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Sugar and Spice and All Things Nice, That’s What Girls are Made Of

Posted on 11/04/09 17 Comments

What fun this topic has been. Thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts. Some have been hysterical! As far as performance in the ring goes, there have been some great male dogs and some great females all around the world in agility.  I think generally speaking the girls are quicker but the boys are faster.  The boys, by way of structure, are more powerful (except of course my butchy girl Feature, built like a boy, thinks like a girl:)). So if you have a wide open course, the edge may go to the males but in a twisty, turning course where quickness counts the girls may get the edge. Again all of these are gross generalities so don’t count them as gospel. 

To clear up any confusion, I never said I thought males are stupid, far from it, Buzz is amazingly smart and was always very quick to learn anything (his enthusiasm sometimes got in the way of his mechanics but that is another story).  Within each breed you may find more clever dogs of both male and female but here is the thing; if you are crazy-in-love with the dog no one (not even you) would ever realized if he isn’t quick as a whip. As I said before, it comes down to what you like, once you know what you like you will have more success training “it”.

I know many people out there that just don’t care, male vs female, they are happy to take either. I know if I bred Feature and she has only males, I will be owning a boy-dog, and it will be a great dog because I will believe in his potential and work hard to make him great (which won’t be hard if he is a puppy from Feature:)).  I really think the differences between males and females are more perceived. But my perception is my reality and in my reality I prefer to train female dogs (I do prefer to train male horses though).

Some people think females are sulky, moody, stubborn, bitchy. I don’t find that at all. I will give you that they are a bit of control freaks.  At one time I owned 5 females, three of them where Jack Russell Terriers, (the other two Border Collies) all living loose in our home, without any segregation.  Although we may have had the odd squabble when one dog was aging the other ready to “take over,”  they were few and far between and none were major enough to require vet care. All comes down to training and where you focus your attention. 

Here are some comments from my friend and 4 time USA World Team Member (Silver medalist) Ann Braue.

Ann's Scream 2008 USA FCI team member.
Ann's Scream, 2008 USA FCI team member.

For all the reasons Susan loves her female dogs I love my boys. Mark and I have owned 7 dogs: 3 female and 4 male so I have experience with both. And of course Spree (3 time AKC / USA WT member, AKC representative at Crufts, and 4 time USDAA World Agility Champion) is a female who has accomplished quite a bit! So, for all of our personal biases and preferences it probably doesn‘t really matter.  Assuming good structure go with the puppy that your heart falls in love with!  


But having said that here’s what I love about my boys………. My boys are very pushy.  Sometimes this pushiness is tiring but most of the time I find it humorous! They just can’t seem to help themselves – maybe THIS time mom will let me get away with breaking the rules!  They always have to test the limits which keeps me on my toes.  They have a silly streak.  My youngster can make ANY activity into a game.  I love the size, power, and masculine appearance of the boy dogs. 


Regarding boy dogs being “Rammy”.  Hmmmmmmmmmm………. Yes, my boys are pushy but they are NOT stupid!  If they run into a brick wall they do NOT do it twice……well, maybe twice but NOT 3 times!    Maybe it is something in the water in Wisconsin???  Are our boys smarter than elsewhere???  Seriously, my boys are quite sensitive and have a great sense of *conscience*….. They TRULY want to please!


And, let’s set the record straight regarding males marking inappropriately.  My boys have been intact until late in their life, and they do not mark inappropriately. I admit I keep a close eye on them especially early in their life so they realize marking in buildings etc is not ever going to be allowed.  I really, REALLY hate watching owners ALLOW their boy dogs to mark inappropriately but I blame the owner not the dog!  Dogs should never be allowed to pee on things people touch………ICK (and YES, this includes garbage cans!).  Finally, scheduling trials is also a LOT easier with a male as you don’t have to wonder if / when the dog is coming into season :).


So there you have it. The last two days should tell you it really doesn’t make any difference what gender of puppy you should select for sport, it all comes back to let your heart decide.

