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Male Australian Shepherd vs. Female Australian Shepherd

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Male Australian Shepherd vs. Female Australian Shepherd

The Australian Shepherd or Aussie, as they are nicknamed, is the dog breed of the moment. Beloved for their affability and gorgeousness, Aussies are the 12th most popular dog in the United States and 7th most popular in Canada. The breed recently made headlines when one of its representatives won Best in Show at the 2024 Crufts dog show in England. 

Just so you know, this isn't the Australian Shepherd's first time as Best in Show winner. Initially bred to work in farmyards, Aussies have evolved into lovable family pets and show dogs. If you are an admirer of this breed and are considering welcoming one into your family, you might wonder whether to get a male or female.

In a nutshell, neither sex is more affectionate, or protective, or smarter, or more trainable. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that one sex might fit into your family or lifestyle more than the other. That said, let’s explore the possibilities.

Size

Male Australian Shepherds are typically larger than females. Adult males stand between 20 and 23 inches tall and weigh around 50 to 65 pounds. Adult females, on the other hand, measure 18 to 21 inches in height and weigh between 40 and 55 pounds. Nevertheless, both sexes are classified as medium-sized dogs. So, whether you should get a male or female Australian Shepherd is dependent on whether you want a larger or smaller dog.

Personality

In terms of temperament, Australian Shepherds are generally described as intelligent, affectionate, sweet-natured, active, and protective. However, according to many Aussie owners, the males tend to be somewhat more unquiet and ebullient throughout their lifetime. In addition, they tend to be more of a velcro dog, often forming strong bonds with their owners, than their female counterparts. 

For example, you may find your male Australian Shepherd following you more closely than your own shadow. Consequently, you might even trip over him sometimes. Further, the males tend to be more food-motivated than the females, which makes training them a bit easier.

The females, on the other hand, tend to be independent-minded, stubborn, and more territorial compared to males. But just like their male counterparts, they are affable and equally easy to train. However, in the females' case, you will have to find a motivator beyond food, such as verbal reward (praise), during training. Female Aussies mature faster, which requires early training and socialization. According to expert trainers, female Aussies tend to learn as a puppy a bit faster than their male counterparts. This, however, is not to say they are smarter.

Now as far as attitudes go, both sexes are very loving and eager to please, and the difference in their demeanor is subtle.

Generally speaking, Australian Shepherds are considered moderate barkers.

Both sexes are equally energetic and require lots of exercise, typically a minimum of two hours daily. Otherwise, they may become bored and resort to acting destructively around the house. Out of boredom, they may also bark unnecessarily.

In summary, while male Aussies say "I love you," females tend to say "Love me." Consequently, the girls are often considered to be slightly more demanding than the boys. However, most of the time, this comment does not seem to be true.

As a fun fact, Aussies exhibit an irresistible impulse to herd and sometimes can’t help but herd you during walks or runs.

Spaying and Neutering

To begin with, it is worth noting that male and female hormones influence dogs' personality traits. This influence can be lessened when you spay or neuter your dog before they reach maturity (around 6 months). For example, most male dogs when neutered as puppies do not feel the need to mark their territory or chase females in heat.

Similarly, female dogs when spayed no longer go into heat and bring the mess that comes along with it. To avoid dealing with this mess, it is recommended that you spay your female Aussie before her first heat, which is around six to eight months old. The same recommendation applies to males as well. Based on my research, dog owners often wait until their dogs are 12-18 months old before they spay or neuter them. This means that a female Australian Shepherd would likely get one or two heats before then.

You might want to consider the cost of neutering and spaying. Like all female dogs, spaying a female Aussie is more expensive than neutering a male. In addition, the cost varies greatly depending on several factors, including the dog's age and weight, where you live, and who is doing the spaying or neutering. Refer to the following screenshot from the Houston Humane Society for example:

Houston Humane Society's cost or spay and neuter


The cost of spaying female dogs is usually more because the process is a little more extensive plus they don't bounce back quite as fast as males.

Health and Lifespan

Australian Shepherds are generally healthy dogs but can be prone to anxiety, skin and eye conditions, joint dysplasia, deafness, and Multiple Drug Sensitivity. The boys can suffer from the same conditions as the girls. Neutering the boys and spaying the girls can significantly reduce the chance of them suffering from several health problems, like prostatic hyperplasia, testicular cancer, mammary tumors, and uterine infections.

On average, both male and female Australian Shepherds live 12 to 15 years. Regardless of sex, an Aussie can live up to 20 years if well cared for. The oldest Aussie on record lived to be 29 years and 5 months old before being put down.

Regardless of the sex you choose, if it is an Aussie, you will be blessed with many years of joy and companionship.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the only major difference between male and female Australian Shepherds is their sizes. Aside from that, Aussies are generally biddable dogs with a friendly temperament. Both sexes make great herding and family dogs, so don’t rely on preconceived notions of a puppy's gender when choosing one. 

In day-to-day interaction, there are subtle personality differences between male and female Aussies. To sum it up, male Aussies tend to be overly clingy (Velcro dogs) while females tend to be more independent and slightly more demanding.

However, either sex you choose, if it is an Australian Shepherd, you can’t go wrong. Remember, each dog, regardless of gender, has its own personality and is unique in every way. The good news is that both male and female Aussies are biddable and easy to train. This means that you can always train your Aussie to meet your needs. The bad news, however, is that it will be difficult to train your Aussie to calm down. In other words, Australian Shepherds are not suitable for sedentary people.

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