I put the question out into the universe, querying a group of certified applied animal behaviorists and veterinarians board certified in behavior. I emailed the “Tiger Woods” couple of sheepdog training, Alasdair and Patricia MacRae, and experts in police and military dog training. In my blog,  I asked if trainers thought there were differences in learning and performance between male and female dogs. (I did not ask about intact versus neutered or spayed; more on that later.) The answers were enlightening, interesting and downright amusing.

Here are a few of them:

“Males are softer.”

“Females are softer.”

“Males are more independent.”

“Females are more independent.”

“Males are easier to train than females.”

“Females are easier to train than males.”

I could go on, but you get the idea. Despite these contradictions, I saw some interesting trends. First of all, a great many of the respondents said that, in training and performance, the personality and background of any individual dog were more important factors than sex. Given the disparate opinions summarized above, this is a satisfying and logical statement. Looking back at the dogs in my own life, the two I am most apt to label “stubborn” were a male … and a female. The two who most fit the description “biddable” were a male … and a female. And the two I would call “quickest to learn” were—you guessed it—a male and a female.

Other consistencies in the responses lead to compelling questions in their own right. Many of the answers expressed the belief that males mature more slowly than females, describing young male dogs as “goofy,” “slow to mature” and “less focused than females” in their adolescence. This is an especially interesting observation given that in our own species, girls are known to mature faster than boys. I couldn’t find any veterinarians who knew if this was also true for female dogs, but it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

Another contrast drawn between males and females was that male dogs perform better in certain types of competition. From herding to Schutzhund to retrieving, whether we like it or not, they dominate the winner’s box. Based on their names, 12 of 15 winners of the last 15 years of International Sheepdog Trials were male and two were female (one could have been either). Since 1990, 19 dogs have won the U.S. National Open Retriever Championships. Sixteen were male, two were female, and one is still “unknown” (to me that is; I’m sure someone knows!). This trend is replicable in many of the highly competitive performance sports, especially those that involve large sums of money.

It is challenging to tease out why that might be true. One logical explanation has nothing to do with the ability or competitiveness of either sex. Dog-related sports like herding and retrieving involve a lot of money, and in almost all of them, intact, potentially breeding males and females compete, never neutered or spayed animals. (This raises a complication not addressed in the original question—when we say males, are we talking intact breeding males, or neutered males? Given that there is so little real data on the question of gender, we’ll have to leave this aspect aside for now, but it is important to acknowledge that intact versus neutered could be an important factor.)

If you are running intact animals, as almost all high-powered handlers do in competition, the sex clearly has an effect on which sex you’re going to invest in. You can’t run a female when she’s in heat, and neither is it wise, or ethical for that matter, to run a female when she’s in the latter stages of pregnancy or nursing a litter. Who wants to invest large amounts of time and money in a performer who can do her job only half the time?
In addition, many competitors breed and train their dogs for a living. Say you own more than one top-notch performer. You will surely ask yourself which animal could best support your kennel and buy the dog food—a male who can be bred several times a week for a hefty stud fee, or a female who might produce one (regrettably, sometimes two) litters of puppies a year?

Another explanation is that there is indeed something about a male dog that makes him more competitive under pressure. Testosterone is a powerful drug, and we know it has broad-ranging effects on assertive and aggressive behavior in species as different as rhesus macaque monkeys and mallard ducks (not to mention traders on the stock market, who are more successful if they have longer ring fingers than middle fingers—which is believed to correlate with the production of male hormones in utero. No kidding.)

There’s another possible influence on the behavior of male and female dogs, but this time it relates to our behavior. How much of our demeanor around dogs is based on our expectations of “maleness” and “femaleness”? I don’t know about you, but if I’m honest about it, I find myself strongly influenced by the sex of a dog. I’m not aware that it affects the way I train—I believe that, with good training, individuality trumps sex or breed differences—but I’m sure it influences my perceptions of them in general. Perhaps unconsciously, it has a significant effect on my behavior, and on the behavior of all of us with cultural expectations of how males and females are supposed to behave.

But are these expectations based solely on culture? Or is some of a dog’s personality determined by his or her gender, as with the obvious sex-related behaviors like scent marking, roaming and interspecies conflict? Call me crazy, but I can’t help but believe there is something inherently different about male and female dogs that is not just a misplaced human attribution, and that goes beyond the obvious differences. My soul mate dog Cool Hand Luke seemed so male to me that I simply can’t imagine him as anything but a—well, a guy. My “real” guy Jim felt the same way too, admitting to a tiny bit of jealousy when we first started dating, an emotion he never felt around my other three dogs, all females.

