Temperament differences of male & female dogs

Updated February 21, 2017

Like humans and many other types of animals, male and female dogs often display different temperaments. These temperament differences are especially notable in dogs that have not been spayed or neutered. The gender temperament traits of dogs may help you decide whether you want a male or female dog as a pet.


Male dogs are sometimes thought to be more aggressive than female dogs. This trait generally comes from the instinctual trait to protect their territory. This aggression can lead to destructive habits and can make training them difficult. Male dogs will also often display aggression towards each other, making it hard to keep two males together. As the dog matures, the aggressive tendencies may increase. However, getting your dog neutered before six months of age should lessen the aggressive behaviour significantly.


Although most dogs tend to be loving and loyal, female dogs often seem to need more affection from their owners. However, when an un-spayed female dog reaches puberty, the temperament of the dog can change. Females may become moody or possessive. Having your female spayed can decrease these behaviours.

Training Differences

Because female dogs are often more affectionate, and male dogs tend to be more playful and rambunctious, it's often easier to train a female dog. A male dog may also develop more destructive habits, such as chewing, and it can be hard to train the dog to stop these habits. Male dogs that are spayed are usually calmer, though, and can be as friendly as a female dog, making their training easier.

Territory Marking

Male dogs that have not been neutered will feel the need to mark their territory. Male dogs mark their territory by peeing in several areas, which may be indoors or outdoors. This, obviously, leads to messes and smells in the house, and can be a very frustrating habit. Although some males can be trained out of this habit, it's a very difficult process. Male dogs that are neutered before reaching puberty, around six months of age, don't usually feel the need to mark their territory as they get older.


Female dogs that have not been spayed will go into heat about every six months. The heat can last for about three weeks. During heat, the dog may discharge small amounts of blood or other fluids, causing messes. Females in heat may also become temperamental. Female dogs will often try to escape, looking for a male dog to breed with. If you spay a female dog, though, the dog will not go into heat, resolving all the problems that go along with the heat cycle.

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Ann LaPan travels exuberantly in body and mind via planes, trains, automobiles and superb literature. A webmaster, website designer, graphic artist, accountant and musician (Jill of all trades, master of a few), she writes Today’s Horoscope for Shooting Star