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April 30, 2014

Girls vs Boys: How do you choose a pet?

While lugging boxes to the new place yesterday I got to thinking about a question my internet-pal Jorie asked about why I decided to get a female dog.   I did not lug this lug. Despite making himself cozy, I had Eko carry his own weight
While lugging boxes to the new place yesterday I got to thinking about a question my internet-pal Jorie asked about why I decided to get a female dog.  

I did not lug this lug. Despite making himself cozy, I had Eko carry his own weight to the new place

My answer is certainly more art than science. I knew my first dog would be a boy because I was dead set on the name Mr. Eko. I’m a stubborn fool, I know. Bestowing said name on a girl would lead to a lifetime of confusion I figured best avoided. In my mind, dog number two was/is/will be a girl for a number of reasons. A girl pup offers both novelty and balance. I have never had my own female dog, and I have one male pup, so why not change things up a bit? Eko has both male and female dog friends, so I don’t think he has a preference for his sibling. I tend to think in general a personality match is more important than the sex of the dogs I know people with pairs of boys, girls and mixed packs – all of whom live happily together. But at the same time I know there are individual dogs who get along better with one sex or another for a host of different reasons. I have friends who barely knew the sex of the dog they were adopting (they just knew s/he was the one!) and I have friends who prefer male or female dogs for a number of different reasons.

“Boy or girl, I don’t care. I just need someone to distract Will so I can make my move.”

There is certainly no “right” answer to this question. Anyone who loves and cares for any pet is doing the right thing in my book. The great apartment migration continues today, and I’ll be periodically checking my phone during breaks. I would love to hear your stories about if/how/why you chose the sex of your pet. I have a feeling, like each pet, each story is different but at the same time absolutely perfect.

Comments for Girls vs Boys: How do you choose a pet?

  1. Kuruk says:

    I think sisfurs are the bestest! Woooooowoooooooooo!

  2. Victoria says:

    Well in contemplating my 3rd pup I was told that the sex of the alpha dog determined what sex of pup you should get for a 3rd dog. Muffin is a girl and she is the alpha and rigby is a boy so if i get a 3rd pup it will be a girl…..but like you said it really depends most on your pup and how he feels about a new pup and how he handles boy and girl dogs when he meets them. My guess is Eko won’t care one way or the other.

  3. Emmadog says:

    My mom likes girls. She had a male dog growing up and he was trouble. Her male cats have always been trouble, so she only wants girl pups BUT she likes boy names better! Both are great, but as you say, most folks have a preference. We also find that people that have all girl or boy kids tend to have the same sex dog as well. Can’t wait to see this new little girl!

  4. We only want a boy, girls can be complicated and one girl in the house is enough (said Easy’s dad). Neutering/Spaying is not common here, so a boy is the better option. Even when we would look for a second dog, I would pick a boy. No idea why. Probably I’m catty (said Easy’s dad) :o)

  5. Marcela says:

    Excellent post Will! I did not choose my first dog, male dog, Casey. Cynthia, my girlfriend chose him. I was so heartbroken over the loss of my mom’s dog years ago, that I promised myself never to fall in love again with a dog, but Cynthia convinced me to get Casey and so we did. Which one do I prefer? I prefer female dogs because the majority, there are exceptions, are close to their pet parents, more obedient than males, and very smart. But, I’ve met so far 2 male dogs that are more smart, loyal, and close to their parents than female dogs, and that kind of left me all confused. Nowadays I look more at the temperament rather than the gender. We adopted our foster, Bella, recently and we are very happy with her. But if we had been fostering a male with a nice temperament, like a pit bull we cared for about 2 years ago, we would have kept him. I do my best to try and look at the temperament of the dog first because I need at least of of my dogs to have a laid back kind of personality in order to rehabilitate other dogs. In conclusion, my heart rules, therefore if I fall in love with a boy or girl, so be it:-)

  6. mollieandalfie says:

    I’ll let you have Mollie for a week, you will be screaming for a boy. If I had to do it again, I would go all Male 🙂 Girls are really bossy with the boys too. Which ever you choose I am sure it will be the right choice.. 🙂 🙂 xxoxxxx

    Mollie and Alfie

  7. I have had all males (only because it happened that way!) I think there is less jealousy if you bring in the opposite sex pet if the original pet has been there for a while.

  8. I almost bought a female cavalier when I fell in love with Apollo, a decidedly unneutered male. I had just as much fun buying him outfits (he loves bows and bandannas!) as I would have for a girl dog. My main requirement was lots of hair.

    Artemis was a girl by happy accident. I kind of wanted a girl but if they got along with Apollo I wouldn’t be fussy.

    It worked out great. I’ve read some articles on males v. Females but they vary so wildly I don’t put much stock I it.

