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Hi!

I am making the first steps toward acquiring my first German Shepherd.

Up until now I've had my heart set on a male for a few reasons.

1. I've always bonded better with male dogs of other breeds.

2. I've found males of other breeds to be more cuddly/affectionate

3. I have a controversial view of neuter/spay (that the reputable breeders I've been in touch with actually agree with) in that I don't think it is necessary if the owner is responsible and capable of preventing breeding.

4. I have an intact male Golden Retriever (7 years old. Never been breed and never will be.)

That being said...

I have heard that what is true for breeds that I have more experience with (particularly Goldens) might not ring true for herding breeds. With retrievers, males tend to be the more cuddly gender on average. I don't expect my GSD to be a huge cuddle-bug like my Golden is, but I'd like a more affectionate GSD.

However, the two breeders that I've been in touch with have said that females are generally easier to train and that females tend to be the more cuddly & affectionate gender in German Shepherds.

Now I'm beginning to second guess my attachment to getting a male. The trainability factor doesn't bother me so much as I'm experienced, but I'm worried that I'll end up with a GSD that is not at all affectionate.

I guess what I'm wondering is what are your personal experiences with the genders? Have you found what the breeders are saying about affection level to be true for your shepherds?

Thank you!
 

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I have always been more attracted to male dogs as well. Have only owned male GSDs. The females i have had ( an English Mastiff and Jack Russel) each exhibited typical breed characteristics overall, so it would not be comparing apples to apples as far as gender goes.

What I can say is that ALL of my male GSDs have been very cuddly with me. :)
 

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I have always preferred male shepherds myself. That said, you run the risk of getting a not cuddly dog of either gender with this breed. Some are cuddly, some aren't. They are not known for being a super cuddly breed.

If you are really set on getting a German shepherd, be prepared to end up with a not cuddly dog and get the gender you want. It really depends on the dog, not the sex.

For what it's worth, I have an extremely attached and cuddly female golden retriever, and my male golden was not cuddly at all.
 

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I am in the same boat as you.. I had a Lab for 13 years, and have mostly been around Goldens or Labs for most of my life.. When i decided to get a GSD, i wanted a male.. Mostly for the same reasons you listed above.. I have always had males, felt like i bonded better with them, and just felt they suited the type of activities that i do better than a female would(personal opinion)...

Now i have a 7-1/2 month old black working line GSD.. He is a great dog, mostly... Very smart, VERY energetic, loyal, obedient, etc... He is different than my Lab and most other dogs that i have owned in my life.. Not very cuddly at all. In fact, if he is resting and i pet him, he jumps up and thinks it play time.. So i have learned to leave him alone when he is resting.. He sleeps in the bed with me, but it is at the foot of the bed facing the door.. Always on alert it seems.. He is very driven, and it is hard to get his attention off of something when his prey drive kicks in.. And he has a very high prey drive.. He hasnt shown any aggression towards humans or dogs, but he does show signs of dominance..

Good luck
 

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I think that if you have an intact male dog in the house you should get a female because dogs of the same sex fight. I prefer females because they seem to be more family oriented. Male dogs (and horses, bulls, roosters) always have something else going on in their mind. Such as for male dogs its where can I raise my leg? My GSD female is a velcro dog at times. Such as when she thinks I'm fixing to go someplace. She always lies down near me and watches over the livestock and the countryside. The invisible bond is always there. Dogs that come and constantly demand affection need better training IMO.
 

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Deja is my second female dog. All others have been males. I prefer the males. Like people, they are even tempered. And besides that, I love the masculine look of the intact males.
 

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My limited 2 cents, for what it's worth.

The males I have had were goofier and slower to mature. They are more likely to get along with other dogs but have a tendency to be a bit territorial. They are more likely to be cuddly and if they are going to fight you on training it will be in your face and straight up. They also forgive and forget. While some males are fighters fights between males tend to be noisy, with lots of bluff and bluster and are over and forgiven quickly. A sharp yell can often break up two males.
The females seem to have stronger personalities, less likely to be cuddlers, more prone to dog aggression and in particular same sex aggression. Less worried about territory but more likely to be protective of their people, especially kinds. They seem found of passive resistance in training, will present an ongoing challenge and hold grudges for life. Bitch fights are brutal and sometimes fatal, they never get over it and if they are going to get into it it's tough to break them up.


