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Behavioral Differences Between Male and Female Dogs

Are there inherent differences between male and female dogs?

Many people have opinions on the behavioral differences between male and female dogs. Common ideas include thoughts that female dogs are moodier and males more compliant and laid back.

Are these differences just anecdotes, or has science found a true difference?

Research Is Scant

Unfortunately, there hasn't been much research done on behavioral differences between male and female dogs.

Still, among those who work routinely with lots of dogs, certain ideas are prominent. These include:

  • In breeds that have a tendency to be dominant, like the Rottweiler and Akita, females seem to be more easy-going.
  • Breeds that have a reputation for being laid back, like retrievers, have fewer perceived differences in the behavior of males and females.

However, true research proving these ideas is not available.

Hormones do have an effect on a dog's behavior, and unneutered male dogs will generally be more territorial, less attentive to the people around, and more aggressive than neutered males or females.

Study on Visual Differences Between Male and Female Dogs

A small study done in 2011 indicates that there may be a difference in the way male and female dogs see things (Fields, 2011).

Tennis balls were used to determine whether dogs noticed visual differences. A ball was placed in front of a board, moved behind the board, and then was replaced. Sometimes a small ball was replaced by another small one, but sometimes it was replaced with a large one. Similarly, a large ball may be replaced by a ball of the same size while other times, it was replaced by a small ball.

Researchers found that female dogs were much more likely than males to notice when a ball of a different size replaced the original ball.

Personality Depends Most on Upbringing

While breed and sex differences may influence a dog's general personality, we at DogHealth.com have observed that good care, love, and proper socialization have the greatest impact on a dog's overall behavior.


Works Cited

  1. Fields, H. (2011, April 26). Female Dogs Aren't Easily Fooled. Retrieved from Sciencemag.org.

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