Is it better to get a male or a female German Shepherd?
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? In summary; Males are more territorial (protective of their property) , Females more pack protective (protective of their family). Females are typically less stubborn and more vocal but both make wonderful family dogs.
The main 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! .........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 with a quick hi.....then they go off to check out their property. 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 greet you with more 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 are 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!". They love lots of attention and love. Females often show jealousy toward people and other animals (also referred to as resource guarding). It is for this reason many rescues will not adopt out a female to a home that already has a female dog in it.
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 spend a great deal of time with our puppies so that we know what kind of home and family they would best be suited for. It really comes down to your lifestyle, ability to train and provide a structured environment. You MUST set boundaries with Male or Female!
So, with that said.......
The Male German Shepherd:
Least important, the males are larger in size and more masculine in structure - larger head, broader, thicker. Typically 85-95lbs for the standard.
Males typically bond to one person. Usually the one that feeds and trains them, provides the structure and leadership.
They are generally more territorial of their home and property as opposed to their family.
Males tend to be more independent. (Shepherds are naturally dependant - but males will wander farther from their pack.
They can become quite dominant if not raised with a strong pack structure BOUNDARIES & consistency in training and discipline. Males need more socialization with other dogs at a young age to avoid adolescent aggression (aka Fear Aggression). You MUST heavily socialize your puppy, Male or Female!
Some of the Information on this page is provided by Sheryle Thompson, DVM, Sequoyah Shepherds