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Girls Vs. Boys: When it Comes to Pets, Does Gender Matter?

GWhen it comes to your pets, does gender matter?  Do you prefer one gender over another?  If so, why?

For quite awhile my fiance and I seemed to gravitate more towards keeping mostly male pets.  If you count just the pets we've owned together (not counting family pets we had growing up), we've had significantly more boys than girls.  However, currently out of our 5 pets, 3 are girls.  I think this is the first time ever that girls have outnumbered boys in our family!

Despite being one, for awhile I had a bias against female animals.  When I started keeping house rabbits, I initially adopted males because I had read that females were more prone to moodiness and/or aggression.  When I finally adopted my first ever female rabbit, Berry, I was actually surprised at how sweet she was.  Go figure, now I have Poppet, another female, and she is without a doubt the sweetest, friendliest rabbit I have ever met!

So now I'm a little less apt to base what I think an animal's behavior is going to be on his/her sex.  There are so many other factors to take into account!  Plus, gender trends seem, to me, in most species to be just that - trends.  It doesn't mean all members of a certain sex will behave the same way.  I know that female dogs, for example, are often generalized to be more aloof than their male counterparts.  But, like in my rabbit example above, that isn't always the case.


That doesn't mean that gender differences can always be written off completely.  Depending on what species of animal we're talking about, there can be some important gender based issues to take into account.  For example, the males of some species (leopard geckos, for example) should always be housed individually.  When housed with other males, they will often fight.  This seems to be more of an issue in types of pets who can't be fixed, such as reptiles.  Un-neutered male rabbits will often fight as well, but I've seen many male rabbits get along very well once they are fixed.

eeeeeThere are some species where there are noticeable physical differences between males and females.  Even in domestic dog breeds, females tend to be, on average, smaller than males.  Minor size differences aren't as extreme as, say, the differences in looks between male and female eclectus parrots.  The males of this species are green, while the females are bright red!

There are some other physical differences that can cause people to prefer one sex over the other.  Males of many species tend to have more noticeable...well, you get the idea.  Males, especially when left intact, are also more likely to display unwanted sexual behaviors.  However, humping in many species is not always solely a sexual behavior.  It can also be used to display dominance, for example, and in some species (such as rabbits) it's considered normal even if your pet is fixed, and/or female.

Some people just seem to prefer one sex over another for no discernible reason.  My fiance loves our female pets, but left to his own devices I think would probably always select males over females.  Maybe, being a male himself, he feels that he can relate better with our male pets?

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below!  If you prefer to keep pets of one sex over the other, do you have a specific reason for doing so, or is it just personal preference?

2 thoughts on “Girls Vs. Boys: When it Comes to Pets, Does Gender Matter?

  1. Jemima Pett

    I know what you mean - I have only male guinea pigs. I'm not sure whether there's really any difference in temperament, as both males and females can be territorial or bossy. Maybe boars are slightly more likely to come up with a male dominance issue where neither will back down, but it's taken a long time for me to find two boars that wouldn't tolerate each other - and they're brothers! Go figure.
    You can find some of them blogging from A to Z this year, on George's Guinea Pig World


    1. Michelle @ Paw Print Pet Blog

      My first ever bonded pair of rabbits was two unrelated males. I had heard so often that male/female pairs were better, but my boys loved each other. I had also heard before that females were generally less affectionate, but the female rabbit I have now is a sweetheart. Go figure, my male is the one who really doesn't like human attention.
      I'll stop by and check out your blog! Guinea pigs are one pet I've never had the pleasure of owning, but they are adorable.

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