Today I am grateful for Ann taking the time out of her busy seminar schedule to chime in our our gender debate. Ann can can be reached through her website at www.abctc.com.  You can also see both of Ann’s outstanding male dogs by clicking on their individual links Scream’s page is

http://abctc.com/Scream.htm and Synergy’s is http://abctc.com/Synner.htm


Being that it is my blog, I do get the last word on this . . . girls rule, boys drool:)


  1. Sam says:
    Friday, October 26, 2012 at 11:48am

    Hmm, I feel the same way about horses vs dogs. I’ve always preferred geldings over mares, but I prefer female dogs. I don’t like how clingy my male is or how hard he was to housetrain. Also, his breed is one that is stocky to begin with and as a male his height to weight ratio is a little more than I would like for an agility dog. However, he is generally more reliable and predictable. The female is touchier, same-sex aggressive, and more likely to challenge the rules 🙂 She was easier to housetrain and is faster when figuring things out and shaping new behaviors.


  2. Laurie S. Coger, DVM,CVP says:
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 7:43am

    Intuitive — that’s exactly the word for the relationship with a dog you have raised from birth. Thanks Marilyn!


  3. Marilyn Spitz says:
    Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at 12:37pm

    I have had both boys and girls and although this time around I was looking for a girl, it was a little boy that just had to come along with me, so that was that.
    He is young, but is so smart and agreeable that I am confident that we are a good team. I had a brief problem with him marking inappropriately at 13 or 14 monthes, but he only had three or four mistakes and now at age 20 monthes knows the rules. Still, I watch him for a possible sneak manuever.

    My pervious dog was part of a litter whose Dam had an emergency C-section and subsequently died in surgury. The Vet handed me the pups and said go get some bottles. The dog that I kept from that litter lived by my side for 14yrs in a relationship that was more connected and intuitive than any I have ever known.


  4. Julie says:
    Monday, November 9, 2009 at 9:41pm

    I have always had females, except growing up as a kid where my parents had an intact male. He was a border collie left to his own devices: bad, bad bad, but that was the owners fault. I prefer females and own labs. My female LOVES to work and LOVES to run agility, rally, and tracking. She will do whatever and does it all well! However I do have another female that is not so movitivated, but still very smart and easy to train. Love my girls. Great reading and love the different points of view.


  5. Laurie S. Coger, DVM,CVP says:
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 3:02pm

    Great thoughts these past few days. To add another aspect, what about the pups that were born in your home? I think it adds another level to the relationship when they’re “born into your hands.” I have one dog, now 4, that I bred. He had a bit of a rocky start, and had to be tube fed and SQ fluided the first few days (after starting out as the biggest in the litter). It was inevitable that he would stay… There is a different quality to his relationship with me than with the rest of my group, who came to me at ages ranging from 7 weeks to 5 months — a “connectedness” that is beyond the “my dog” and training relationship that I have had with my other dogs, including his sire and dam. Anyone else have similar experiences?



  6. Andrea says:
    Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 12:39am

    Great topic. Before reading it here I just totally guessed that girls were so much cooler and smarter than boys. Now I have PROOF!
    We’re an Aussie family, but have trained BC’s. I have noticed less thick-headed/soft tendencies in BC boys versus Aussie boys. The BC’s have been sharp regardless of their gender. Never lived with one though…

    Thanks for the super fun topic.


  7. Deb says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 9:44pm

    I have a sex preference by breed. I own Golden Retrievers and herding dogs and train all of them in agility, obedience and tracking. I prefer female Goldens and male herding dogs. No more girl herding dogs for me! My female Goldens want to be my partners, but my female herding dogs have wanted to rule the world. I like my boy herding dogs. Very sweet and great working dogs.


  8. Rosanne D says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 8:50pm

    I’ve got a female who’d run through 6 brick walls and then wonder why I was upset, and a male who’d never do it in the first place. My current dogs are all quiet different and I can’t really draw lines according to gender as the girls are very different from each other. The male is the hardest mentally, but one of the girls is completely lacking in self-preservation physically.

    I think there is less difference between genders in border collies than there are in some breeds. I choose based on structure and which pup I just like intuitively. I think i may get along better with females, but like the non-seasonal-ness of males.

    My dangly-bits-intact male usually keeps his tail down so the view is usually modest except when he sleeps upside down.


  9. Janice in GA says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 6:16pm

    We currently have two male Australian Shepherds, and haven’t had a bitch in the house for several years now.

