A German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds in the whole of America. You’ve probably seen them on your morning walk, your evening run, or playing in the dog park on a Sunday afternoon.
As a result of their many personality traits, they are suited for herding, as service dogs, and for police work, whilst also being a great house pet. And since you’re so familiar with the breed, you’ve now decided you want one to become part of your own family.
But now comes the most important question, should you get a male or female dog? Generally, males are more dominant and like to protect their territory more than females, whilst also being more protective of the home.
Whereas females are protective of individual family members and are usually a little easier to train. This means there are additional benefits to owning either a male or female German Shepherd and luckily we’ve written this article to tell you a little more about them along with behavioral differences, physical characteristics, social skills, and every other factor you might want to consider before making a decision.
So keep reading and you’ll be bringing your new furry friend home in no time.
What Are Their Physical Characteristics?
Male German Shepherds are larger than females, weighing around 66-88 pounds, and their height at the withers measures around 25 inches. Females are usually between 49-71 pounds and are around 2 inches shorter at the withers.
However although lighter, they are also leaner and have less of a stocky build. When it comes to the length of their coat, they both have coats that are medium-length and there are actually four different coat lengths.
- Stock Coat: This is short hair that stays flat against the animal’s body.
- Plush Coat: This usually means the dog has a much longer and much fuller coat.
- Long Stock Coat: This is a long coat with a fringe and an undercoat. The undercoat thins out during the summer and grows back again in the winter.
- Long Hair Coat: Long Hair Coat German Shepherds are in high demand because of their unique appearance. If you ever stumble on a long hair coated German Shepherd, you’ll know about it.
Stock, plush and long stock coats are otherwise known as double coats. This simply means that they have a top dense layer of hair and a thick undercoat. Long hair coats however have a single coat of hair which is caused by a recessive gene and makes the dog a rare find.
What Are The Behavioral Differences?
Each dog behaves differently and how they behave depends on several factors, including whether they are male or female. Male dogs for example are more prone to aggression and will always be territorial.
Female dogs, as we previously mentioned are easier to train and tend to be more sensitive. Females also try hard to protect their human pack, which in this case would be your family.
What Is The Difference In Temperament?
When buying a German Shepherd, just as if you were to buy any other breed of dog, training matters more than the sex when it comes to determining their temperament.
If you bring your puppy home and they are shy and reserved, it is your responsibility to train them to gain confidence in socializing. Whereas if you bring them home and they become aggressive or too territorial and you cannot control this on your own, don’t be afraid to ask for professional help.
This does not have to be forever and does not have to be expensive, but it may be worthwhile in the long term to reach out for help, especially if you have never owned a dog before.
Many professional trainers can increase your confidence whilst working with your new dog and many pet shops or dog clubs also offer group handling classes.
While German Shepherds are very trainable, if they can detect you are not confident in your training and struggle to remain calm, they may end up not listening to you at all so it is always best to ask for help or do some more research when you feel you need it.
How Do Males And Females Socialize Differently?
The last thing you want to do when you bring your new puppy home is put your child in danger. Luckily, both males and females are generally child-friendly, but there are still a few things to keep in mind.
Male German Shepherds may play a little too rough for some children, despite them meaning no harm and so you might have to pay more attention to training your new male puppy than you would a female, to be gentle around children.
Female German Shepherds however aim to bond with family members and it is in their nature to be close to children. In summary, males like to play with children and females like to comfort, meaning both sexes are perfect family dogs with the right training.
German Shepherds generally get along with other dogs well. However, how well they get along depends on how well they have been socialized.
A German Shepherd must be socialized from a very early age, ideally when the pup is still in the care of his mother and surrounded by siblings. However, regardless of how they are socialized, you might find yourself at some point with a female who does not want to behave around another dog.
This might occur if another dog is in ‘her’ household as they are often protective over their families. This might make the female jealous more than it might make a male jealous and might lead to forms of aggression.
However, this still depends on natural temperament and tolerance. No amount of training will fix this jealousy, as being protective over family is a personality trait, meaning it might be something worth considering before purchasing a female German Shepherd, especially if you have another dog in the family.
Do Males Or Females Live Longer?
It’s well known larger dogs have a shorter life than smaller dogs and as a larger breed, German Shepherds are already at a disadvantage. Within the breed itself, males tend to have a shorter lifespan than females.
This was based on a study on the mortality of German Shepherds, which took into account the lifespan of 272 different German Shepherds.
The median lifespan for a female was 11.1 years, whereas males on average lived just 9.7 years. The study also found that whether the dog was neutered or not made no difference.
We hope by reading this article you’re now at a place where you can make an informed decision on whether to get a male or female German Shepherd.
If this is your first dog, we would always recommend a female simply because of their calm nature and how easy they are to train, whereas if you have prior dog-owning experience, don’t be afraid to opt for a male German Shepherd but bear in mind they are more dominant and like to test their owners, so make sure you feel comfortable with this first.
Talk to your vet, to other German Shepherd owners, to breeders, and do your research before bringing one into your home. We promise it will make the process a lot easier.
Don’t rush your decision and take your time to train your new dog properly. With patience, diligence and love, they’ll be part of the family sooner than you can imagine.