Male dogs are more aggressive than females – fact or fiction?

Jan 4, 2023

Aggression is not exactly a sought after trait when thinking about choosing the right dog for your family, nor is it something most dog owners want to deal with regularly in their fur companion. But can this be managed by making a choice of one sex over another? Do gender based stereotypes of the aggressive alpha male from Mars versus the gentle nurturing female from Venus apply when it comes to dogs? Every dog is unique, and their personalities and behaviours are most influenced by genetics, their environment and how they are raised. However, gender may be a statistical predictor of aggression that can be worth noting.

Both female and male dogs can display what we might interpret as aggression. Aggressive behaviours in dogs commonly include threat displays such as a hard stare, growling, barking, snarling, lunging, snapping, and/or biting. These behaviours can also be seen at other times, but the combination is usually the key to identifying the behaviours as aggressive. For example, dogs can growl while being playful, but usually wont also snarl and snap at the same time. Aggression can be a normal form of communication in dogs, yet the display of aggression toward a person or animal is often considered undesirable or problematic.

If you are considering getting a dog, it is usually recommended that you make a list of desirable traits you want to see in your new family member to ensure your new addition will work well with your individual situation and lifestyle. Your preferences might steer you towards certain breeds, or even towards a particular sex of dog, as gender based health risks can vary within breeds also. When it comes to mitigating aggressive behaviours, choice of gender won’t necessarily be a strong indicator.

In fact, the incidence of aggression in female and male neutered dogs is about the same. Importantly, a difference can occur in male dogs who have not been neutered. “Intact” male dogs can show more aggressive behaviours than their neutered and female counterparts. This is thought to be due to an increase in competitive tendency, which, if not managed well as a puppy, can result in increased displays of aggression as they mature. This is not to say that all “ïntact” males will be aggressive!

So, the management of aggression is more in the hands of the pet owner than the dog themselves, with socialisation, training, environmental enrichment and neutering being part of the optimal strategy to minimise aggression in your male dog. Additional health benefits of neutering include prolonging its life span, reducing risk of prostate disease and eliminating the risk of testicular cancer. The laparoscopic desexing experts at Vetmed ensure the neutering process is a simple and painless one for your male pup, and can give you all the information you need to make the best choice for you and your family.Great training and socialisation habits will also go a long way to minimising the risk of aggressive behaviour in any dog. Professional puppy preschool is the ideal way to ensure your male pup understands their world and what behaviours are appropriate amongst other dogs and humans. Our 4 week program at VetMed is conducted by fully qualified Delta Dog Trainers –the best Sydney has to offer – so you get the best start to your new life with your pup.

So, the good news is that regardless of whether your dog is male or female, any dog can grow up to be the wonderfully obedient and attentive furry companions that you hope them to be. And don’t worry, Vetmed can support you with everything you need to provide the best training and care to have the relationship you aspire to with your dog. Contact our team today.