Does your dog's sex matter?

Broadly speaking, a dog’s gender has little bearing on their suitability as a pet.

The question of gender is one that I am asked often. It seems that we all have unexamined beliefs about the preference for a male versus a female canine companion. We all have different reasons for our preference in gender but my opinion is that “boy” or “girl” should not be a major factor in the decision-making process of whether a puppy is suitable for your family dynamics. 

Many of the reported behaviour differences between male and female dogs can be chalked up to anthropomorphism. “A lot of it is human projection”. 

There is one reported behaviour that does seem to be accurate. Dogs tend to get along better with dogs of the opposite sex when they’re living together in a home. It’s like yin and yang.  So, if you’re adding a second dog to your family, you may want to consider creating that balance for a more peaceful household.

Breed does matter!

Differences between neutered male and female labradoodles are negligible to non-existent. Labradoodles have genetically evolved from the hunting breeds of dog: the Labrador; the Poodle and the Spaniel.  This is quite different from the breeds which have retained more wolf -like qualities and have traditionally been bred for security and guarding purposes; the Husky, the German Shepherd; the Akita etc., This is very important as the personality traits of a Labradoodle are consistent with their breeding history not gender related. Labradoodles of both sexes tend to be more affectionate to humans and score higher on measures of trainability and engagement compared to breeds that are more closely related to the wolf.   Both male and female labradoodles have traits that are generally considered “family friendly, loving, intuitive, intelligent and moderately active.  

Anatomical Differences [apart from the obvious!]

Let’s start with the obvious — male and female dogs have different reproductive and genital systems. But there are also some more subtle differences you might consider.  Many of the biological differences between male and female dogs are tied to their reproductive hormones. However, while a dog’s behaviour can be influenced by hormones, if you remove their source by spaying or neutering the dog, you’ll see less of these behaviours over time


  • An entire male may be a little more resistant to house training. 
  • Male dogs tend to be larger (both in height and weight) than female dogs—so you might keep that in mind if the size of your dog is important. 

Personality Factors related to Gender

  • A respected professional dog trainer that we have worked with, has an opinion that female dogs may be more suited to working as a therapy dog or service assistance dog. The reasoning behind this opinion is related to the natural maternal instincts of the female. For this reason, we recommend delaying the spaying of female therapy dogs until after they have reached maturity.
  • An entire male is likely to be more confident and independent compared with a female.  An entire male may also be more territorial and protective.  Females may be more reliant on human interaction and slightly more prone to separation anxiety but this has not been proven. This trait is completely irrelevant if the dog has been neutered as it is related to the male sex hormones. 

Personality Factors not related to Gender

  • The genetic make-up of the mother and father. Ask questions about energy levels, confidence, intelligence, affection, independence and health problems of the parents.
  • Early socialisation experiences and training.
  • The bond with family members and how much love, care and guidance your puppy receives.
  • Nutrition and Health.There is strong evidence that poor nutrition or poor health can result in irritability and cognitive decline.
  • Sibling rivalry, size and status can influence dominance and assertiveness.