    I asked my mom why she insists on only having female dogs, since her and my dad are considering a greyhound as their next dog. She replied by saying she simply finds leg lifting obscene. 😛

  9. Shana and Hobbes says:

    I think it also depends on breed. For Vizslas I am told the girls will love you and might do what you ask when they feel like it but the boys are ‘In love with you’ and will more likely do anything you ask when you ask. That has definitely been my experience with Hobbes and for my breeder who has 2 girls and now Hobbes’ brother 🙂

  10. dana harader says:

    when I was considering adopting my first dog, my friends said a female black lab would be loyal, active, and protective. I had that picture in the back of my mind when I went to the shelter, but knew I would just know when I saw the right dog. as I walked up to the shelter maddie came running to the fence of the puppy yard and barked at me. a female black lab…it was destiny! 11 years later she is still with me, and she plays mamma to her three younger adopted brothers. we are a happy fur family!

  11. Elyse says:

    I grew up with only male dogs — my parents wouldn’t have spayed a female sooooooo… Since then I’ve done it out of habit. But this time around we’re open. New dog, new sex?

  12. Jeff says:

    8 years ago when I went to pick out my pup, Stryder. I was just looking at the males because they were a lot cheaper. All the vizsla pips came up to me to check me out and then went about playing with each other in the yard. Except for one that was more interested in being with me than doing anything else. So after. Few more minutes checking out the pups I realized Stryder has picked me and how could I not pick him. Ever since, sometimes the pup picks you before giving you the choice.

  13. Pat Sieloff says:

    After 20 years of Ridgebacks (2 boys, 3 girls), we have come to prefer male RR’s. We have found that they tend to be more loving (aka lap doggish) and stay closer to you. All of our RR’s felt/feel it necessary to keep us in sight because how else could they protect us from the evils of the world, but the boys were just more mellow. Our first girl was a bit more like her bros, but the last two girls are “bitches” in every sense of the word. That said, two male RR’s in the same house can sometimes be problematic so a sister/girlfriend for Eko may be your best bet. In truth, when the time actually comes, you’ll know which one is for you, and Eko may be very helpful in the selection process. After all, if Eko ain’t happy, nobody will be happy!

  14. When my grandparents got me our first dog, they picked a girl for me. I’m not sure if it was because of the breed (she was a purebred Shih Tzu) or because she was anti social, but she didn’t like being around anyone when she hit her middle years. By the time she was elderly (and blind/deaf), she just slept the entire time.

    Cody was clearly the social one as the mutt. Even when he got elderly.

    I don’t know if it was because my brother and I were slightly older when we got him or if it was environment or chance. My next dog is going to be adopted.

    I’m more inclined to say it more depends how the dog responds to me than anything. And I know the next

  15. We’ve always had opposite sex dogs – obviously never more than two. I think why just goes back to the old wives tale that they get along better. That may be, ours have all gotten along just fine, but I think there’s more to it then that. We’ve fostered a few times, so did have an ‘imbalance’ and didn’t have problems. I think Eko will be fine with whatever you get, but I’d get a girl too, just for variety.

  16. Will – I wonder if choosing the gender of the pup [or kitten] is a bit like choosing the gender of your child…. we may have a preference based on our past experiences and day dreams of how it is going to be – and then whatever turns up we love it unconditionally anyway and get on with the job of learning what makes this little one tick. 🙂

    I have a preference for boy cats, based on 50 years experience with both sexes, I just find them to be more affectionate, friendly, out-going and intelligent. Having said that I have known one female who fitted that bill too:-)

    My current journey is moving me more towards adopting a dog again and I would like to find an older female. The only reason I can think of for this choice is that having shared my life with both male and female dogs over the years, my strongest bonds were made with girls. And Orlando is a spoiled boy, it might be nice for him to have an older female to train up in his service. He seems to have done quite well with me 🙂

    I’m loving your posts and musings about the new pup – it is certainly helpful on my current journey!

  17. Kim S. (nerdgrl) says:

    My husband had never had a dog, and the few (two) we had when I was growing up were both female (doberman and mini schnauzer). We’re also a one dog at a time kind of family. My daddy’s always had females and now so do/have my sister and brother. All different breeds: labs, English spaniels, corgis, mini schnauzers, dobermans. I think it’s kinda like “paigeandspaniels” mom: leg lifting (and according to MY mom, leg humping) is just not appealing. My husband also said that as long as we weren’t going to have kids, we were going to have a little girl dog so he could spoil her as he would a daughter. Logical or not, there you have it.

