Talk about a question that can raise hackles at dinnertables. While there are obvious and indisputable differences between male and female dogs, the pros and cons of either sex is an area rife with generalization and anecdotal ‘evidence.’ Most of it concerns personality. Some people swear female dogs are reserved, stubborn, bossy, and hard to train. Others claim to know for a fact male dogs are aggressive, rowdy, territorial, and, well, dim-witted. On the positive side, male dogs are supposed to be playful and easy to motivate, female dogs gentler and better with children.
The truth? Neither. Because it depends. On the genetic characteristics of a certain breed—whether your dog represents one or a whole cocktail. On upbringing and socialization. On the training methods you use. On how much exercise and stimulation your dog gets. On your own personality. At the end of the day, only a handful of general claims can be made about male versus female dogs, and all relate to purely physical traits. For example:
Unless neutered, prone to attacks by neutered males
Unless neutered, prone to roaming
More expensive to spay
Comes into heat every 6 months unless spayed
Choose your dog based on facts, not prejudice. Really, after breed, age, and environment, the decision to spay/neuter your dog or leave her/him intact is by far the most important factor in determining what kind of dog you end up with. And unless you plan to become a registered breeder, you should always spay or neuter your dog. If you do, you dodge a long list of potential behavioral and physical problems—and by preventing accidental litters, you help stem pet overpopulation and the euthanasia of millions of dogs every year.