Choosing between a male or female puppy

Is there a major difference between a boy or girl (apart from the obvious anatomy difference 🙂 )?

When the time comes to choose a puppy to be part of the family, one of the earliest questions that arises is the choice between a male or female puppy. As with any decision when choosing a puppy it is important to remember that you are choosing a puppy who will become an adult dog.

puppies in a basket

When most people are asked if they would like a boy or girl, there is usually a slight percentage bias toward a female puppy and the main reasons for this tend to relate to myths about females being more affectionate and that many people are worried about an adult male dog lifting his leg to mark his territory around the house and yard.

With most breeds (pure breeds or designer breeds) there can be a physical difference between adult males and females in dogs, and particularly in those dogs that have not been desexed. The males are usually slightly larger and a little more square in shape than the females, often having larger heads and deeper chests than their female counterparts. Often also, they will have a longer and/or heavier coat and overall, will tend to look more impressive than females. It is important to note that these differences will be magnified in the larger breeds such as German Shepherds, Standard Groodles and Standard Labradoodles. Many of the smaller designer breeds such as Toy and Miniature Cavoodles, Maltese ShihTzus, and Moodles will display very little physical differences between males and females.

There is also a persistent myth that female dogs in general are much more affectionate and loving to their human family that seems to have become entrenched in the collective mindset of the community and does not look like it will go away any time soon. It may be that as human beings we like to assume that since women usually show the most affection to the people in their lives then the same is true for dogs. Let’s face it, that whenever kids tend to hurt themselves and want a bit of a cuddle to make them feel better they will usually call out for their mother rather than their father to make them feel better again!! Domestic female dogs are much more attentative to their own litter of pups than the fathers of the puppies (who generally have very little if anything to do with the direct care of puppies), but the relationship between a mother and her puppies and the same mother and her human family are totally different. When it comes to this myth it is just that, a myth. Male and female dogs are equally loving and affectionate to their human family and the differences between dogs will have more to do with personality and individual traits than the gender difference.

Mum and puppies on a chair

The most common reason many families choose a female over a male puppy is the fear of the little boy you have taken home growing up to mark his territory all over the place and if you believe the cartoons, every single tree he walks past in the neighbourhood!! Male dogs who have not been desexed will instinctively mark their territory as a display to other dogs that this is his territory (ie. his and your home). This is to serve as a notice that this area already has an entire male who is willing also to advertise himself to the available females in the area. The absolute best way to address the problem is to desex your male puppy early in his life. This will prevent him from trying to mark his territory to male competitors and potential female mates before nature kicks in. By desexing the male puppy, you eliminate his desire to establish a territory and thus remove the need to leave his mark nice and high. When male pups are desexed at a young age (4-6 months), before they learn to lift their leg to urinate, they will continue to squat like a female for the rest of their lives.

So when it comes down to it, there may be some physical differences between males and females of the larger breeds such as Standard Groodles and Standard Labradoodles, but when there is little to no difference that your new puppy’s sex will play in their behaviour. Both boys and girls make great pets with both growing up to provide seemingly boundless amounts of affection to their human family. It is also important to note that the more time you and your family spend with your dog, the greater the bond will be between your dog and your family.

puppy on a barrel