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Male VS Female

Male VS Female Chihuahuas

How to choose!?

Photo courtesy of Candy O' Farm Chihuahuas
Overview

You may find yourself wondering which puppy is better, a male or a female Chihuahua. Will either gender be more outgoing or friendly than the other? Are there marked differences in behavior, temperament and easability of training? 

Others may wonder about the differences between male and female Chihuahuas if they currently own a Chi and are thinking about bringing another into the household.

This section will discuss:
  • The main differences between the two genders 
  • Setting the facts straight regarding gender related behavior and temperament 
  • Things to think about if adding a second dog to your family
Main Differences Between Male and Female Chihuahuas

The most common issues or behavioral elements that will affect either gender are directly related to whether or not the puppy or dog is spayed or neutered.

Males -

Dogs that are not Neutered may Display the Following Characteristics:

Dominant personality - He may challenge his human's leadership. This often manifests by having low tolerance to having his food and toys touched, not listening to commands and general lack of respect. Owners will need to work harder to establish proper hierarchy in the house.

Marking - Marking (spraying just a bit of urine) to claim areas of the house is rather common for un-fixed male Chihuahuas.

Urges to Run - Intact males often have high and uncontrollable hormonal urges to chase after a female in heat. Owners won't even be aware of the other dog most of the time; she can be up to 3 miles away. Not only that, just the scent of her urine - even if she has been taken back inside - triggers an intact male's urge to find her. 

For this reason, male Chihuahuas will be more apt to try and escape on a quest to find a female. You won't see this behavior with very young puppies; it begins when the dog enters into puberty. A male Chihuahua enters puberty between the ages of 4 and 7 months. Therefore, this sort of behavior often begins shortly after this age.

Humping - Many first time owners are surprised to learn that even super young puppies may hump and it has nothing to do with mating urges. In addition, females may hump other dogs or inanimate objects just as a male can. With this said, it is true that intact male Chihuahuas will hump much more than their female counterparts.
Health Issues That Affect Male Chihuahuas

Though rare, there ere are some issues that only affect males including:

Cryptorchidism - This is the medical term for undescended testicle which can be quite a severe health issue. Both testicles should be dropped by the age of 7 months. If one or both is retained inside the body, it can lead to a higher risk of cancer, torsion - which can be fatal, and a higher rate of behavioral problems that are due to increased levels of testosterone.

Prostate cancer - This disease accounts for 0.67% of all reported cancers in canines. It can spread to the dog's bones, lymph nodes and/or lungs. Having a male fixed lowers the risk of this.

Females

Dogs that are not spayed often display the following characteristics:

Mood swings - Sometimes this will be mild and during other heats it will be more severe, however just about all female dogs do show some changes in behavior when they enter the heat cycle. 

This is due to hormone levels rapidly rising and falling. With most female Chihuahuas, this is nothing to be over concerned about though it does affect the vibe of the house.

A female may become withdrawn, anxious or have less tolerance than normal. In households with children, it should be discussed that during this time the puppy or dog may not be as playful as usual and may need to be left alone to rest.

Health Issues / Elements That Affect Female Chihuahuas

Mammary cancer - When you look at all un-spayed female dogs, 26% will develop a mammary tumor.
Ovarian cysts and tumors - This is not very common, however it can affect females and the risk increases if she is not fixed.  

Heat related discharge - While toy sized breeds do not have a lot of discharge compared to some larger breeds, there is often a fair enough amount that it is recommended to use a canine diaper. Even if you do not see anything, there will be faint smears that over time will add up.

If the bedding has not been washed, you'll notice brown stains that accumulate. Using a canine diaper will help keep things tidy and she should be given a bath once she comes out of season.

Hormonal related shedding - This breed itself is considered to have moderate shedding. Female Chihuahuas will shed more than males IF they are not spayed. The heat cycle triggers a shed; this is often referred to as 'blowing the coat'. Also, when a female delivers a litter, she will have a heavy shed.

Being the target of interested males - If you do not have your female spayed, she is at risk every time she is taken outside when in heat. Males will smell her from up to 3 miles away. 

