View Full Version : Male or Female Hunting Dogs

August 18, 2009, 03:13 PM
I am looking to get my first hunting companion. I have already picked a breed. I have a few breeders in mind. I have spoken to trainers. BUT, I am stuck on a couple of things.

Male vs. Female??

I am leaning toward a male, but I would want to get him neutered. If he is neutered before he picks up a lot of bad habits, how does it affect his hunting ability??

Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

August 18, 2009, 03:23 PM
Doesn't matter. Just get them nurtured as soon as a Vet will do it, the earlier the better, I have found. One of the best dogs I've ever owned, I now have. She is 2yr old half Mountain Cur, and half Mountain Fiest.

August 18, 2009, 03:31 PM
P97 ++ on the Mountain Feist. I grew up with coon hounds and bird dogs. Seemed we always had half a dozen of each.
We also had Feist "Bruiser". I know people wouldn't believe it now a days but he would help tree coons, help set birds, and even run with our neighbor's beagles when we went rabbit hunting with him.

"Bruiser" was short and stout and would even help with the groundhogs when we would dig one of them out.

I always said if I was gonna get dropped in the middle of a wilderness and could bring a dog it would be a feist.

NightSight .... with birddogs and coonhounds we always did the best with a bitch that had 1 litter before we fixed her.

August 18, 2009, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the replies!

I guess it would help if I let you all know that I will be hunting primarily upland and waterfowl. The breed that I have decided on is the Large Munsterlander.

I have read some reports that early neutering in males leads to ligament and tendon problems. Any truth to that??

August 18, 2009, 03:45 PM
I'd go with the female, especially on the larger breeds. Keep in mind that on upland hunting, you may have to put them over the fences or help them as best you can. Same for working in and out of the duck blinds or boats. The females "seem" to be easier to handle and control. I've see male "German Shorthairs" work an acre pretty darn fast. A female takes a little bit longer and easier to hunt behind.

JMHO ..... ;)

Be Safe !!!

Big G
August 18, 2009, 04:03 PM
Female all the way in my opinion.Females want to please thier master more so than males.The best dogs I have had, have all been females. Do not get wrong, I have had males that were good,but the females were the best.

Dr. A
August 19, 2009, 09:21 AM
I'm a vet that does neutering and does alot of knees. I would put off neutering till the 5 or 6 month stage. They hunt just fine. Hunting ability does seem to be an individual thing, and I've enjoyed dogs from both sexes. Strangely, the worst fights come from a bunch of females together.

August 19, 2009, 10:24 AM
I agree with Big G, the females were the best no matter the breed, that i pheasant hunted behind.

August 19, 2009, 10:41 AM
Dr. A - Several people on the Gundogs forum seem to believe that neutering before the dog is fully grown causes the ligament and tendon problems.

It's seems like most people prefer the females. Is there a specific reason why?? I know Pahoo mentioned ease of training. Has anyone else had this same experience??

It seems like most of the arguments (from general internet chatter) I hear for females instead of males are related to the way that the males mark and their sex drive causing them to be distracted from hunting. Would a female have an advantage over a neutered male??

August 19, 2009, 11:08 AM
The biggest reason I prefer females is straight up "pack mentality". The male may try harder to resist being submissive. The female usually leans towards submission to a man but be careful as the female may feel second only to you and thus defend her turf against both males and females she feels are trying to move in. Lots of friendly socializing with other hunter's dogs when not actually hunting will get that prevented usually.
I do far worse training a male than a female.

August 19, 2009, 04:28 PM
The biggest reason I prefer females is straight up 'pack mentality' Couldn`t agree more. While I have hunted behind some excellent males, some tend to be a bit more headstrong than females. Controlling males(especially after they get a bit older) can take some patience. This being your first dog, as Pahoo and hogdogs suggested, I believe I`d pick a female and probably have her spayed. Cycles can be a pain during prime hunting season.