    I miss my bitches. When my oldest boy, Bouncer, passes, I’m definitely getting a girl. My boys are darlings, but I think you’re right in saying the gals have a little bit of an edge. Or edginess. 🙂 That can be a good OR a bad thing, depending on your point of view.

    Me? I like it.


  10. Tori Self says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 5:51pm

    LOVE this topic. Was too fun to read everyone’s responses. I grew up with only male dogs until I got my youngest about two years ago. She’s the only girl of the household and was quite different to train and work with as she came into adulthood. I could go on and say she was *so* much smarter than my boys and now knows far more tricks/commands and even has better manners than the three males (which is all true ;). However, that would be an unfair assessment as she is the first dog I have ever played free shaping games with and who has been trained with all positive reinforcement. So, while my boys seem a bit thick in the head ;), I’m still holding out that it was all ME and not them ;).

    (I will add though, I’m pretty sure two of my three boys, if told to run into a brick wall, would do it more than three times 😉 Rev would look at me like I was crazy;)


  11. Michele A says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 3:35pm

    I have only owned 3 males in the last 35 yrs. since I started out in dogs, the rest have always been females, I am on that 3rd male now who is only 6 months old but the breeding bug has already seized his mind, my poor cat seems to be his target right now since my 3 spayed female dogs are alpha over him and he knows he will get into big trouble trying to touch one of them…..I now realized why I did not want another male dog, he will be shown in confirmation and once he is finished those little gonads are going to be GONE.
    I also think my females have always been edgier than my males, they seem to not be as soft…I think they have all learned agility at the same rate but the females could redo a mistake on course whereas my male would shut down….he was a tough as nails Border Terror outside the ring but would turn to mush inside the ring.


  12. Eeva says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 1:49pm

    I’ve enjoyed these stories and facts of life, having more or less scientific base 🙂 Having experience of two males only, I’m not qualified to have an opinion. Except that mine are best of all 🙂 Far from perfect though!


  13. Sam says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 12:25pm

    Love the last few posts 🙂

    I have 5 that are mine (and hubby has a few of his own) Ive got 3 boys and 2 girls, and I prefer my boys but then I adore my girlies (who are much more spoilt and get away with alot more than the boys). I find my boys to be much better bonded with me, they love their cuddles, will happily share cuddles/mommy, seem alot more easy going and don’t seem to get in a grump, the girls tend to hate sharing mommy and demand cuddles all to themselves! The girls also seem to be very easy to offend 🙂 my oldest girl will sulk if she isn’t first to be trained or if she is caged with anyone other than one perticular boy (she has me VERY well trained!).

    I don’t tend to choose on sex – all of my boys were meant to be girls but for some reason or another I ended up with a boy, one of the girls we bred and she was never meant to stay, the other was a foster who was never meant to stay 🙂

    Hubby prefers girls though, strangly most men I know prefer bitches over dogs.

    I wonder if perhaps people who prefer bitches find it easier to form friendships with women and people who prefer dogs get on better with men?


  14. Ash says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 12:10pm

    Are moods with a female dog really a problem if they are spayed? I wouldn’t think so. A male dog will retain his “dangle-y” bit even if he was neutered, so I suppose I’m kind of partial to spayed female dogs.


  15. Sam says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 10:44am

    Have really enjoyed this topic! Even got my husband laughing out loud at your blog after reading some of it to him.
    I grew up with just boys but after my first girl there is just no way another boy is coming into the house (unless ofcourse there is a boy that tells me otherwise sometime in the future). I just love the girlyness and the way they work.
    By the way my boys never ever marked inappropriately as I kept an eye on them and they learnt that they were not supposed to. However dogs that come onto the training field have owners with them that do not seem to notice when their dog is going to mark……it is an owner thing, not anything to do particularly with the boys I agree with Ann.


  16. Nancy Walker says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 9:31am

    It must be the curl in the middle of her forhead becuase when she is good she is very, very good but when she is bad she is horrid!

    That’s my girl!


  17. Jan V says:
    Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 8:49am

    Very fun reading the past two days. You are hilarious… might just have well said “ding dong, you’re wrong”. LMAO


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