Male or Female Dogs – Which Makes a Better Pet?

 Potential adopters are invariably confronted with this question.  We have noticed a general preference for females and the reasons most often quoted are that females are more affectionate, less aggressive and, generally speaking, “easier.” Indeed, our “boys” take longer to be adopted and, on the average, stay longer with their fosters.

However, brief informal conversations with fosters (not just of beagles, but other breeds) yielded an interesting result.  Most fosters found the males to be easier! Why? Because they were just more easy-going, goofy and (yes!) affectionate.

Therefore, we have set out to debunk a few myths.

To set the record straight, we need only to look at the breed as such while keeping in mind that dogs have personalities and there are variations within a single breed. Those of us who have fostered dogs or have multiple dog households can attest to this.  Still, most individuals within a breed share many behavioral traits.

Beagles are pack animals by excellence - they do very well with other dogs and as well as humans. Aggression and territoriality would be highly undesirable traits because the idea behind the creation of the breed was to have a dog that will thrive in a pack, so those traits were largely bred out of them-- making the beagle a dog with a great need for companionship.  As a breed, beagles are friendly (terrible guard dogs…), outgoing and gentle (they make great therapy dogs), and are “equal opportunity love bugs” that give no preference to any member of the human pack.  These little hounds have a great temperament, and someone even said once that “every boy should have a beagle.”  We can add that so should every girl.  This holds true both for male and female beagles.

As a rule, therefore, the males will be affectionate, attention-seeking and very happy to be around their humans.  And yes, chances are they will climb into your lap and look lovingly in your eyes and give wet (and stinky) doggy kisses. Not all of them will do this, just as not all females will do this.  It is very individual and not at all associated with the dog’s sex.

We also have to keep in mind that many of the females in rescue were bred (some of them served only as puppy-producing machines). Because of this, they may be more protective, less pack-oriented and more distrustful.  Of course, this does not mean that they are all like this and that these traits cannot be overcome with time and patience on our part.  The “boys” are not burdened with this baggage.

As one of our fosters wrote: Between the home pack and the beagles we've come to know at the local dog park, we've seen no real correlation in beagle gender and dominance/aggression --- it all depends on the individual beagle.  One of our dog park beagle buddies, Bernie (male), is submissive and snuggly; another beagle-basset buddy, Reds (male), is dominant and more self-contained; and we've met female beagles who cover the spectrum --- submissive, dominant, snuggly, aloof.

One other issue was brought to our attention, namely the male dog’s so-called “ewww factor” that has to do with anatomy.  Huh?  Come on, let’s grow up and step away from Disneyesque animals with no genitalia and rectums (which we all see when we walk them). We’re dealing here with real animals. 

The only thing we can say is – give the guys a chance!  They’re wonderful companions.

~Ewa Rurarz-Huygens