Dawgs and Dames: Does Gender Matter?

Does a dog’s gender affect its behavior or personality? The answer is yes….and no.

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Let’s get physical

Dawgs and Dames: does gender matter? Let’s start by looking at the physical differences between male and female dogs. There are basic hormonal differences between boy dogs and girl dogs that can affect behavior. An unneutered male dog will most likely mark more frequently and can have more aggressive tendencies. An unspayed female will go into heat which often results in the dog being more skittish or clingy during her heat cycles. Female dogs (like female humans) mature quicker than male dogs, which may help them pick up commands and training quicker.

Does a dog’s gender affect its behavior?

Besides the differences in physicality is there a significant difference in behavior between girl and boy dogs? There are some studies that show that male dogs tend to be more aggressive and bolder than female dogs. Male dogs also historically do better in competitions. However, most dogs that compete are not fixed, you can find significant evidence that female dogs are more likely to be used for breeding rather than competing. It isn’t that male dogs are inherently smarter than female dogs! All of that being said, breed and background appear to count a lot more than gender for personality.

Gender Bias

We, humans, love to put our own impressions and biases onto animals or even inanimate objects. In observing dogs, we could be looking for traits that confirm our own gender biases. There is a stereotype that boy dogs are wilder and girl dogs are milder. These stereotypes might have their roots in truth but if you find a breed that matches you and socialize them at a young age you should be able to have a dog that fits your household no matter what their gender!

The bottom line

The bottom line is that there are some fundamental differences between male and female dogs. But it’s so much more important to find the breed and the personality that fits you and your lifestyle. Over, and over again studies show that breed and upbringing play a much greater role than gender in determining a dog’s personality.


Zoe Sjogerman is the North-East manager for Rover-Time and has been part of the RT team for four years. When she isn’t walking dogs she is the executive director of Avalanche Theatre and an avid book reader. She lives in the north-side of Chicago with her husband. Although she doesn’t have a pet of her own, she loves getting to walk pups all over the Chicagoland area.

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