Do Dogs Prefer A Certain Gender?

Whether or not dogs are more attracted to one gender can’t be objectively answered because all dogs and people are different. But, dogs generally tend to be more attracted to a specific set of behaviors that are exhibited mostly by adult women. It’s not that dogs are exclusively attracted to female adults. It’s that dogs like particular things adult females do. Dogs like women’s softer voices and smaller figures. They may be intimidated by a man’s larger frame, deeper voice, and facial hair. Most veterinarians and primary caregivers are female, meaning dogs are more frequently exposed to women throughout their lives.


Why female adults? The preference for older women over younger females is largely in part due to the differences in behaviors. Dogs, with little experience with kids, feel scared and threatened around children. Small children like to jump, grab tails, touch faces, steal toys, etc. Dogs (without previous experience) are terrified of children’s loud environments and spontaneous behaviors so it’s crucial that fido and baby socialize in order for both to adjust. The calmer the better.


But, dogs don’t pick who they like solely based on these individual characteristics. Your association with a dog plays just as a significant role. For example, your pup’s groomer has a soothing, light voice and has very relaxed mannerisms. Even though the groomer exhibits ideal qualities, they may not ever be friends. This is because your pup associates the groomer with things it hates, like being bathed and shaved. Because your dog despises the grooming experience, your dog will never like the groomer. On the contrary, if a dog associates you with positive experiences, it will take a liking to you, regardless of gender. The dog will remember that you’re associated with good experiences like receiving treats and playing outside. 


Another deciding factor in which gender your dog is attracted to is based on its early life experiences. For example, if a dog was raised by an abusive owner who happened to be a man, there’s a very high chance that it will remain fearful of all males. The same would be true if the abusive owner were to be female. Even after the dog is adopted by a loving family, the dog’s only memories of men are extremely negative and scary. This dog would then have issues connecting with men because these early life experiences significantly impact development and socialization skills. 


Of course, though, there are dogs that are attracted to behaviors mostly exhibited by men. The dog views the man’s larger frame and deeper voice as powerful and therefore puts forth an effort to show respect. To a dog, these qualities are exclusive to those in a position of authority and leadership. Men's playful tendency is compatible with that of an energetic and eager puppy. These tendencies also resonate with bigger dogs as well. A man’s larger body makes it easier to tolerate a larger dog’s strength and size. These types of dogs perceive greater strength as more attractive. If a female is the figure of authority, then the dog will view the woman in a similar light. Dogs prioritize a person’s traits and personality when selecting their alpha leader. We have to remember that dogs have personalities too and are attracted to certain things. Whoever your dog more strongly resonates with is based on personality and association. 


What Do I Do Next?

If you suspect your dog “hates” men or women, don’t fret! This is highly unlikely, as your dog is probably just afraid of and unfamiliar with the other gender. It’s important to take immediate action. Dog to man socialization is a learned skill. Patience, consistency, and lots of positive reinforcement is key. Start by letting an individual of the same gender play with your dog to ensure comfort and negate fear. Once your dog progresses, start mixing the other gender into the picture. It’s okay if there’s a fido freak out…this is completely normal. Over time, with a maintained socialization regime, your dog will warm up to the other gender. And hey, more socialization for your pup means more socialization for you. Everyone wins. Your dog will learn to love and crave the presence of both men and women. It’s also important to be mindful of how you react to the other gender. Dogs pick up on our energy and learn from our actions. If you get anxious when you see or talk to the other gender, it’s possible your dog is learning these anxious behaviors from you. To a dog, your reactions stray from the norm and tells him, “Watch out! There’s something bad here!”