8. Male vs. Female Guard Dogs - The Gender Factor
As with human beings, guard dogs may differ in their temperaments according to their gender. Also, they may have different health care needs, attention requirements, and vastly different personalities than their gender opposites. This is true for all dogs, whether they are trained for companion purposes or for work purposes.
The guard dog owner is usually more concerned with areas that may affect a dog’s guardianship abilities. When selecting a guard dog, potential owners are looking for intelligence, adaptability, obedience, and strength levels. But what about gender? When it comes to choosing between either a male or a female guard dog, keep the following comparisons in mind:
- level of aggressiveness
- reproductive tendencies and their associated problems
- territory/roaming problems
- obedience levels
Level of Aggression
Aggression with a guard dog can be either a benefit or a problem, depending on the level of training and control involved. In general, female dogs tend to be easier to control in this area.
They are very protective naturally, due partly to their maternal instincts, and therefore will have no difficulties in guarding their master’s home. They also tend to have a level of aggression that is easily mastered by a professional, and they may be a bit easier to call off should they decide to attack a predator, intruder, or other animal. This is a benefit for those looking for a good family dog in addition to a household protector.
Another plus is the fact that a female guard dog may be easier to calm down should she misidentify a predator. They are also generally less aggressive toward strangers and other animals that are not immediately presenting a threat, making them more desirable for those living in heavily populated neighborhoods.
Male dogs tend to have less controllable levels of aggression. Not only are they stronger and quicker to act against a potential intruder, they also have reason to be aggressive at all times due to their territorial instincts (as opposed to females, who are usually overly aggressive only when they have a litter of puppies to defend).
Should you decide to select a male guard dog, it may be best to have him neutered, as this usually calms males into less confrontational animals without destroying their wish to defend their homes.
Reproductive Tendencies and Their Associated Problems
Both genders tend to have very strong reproductive behaviors. Owners with guard dogs are especially at risk when their dogs become completely distracted while in heat or around another dog in heat. Common problems that both genders share may include:
- distracted behavior
- lower obedience levels
Both males and females tend to roam, either while in heat or if a neighboring dog is in heat. Males can sense when a female that is relatively nearby is in heat, and females will roam in search of available males.
Essentially, whether it’s your dog or not, any female being in heat can pose a problem for the entire neighborhood. Both also tend to become distracted and to have lower obedience levels during these times, as they are likely to be more concerned with their reproductive duties than with obeying a master who is likely to prevent them from doing what they wish.
The best way to avoid these problems is to simply have your guard dog spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Once again, females guard dogs generally have the upper hand in this category. As stated before, male dogs are roamers. They are constantly searching for a female in heat if they are not neutered, and they can be willing to put forth quite an effort to leave their yards to be able to do so, despite any fences or other obstacles.
Also, they tend to have a territorial instinct that surpasses that of females. Depending on the breed, they may exhibit more aggressive behavior toward pedestrians, cars, and other animals than their female counterparts in an effort to defend their territories, which, to them, may include more than just your back yard.
Female guard dogs tend to be less territorial, staying near the home when not in heat and being less aggressive toward other animals and pedestrians. While this is not true for all females, they certainly do have a better reputation when it comes to territorial fighting and aggression.
Roaming is usually a problem only for females in heat, and those who roam when not in heat are often easier to correct and train out of the problem than male guard dogs.
All guard dog owners know just how important a dog’s level of obedience is to their effectiveness as a guardian. Without the proper training, a guard dog can be very difficult to control, and even more difficult to call off should they attack an innocent person or animal.
As long as the correct breed has been chosen, the gender differences associated with obedience in guard dogs should not cause enough of a problem to deter a potential owner from selecting one or the other.
Again, female guard dogs are still more obedient than male guard dogs for the most part. They tend to have better attention spans, and are usually more determined to please their owners. Also, female guard dogs may mature faster than males of the same age.
Therefore, they may be able to receive training commands and instructions from a professional at an earlier age (meaning they will be able to guard you and your home even sooner). However, males are also eager to please their masters, albeit they may not be quite as quick to catch on to training methods in some cases.
Even highly intelligent male guard dog breeds can become more easily distracted than females. They tend to be more playful and less guarded, making them great companions but difficult pupils.
So Which Gender is Better for Guard Dog Work?
Selecting a guard dog should come down to several vital factors. These factors may or may not be dependent upon a dog’s gender. Some of these include:
- potential for loyalty
Obviously, these major factors are not completely altered by a dog’s gender. In general, male guard dogs are most likely best for those looking for a pet that is a bit more defensive and aggressive.
While still aggressive, females are probably best for first time guard dog owners looking for an easier pet to train.