Now I have two dogs, Willie, who is one of Luke’s nephews, and Lassie, Luke’s 15-year-old daughter. I simply can’t imagine thinking of Willie as a female, or Lassie as a male. But why? Is this based on any actual sex-related differences in their behavior, or on my culturally imposed expectations? We know that expectations can have profound effects on behavior in our species. Surely it could be true of dogs as well.

You see how complicated this issue can become. (And I pose only a few of the questions that this issue raises—as in “What do you mean, ‘easier to train’? Quicker to associate a sound and a behavior? More consistent once the behavior is first learned?” and the like.)

Here’s what I do know. This is a topic that calls out for research. Dogs are finally coming out of the woodwork as interesting and important in our search to understand the biology of behavior, and this is a perfect vehicle for study. What’s shocking is that we know so little about canine behavior, and what’s exciting is that there is so much to learn. I remember being a freshman in college, sitting in an introductory biology class and thinking, literally, “Oh gosh, everything has been discovered already.” Less than a year later, I had changed my tune, having learned how much we don’t know, and how much new is discovered every year. That’s as true of canine behavior as anything else, and I am thrilled that dogs are finally getting the attention they deserve. For example, Dr. Anneke Lisberg just completed her PhD from the University of Wisconsin on scent-marking behavior in dogs, a topic we know shockingly little about. Dr. Camille Ward completed her University of Michigan dissertation last year on social development and play behavior in puppies. These are but two examples of the kind of rigorous science-based studies that dogs deserve. But we need more, lots more, and I hope the trend of investing time and resources into the study of canine behavior continues to gather steam.

Meanwhile, make your own observations about your dog’s behavior. Do you see differences between males and females related to training and performance? Do you relate to your dogs differently based on whether they are male or female? We’d love to hear what you think; give us your opinion. Meanwhile, back at the farm, I’ll ask Ms. Lassie and Mr. Will their opinion. (Yeah, okay, I really do call them that. Oh my.)

Print|Email

Patricia McConnell, PhD, is an animal behaviorist and ethologist and an adjunct associate professor in zoology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, as well as the author of numerous books on behavior and training.

patriciamcconnell.com

Illustration by Mark Ulriksen

CommentsPost a Comment
Please note comments are moderated. After being approved your comment will appear below.
Submitted by rmccarren | April 30 2009 |

I am just a neophyte to dog training and understanding dog behavior having been a trainer less than a year. I am reading as much as I can however and the article by Dr. McConnell was an interesting read.

Dr. McConnell mentions three pairs of dogs that were, in her order, “stubborn”, “biddable”, and “quickest to learn”. Since the article does include the question about whether “fixed” dogs learn better, I would be interested in whether any of the three pair were “Fixed”. Leon Whitney (1970) found no measureable difference and neither did Bruce Fogle (1990) almost 20 years later. While both mention behavioral changes, neither indicated a change in “intelligence” or the ability to learn.

If a dog is spayed or neutered, logic would dictate that neither procedure should affect the learning ability of either gender. While I agree hormones can affect the “state” of the mind, particularly animals in a state of sexual excitement, I do not see the connection between hormones and intelligence. Stanley Coren (1994) in his discussion of The Intelligence of Dogs makes no reference to gender specific or spayed or neutered subjects but does compare findings in other species such as rats. I agree that this would be an interesting study to corroberate the anecdotal information. So the gender debate will continue for the time being.

Submitted by Trish | May 26 2009 |

I have 6 Belgian Tervuren, 4 females and 2 males. Of the four females only one is spayed and the same with my two males, one is spayed and the other is intact.

First male dog is trained in obedience starting about 6 months old (note: he was neutered around 12 months old), at 18 months we tried to trial him in Novice A obedience. We failed miserably and had all the exhibitors laughing at this male puppy. Afterwards we had a woman come up to us and she asked us how old he was, her response was that I would have never had the nerve to show my male Terv until he was 3 or 4 years old (I don't recall the exact age she said).

First intact female - she went to puppy classes starting at about 13 weeks old - she had her CD just before her first birthday. The aforementioned dog is two years older than this female. Female went on to get her CDX about a year later.

Had a friend with an intact male Tervuren that she was showing in confirmation and training him in obedience. She tried to show him a couple of times at about 2 years old in Novice A very unsuccessfully as he was more interested in sniffing the girls and breaking his stays. So, after he got his championship, she neutered him and waited about 4-6 months and was able to trial him succussfully.

