Choosing the sex of your dog

The Female

Bitches are more affectionate and easier to control than the male dog. They are about thirty percent smaller than the male and whatever their breed, tend to be gentler with children.

The bitch will come into season about every 6 months and this will last for around three weeks. The female is receptive to mating and extremely attractive to dogs that will instinctively try to mate with them. A good clear sign that a bitch is coming into 'Season' is that she will produce a discharge; initially a blood stain, that will be deposited wherever she sits or lays. She will spend a great deal of time licking her vagina. Be assured that your home will attract the local male dogs that will camp outside your home for about three weeks. Expect howling throughout the night to attract her attention.

The female will attempt to escape at the first possible opportunity, so it is wise to keep all doors closed and secure, especially when greeting your guests. Bitches have been known to chew their way through doors during the night to escape to get to the male dogs.

Do not underestimate the great heights that male dogs can climb and jump to reach a bitch on heat. During this period, it is well known that a male dog can be extremely aggressive and could well attack you if you tried to send him away.

If you are not going to breed from your bitch it is best to consider having her neutered a few months before her first season. Veterinary Colleges have endless scientific proof that the female will live longer, and the likelihood of mammary tumours is negligible.

The Male

Male dogs whatever their breed tend to be more dominant than the female. The adult male has an instinctive urge to escape and wander free from home for periods ranging from an hour to several days or weeks.

Often a clear sign of a dominant male although house trained, will show when he starts to lift his leg in the house and urinate on walls and furniture. He does this to scent-mark his territory and to affirm his dominant status. This type of dog should be castrated.

Dogs that are generally confined and not allowed to roam can develop sexual frustration and will mount the human leg and even mount children who crawl on the floor.

The best way to deal with this is to discuss the problem in an honest way with the vet who might consider either using a female hormone to try to counteract the condition or to castrate the dog.

Increasingly today the recommendation is for the castration for all dogs that are not to be used for breeding /show purposes. A castrated dog is happy and is free from worry and frustration. He will be more pleasant to have around, and less likely to fight other males. Having a dog castrated in no way alters any other instincts. He will guard, hunt, work, and retrieve.

The best time to castrate a male dog is around five to six months before he starts to lift his leg. Your vet will advise when your dog is suitable for this minor operation. Within twenty-four hours your dog will have fully recovered from the operation.