I prefer females because I seem to work better with them, but it's a personal opinion and preference. This is the only breed I am aware of that I have heard it noted that the females are more aggressive in general. I have worked with several former military and police dog handlers. Some swear males are better because a female is more likely to quit the fight in a tough spot, others swear by females and state that a female is less likely to ever give up if the chips are down.
 

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However, the two breeders that I've been in touch with have said that females are generally easier to train and that females tend to be the more cuddly & affectionate gender in German Shepherds.

Now I'm beginning to second guess my attachment to getting a male. The trainability factor doesn't bother me so much as I'm experienced, but I'm worried that I'll end up with a GSD that is not at all affectionate.

I guess what I'm wondering is what are your personal experiences with the genders? Have you found what the breeders are saying about affection level to be true for your shepherds?

Thank you!
I fully agree with what the breeders told you. Having said that you can find a cuddly & affectionate male GSD but you have to rely on an experienced breeder to pick out the specific pup out of the specific litter. Even when my males were affectionate they tended to end the session at their own terms because something else entered their mind whereas the females tend to stay in the cuddling session longer until you are done. As a breeder who has been in GSDs for 50 years once told me, males are always on the lookout for a better offer LOL.
 

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Having both male and female GSD I find the females being more family oriented protective, easy to train faster to mature. My males slow to mature a goof, hard headed but I do love the masculine look of the males.
 

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I’ve always grown up with male dogs, but I wanted a female. Don’t have a specific reason other than size. My girl is not cuddly with anyone but me. She constantly hurts my family’s and extended family’s feelings because they’ll call her over, she’ll walk over and sniff, then come back to me. In fact, she’s so cuddly with me I’m lucky if I get my own pillow at night. Every morning when I lift my head, she’s there snuggling into me so hard I almost fall out of bed. During the day she prefers to be near me, either sitting on me or beside me, or on the closest dog bed. If I’m on my computer, she falls asleep under my desk. She’s not a Golden - she won’t cuddle or get close with people she doesn’t have a strong bond with. And honestly, I prefer it that way. I’m selfish and want all her cuddles to myself, lol.

So I would just say every dog is an individual and I would base your expectations off the dog, not the sex. If physical affection is huge for you, then chances are it’s better to forego a male that might cuddle you vs. a female glued to your side, and the breeder would have a good idea which pup would best suit you. Plus some lines or breedings may be more likely to produce a “snuggly” dog than others, and the breeder would have a good idea of that.
 

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Males VS Females IMO, No Contest

I have no idea why you would want an unspayed female you have no intention of breeding; especially with the added headache of an intact male. Accidents happen; that's why they're called accidents. And imagine the hassles logistically plus the stress the dogs goes thru every time she comes in heat.


With that being said, I would not get a male puppy unless he's quite happy to be and remain, low guy in the pack order. One day soon you'll have two intact males and a great inter-pack relationship can change forever once the new guy reaches maturity. Or you could neuter the dogs and cut the chances you'll have conflicts.


Female vs male, for me there's no contest. Females!. Males are generally larger and more imposing than females. But in my experience males are reactionary where females are thinkers. The males I've had have been nice dogs, but the females had that something extra. They are the ones we continue to talk about long after they've gone.


Good luck, let us know what you decide.:smile2:
 

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My limited 2 cents, for what it's worth.

The males I have had were goofier and slower to mature. They are more likely to get along with other dogs but have a tendency to be a bit territorial. They are more likely to be cuddly and if they are going to fight you on training it will be in your face and straight up. They also forgive and forget. While some males are fighters fights between males tend to be noisy, with lots of bluff and bluster and are over and forgiven quickly. A sharp yell can often break up two males.
The females seem to have stronger personalities, less likely to be cuddlers, more prone to dog aggression and in particular same sex aggression. Less worried about territory but more likely to be protective of their people, especially kinds. They seem found of passive resistance in training, will present an ongoing challenge and hold grudges for life. Bitch fights are brutal and sometimes fatal, they never get over it and if they are going to get into it it's tough to break them up.