The sire of my youngest bitch is an OTCH dog with a TDX - they never had a problem. Another friend of mines intact male (at the time) had him entered in breed, obedience (I think Novice B) and there was a visiting bitch at their house there to be bred. He did it all without any distraction away from the house.

My feelings are that females are much eashier to train and show at a young age.

Submitted by Anonymous | April 30 2009 |

I have had dogs all my life, always a male and female at the same time. Both sexes have been easy to train, however I have found that the males behave better. Even though they went through the exact same training and did well at graduation, the males seem to want to please me more. The females do their own thing and are much more independent. The boys will follow me from room to room, where the girls are happy curled up on their bed. My husband has the same response with our dogs as well.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 2 2009 |

I have never noticed a difference. Some females have been difficult and some easy and same for males. I had one female that was the most wonderful dog. I had one male who was the worse dog I ever had. Right now I have two Weimaraners. The female is large and fear aggressive and everyone thinks she is a male and she acts like a very aggressive male even with other dogs. The male is small and sweet and gentle. I think of Clio as the male and I keep calling Bingo she. So it is, in my opinion, all a question of individual temperament. Bingo is much easier to train. Clio has finally been trained but it was a much harder road.

Submitted by Nicole | May 2 2009 |

I have two dogs both female. My shepherd mix has always been very thoughtful, considerate, introverted and a bit aloof. I have never thought of her as anything other than completely female. She looks feminine and people have never mistaken her for a male dog. My cattle dog is also aloof with strangers but much more interactive with me. I sometimes see her as male. She is very athletic and super active. Part of me thinks this is my own perception at play as I identify more with my shepherd mix and our personalities are similar. I always think of male equaling more outgoing, active and sporty, the opposite of myself. However, I can't help but notice that people constantly mistake my cattle dog for male.

Submitted by Eileen | May 3 2009 |

I found the article interesting because for some reason we have always chosen a male. The one strong female dog experience I had was with my Grandfather's mixed dalmation that had quite a few behavior issues. But I'm writing to tell of a 'gender mishap' I had in Germany. I had not lived there long and was still studying the language and when one day I took my 5 month old papillon, Oliver out for a walk...we met another man and his dog. He approached cautiously and asked, "Ist das eine Hundin?" I said, "Ja!" enthusiastically and a minute later his dog was snapping and growling at Oliver...and the man rushed away, looking at me as a loony.... I went back home and went to my dictionary and realized that he asked if my dog was a female (Hundin)...not just a dog (Hund)!! It at least got me learning the language faster...and we ended up making many doggie friends!

Submitted by Kayla | May 4 2009 |

I definitely see a difference in males and females, but as to how they learn, it's mostly the individual dog. I raised 5 dogs for a service organization, all male, and temporarily worked with or fostered for short term females, so I've got some experience with both. Males are much more amiable. They tend to be 'softer' than females and really want to please. I've always preferred working with males mainly because, even if they may mature slower and have some dufus moments, in the long run they are totally there to please. My own dog is a male and I compete and train with him in several dog sports, and while we may have to take an "Oh my gosh this is amazing! AHHH" break while he zoomies for a few seconds, in the end he really just wants to be with me, working with me and for me. Females, now, I think can have those qualities. However, most of the females I've worked with have the attitude of "I can take care of myself, thank you. I'll figure out this thing alone". Yes, they definitely mature faster, like us, but females work on their terms much of the time. Females literately have an attitude, like humans! Do I know and have met some amazing females, YES, but if you want a consistant dog that is really whole-heartedly in the game and get a male. I think we all tend to prefer one sex of dog over the other, for whatever reason. I love the male dogs, some really like females. In the end, the sex isn't really the largest fator, it's the individual dogs' personality and the trainer.

Submitted by Carol | May 4 2009 |

As someone who has had many males and females in my home via Italian Greyhound rescue, I feel that females are smarter and therefore a little more challenging then males. We joke "the males are happy to just sit on your lap all night and watch TV..and the girls want to challenge you for the remote to change the channels"! I love the boys because they are more easy going but I definitely think the females are more likely to challenge you and are smarter BUT because of it more difficult to train because of those smarts. The boys are happier to just go along with what we want for the cookie:-).