Dr. A
August 19, 2009, 05:23 PM
This is a relatively hot topic that not one person will ever agree with another. I see tendon and ligament problems in specific breeds, with problems following certain lines. I have far more tendon/ligament problems with FEMALES and find that the ligament problems will follow those breeds with strong representation from knee dysplasia. Individual males are always overepresented by knee and hip dysplasia. I've not noted any problem relating to neutering from this. I consider early neutering to be in the pre-3 month range. I see numerous urine leakage problems with this with a few extra animals getting urinary tract infection predalictions as well. I agree that the uneutered males are more stubborn. They have a bit more stamina and are tougher to train as well. A neutered male or female seems to be the most easy for anthing to me. Neutering only slows them down if allowed to grow fat. There are strong dislikes from purists to neutering males. Its just the way things are. Females fetch the best price around here as well. There are more successful females around here than male. The males that are good, however, are surely hard to beat. The answer???? Who knows. Get what you want and accept their limitations.

roy reali
August 19, 2009, 07:17 PM
Several months ago I was at a Borders Bookstore. I like going in and getting a cup of Joe and read gun rags. Well, this time I picked up a dog magazine.

There was an article about which gender of dog is better. According to the author, no difinitive study has ever been done. If you ask dog experts half of them will say male and the other half female. Now there are more male champion dogs weather you are talking field trials, herding, agility, or any other canine endeavor. But they pointed out a reason for that.

Male dogs are favored because they have fewer bioligical problems. If you have a female dog that is good you could breed her. But, during pregnancy and after delivery, she will be out of commision. Even then, you can only breed her once a year. A great male dog can be used for 'stud" service an unlimited number of times. Pregnancy, heat cycles, weaning puppies are nonissues with males.

Male versus female dogs is an interesting topic for debate. But there doesn't seem to be any consensus on it.

August 19, 2009, 07:43 PM
Strangely, the worst fights come from a bunch of females together.

You find that strange?:confused:

Gotta throw out a plug fer the GSP as a bird dog. Hardworking, top notch nose, loyal, friendly with familiar people, cautious and even defensive with unfamiliar people.

I wish my sweet English Setter was the hunter that the GSPs are. She's been retired to a house dog.

August 19, 2009, 08:25 PM
I have always been able to take a female for a walk without a lead, not so with males.....same thing happens in the field. not saying males aren't good, IME, my females have just been a tad better behaved and more controlled in their behavior

August 19, 2009, 09:10 PM
I hunt two Brittany spaniels. I have owned an American Field setter, a Weimaraner, and now the Brittanys. All have been females. Males have more stamina, more strength, more endurance, more "go power", so to speak. A good male upland hunting dog will make you wish you had stayed in shape for the last 30 years, because he will run you into the ground. He will also pee on every vertical surface within half a mile in the first 22 minutes, he will have scouted half the county by the time you get your vest and the whistles on, he will find any female within 2 miles and try to breed her, and all that without putting up a single bird within range. Females, on the other hand, hunt closer, hunt slower, are more focused, and will gladly take a break with you and help you eat your sandwich halfway through the hunt. They are easier on birds, less likely to break point, and will not make you feel like you can't quite keep up.

Long story short, if you are going for a field trial dog, get a male. If you want a hunting companion that will double as a house dog, get a female.

August 19, 2009, 10:14 PM
I've bird hunted for decades, and with my uncle who'd hunted decades before that. The sum of that experience for me has been the females are just "smarter". I've seen plenty of females that could hunt till I dropped and still keep going.

August 20, 2009, 07:01 AM
I breed and associate with a number of breeders, both Goldens and Labs, as well as Brittany's, and short hairs. The male will form a stronger bond with his handler, but many owners place their dog with a pro trainer, and either the bonding doesn't happen or it will not transfer to the owner after training is finished.
Females on the other hand, want to please everyone---the little sluts---, and for that reason some think they are "smarter" or more eager to please. Nothing is stronger than the bond between a male and his handler if nurtured correctly.

As to neutering, especially in males, many breeders are going to at least 1 1/2 to 2 years to allow full development before disrupting the hormone production, which does affect joint and bone growth

Big Bill
August 20, 2009, 11:58 PM
Strangely, the worst fights come from a bunch of females together.Not in my experience. During the 70s and 80s our big game hounds - mostly, redbone, walkers, and plots, the big fights in the dog box were between males. Of course, we bred a little pit bull in them to increase their grit. And, we didn't neuter any of them. I personally wouldn't neuter any hunting dog I owned, besides if they pan out, you might want their puppies.

