Besides the obvious differences, are the sexes different behaviorally? Most of us have very strong opinions on whether we prefer male or female dogs and the reasons why.
Although there is very little scientific proof to substantiate what people believe are different behavioural traits, humans do have their preferences.
The truth is that a dog’s behavior depends largely on the treatment received growing up. Traits such as aggression, affection and more are dependent mainly on the type of environment we humans provide for the dog.
Many observers feel that male/female behavior can be attributed to the breed of dog. To cite examples, some people feel that female dogs are more temperamental and manipulative than male dogs. Others think that males are more independent and aggressive, but have more consistent temperaments. Still others say that in dogs with dominant tendencies, the males can be less biddable than the females.
A study in 2011 at the University of Vienna, Austria ran an experiment with 25 female dogs and 25 male dogs to see if gender influenced canine cognitive abilities.
Using large and small tennis balls tied by a string to a board, the researchers hid the balls revealing the different sizes at different times and sometimes together.
They discovered that, for example, when a small ball appeared, then disappeared replaced by a large ball, the female dogs stared at the difference longer while there was no difference in time with the males.
The conclusion – female dogs were more aware of changes and had better cognitive abilities.
Stanley Coren, psychologist, canine expert, professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, Canada and author of bestsellers on dog behavior, feels that differences in sex are due to evolution.
As an example, Coren explains that females may rely on sight more than smell to keep track of their pups. Male dogs rely more heavily on scent and are usually used for tracking work.
In the final analysis, no matter what science may tell us, we have our preferences and will probably stick to them. The important factor in dog behavior is the nurturing and training we give our dogs.