Submitted by Bernetta | May 6 2009 |

I'm a first time dog owner and had chosen a male. What I find interesting about this article is that when my Golden Retriever (now 4 year old) had turned 6 months I noticed a difference in his attention span in training classes. I had also noticed (same group who had taken puppy class) that the males were becoming more distracted inside while the females appeared to become even faster at learning. I had asked a few dog trainers if they felt that gender at certain ages needed to be taught slightly differently (like they have found with human children). The answer I had gotten back where it was more breed than sex differences. I just couldn't help noticing that at about 6 months of age the way we were teaching the males was not as effective as it was for the females. But again I'm just a first time dog owner, these were the dog trainers. What I did notice that when it came to outside training (tracking/field/etc), the males were more focused, whereas the females did not have the enthusiasm for the task. What I have noticed that as my dog continued to get older (with his other male/female) friends at about 3 to 3 1/2 years of age I'm not seeing the difference I had. I would love to read any info you find that does show any differences.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 6 2009 |

I have always insisted on female dogs, but I have friends and family members who similarly insist on male dogs. We have all ended up with well-trained animals, some of whom live on long past their lifetimes in the stories we tell. I suspect the most important factor in "trainability" is how compatible the personalities of the dog and human are.

Submitted by Stephanie | May 13 2009 |

I have had dogs since I was eleven. My mom had a "female only" policy because she didn't like males leg-lifting and was concerned they would do that in the house. Each family dog we had possessed vastly different personalities, dispositions and trainability. Once on my own, I adopted a male retired racing greyhound. As it goes with greyhound folks, they are indeed like potato chips, you can't just have one. I now have three, two males and one female, and have fostered and rehabilitated numerous greys of both sexes, through the past seven years.

My experience that has been that it all depends on the individual dog. I have one male that loves tricks but in obedience he doesn't perform well. I had a female I did competition obedience with because it was something she LOVED and another female that was so timid it took her years to fully integrate her into the family, now she is my second shadow. My first shadow is my other male who used to have fear aggression, he guards the home and is the biggest "Mama's Boy."

It seems to me that this perceived difference in male and female dogs is humans projections of their own ideas of characteristics that are more male or female. I compare it to girls only given pink girl toys and boys only given trucks, action figures and sports. It seems to me when people shape others behaviours, dogs and humans, the perceived sexual difference is a result of the humans projections onto the dog or human.

Submitted by Patricia M. White | May 19 2009 |

On the specific question of the "maleness" or "femaleness" of particular dogs, I offer my experience with my two dogs, Rosie (1995-2006) and Buffy (2002-present).

Both dogs were racing Greyhounds, both retired, both spayed females. But aside from that, very different. Rosie was graceful, demure, polite, elegant, compliant -- all traditionally "female" traits. Buffy, on the other hand, is strong, clumsy, goofy, dominant, outgoing -- traditionally "male." Rosie was like a ballerina, Buffy a linebacker. Both were happy dogs, both learned at about the same rate and depth. (Both also afraid of cats, but that's another topic!) Out on the street, Rosie would typically get behind me when a stranger approached us, whereas Buffy gets between me and the newcomer, and has twice "protected" me from a perceived danger by snarling and barking.

It'll be interesting to see what your readers report back to you about their own dogs. I look forward to more research on this very interesting topic.

Submitted by Pat | May 20 2009 |

Back when I used to compete in USDAA and NADAC agility, I ran both
female and male Border Collies. Though I believe the trainability was the same of both male and female, the running of the agility course could be different. The males would 'give it their all' for me, whereas my females would be more apt to 'do it their way' not necessarily the way I wanted. Others I spoke with noticed the same thing with their female dogs.

Submitted by Pat | May 20 2009 |

Back when I used to compete in USDAA agility, I ran both male and female Border Collies. I believe the trainability of both to be equal, the actual running of the agility course could be different.
Whereas the males would 'give it their all' for me, the females
had their own agenda of how they would run, not always what I had in mind. Others with females dogs also noticed this difference.

Submitted by El Zorro | May 27 2009 |

I was born with a twin sister in 1946 and started looking at gender issues from a very early age. I have, as an adult, contributed to books on the subject and have written many articles. What most people think about males and females, from how we learn to most assumptions made by gender feminists(not equity feminist) about men is not based on science, history, or psychology.

The caption in the article "How much of our demeanor around dogs is based on our expectations of 'maleness' and 'femaleness'" is a good question for dogs or humans.