Additionally, when she urinates, she will leave trace amounts of blood. Roaming males will fixate on that and can actually wait nearby for her to return. 

Always keep her on leash, close to you and keep an eye out for dogs that may be in the area. During this time, it is best to avoid very public places such as dog parks. Finally the element of 'interest' can, of course, result in pregnancy. Handling this is a huge responsibility.

Behavioral and Temperament Difference Between Male and Female Chihuahuas

You will hear a lot of people say that male are more aggressive and some will insist that females bark more. Then, you'll hear others say just the opposite!

The truth is that each dog is an individual. Dogs behave the way that they do based on several factors:

1) First life lessons instilled by the breeder - Handling a newborn during the first few weeks and socializing him or her from a young age up until he or she is ready to go to a new home sets the foundation for a dog's temperament.

2) Genetics - Can an aggressive, biting and unfriendly puppy come from relaxed and easy going parents? Yes! However , a dog's demeanor is influenced by genetics. When people talk about 'temperament' this is the canine equivalent of human personality. And like personality, it is created by a combination of nature and nurture.

Chihuahuas will act the way that they do based on genetic factors and just as importantly - how they are raised. This leads us to #3…

3) How the dog is raised - To ask which gender is better, male or female Chihuahuas is a trick question since either will excel and be a well behaved dog if he or she is not carrying aggressive genes AND if the dog is raised in a loving home in which boundaries are set and all care needs are given in the proper way.

This breed needs to be socialized to people, other dogs, cats and all element of the world including cars, noises and more.

Those who insist that males are shy and females are more outgoing may have had a male (or two) that happened to be shy and in need of training to gain self-confidence. 

Those that say females are more anxious may have happened to have a female Chihuahua that suffered with separation anxiety and was in need of training for that. Either gender can have struggles and most will learn to be well adjusted with some special attention to certain issues. 
 
This being said, a super shy Chihuahua may also act a bit reserved and a nervous dog may never be completely relaxed. Males and females cannot be put into categories of behavior , each will have their own personality.
Picking Out a Puppy

If you are thinking of bringing a Chi into your home and are wondering if it is best to choose a male or female Chihuahua, do keep in mind the elements listed above. Most can be resolved by having the pup either spayed or neutered.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some breeders may change their opinion based on how many puppies they have available at the time. Be careful of this; for example a breeder with 5 females and 1 male may try to push a female on you by telling you all of the good qualities that they have over males. But that same breeder when having 5 males and 1 female may suddenly start praising the traits of males.

The male vs female question is a very personal one. You should think about the type of pet you wish to own and which gender you wish to have as your best friend.

Adding a 2nd Dog to the Household

Things can be a bit complex if you are wondering which gender to choose if you already have one dog and wish to add to the family. There are arguments to be made for both choices of same gender vs opposite gender.

Two males may vie for dominance however a male and female may do this as well and two females may or may not get along. In most cases, the older, established dog will be the 'leader' among the canines.

In general, the Chihuahua breed does get along nicely with other dogs under the same roof and can even become best friends with large breeds.

Some owners find it easier to stay with the same gender simply because they have experience. For example, owners who have a female Chihuahua may be used to what comes along with the heat cycle or how to care for a female during the recovery period of being spayed. Owners of male Chihuahuas may be familiar with how a male will behave if he is intact and what to expect after neutering.
One piece of advice to keep in mind is past and current behavior toward dogs of the opposite and same sex. If a Chihuahua has proven to have intolerance for a certain gender, this often does not change - and in fact can worsen - if the dog is forced into a situation.

Look to how your puppy or dog reacts to other dogs when you have him out at the park or in situations with other dogs. If you are not sure of another dog's gender, don't be shy! Ask the owner and explain why you are asking.
Summary

The answer to the question of which is better, a male or a female Chihuahua is: Both are great! While each gender has its own issues, most can be completely avoided by having the puppy spayed or neutered. 

How you raise your dog, the lessons you teach him/her and the care you provide will have a much larger effect on behavior and temperament than the gender does.
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