German Shepherds - Male vs. Female

A Veterinarian's Perspective


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Last updated 5/10/10

The Differences in the Male and the Female German Shepherds....

 

German Shepherd Males vs Females

People often ask me what are the differences between a male and a female German Shepherd?   Which one is better?  What is best for the first time owner?  What is best for a family with children?

I, personally, think that there are 2 main differences between the males and the females.  I use two difference scenarios to illustrate this point:

1)  Let's say that you have a husband and wife laying in bed.  The husband gets up at 3:00 in the morning, looks out the window, sees a car parked down at the end of the driveway.  His first response is going to be to look around, see if he sees anyone in the yard or at the front door, listen for movement in the house, etc.  Then, he may reach over into his bedside table, grab his gun, wake his wife up, and tell her to call the police.  After that, he is likely to go through the house, check on the kids, make sure he doesn't find anyone in the house, and then wait for the police. 

Now, let's say we reverse the roles - the wife gets up in the middle of the night, sees the car.  First things she does is "Honey!  Get up!  There is someone in the driveway!"  This doesn't have anything to do with the wife self confidence level.  She may be VERY self confident.  This is simply the way most females respond. 

The same is true for Shepherds.  The male shepherd might look at the window, see a car turning around in the driveway and do nothing more than a slight rumble in his throat.  The female shepherd will see the car start to pull in the driveway and immediately start barking.  This does not mean that the females are less secure, it is just how they tend to handle things.

For this reason, if I need an alarm dog, one that lets me know anytime something is going on, I would be more prone to get a female.  If I am sneaking a dog into a hotel room where dogs are not allowed, I would take a male.  (Not that I would do that of course....   ;-)  )

 

2)  The other difference that I see in males and females is in their social behavior.  Let's say that you have a husband and wife who are going to the airport meet their friends that they haven't seen since high school graduation.  The wife sees her friend and says "HEY GIRL!  How are you?!  You look great!  How long has it been? 8-9 years?  How are your kids?  They have to be 5 and 6 now aren't they?  Goodness how time flys!  How is your new job going?  Do you like it?  Ya'll just moved to Texas didn't you?  How do you like it there?.........blah, blah, blah........blah, blah,......."

The husband sees his friend and says "Hey Man, how ya doin'?  It has been awhile."

Now, to translate this to Shepherds -- The male Shepherd is generally lower keyed.  They greet you, they love attention, they come for petting and will continue to sit with you but when you say "That is enough", they generally will go find something to entertain themselves.  When you come in and sit down to watch TV, they come to get petted and then generally will go and sit down on their bed.

The female Shepherd will also greet you with excitement and enthusiasm and when you say "That's enough", instead of going over and laying down on their bed, they want to get up on the couch with you.  They seem to be more touchy-feely.  They are like a wife when you are trying to watch a championship football game.  "I missed you a whole bunch!  Let's talk!". 

Now, keep in mind though I think there are some general differences, it really comes down to individual personality and temperament AND how that temperament is developed in the new home environment.  We temperament test our puppies at 7 weeks and spend a great deal of time with them so that we know what kind of home and family they would best be suited for.

So, with that said.......

The Male German Shepherd:

  • Tends to be larger in size and more masculine in structure - larger head, broader, thicker.
  • The size and the masculinity of the male can be more intimidating to strangers.
  • They are generally more territorial of their home and property while the female tend to be more protective of their "people" instead of  their property.
  • They tend to be more independent (Shepherds are naturally dependant - unlike Huskies or Malamutes but males will wander farther from their pack resulting in people saying that they are "more likely to run-off" then females).
  • They can become quite dominant if not raised with a strong pack structure - a male raised without a pack might be more prone to fight.
  •  Can be more tolerant of other animals joining the pack (if the newcomer does not try to dominate).

The Female German Shepherd:

  • Tends to be smaller in size and more feminine in structure.
  • The smaller size can be of advantage in their agility.
  • They are generally more territorial of their "person" or "pack".
  • They tend to want to stay closer to their "pack" resulting in people saying that they are more dependant and "less likely to run off".
  • They tend to be more pack orientated and can have low tolerance for other animals around their pack.
  • They tend to be more protective of their "people" versus their property.

 

Sherle R. Thompson, DVM
Veterinarian and German Shepherd Breeder
Chattanooga, TN
 
Email: sequoyahgsd@aol.com
Phone:  (423)991-0979

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