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JoAnna Lou
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Boy or Girl?
Study finds that men and women differ on the perfect dog.
Do opposites attract?

In the world of dog sports, I’ve often heard people say that men work better with female dogs and women work better with male dogs. That statement has yet to be proven, but a study by Monash University has begun to research how gender effects how we choose our furry friends. 

According to their study of 877 Australian dog lovers, women prefer male dogs and vice versa. Researchers also found that women tended to look for calm, obedient pups and men sought large, impressive dogs, more often opting for purebreds.  

While gender may predict how we choose our next furry friend, it may not influence how we interact with them. A study by Italian researchers showed that there is little difference in how men and women interact with their pets. Women tend to be more verbal, but both genders play similarly with their dogs. 

I do think there is some truth to gender’s effect on how we choose our dogs, but they’re pretty wide assumptions for which there are many exceptions. One only has to look at my old neighbor in Manhattan -- a 6 foot tall rocker guy with a tiny Chihuahua, though I have to admit chuckling to myself  anytime I saw them walk together on the street.

Have you noticed any gender differences in how we choose and interact with our pets?

For thoughts on gender’s effect on canine learning, check out Patricia McConnell’s article, The Gender Gap.

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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