What do you look for when you decide to bring home a pet? Probably, unconditional love, affection, companionship and experiences you would cherish all your life….! Are all these qualities gender-specific? No, then why do people prefer male dogs as against females? This has been going on for ages…when it comes to breeding of dogs, then female pups are adopted, else males are the first choice. Why?
Most times, pet parents are reluctant to adopt a dog, just because she is a female. Dr Freya Javeri says, “Most people in India prefer to adopt male dogs due to various misconceptions. This is more pronounced in certain states.” Similar views are expressed by Dr Milind Hatekar, “In fact gender is a taboo in pet adoption; pet parents always tend to adopt a male since they feel that they are better and easier to maintain. Today, in our practice, we get 10 males to 1 female which clearly shows that males are more preferred pets. But the fact is it is a wrong mentality, which definitely needs to be changed.”
and breeders need to say about this issue.
Vishwa, a reputable breeder quips in, “It depends on the reason why a person wants to buy a dog. If it’s just to have company at home, then everyone buys a male pup. They only opt for a female pup, if they wish to breed. Generally male pups are costlier than female pups as the demand for male pups are more than female pups. But good bloodline female pups are costlier as the pups can get into dog shows.”
What the notions are?
Srikant of Pets and Pet Needs shares that pet parents tell him that they do not want female pups as they come in heat and it is difficult to manage her as they will dirty the place. Besides, the tension of stray dogs causing trouble cannot be ruled out as well. He also adds one needs to devote time, effort and money to take care of a pregnant dog and it is a big responsibility to find loving homes for the pups.
In fact, these problems are very superficial. “Education is must for all pet parents if they are first time pet parents, it improves the bond between the pet and removes taboos heard which are basically wrong information gathered. Proper management and advice from their veterinarians can help pet parents deal with heat cycles,” tells Dr Hatekar.
“Besides, the normal cycle of female dogs comes once in six months, which may last 18 to 20 days. Females may get pseudo-pregnant sometimes after the heat period is over and they may start lactating during this period,” says Dr Hatekar. But this is hardly an issue. Pet parents can spay their dogs i.e. remove ovaries and uterus if they don’t intend to breed them. “This will stop the biannual cycle and prevent the female from coming in heat. Spaying also reduces the chances of mammary tumours and females become better pets after sterilising,” he adds.
“The female may be spayed (sterilised) after reaching maturity (after one year of age). It is always preferable not to spay or neuter an immature dog. Alternatively, if the pet parent is careful whenever the female comes into season (every 6 months) not to allow her to come in contact with any male dog, they can avoid the risk of unwanted pregnancy,” adds Dr Javeri.
Why adopt a female pup…
Female dogs are more loving than the males and they are more emotional. “They are as good as males in guarding and they are excellent companions to children in the house. “They can be trained easily since they are more focused,” says Dr Hatekar.
Dr Freya Javeri adds that there are particularly no problems related to female dogs. “In fact females tend to be more affectionate and hence easier to train and better with children than male dogs. They are less likely to become dominant; hence there is a lower risk of dominant aggression in female dogs. Being more affectionate, they are easier to train and very good with young children and elderly family members. They will, however, perform the same duties as a male dog, like guarding the family and home. On the other hand, male dogs need more firm handling in order to discipline them. Male dogs are also more distracted whenever there is a female dog in season in the neighbourhood, which includes stray females, at which time they may try to run out to look for the female (and risk getting hit by cars), may stop eating for a few days, or become difficult to handle,” she shares.
Advice to pet parents…
While, Dr Javeri recommends female pups to pet parents who come to her clinic. “However, most of them still opt for a male dog. But, it is worth mentioning that, pet parents of pure-bred male dogs will always find it difficult to find a mate for their dog because not everyone with a female will want to breed from their dog, leaving a majority of male dogs without being bred throughout life,” she says. Vishwa Chaitanya, student of veterinary from Pondicherry, adds that pet parents who are knowledgeable about dogs may prefer female pups as they are more docile than males and are more obedient when compared to male dogs.
Next time, you are adopting a pet, look for the bundle of joy who steals your heart away… male or female – does it really matter?
(With inputs from Vidya Iyer, Hyderabad; Dr Milind Hatekar, Pune; and Dr Freya Javeri, Ahmedabad)