Finding the Right Pup: Male vs. Female

Once you’ve found a healthy pedigree and visited the breeder, it’s time to decide between a male or female pup. At Red Rover we have 25 dogs in our kennel. Between training, feeding and maintenance, I spend around 50 hours per week with the dogs. As I plan to buy a pup this fall, I’ve been noting the differences between each group.

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Female Distribution
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Male Distribution

The good males are tough, driven machines. The bad ones are aggressive, distracted urine dispensers. The good males are very good and the bad males are very bad. If you get their energy going in the right direction, it’s incredible to see.

The females don’t seem to land on the extremes as often. They are sweet dogs that would make good family dogs.

In this post I’ll break down the differences in build, temperament and trainability. Don’t overthink it; the only mistake would be not to get a pup.


Depending on your lifestyle, size may or may not impact your decision. Within the same litter, males will grow bigger and stronger, which has pros and cons. A stronger dog will bulldoze through cattails and retrieve large birds more easily. However, you’ll have your hands full during training. When a 100-pound tank misbehaves, it’s a bit more of a nuisance than a 45-pound teddy bear.

A smaller dog fits in the truck and duck blind better as well. My brother Harrison’s breeder, a pheasant hunting guide in South Dakota, believes his smaller dogs have better stamina, although in deep snow and thick grass, long legs certainly help.


Males tend to do what you ask if they are listening. IF they are listening. First they’ll need to mark their territory, attempt to hump any females in the vicinity, and posture towards any males before trying to hump them as well. Once they’ve finished their routine, they’ll get to work.

While some males don’t have an aggressive bone in their body, I take it for granted that none of our females feel the need to walk through the kennel looking for a cage match. Our females are sweet, playful dogs, and the boys tend to act a bit more rowdy.


Females are a little less sure of themselves, and training can require more finesse and forethought. As for the males, most of them handle corrections well and a few even seem to enjoy it.

Female dogs have a reputation of being “smarter” in the sense they don’t resemble a 17-year-old that just snorted pre-workout, but if you correct one at the wrong time, it may take time for her to unlearn that lesson.

Males learn and mature a little slower which allows for more mistakes. The first-time trainer could benefit from a little more steady dog. While they will test your patience, a mistimed correction or overreaction is less likely to stick with a male as long.


In my opinion a female is a safe bet while a male is a bit more of a gamble. Though alpha females and sweetheart males do exist, the sex of the dog will increase the likelihood of certain behaviors. Check out our post on finding the right pup for more advice on pedigrees and selection. The genetics of the dogs will have the biggest impact on disposition. When it comes time to choose, I hope these insight help you feel confident in your selection.

Thank you for reading.


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