I prefer females because I seem to work better with them, but it's a personal opinion and preference. This is the only breed I am aware of that I have heard it noted that the females are more aggressive in general. I have worked with several former military and police dog handlers. Some swear males are better because a female is more likely to quit the fight in a tough spot, others swear by females and state that a female is less likely to ever give up if the chips are down.



(*Bolding mine!) Too true and why I love them so.



Thirty years ago police departments (at least the ones I was familiar with) only wanted males, period. Then you saw females entering the ranks as detection dogs along with Labs. I had a sheriff tell me after his 110 pound GSD patrol dog was retired he'd never get a big dog again. He said he had to rest his dog the next day after a hard chase because he would be sore.



Now I see that more and more experienced handlers appreciate the grit and determination females bring to the table. Power can come in small packages and I can't imagine when police say, "Come out or we're sending in a dog!" that the suspect cares what's the gender of the dog. <g>
 

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(*Bolding mine!) Too true and why I love them so.



Thirty years ago police departments (at least the ones I was familiar with) only wanted males, period. Then you saw females entering the ranks as detection dogs along with Labs. I had a sheriff tell me after his 110 pound GSD patrol dog was retired he'd never get a big dog again. He said he had to rest his dog the next day after a hard chase because he would be sore.



Now I see that more and more experienced handlers appreciate the grit and determination females bring to the table. Power can come in small packages and I can't imagine when police say, "Come out or we're sending in a dog!" that the suspect cares what's the gender of the dog. <g>

A few things I always remember,

Billy in active defense of me was brutal, but easier to get away from me and prone to fits of ADD. Sabi was dead serious but impossible to separate from me and she would remember who she didn't like forever. A decoy could pull Billy away for miles if they chose, Sabi would let go as soon as they moved away from me.

Sabi remembered and reacted to one of the men who attacked me while she was locked in the truck, 6 months later. (My bad, never lock your dog in).
Billy was likely to forget you if he hadn't seen you in a few days, lol.

Billy worked for whoever held the leash, Sabi would only work for me other handlers were dog walkers and treat dispensers.

When the house got broken into, Bud destroyed his crate to get at them. One of my staff stopped by to let Sabi out while I was stuck at work and had to wake her up. He protected the house, she only protected me.

All of the males we worked recognized uniforms both ours and the police and would respond as friends, the females did not care. Not a single bitch that I worked cared what you were wearing and would maintain alert, defensive posture at any person in my space.
 

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In my experience, w/ ratings of 1 being lowest and 5 being high (for the breed)...

INTELLIGENCE / TRAINABILITY-
Gia (female), 5
Tilden (male), 3
Coda (female), 5
Keystone (male), 5

AFFECTIONATE / CUDDLY-
Gia, 4
Tilden, 5
Coda, 4
Keystone, 3.5

Honestly, if you like males, get a male. They’ve become my preference... only reason I’d go back to a girl is for size. I like em under 60#
 

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I have a 10 year old intact male and a 4 year old intact male and the ONLY time I had issues was around a female in heat.

Otherwise, there is not chance they would fight. They are very different breeds- the younger is a malinois, the older a husky, and that makes a difference, too. Very different temperaments. There was a "switch" about a year ago, where the younger male became the dog-leader, but it was a bloodless coup, and I am the main leader of the pack anyway.

So I wouldn't worry too much about same-gender fights with the age and breed difference. Just choose a good breeder.

I love my girls, and most likely the majority of any future dogs will be female. I've found cuddly-ness to depend on the particular dog or lines rather than gender. One of my females loves to be close but isn't snuggly- the other really is, and my male shep might be the most cuddly dog I have, so it all depends on the dog. Working drives have a lot more to do with genetics than gender as well.
 

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I am in the same boat as you.. I had a Lab for 13 years, and have mostly been around Goldens or Labs for most of my life.. When i decided to get a GSD, i wanted a male.. Mostly for the same reasons you listed above.. I have always had males, felt like i bonded better with them, and just felt they suited the type of activities that i do better than a female would(personal opinion)...