The best bird dog I ever had was a golden lab and he definately wasn't neutered. I miss him. BTW, how well would you hunt if you were neutered. Hunting dogs aren't lap dogs.

August 21, 2009, 12:21 AM
My family friend has a mean set of Bear hounds and the lead dog is a female. Tuffy will run trails till her pads break, she has the most perserverence of any animal I have ever seen. Eligh who is second in command has just as much furver but not the drive. Spick and Span are the ones bringing up the rear but you couldnt get a better pair of litter mates running in a team. Some dogs are naturals and some need a good deal of training to get what you want. But pack dog hunting the leader will emerge from desire alone you cant pick a dog. You cant go back looking for another of the dog you had before. they are just like people and you might get 1 in a 1000 male or female. You cant go into it looking for a sex or a style. The best thing to look for is genes and who the parents are off and on the hunt!

August 21, 2009, 12:22 AM
Plots hounds rule...jmo

James R. Burke
August 26, 2009, 08:08 PM
We had a German Shorthair Pointer for twelve years. When we went to pick him up we were set on a female. The one that really stuck with my wife was a male so that is what we got. We had him neutured has soon as we could. Lots of folks put it off thinking they are going to bred some day, and they might once or never. I believe either sex is o.k. it all comes down to what you want, and if you are not into breeding I think getting them neutured or spade is the way to go for many reasons. I dont believe it effected him in anyway except he squatted instead of lifting his leg. Ha Ha. Also no humping etc. I guess that can still happen though. For ten of the twelve years we had him, we done more hunting, and scoring birds than I ever thouht where out there. He was a great dog. Had him cremated, and buried were we got the first bird with him, and the hat I was wearing. It was sad, but he also gave us some of the best times of our lifes. There is no doubt whatever type dog you get I am sure it will make you very happy. No matter how bad your day is they are always there wagging there tail waiting for you. Good luck, and enjoy!

September 4, 2009, 04:38 PM
I am a Veterinarian as well. I agree with what Dr. A said re early spay/neuter. There are theories that doing it early (<3-4 months) may predispose them to ligament or tendon problem, but there is no real evidence of it. They do tend to have a little higher incidence of urinary incontinence, though.

I have not seen any sex differences re cruciate tears, though. I find I'm fixing male and female cruciate tears with about equal frequency. They are almost always overweight dogs, and Labs are overrepresented.

We recommend spay/neuter at 5-6 months of age.

Arizona Fusilier
September 10, 2009, 08:58 PM
I have one of both (Vizslas). Most folks seem to prefer females for intelligence, and thus trainability. I haven't seen that. I think she's smart enough, but she can be such a drama queen, she won't want to do something that she loves (like hold a point) when she realizes I want her to do it.

My male (5 years old and unaltered) is strong, with lots of endurance (he likes to run with me), is very loyal as I have trained him myself, loves to hunt, and has a very agreeable disposition.

Hey, ever notice how much alike people and dogs are!?:D

September 10, 2009, 09:51 PM
I've had a number of dogs (all Labs - black, thanks) over the years and have trained some and sent some off.

I definitly like males the best - much more than females, but that is just a personal thing. I find they are much more stubborn when intact, but once the dynamics of the relationship are developed, I find I just like their enthusiasm, personality, and dedication more.

Not that I don't like females.

As for the training thing - I am not a fan of just sending a dog off for 3 months of training. As a dog lover, I love to see them grow up. My current lab has about 8 weeks of professional training to get him started - and then I have trained him the rest of the way. EVEN WHILE HE WAS OFF AT THE TRAINERS - I would make it a point of driving the 2 1/2 hours to visit at least once a week (and often times 2 or 3 times a week) and train him along with his trainer.

This has been very successful, and enabled far less problems in the transition from training to home and also ensured he was trained to my style and desires.