Male and female dogs: what are the differences in everyday life?

male female dog difference

Are you interested in adopting a dog but can’t decide between a male and female dog? There are actually many misconceptions and biases about the different sexes. To help you make your decision, we summarized a few of the main differences between male and female dogs in this article.

The physical differences between male and female dogs

In addition to the differences related to their reproductive and genital systems, male and female dogs have plenty of other characteristics that differentiate them.


Like all animals, there are apparent characteristics that differentiate male and female dogs. For example, males raise their leg to urinate. If they have not been neutered, they will do so everywhere (in your garden, during walks…) in order to better mark their territory. Female dogs, on the other hand, often urinate while squatting, and do so in one or two puddles. in addition to this, females have reproduction cycles during which they lose blood for 3 weeks and two times per year if they have not been spayed.

During this period, your dog’s behavior can change. For instance, they will be more affectionate and ask for more attention. In addition to this, females will have a stronger odor that will attract the male dogs of the neighborhood. Males can be very aggressive when they smell a female dog in heat. An unplanned litter could happen.

Unspayed females can also have nervous pregnancies and uterine pathologies. They are exposed to serious illnesses such as mammary tumors. However, it’s important to not spay your dog before their first heat. It can lead to lifelong incontinences.


After their anatomy, the other major difference between male and female dogs is the size. This is all the more true in larger and medium dog breeds. Males are generally larger and heavier. You should keep this mind if the size of your pet is important.

Regarding the physical appearance, males tend to be stockier while female dogs are more slim and tapered. Their coat is also different. The particularities are even more apparent in long-haired dogs, as females are more fluffy than males, who usually have a more imposing appearance.

Behavioral differences between male and female dogs: personality and sociability

Male and female dogs both have qualities and shortcomings as pets. The major behavioral difference between male and female dogs is linked to the reproduction instincts of these animals. They are usually more territorial and aggressive towards other males. They have a reflex to mark their territory and protect. It is one of the reasons that make them great guard dogs.

They can also be susceptible to fighting with other dogs to affirm their dominance. Therefore, male dogs are harder to familiarize with other dogs. This is an important aspect to take into account if you want to walk your dog in areas that are often having other dogs there too. They are also more likely to run away to try to find a female to couple up with.

Males are more athletic and sporty. They are the perfect companions for long walks or daily jogs. Their playful side makes them closer to humans, unlike females who tend to stay away. Male dogs often search for contact with their owners. Female dogs also stay close to their owners, but they are more attached to their independence.

Contrary to males, females do not have a distinct instinct to protect their territory. They are, therefore, more sociable and more gentle with other dogs. In addition, as they are easy to socialize, they adapt better to places where there are a lot of dogs. However, females can also fight, especially with other dogs. Their fights are generally more bloody than those with males.

Keep in mind:

These behavioral differences can vary a lot based on the breed of the male or female dog. But also their genetics, temperament and the environment in which the breed evolved can influence this. Every dog has their own personality and make factors such as training and socialization play a huge role in their behavior.

difference dog female male
There are still some misconceptions and prejudices when it comes to choosing the sex of new pets.

Canine training and education: what are the differences?

Despite the numerous characteristics that make them different, the two sexes share the same type of training. Whether the female is more well-behaved or the male is more energetic, dogs need to be trained in the same way. Male and female dogs need to learn the basic rules of obedience such as lying down on command, heel, recall, etc.

The methods need to be adapted to the personality and character of the animal. Start the basic training of your puppy as early as possible around the age of 8 weeks so that your puppy becomes trusting and thrives at home and in the outdoors (at the park, camping).

Health: what are the differences between male and female dogs?

Male dogs are at some risk of testicular cancer and prostate disease. As for females, they are relatively exposed to health problems such as mammary tumors or uterine infections (pyometra). During their reproductive period, they may experience complications during gestation or parturition.

Because of their cycle, female dogs will have red-pink discharge and their body will secrete hormones that attract males. Female dogs can also be more distracted and less gentle during this period, which could be a constraint for their owner, because this will mean that they need to avoid going to places where there are often male dogs. Dog owners also need to keep them on a leash so that they do not run away.

Neutered and spayed dogs: what can we notice in everyday life?

Many different biological differences related to reproduction hormones exist between male and female dogs. As a result, when your dog gets neutered or spayed, behavioral differences fade. These surgeries are useful for drastically, even eliminating (in some cases) the risks of diseases that touch the reproductive organs like testicular cancer or mammary tumors.

Neutering is a solution to the risks of diseases. However, it can also cause health problems like obesity and the issues that come with this. In the past, vets recommended that this intervention be done early. Before the puppy reaches puberty, in order to prevent undesirable behavior.

Howver, recent studies show that it is wise to wait until the dog has reached physical maturity. You should be aware that these differences, which are visible in unneutered or unspayed dogs, become blurred and less significant in dogs that have undergone surgery. And notably in animals that have been operated on before puberty. Ask for advice from your vet take an informed decision.

There are many important differences between male and female dogs. However, they are not all general and can vary depending on the personality of each animal. The sex of the animal only plays a secondary role when we want to choose between a male and female dog. The most important thing is to take into account the breed of the animal, their personality, their specific traits (physical exercise, mental stimulation, sociability, etc.) as well as the environment in which they were brought up.