Males vs Females? What is the difference?

Males vs Females.  Ask any two people which is better and you will likely get two different answers.  Me, I will tell you “It Depends”.  It depends on your lifestyle.  It depends on your goals for the dog.  It depends on the dog itself!  Each puppy born is an individual, so the generalizations I am about to give you should be taken as that, a generalization.

Females are more independent and able to share loyalty between the entire family.  They are much more go with the flow and less prone to stress about major life changing events.  They can also be extremely stubborn and even willful.  When a female plants her foot on a subject it can be almost impossible to change her mind.


Baxter (Male), Sadie (grandmother of them all), Sadie (female), Cami (female), Kipper (male) . Colorado Anutta Poodles gathering from about 5 years ago.

Males are more dependent and seem to prefer to bond to one person in the family much stronger than the rest.  They love the entire family, but often pick one special person as their lifeline.  They are more empathetic than the girls and this makes them more prone to stress and anxiety.

I breed working dogs, so I take these traits and pair them with the right homes.

Females make some of the best Therapy dogs.  They are able to separate the job from their life.  They can go into high stress environments and not bring the job home with them.  Males are also great at Therapy, but highly stressful therapy situation can often bring them down.  If a child is in pain, most males will worry about that child.  Males work best at nursing homes, reading programs, hospital visits without ‘to much’ stress.  Females can do almost any therapy job you can imagine.  Special needs, critical or chronic illness doesn’t stress them like it does the boys.

Males make the absolute best service dogs.  Their empathy allows them to identify a need and take care of the issue.  They truly worry about their owner, their health, their safety, and do not think of what they are doing as a job.  It is their life.  Bonding to one person in the family is extremely helpful for a service dog.  There are some great girls who do service work, but if you plan to train your own dog from a puppy, getting a male will stack the odds in your favor the dog will learn the job and enjoy taking care of you.

Most of the time, if a home has a specific desire for one sex over the other, I do my best to help them find the right pup of that sex to match their needs.  There are puppies of both sex who can swing the other direction.  A more independent male or a more dependent female.  It does happen, but it might take me a litter or two to locate the right dog.  Sherri in CA is looking for a male therapy dog who can do high stress situations.  We have 4 boy pups in this litter and I have high hopes one will be right for the job.

So what do I prefer?   I LOVE boys.  Give me a choice between puppies in a litter and I will almost always fall for one or more of the boys over all the girls.  I love how they adore me.  I love how they worry about me.  I love the bond we develop and share.  I’ve had many girls in my life who were interesting and fun, but I never had much trouble letting them go to a new home after they retired from breeding and they never looked back.  All of them were happier in the new home than they were with me with almost no regret.  Sweet Major, Merlot’s half brother, we let go live with Stacey and family in AZ when he was 5 years old.  He mourned us for over a month and it struck me hard hearing about his sadness.  He did bond with them, he went on to become an amazing Therapy dog for them, but it wasn’t an easy transition.  On the other hand, I had Zelda here for 3 months.  She never showed any signs of stress, was happy to go with me, then was happy to be back with her family when I dropped her off earlier this month.  She didn’t worry about the past or the future, she was in the moment and enjoyed the adventure and experience for what it was.  The girls personalities allow me to have this foster program.  Without that adaptability, it would never work.

Tell me about your experiences with males vs females?  Do you prefer one sex over the other?  If so, why?

  • sherri h - On the generalities,couldn’t agree more. Specifically, Elvira is defintitely the strong willed, bullet proof dog who (while she checks in with me) is content to be with anyone who can handle her. She definitely has no tendencies to be a cuddler. Merlin was a very loving, touchy type dog. Had to know where I was all the time. He could work low stress therapy programs like the Stroke Center or assisted living facilites, but not so good with profoundly disabled kids or the hospital. How much that had to do with his personality vs Addisons, is a guess. Hoping this litter has a male (Elvira does not like the competition of a female in the house!) who is outgoing, curious and even pushy. That personality I can mold into a therapy dog who can work all types of venues. I think I can see that in one of the boys already……… fingers are crossed.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer B - I’ve seen the opposite happen, but i guess my dogs are just weird. My mom’s boy is not cuddly AT ALL. He’s nice and will kiss you and let you pet him, but then he goes and sits in his own spot. I had a female Brittany spaniel Dalmatian mix who slept with me and was the most snuggly empathetic dog ever. My brother’s little lady he rescued is the same way. I’ve never personally owned a boy before, though. I personally think that a boy is going to be my best bet (after a bit of convincing… lol) because I like bigger dogs, and I absolutely have to have a dog that is snuggly and loving and basically attached to me at the hip. lol I NEED doggie snuggles like I need to breath and eat food! ;PReplyCancel

