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How to Choose the Best Gender for Your New Puppy or Dog

By Janice Jones   |Last Updated 06-24, 2023

How will you choose the best gender for your new dog? 

For most small breeds, the gender is purely a matter of personal preference as both males and females are loving and loyal. 

What is better, boy or girl dogs?Choose the Best Gender, Boys or Girls

In many large breed dogs, there is a size difference with male dogs being slightly larger than female dogs.  In most small breed dogs, this is not the case.

There are distinct differences in the genders, but genetics and environment play a much greater role in shaping the personality than the gender itself.

Why then do people tell you that males are more affectionate than females or that girls make the best pets? 

People only have experience with a handful of dogs of either gender over the course of their lifetime.  Some choose male dogs because they have already experienced the friendliness, affection, and intelligence of the male dog.

Others will tell you that females are the more friendly, affectionate and intelligent.  Who is right?  Neither in my opinion is correct.

Much of any sex differences is lost when the puppy is neutered or spayed.  With that said, lets look at each.

How to Choose the Best Gender

How to Choose the Gender of your new dogChoose the Best Gender for your new dog. What's best for you.

Male Dogs

When you choose the best gender, you need to take into consideration whether the dog is neutered. 

Male Dogs who are neutered before they go into puberty rarely mark their territory and will not actively seek out females in heat. The cost of the neuter operation is less than that of the spay surgery because it is an easier procedure. 

They rarely experience complications and are back on their feet the very same day.

Male dogs that are left intact are a little different.  They tend to be a little more dominant especially in a household where females reside.

They may mark their territory in and out of the house. Marking means that they will lift their legs and deposit a small amount of urine where ever they think their scent should be found--furniture, other dogs, and your possessions.

Intact males are likely to sense a female in heat, making them restless, and prone to wandering if they are given the chance. 

Finally, if an intact male and female reside in the same house, you will get puppies--unless you are extremely careful to keep them separated.  Most average pet owners cannot do this.

Female Dogs

Female dogs that are spayed before they go into their first heat are often much easier to manage. 

Intact females go into estrus or heat twice a year on average.  They are in heat for three weeks.  During the first half of the heat cycle, they will have a bloody discharge. 

Some breeds produce more discharge than others, but a doggie diaper is typically needed to reduce the mess you will find all over your floor. 

Just like the male, the female is likely to be more restless and will wander if given the opportunity.  She is looking for a partner to mate with, and if she does get out, she just might find a "suitable" mate.  I say, " suitable" in jest because any pregnancy that is unplanned is fraught with difficulties. 

If she decides to mate with a larger dog, the puppies will be too large for her to deliver naturally, and you will be stuck with an expensive C-section operation. 

What About a Second, Third or Fourth Dog?

Once people fall in love with the breed, purchase their new puppy or adopt an older dog, they may decide that their singleton needs a friend. 

Much can be said for bringing another dog of the same breed into the family.  For whatever reason, dogs get along best with dogs of the same or similar breeds.  But now you have  to choose the best gender for the new dog.

I have little dogs in my house and for the most part, the Shih Tzu prefer the company of other Shih Tzu, but tolerate and play with the other small breed dogs. They do not, however like or include my bulldog in their play.  The poor bulldog lives a solitary life even though she is surrounded by little dogs.

It is accepted that males get along better with females when deciding on the gender of your next dog.  Rarely with females fight with boys. 

Two male dogs may get into a scuffle over a bone or as a way to vie for the dominant position.  Rarely do they do any damage to one another.

Put two dominant females together, and you might see the warrior side of your little fur babies.   Females can be fierce fighters and will inflict injury if not stopped. 

Personality does play a major part so finding a compatible pair is necessary. A dominant puppy will do much better with a more submissive puppy.

If you do decide to add another dog to your household, we recommend that you find one that is younger than your current pet.  Most puppies are accepted into the family fold especially if they have learned manners from their canine mother before the transition.

If you found this article, "How to Choose the Best Gender for your New Dog" helpful, you might also want to check out these other articles:

Choose the Perfect Puppy for You

The Real Cost of Dog Ownership

A Look at Designer or Hybrid Dogs

Where to Find that New Pet?

To Adopt:  Your Guide to Pet Adoptions


Within the group of small dogs, gender is not as important as many might suggest. Personality wise, after the dog is neutered or spayed, there is little difference. In small breeds, there is also little difference in size, however that is not necessarily true in larger breeds.

With that said, there are variations among breeds and even between small dogs and larger breed dogs. If you prefer larger dogs, may I suggest you check out this article about gender differences in other larger breeds.

About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with Poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, Beagles, English Bulldogs, Carin Terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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