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  • Writer's pictureSierra Combs

Should I get a Male or a Female puppy?

A vizsla pup being held by Alex of Nosam Kennels
Vizsla puppy at Nosam Kennels

Male or Female?

What is the difference in temperament between male dogs and female dogs.

How a dog behaves as an adult is determined by two primary factors:

1) environment

2) genetics.

When we speak of the differences between males and females we must always keep these two factors in mind because both play a part in how a dog will behave as an adult. The most important factor in adult behavior in a dog is environment. Often very similar litter-mates grow into very different adult dogs because they have grown up in two very different environments. How a dog is raised, trained, and the environment he lives in plays a huge role in his behavior as an adult dog.

For example: Two pups from the same litter have lots of natural bird drive. Dog A who has grown up with lots of bird introduction may be very successful in the field. Dog B was chosen as an active pet and hasn’t had a lot of bird contact. Later dog B’s owner decides to begin hunting dog B may have the natural drive but he may not be a successful in the field and he may need a lot more training to get to the same level as dog A since he hasn’t had bird introduction at an early age.

However, it is undeniable that genetics also plays a role in adult behavior, and many of a dog’s natural behavioral tendencies are inherited. The overlying lesson would be that, no matter which gender you choose, you should select a puppy from parents whose behavior is similar to the type of dog you are looking for.

Now to the myths…

Myth number 1. Males are more aggressive than females. Wrong!

This is a common, and completely unfounded, myth even among many breeders, and pet owners. Anyone who has raised many dogs from puppy hood knows this is just not true. Some females are exceptionally courageous and some males are cowardly. Some males are good with other males and some females are fighters. Having raised many sets of male/female litter mates it is very obvious to us that behavioral tendencies run in families and that if a male is very aggressive (or fearful) it is likely that his litter sisters are also very aggressive (or fearful). The other end also holds true; if a dog lacks courage, or even confidence, it is very likely that the siblings do as well. So, if a female puppy is lacking in confidence choosing a male from that litter is likely only going to mean that you will end up with a male who lacks confidence. What does seem true is that there is a great degree of similarity between well-bred siblings in regards to behavior. What is also true is that each breeder has a preference for particular type of temperament and that “ideal” temperament is subjective, and may be very different between breeders. So, the temperament and personality of our males is very similar to those traits in our females, however, our dogs may be very different in these traits than those from a different breeder with different priorities, even if the dogs are of the same gender. This means a male from me is most likely very similar to my females but he may not behave at all like a male from someone else’s breeding program. Instead, choose a puppy from parents who themselves are very close to your ideal dog. If you need an aloof, one family/person type dog to protect you or your family, do not select a male puppy from two social butterflies and think that just because he is a male he is going to be a natural guardian. This will not be the case and your needs would have been better met by a female from two naturally protective parents. On the other hand, if you know that you prefer an “novice friendly” dog who is gregarious and won’t mind lots of company, kids, and other visitors, don’t even consider a puppy from aloof, naturally suspicious parents. Even if you choose a female puppy you will find she is still going to be aloof (and perfectly able to act on her suspicions).

Myth Number 2: Male dogs do not get along with other male dogs; female dogs do not get along with other female dogs; and finally, the ever-popular, opposite-sex pairs always get along well.

If you have a dog already, do not think that simply choosing a dog of the opposite sex is a guarantee of success. Instead invest some time in truly understanding the temperament of your dog, if your grown dog is not always sociable with other dogs fix that problem first, before you bring a new puppy home. Do not think simply adding a dog of a different sex is the answer, some dogs are far more tolerant of rude behavior from another dog and some have a very low tolerance, know your dog and know the social tendencies of the parents of any puppy you are considering. Well matched dogs of any sex can get along well together. Finally, some male/female pairs are not good either. Dogs, like people, can sometimes rub someone the wrong way and a pair of mismatched dogs can, even if they are male/female, not enjoy each other’s company… and when the dogs don’t get along nobody is happy. For most novice owners one male dog per household is enough, while multiple females are rarely a problem (if well-bred and raised) raising multiple males can be a challenge. We most often recommend male/female pairs, but this is not always the case as each situation and the dogs involved are unique. Remember, if you desire a multi-dog household, start with a puppy from social parents who enjoy the company of other dogs and then raise your dog in such a way that your dog’s respect each other and get along well together. When raised properly a well-bred dog will enjoy the company of familiar dogs almost as much as they enjoy their human family.

Myth 3 Females are easier to train and hunt better! Wrong! This again is totally dependent on the environment and pairing you select from. This goes back to genetics. Some dogs naturally will produce puppies who are more birdy. As far as training goes this also depends on the amount of time spent with said dog and the level of training you put into your pup. If you are a novice trainer you want to select the pup who will be easier to train where as someone who’s had or trained many dogs can handle the pup who may be more difficult to train. Overall our breeds are very smart and highly trainable but each pup will have their own varying personality. We’ll help you choose the pup best fit for you while trying to keep your gender preference in mind!

Overall females can be a little more independent and males are “usually” a little more Velcro however, again it’s best to select the puppy who fits your IDEAL picture of what you want in a dog instead of merely basing it off of gender!

If you want your puppy to act, look think and behave like a the breed should. Its important to buy a well-bred puppy whose parents look/act/think like the breed should.

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