This is a question that I receive at least once a day. My fellow pet parents can attest to the fact that there are noticeable behavioral differences to the male and female dog. And the other question I get asked is, “Should I get a male or female dog for my male/female dog? Will the get along?”
Let’s back up to some data on whether one sex of dog lives longer than another sex. Humans, as well as their closest ancestors, the higher African primates, exhibit female-biased survival and multiple sex differences in causes of death. However ,the effects of sex on aging and longevity in an excellent model of human health, the companion dog, have not been well explored until the last 5 years. Unlike the findings in humans, it has been observed that canine longevity plays a small effect on the sex of the dog. When broken down by neutering statues, it was discovered that a small male advantage in survival among intact dogs but a clear female survival advantage among spayed dogs. Overall, the effect of neutering on life span was greater than the effect of sex. Neutering male dogs eliminates the risk of testicular cancers that they can acquire. Overall, the results of the study suggest limited sex effects on either longevity or causes of death in the companion dog.
Now let’s chat about which sex of dog to get. Believe it or not, it truly boils down to environmental factors and how well you train the dog, not their biological sex. Male dogs tend to be “markers”. Neutering can help decrease this but it something to keep you radar. Being the father to four dachshunds (3 boys and 1 girls), I truly feel there is a marking contest at times on who is the most “alpha” dog by marking. So that is something to keep under your radar should you have more than one dog. Female dogs tend to reach maturity faster than males, which may mean that a female dog is more mature than a male dog of the same age and might be easier to train as a result. Anecdotally, as both a veterinarian and dog dad, I tend to agree with this. I find female dogs train a little quicker and easier than male dogs. It’s no big deal. The male dogs eventually get it.
Regardless of the sex of the dog, it’s all HOW you train them and finding a dog that matches your lifestyle and family. We want it to be a match made on both sides of that leash, regardless of the gender of the dog!
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA
Chief Veterinary Officer
MJH Life Sciences