My newest dog was almost named Missy, or Princess, - a toy poodle, black with very curly fur. But we named her Roxy [AKA Sgt. Rock] because we want others not to simply see her faility, and assume that when the chips are down she can't cut it. We don't believe in a feminine side or masculine side. Kindness and strength are present and missing in both genders. Consider Mayer's song "Fathers be good to your daughters... boys you can break, see how much they can take" How sexist can you get? I know all babies, dog or human, need tenderness. Toughness too. Roxy may look frail but in her little body is a warrior spirit. She has only been with me for five days and is the sweetest dog I have had, but when turkeys wander into the yard, or deer, she fearlessly stands in front of the window and growls with conviction, just like a tough but spoiled girl should. SD

Submitted by Paul | May 27 2009 |

Dear Ms. McConnell:

This is an interesting topic, and one in which you drew exactly no conclusions. Of course, it could be that other factors than sex - environmental, human, breed, or experience - have far more input in determining a dog's personality. On the other hand, I'm just not that sure.

I do not consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, however, in my experience, our female dogs have all been smart, protective, and willful. Not disobedient by any means, but I for sure knew they were submitting to my rules only because I was "the boss." If ever I let that slip, they were sure to challenge me for that job. My current dog, a sweet girl "pound hound", was emotionally a wreck when we got her, covered in fleas and ticks, and suffering from massive food allergies. Nine years later, she is much healthier indeed, and definitely makes it know that she is not in favor of the house rules. While she obeys (most of the time), there is no doubt she is annoyed that the cats can go into the kitchen but she is not allowed to. (Those food allergies again...)

All of my male dogs would also break the rules, but not with such willful stubborness. We had a German Shepherd who would refuse to stay in the yard - if he thought one of us needed some protection. Otherwise, he would not think of breaking the rules. This was 35 years ago, and while he would walk well on a leash, he never needed one. He would heel and obey perfectly, and immediately come when called even when chasing a rabbit.

We have had several other dogs (okay 12 to be exact, 7 girls and 5 boys) all of which exhibited, to a greater or lesser degree, this same kind of behavior based upon their sex.

While not rigorous evidence, these kinds of numbers indicate to be that something is going on there. As I said, that something might be environmental, but it also might be a sex based predisposition for behavior.

I would surely love to see a true study done on the subject.

-Paul

Submitted by Robin | June 28 2009 |

I'm a trainer of all breeds--pedigree and mixed, coddled and rescue--and gender never, ever enters my mind, even with my own dogs. Females can mark their territory as much as males. Males can be as moody as females.

Dogs are individuals, first and foremost.

Submitted by Anonymous | October 27 2010 |

good article, now if you would like some questions answered then you need to open your mind to the fact that astrology plays afactor, no only in human life but all life. depending when the dog was born plays a factor

Submitted by DAN | November 6 2010 |

I have owned two giant breed dogs ( a Newfoundland and a Leonberger) over the past eighteen years. Both were males and each we brought into our home at nine weeks old.
I began each boys training almost immediately. Very gentle training with tons of praise and treats and No punishment whatsoever. I combined verbal training with hand signals for very short sessions several times daily at first.
Puppies like children absorb new things very quickly. Within a short time they performed all the basic commands by either verbal or hand signals.
I also spoke to each all the time in a gentle voice. If either became a little rowdy as all puppies do I changed my tone of voice to a more stern level.
I kept this style of training everyday through their whole life
It is really amazing the lenghths dogs will go to please their master.
I was able to take both dogs everwhere and anywhere at anytime and they were almost perfect gentleman 99.9% of the time.
Their understanding of vocabulary was remarkable.
I even taught them commands by whispering in their ear. ( the common perception is that dogs really don't understand human words. They learn by voice inflection of the person giving commands. Due to their acute hearing ???)
Both our boys were house broken in less than five nights !
I slept next to their crate at night and everytime they started whining or moving around their crate I picked him up and took him outside to do his business.
Of coarse this was a little tiring on my part for those few nights but well worth it. In a few nights I had a puppy who would sleep almost thru the night. Sure there were a few accidents on occasion but very few. And when there was an accident I just said NO and took him outside.
I was lucky enough to have the time required to train each the way I did. Most dog owners don't have this luxury.

Submitted by Anonymous | February 15 2011 |

This was a really interesting article! I too agree that real scientific research should be done on the topic to tease out how much of the differences noted are based on gender vs our subconscious expectations of what the genders *should* act like.

Growing up, my family always preferred females because they were "sweeter" and couldn't lift their legs to mark indoors. When I was finally able to get a dog of my own after graduating college, my family insisted a female would be better. I searched for a female... and ended up coming home with a girl AND her brother (long story!).