  18. There are a lot of myths surrounding male guinea pigs but none of them put Mummy off getting us and now they seem to have pretty much all been proved false. There is no right or wrong, no better gender. It’s all personal preference ^_^

    Nacho, Noah, Buddy & Basil

  19. Oskar the Samoyed picked me. There were 9 puppies in the litter and he ran everyone else down to come claim me. We were inseparable from that day until he passed in 2009. Mazie is my “pound” puppy Lab and I fell in love with her at first sight. Abbe and Anne are ‘throw away’ Chinese Crested Powder Puffs, but I would have had to say no if they were boys. Crested are a ‘primitive’ breed and extremely hard to potty train as males. Many never train. I know many Crested owners who’s males have to wear ‘belly bands’ which are male diapers because they can’t keep them from lifting their legs. So for me, if it is a dog it is a variety of reason. Now cats, I am a fan of male cats. I have had both. I seem to bond best with males so my last four have been males and they have all been wonderful.
    Marty’s Mom

  20. There are people who will tell you that you should never have two dogs of the same sex and I disagree. As long as everyone’s personality meshes up ok and you are all in total puppy love then it shouldn’t matter!

  21. Seven years ago I knew I wanted two kittens and one had to be male as I wanted to call him Henry as my childhood cat was called Henry and loved the idea of Henry the second. When I arrived at the shelter my baby 8 week old Henry was a tiny ball in a cage with Oscar who was three months. They were not the most attractive kittens and can see against the beautiful long hairs and silver tabbies etc these boys was the last choice for those choosing on the day. To me I knew straight away I had to have them both as I fell in love straight away (bonus was Henry was called Henry and Oscar was called Engine Joe as he was found in car engine – note I soon changed his name :-)). As I was paying up (donation of £60 for each cat/kitten required) Oscar was playing with Archie in the next cage and I knew they had a special bond and instantly looked at Craig and we both agreed the old boy can teach these kids a thing or two. Eko will be happy with whoever comes to join the Will & Eko adventures 🙂

  22. I was convinced that my next pet would be a girl. But then Oscar came along and I just couldn’t resist him, smelly boy germs and all! I think this has made realise that it should be about the animal that you choose to adopt, not just silly stuff such as whether they’re a boy or a girl, or whether they can see or not. I say shake it up, have fun, and remember that a pet is for life and it is your duty to care for them and love them as much as is humanly possible!

  23. ThatJenK says:

    In the cases of both Moses and Alma, we didn’t specifically choose. Geting Moses from a breeder, it depended upon how big the litter was (we were third, so we were hoping it was at least 3… turned out to be 8, so no worries there), and then the breeder recommendations. Since we were willing to go into co-ownership and try the dog show thing (ended up not liking it and they agreed to let us get him neutered and end the co-ownership), they picked a male for us. No complaints there!
    Then, for Alma, all we knew was we wanted a rescue, and she turned up.
    But if either had ended up being the opposite sex, we wouldn’t have been bothered.

    When I was doing my post on dogs and gender a couple weeks ago, I looked for research corroborating the common presumptions about a dog’s sex (e.g., 2 females don’t get along as well; female dogs are more stubborn; male dogs are more loyal, etc). Popular things for people to say, for sure (at lot based on anecotes and case studies of 1), but I could not find one study to back them up. When tested, it definitely comes down to individual dogs and their training/socialization. Makes sense.

  24. We just wanted two to keep each other company, didn’t matter what sex. Got a brother and sister. They’re like an old, married couple now and not very interested in other dogs, which is a shame. We find that girls can be more clever, if sly 😉

  25. Mags Corner says:

    All of the dogs I have had but 3 came to me through various ways. The ones that I specifically went to adopt I more or less let them choose me. I never really ever thought about one sex over the other. Hugs and nose kisses

  26. Little brothers are a pain in butt! Just sayin…

  27. I agree that personality is most important. My chou, Grizzley, is a male that suffers from fear aggression. I knew that another dog would be a great addition but my fear was they would hate each other. After much deliberation, I settled on a girl since he is a major alpha. Mia, who is a husky, and Grizz are attached at the hip and she does a wonderful job of keeping him entertained. The first month he had bags under his eyes! Good luck on your puppy search!

  28. Fluffy Tufts says:

    I set out to get a girl for my first dog, and came home with a boy! The next two are boys too, and finally, we got Pippa, a female. They are all wonderful in different ways 🙂

  29. Pet Hedgehog says:

    I think you should choose a pet base on your personality, because when you have a pet you’ll be feeding off each others energy and do lots of activities together. It’s very important that you and your pet would get along just like your human friends.

  30. a dog’s a dog! 😉

  31. Jorie says:

    Love this post, Will! I’m catching up a bunch of reading today, so I’m a bit late to the party. I think your reasoning is totally solid and if and when I add another pup to the mix, I think I’d get a male for the same reason: the novelty and to balance it out! Thanks for the shout out 🙂

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