Now i have a 7-1/2 month old black working line GSD.. He is a great dog, mostly... Very smart, VERY energetic, loyal, obedient, etc... He is different than my Lab and most other dogs that i have owned in my life.. Not very cuddly at all. In fact, if he is resting and i pet him, he jumps up and thinks it play time.. So i have learned to leave him alone when he is resting.. He sleeps in the bed with me, but it is at the foot of the bed facing the door.. Always on alert it seems.. He is very driven, and it is hard to get his attention off of something when his prey drive kicks in.. And he has a very high prey drive.. He hasnt shown any aggression towards humans or dogs, but he does show signs of dominance..

Good luck
My previous GSD did the same thing. He slept in bed with me at the foot of the bed facing the door just like yours. In the winter he would even snuggle up to me for warmth. In the summer, he'd jump on and off the bed all night. I got used to it that I didn't even notice anymore. He'd want to be close to me but it was too hot, so he'd jump off and sleep on the cold floor, then he'd remember he wasn't next to me and jump back on. rinse. repeat. My old dog sounds just like yours...very smart, obedient, etc. etc. etc.


To the OP...I've never had female dogs. Just 2 male GSDs: the one I mentioned above and the current 5 month old pup. Both love to cuddle. The current one thinks he's a 60 lbs lap dog. So in my experience, cuddling GSDs are a personality thing, not a gender thing. I also completely agree with your stance on neutering. If you are a responsible dog owner, there really is no need to neuter him. I didn't neuter my previous GSD and he was fine. I don't plan to neuter the current pup at least until he's 2 years old (it's part of my contract with the breeder) at which point I can if I want to. I most likely won't.
 

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I have had four male dogs, one yellow Lab and three shepherds. I only ever had one dog at a time and one of the shepherds was only with me for less than a month. All of my dogs were males and all like to cuddle with me. They sleep with me, they sometimes lay in the crook of my arm with their head on my shoulder, they love petting and displays of affection and are affectionate in turn. I agree with others who said that it is more likely the individual dog rather than the gender.
 

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I'm going to agree with everyone else, it's dependant on the dog, not really gender. I've had dogs of all different breeds, mutts and purebred. Male and female. My husky/shepherd mix thing, which is male doesn't like to snuggle, but he will demand your affection by placing his paw on you, gently. Or he will lay his head on you leg or arm. My old girl (a mix breed) would like if every one snuggled her all day long. My male gsd, does fly-by cuddles to me and my fiance, no one else. He will snuggle for about 5 minutes, and it's an intense deep, snuggle, like he's trying to absorb you. He doesn't sleep in my bed, but his favorite spot is the foot of the couch with a chew toy.
All of our labs were female, and love bugs, our male Beagle only cuddled with my brother, everyone else was a glorified ball thrower. One of the heeler mixes, both female, will literally lay in your arms like a baby, and cuddle. The other would rather not.
The only dogs we've ever had that picked fights, were females, they are sisters from the same litter, and they're both spayed. So, my experience with dog aggression, is limited.
Each dog is different, if you're using a breeder, be forward with them about what you'd like. I'm sure a good breeder will try to match you with your ideal pup, choose the gender you want.
 

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I always like the males dogs they are bigger and more of a mommas boy the females more independent a little more aloof. It’s nice to have both I do not want two large dogs. Both are affectionate - My first male gsd was not comfortable with any kind of affection we did not get him as a pup so not sure if that just how he was or not used to it. He was the Godzilla of gsds don’t think there was to many like him -at the same time as quiet and serious as he was he was a big baby inside -he loved his toys. Both our gsds we have now we raised from pups and grew up with kids so they are super affectionate. Max is more cuddly with and me and a space invader wants to see what you brought home from the store or planting in the garden. He likes to inspect things and more of a dare devil. He is incredibly engaging and always shooting me looks and if eye contact and body language is right he will bring me over his toy. Luna is affectionate super cuddly and a wiggle worm but more independent and can be more low key. Max and Luna don’t mind getting disturbed from sleep or tripped on if under foot as they can be both shadows. I like the male and female combo they really get along so well. I agree affectionate or not is more dependent on the dog not male or female.
 
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