Determining the gender of an adult dog is a relatively simple task: just analyze its behavior and anatomy. However, in puppies (less than six months old), the process is a little more complicated. To determine the sex of the little ones, you will need to carefully study their bodies and identify which sexual organs they have. Also, certain behaviors may give some indication, but they are far less reliable than a physical examination.
Method 1 of 3: Taking Great Care When Checking Your Newborn Puppy
Step 1. Wait a few weeks to thoroughly analyze the newborn
It's much easier to determine the sex as he grows up; leave to check after three or four weeks, increasing the chances of getting the gender right.
- It is easier to wait eight weeks after birth as male genitalia will be fully visible.
- If the puppy still has the umbilical cord, look 1 cm behind the cord and see if you can find his penis. Within the first few weeks of his life, his penis will be a small lump in the middle of the puppy's belly; in females, there is no genital organ in the area.
Step 2. Be very careful when picking him up
Newborns are fragile, so be very careful when handling them; wash and dry your hands first. When he is in your lap, be careful and hold him firmly to avoid accidents.
- The mother of the puppies must “approve” that you catch them. Some can show very aggressive behavior if a stranger touches them.
- When you notice that the little one or the mother are irritated by your approach, leave him close to the bitch and try to do this later.
Step 3. Leave the puppy very warm
Perform the analysis in a cozy environment, preventing the puppy from getting sick. Your hands should also be warm when you pick it up, as even this can leave them cold and have a greater chance of getting cold.
- Also, keep it in your lap for a maximum of 10 minutes. There is a risk that the puppy will start to feel cold.
- When you notice that the puppy is whimpering or shivering, return it to the mother or to her (warm) corner.
Step 4. Put the puppy on its back
Place it on a hard surface or soft, clean towel, or hold it in one hand. Carefully pick it up and lay it on its back, exposing the belly.
- Hold it with one hand and on its back only if the puppy is very small and docile.
- Always support his head while he is on his back.
- If you choose to put it on a towel, leave it very warm first. A few minutes before, throw the towel in the dryer; do not use ones that are too cold, hot or wet.
Step 5. Distinguish between the penis and the umbilical cord
One of the most common mistakes in determining the gender of puppies is thinking that the umbilical cord is the penis; they both look like two lumps in their stomachs, but the “navel” is just below the rib cage, while the sex organ is lower, between the legs.
- Also, don't forget that both sexes have a small lump, which is the “navel”. Male puppies will have a second bulge between the navel and the legs. On the other hand, males have only one orifice, under the tail, and females, two.
- The best option is to bring in a (reliable) veterinarian or breeder to determine the puppy's sex.
Method 2 of 3: Analyzing the Dog's Physical Attributes
Step 1. Look for the male's external organs
In the region between the belly and the tail, it will be possible to find the penis and the scrotum; in older dogs, the sex organs will be fully visible, and in young ones, they may not even appear.
- The scrotum should be just below the anus, almost directly between the hind legs.
- If the male has been neutered, the scrotum will not be visible.
Step 2. Look for the females' external organs
It will be possible to identify the vulva while keeping the belly exposed; carefully lift her hind legs until you can see her anus. Above the anus and between the hind legs, a leaf-like organ can be found; it is the female's vulva.
Step 3. Look for physical signs that the animal is pregnant
This is a sure-fire way to diagnose whether the pet is male or female; when pregnant, she will have a very large belly, even if she continues to eat normally, eventually giving birth.
Step 4. Don't use other physical characteristics to identify the dog's gender
It is normal to think of looking for such clues to define the sex of this animal, but any differences that might exist would be very subtle and difficult to identify, unless you are a breed specialist. As the physical characteristics between the sexes of different races are quite subtle, it is better to look for other signs.
- For example: both males and females have nipples, that is, it is a mistaken characteristic, which cannot be used to determine that it is a female dog.
- Also, assuming that the dog is larger than normal (for its breed) or has developed muscle tone does not mean it is male. Size differences are minimal between genders.
Method 3 of 3: Finding Differences in Behavior
Step 1. Look at the dog's urination habits (after he is six months old)
Puppies urinate in identical ways, whether male or female; however, after six months of life, males begin to lift their leg when urinating (mostly), while females will just continue to squat.
- During the first few weeks, puppies cannot control bowel movements or urination, so there is no way to detect this initially.
- Even after they are strong enough to stand and control their physiological needs, little ones will continue to squat to urinate for the first two months of life.
- Many males develop urination habits similar to adults as early as six months of age.
Step 2. See if dogs mark territory
After a few months of life, it is common for males to develop this habit; females usually do not have it, so it is a good indication that the offspring is male.
- The desire to mark territory will be very strong in unneutered male puppies, especially. After castration, the instinct will decrease a lot.
- The exact age at which male puppies begin marking territory varies, but will generally be between two and six months.
- Dogs that urinate quickly and in multiple locations are likely to be marking territory, even more so if he sniffs the spot.
- Those who only relieve themselves once or twice are not leaving their marks, even if they stop to sniff various places as they walk.
Step 3. See if there is any sign that the dog is going into heat
Females that have not been neutered come into heat approximately once a semester. The first cycle occurs when she is six to ten months old, lasting around three weeks. Changes in behavior, swelling of the vulva and discharge in the same organ are common manifestations of the heat period.
- At this point, the female can also become more attached and jump many times.
- Females also produce a vaginal discharge that can be pale, brown or bloody, depending on the point in the reproductive cycle.
Step 4. Personality and general behavior should also not be considered when determining the pet's gender
Both can show affection, be defensive, active or calm; they are aspects of personality that do not indicate anything about gender.
For example, the act of mounting another dog, which is generalized as a male trait, also happens in females
- Be careful when picking up newborn puppies (less than three weeks old), as their scent can be transferred to them, masking their own. There is a risk that he will be rejected by his mother if he smells too “human”; also, holding it a lot increases the chance that the puppy will catch colds and get sick.
- Remember that there are nipples in dogs and bitches, so it's not a factor that determines the pet's sex.