K-9: Puppies have different personalities

March 24, 2004|SALLIE BRIGHT

A reader called this past week to ask if she should get a male or a female puppy.

I hesitate making such choices because each person is different and so are the puppies. I 've had four standard schnauzers and three of them were female because I had seen males in the show rings stressing their burly handlers as each tried to establish their dominance among all the other dogs showing.

Yet each female had a different personality. The first was dominant and protective, butlearned self-control to the point I was able to walk her off lead directing her with verbal commands.

The second was so laid back that the world could have stopped rotating and she would have shrugged and continued what she was doing.


The third liked to throw her weight around, but was a marshmallow at heart with a terrible case of separation anxiety when left with only her mother as a companion. It took several years before she felt secure enough to stay by herself.

Then there's the male schnauzer who feels the whole world was created for him. Not all males are like that!

In order to answer the question, I found a column I wrote back in 1995 where I got the information from the AKC Gazette's Gordon setter column in the January 1994 issue.

The first point made was that the males of most breeds are larger and stronger than the females. The second point addressed in the column is personality. The dominant behavior of the males can be traced to the hormone testosterone. However, the columnist pointed out that personality is individual.

In selecting a pup of either gender, it is best to avoid the very dominant pup or the very timid ones.

In this day of dangerous dog ordinances, it is better to have an alert dog that barks warnings than a strong silent animal that will bite.

Females present the problem of heat cycles.

I recommend early spaying before the first heat cycle (six to eight months).

Early spaying has been proven to lower the risk of cancer of the reproductive organs.

Neutering the male dog is also recommended in that it lowers the risk of cancer of the prostate. It also helps control roaming if a female in heat comes around.

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