  • Lynda withThibodeaux & Boudro - I love boys…mainly due to their large size and steady male personalities. Both my poodle boys are cuddlers, and one is a bed hog!!ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Jennifer, I have no idea about other breeds. This is pretty accurate for Std Poodles from my experience. In my other breed, the Shiba Inu, you couldn’t really tell a difference between the girls and boys. The breed as a whole is so independent, almost like a mix between a terrier, a cat, and a spitz. A Shiba is a Shiba, with some minor variations between individuals.ReplyCancel

  • Mary - I was having this conversation with a friend, another poodle owner. I have 3 bitches, she has 2 males. Is there a reason, she asked. I’ll pass this along. My 3 bitches are very different. My fist girl, mother to the second, is independent. Yes, she loves me, and looks to me for resources, and for cuddling. She was an extraordinary therapy dog, just recently retired, as she is old and her health is failing. Her daughter is truly empathic. And she UNDERSTANDS when I talk to her. Really knows what I mean, and she communicates back. I’m not an animal communicator, but Candy tries her best and she does make me understand, but I don’t pick up on her the way she does on me. My youngest is two, and a Nervous Nellie. We’re working hard on socialization. She’s show material but doesn’t like strange situations. Makes the breed ring difficult at best, for now anyway. Did I say the oldest and youngest are silver? The middle is white.ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Burrhus - I was feeling nostalgic and came to look at baby pictures of my boy… (I took home Kai, if anyone was wondering. He was renamed Gatsby, and there are updates of him.) I have to say, Becky, you were right about boys. And I will only have boys as service dogs from here on out I think. You say snuggly… And I’m typing this with a 60 pound poodle on my chest…ReplyCancel

  • Eva - I would say your summery is true as far as been my limited experience. I have had one of each, a girl who was a blue and a boy who is a black. The girl could go to “the sitters” and treat whoever that family was like her family and would only stress for a few hours to 24 hours. She could act quite like the oldest child sometimes being bossy. About 1:00 every night she would tour the house looking out every sliding door and check on each person going to the head of the bed, lingering for a few seconds before moving on and settling by my side of the bed facing the door. Loved to play mind games on us by hiding things and encouraging us to find them and then if we “didn’t get it” she would go get the toy and show us what she meant. She loved to play hide and go seek. She was everyone’s dog. She would bark at the door only when necessary. When the kids would play outside she would mostly watch unless the got too close to the road and she was known to get ahold of a childs shirt or shorts and sit down until an adult could come and take care of that rogue child. Our boy bonded with my oldest and he just moved to Texas and took him with him and then took him a month to adjust. He’s quite the snuggler and kisser and can romance even the hardest of hearts. Our household is very social so when someone coming over who was ill or sad he instinctively knew it and would want to sit next to them or ON them. I had a friend who had cancer, he would go to “their” spot on the couch and wait for my friend and when she would leave he would go to his safe space to have alone time to recuperate. When anyone would open the door to the kids room at night (he never wanted to sleep anywhere else) he would immediately let out a low growl until he knew who it was. When the kids play outside he sticks very close and they stumlbe over him. My DIL who nannys says he will stand or sit guard at the door while the baby sleeps and can’t get him to move too far and always goes back to the door , always alerts her when the baby starts to stir. He’s always on guard when the men aren’t home and if there’s a knock on the door he sounds like he’s going to tear you apart, but if the men folk are around it’s just an alert bark. Love standards! Don’t know which one we want next….ReplyCancel

  • Jan Bowen - I have a male standard. .Prince, he is stressed out like crazy when I leave for several days. He is 5 yrs old and will still chew up sometime. Brakes my heart. He and I have a very strong bond.ReplyCancel

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