The male or female German Shepherd will make a wonderful pet for any dog lover seeking a large dog breed. Both sexes offer athleticism, beauty, courage, intelligence, loyalty, protection and trainability. However, there are some subtle differences when it comes to personality, size and temperament. Find out which one is right for you in this battle of the sexes!
The main difference between the male and female German Shepherd is size. Males are typically 2 inches taller and weigh 15-20 pounds heavier. The male has a more masculine look, can be goofy at times and matures later. The female is more affectionate, cuddly, family oriented and easier to train.
Before we get into the details of each sex, let’s take a look at both of them side by side.
Male vs Female German Shepherd Side by Side Comparison:
Both sexes have their advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick look at each sex and what they have to offer.
|Male German Shepherd||Female German Shepherd|
|Bigger||Easy To Train|
|Goofy||Faster To Mature|
|Protective of Territory||More Serious|
|Puppy-like Behavior||Protective of Pack|
|Slower To Mature||Smaller|
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions and seem to be the overall consensus from most owners. However, either sex can exhibit most of these traits with the exception of size.
For example, some owners say that males love to be affectionate and cuddle as well. Additionally, a lot of owners say that it’s less about the gender and more about the specific dog when it comes to personality and temperament.
Male vs Female German Shepherd Temperament:
When choosing a boy or a girl GSD, there are some different personality traits to consider. Here are some of the most common for both sexes:
Both sexes are affectionate and loving. But males are normally a bit more playful and goofier. They don’t take themselves too seriously all the time.
Even after a male grows up, he may still exhibit some puppy-like behavior. They also tend to be Velcro dogs and will stick by your side.
Males, like females, are highly trainable although girls may have the edge in this department. Boys may be a bit more stubborn in some cases.
They typically make better guard dogs because they are more aggressive than their female counterparts. They also tend to be a bit more protective of their territory than the girls.
In addition, when it comes down to a fight, males are much less likely to cut and run. They will stand their ground and typically won’t run away.
Boys are usually more aloof to strangers and may be more cautious when approaching pets or people they don’t know.
The female’s temperament is affectionate and loving. They are a bit more family friendly and will definitely share some cuddles and hugs with their family.
Both sexes will do well with kids but the female will take on a more motherly role guarding her pack. She will be very protective of the kids and alert to any potential danger.
The female will be more independent and not as attached to her owner. She may also be more serious at times than her male counterpart.
Additionally, females are more laid back and reactionary. They will let the situation come to them and react accordingly.
Females are a little less aggressive when it comes to guarding or protecting. That being said, they are extremely alert to what is going on even more so than the male.
Similar to humans, females will mature faster than the males. This means they will be a bit easier to handle as they spend less time in puppy-hood.
Male vs Female German Shepherd Size:
This is one of the most significant differences between the two sexes and one of the easiest ways to recognize what gender a German Shepherd may be besides the obvious.
While the male is only approximately 2 inches taller, they are still much bigger in stature and average anywhere between 24-26 inches at the shoulder.
To give you an idea of how tall that is, it is equivalent to the height of a 5-month-old human baby. Females stand anywhere between 22-24 inches at the shoulder.
When it comes to weight, the male takes the cake. They are much heavier weighing anywhere between 15-20 pounds heavier. That’s about as much weight as a push lawn mower.
The adult male will weigh anywhere between 60-90 pounds but can get much heavier. There are several cases of GSDs weighing plus 100 pounds.
Fun Fact: Legend has it that a German Shepherd named “Duke” tipped the scales at 131 pounds. His owner contributed his size partially to a diet high in spinach. He stood a towering 32 inches tall and one of his offspring was reportedly as big as him.
Female GSDs can weigh anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds. This is significantly smaller but still pretty large for a dog breed.
Male vs Female GSD Sexual Maturity:
Typically, females mature faster reaching puberty and their adult weight quicker than their male counterpart. This also means that they spend less time in puppy-hood.
Males on the other hand keep that puppy-like spirit for much longer and love to play around and act goofy even past adolescence.
This is a plus if you are considering a girl. They will be much easier to train at a younger age compared to the boys who will be a bit more stubborn as youngsters.
Males Sexually Active:
A male will reach sexual maturity anywhere between 6-12 months of age. Once they are sexually active, they will begin to hump anyone or anything around them.
Additionally, they will begin to seek out any female that is in heat around them. If they happen to catch her scent, they will be on a mission to mate with her.
He will become more aggressive, start marking his territory and may even stop eating as he becomes infatuated with the female.
Females Sexually Active:
A female will reach sexual maturity somewhere in the same time frame of 6-12 months. She will start her first heat cycle and start to seek out males in the area.
She will start to show several signs that allude to her first heat. First and foremost, she will have a bloody discharge coming from her swollen vulva.
Additionally, she will be licking her genital region a lot, will be clingy towards her owner and aggressive against any males looking to breed with her.
She may also flag her tail which means she holds it to one side. Finally, she may arch her back and hold her hind end up in the air exposing her vulva to the male.
Is The Male or Female GSD A Better Guard Dog?
Since the German Shepherd has a reputation for begin an excellent guard dog, you may be wondering which gender is better for protection?
This is an excellent question and an important one for potential dog owners. I a nutshell, males make better guard dogs and females make better companion dogs.
Most of the K9 GSDs used by the police are males. This is because they are more aggressive, bigger overall and quicker to react to a dangerous situation.
Most of the time females will be utilized as service dogs or single purpose dogs. They will detect bombs, drugs or contraband for the police.
This does not mean that a female GSD cannot guard or protect you and your family from eminent danger. Although smaller, they are still extremely brave, courageous and loyal. They will try to protect their pack no matter what.
Should You Choose A Male or Female GSD?
Both sexes have their advantages and disadvantages. Choosing one will depend on your home situation, the size of your yard, how much time you can devote to your dog, and what purpose the dog will serve.
Here are some examples of which gender may fit you better:
A Male GSD:
- Great if you are looking for a guard dog for protection.
- Good for sports, specifically Schutzhund Training.
- Excellent for service dog work in the military or police.
- Perfect for a single owner who can allot plenty of time to training.
A Female GSD:
- Great for a family with children and a big back yard.
- Excellent companion dog for a single owner with a lot of energy.
- Perfect as a service or therapy dog.
- Also good for agility sports.
Keep in mind that either sex will make a great family pet for an active family with a big backyard who has plenty of time to exercise the dog and keep them busy with activities.
Overall, the breed is one of the most popular and a great choice for anyone looking for a large athletic dog with courage, high trainability, loyalty, intelligence and a protective nature. I would say if you are looking for a guard dog, choose a male. If you are looking more for a companion or family dog, choose a female.
When you decide on the sex, make sure you find a reputable breeder who has good reviews and plenty of experience with the breed. Additionally, a lot of the traits we discussed can be improved through proper training.
Specifically, socialization will have a huge impact on how either sex acts around other animals or people. Make sure you socialize your new puppy from the moment you get them up until they are 16 weeks old. After that the window tends to close.
Make sure that they are around at least 100 people before the 4-month mark. This includes children and especially men. Socialization includes being hand fed, handled, hugged and trained by someone other than the owner.
Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think!
Are you interested in owning a male or female German Shepherd? What sex are you leaning towards? Let us know! We would love to hear from you!