6 Differences Between Male and Female Dogs

Male dogs and female dogs may look the same at first glance. However, there are a number of key differences any dog owner should be aware of.

And no, these differences do not just concern what the dogs have between their legs. Very generally speaking, behavioural differences and differing rates of development have been observed in male vs female dogs, among other things.

If you have a dog or dogs, these are things you should understand, as this knowledge will help you in their upbringing.

Physical Characteristics

Aside from the obvious, there are physical differences between male dogs and female dogs. Male dogs tend to be larger by as much as 30 lbs, but the size difference will depend on the breed. In some breeds, there is no size difference at all.

Behaviour Around People

Male dogs have a tendency to be bigger attention seekers. They are thought to be more concerned about getting affection and care than are female dogs. Female dogs tend to be more independent. They do not have the same sustained level of demand for human interaction.


Aggression between the canine genders is a complicated subject. A dog’s aggression will depend on the breed, the dog’s socialization and other factors. It would be misleading to suggest that one gender is simply more aggressive than the other.

But, there are gender based factors at play which can predict aggressive behaviour. For instance, if a female dog is pregnant, recently pregnant, or ovulating, it may display increased aggressive behaviour.

At the same time, male dogs can be more aggressive if they are not neutered. This is due to the testosterone levels present in intact dogs.

Neutering or spaying your dogs will mostly resolve any behavioural differences in this respect.


Potential health conditions male dogs may need to watch out for include testicular cancer and prostate disease. These may sound scary, but there’s a bright side. These diseases are treatable and the risk for these can be reduced by neutering.

For females, various cancers (mammary, ovarian, uterine), womb infection (pyometra), and pregnancy complications can occur. The likelihood of these diseases is often dependent on breed, and spaying a female dog can also reduce risk in this area.


Female dogs are commonly thought to be easier to train and housebreak than male dogs. This may be due to the fact that they mature faster than their male counterparts.

Behaviour Around Other Dogs

Male dogs are commonly more social while female dogs are less inclined to examine every dog they encounter. Male dogs also tend to have a greater tendency to dominate other dogs.

Important Note

The differences we have discussed here are sweeping generalizations. You may have a very different experience with your dog from what has been described. Furthermore, breed and socialization are also huge factors in the behaviour and attitudes of dogs and these can interact with gender in many ways as well.

In deciding an approach to selecting and raising a dog, all of these things should be considered together.

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