So far, they've been double the work but double the love- and I can honestly say there are noticeable differences in their personalities. How much is due to gender, I'm not sure, but many of their differences seem to fall in line with what others have noticed in their experience raising the two sexes.

Just to give you a quick run-down, Oogie Bear is my female and Kip-Kip is my male. Oogie looks 100% female- she is tiny, dainty, and struts around like a princess. She is outgoing (especially towards people), and expects anyone new she encounters to stop what they are doing to pet her and comment on how "cute" she is. She is very smart and picks up on training quickly. She also is very willful and independent, and will "pout" if things are not going her way. She plays with her toys rough, using her whole body to shake them... I like to call her my "little vicious" because she's actually pretty feisty for her whole 2 pounds of fluff! She will also growl at you if you pick her up and she's not feeling like that's what she wants. She comes to you when she FEELS like it... not really when you want her to.

Kip-kip is the resident mama's boy. He is twice Oogie's size, and a total clumsy doof-bucket. He is very "handsome" and definitely looks male. He's much more timid than Oogie- he doesn't demand the attention of new people he meets but doesn't mind being held by them either. He is a little... slower... mentally. It usually takes him about 3 days longer to pick up on tricks that Oogie has down in a day. He is my shadow and follows me everywhere he can, and most of the time he wants nothing more than to be picked up or cuddled in my lap. His body goes limp like a noodle in my arms and he has never once ever growled at me. He's a gentle player- using his paws much of the time and the very front part of his mouth. He is, however, more protective of our apartment in that he will bark when people come to the door. Oogie doesn't really bark much at all unless she wants something.

I train each of them separately multiple times a day, and also together to make sure the commands stick. Oogie is quicker to perform for her treats, but Kip obeys commands as well. They are equally well potty trained, though Kip was slightly harder to break and he does take longer to do his business outside. Kip also suffers more from separation anxiety from me than Oogie does.

A good example of their personalities manifests itself when I am in the shower. Oogie prances over to her bed and chews on a toy while Kip sits outside the shower and stares at me, waiting to lick the water of my feet when I get out.

In terms of their relationship, Oogie is definitely the boss. She is dominant even though she is much smaller. However, when Kip gets fed up of being bossed around, he sits on her and there isn't much she can do about it! It makes her VERY angry. They are a hoot to watch! In terms of which is "better," I don't really think there is a right answer. They both have their good and bad qualities, and each one is endearing in their own unique way.

Anyhoo that was a bit longer post than anticipated~ just wanted to share my experience in raising and training both a boy and a girl at the same time!

Submitted by Anonymous | December 8 2011 |

I agree

Submitted by Anonymous | June 8 2012 |

This article dances around the question without ever answering any part of it. Is the author afraid to assert a claim or assign a personality trait to either sex because of imagined scorn? While she does point out that there needs to be further research done in the field and we humans tend to put our own conceptions of gender onto our canine friends, she leaves the reader with little else. For someone looking to truly understand the differences between our male and female furry friends, this article is a waste of time.

Submitted by Anonymous | August 13 2012 |

I definitely agree with you, glad I stopped quarter of the way. I realized it was becoming hopeless to find out some reasoning to why people have difficulty with certain gender dogs. Personality can't be the only reason, I always believe hormones had something to do with it.

Submitted by ilikekole | April 14 2013 |

I have different breed thinking type. does anyone know some info on rat terrier thinking of female and male thinking. i need it for a report.

Submitted by Khushveer Toor | August 22 2013 |

I had two dogs in my life, both were GSP ( German short haired pointers )one male another female. I like hunting and camping. My both dogs were excellent bird and snake finder ,Excellent sniffers and hunters ,they were around me near 16 years. I just want to say that If i exclude marking and barking of male dogs and heat cycle of female dogs which last around 3-4 week twice a year i.e. approximately 6 to 8 week an year. Male dogs are more athletic , dependent outgoing in open spaces they are more prone to lost or go miles away. On the other hand, female dogs are few percentage less athletic ( as in every spices ) but more intelligent, resourceful, independent, in open spaces ( when not in heat ) remain nearer to their owner, and most important her way to look when she was sad or disappointed you will feel like she is same as human child. I was more emotionally attached to my female dog. But I miss both my dogs instead of male/female comparison. I personally believe what ever breed or sex your dog has, most important of all is emotional connection you have with your dog. If your pet doesn't loves u,care about you. Then all this male/female dog conversation is worthless.

More From The Bark

sociable wolves
By
Claudia Kawczynska
By
The Bark
By
Sophia Yin